Posts Tagged ‘experience’

Oh goodness…its been too long! I’m more or less officially part of the everyday Lagos grind. I’m ashamed to say, but I have a backlog of experiences to share with you all. However…umm…well no excuses. I should have updated long ago. Well, its never too late 🙂 Let me tell you about what happened to me about four weeks ago…Reeewwiinnddddd!

I woke up this morning and I could have sworn it was going to be a regular mundane day. Little did I know that at some point in the day I would end up in the middle of a major Lagos road with my skirt ripped in half. Crazy! I know…

BUT…before you jump to conclusions. Please. Let me explain.

You see, public transportation(PT) in Lagos isn’t easy at alllll. There are many intrusive, challenges that keep you from enjoying PT. For me, in the states, PT was a time for me to daydream or catch up on my reading, or just simply enjoy the bus ride. But here in Lagos, the last thing you will be doing is daydreaming while you are being transported on a “danfo” bus.  There are many situations you may face; Be it the body odour, a bus fight, or having to yell out the name of your bus stop to the driver(sometimes even jump out of the moving bus); for taxis…well I’ll save my ‘Taxi tales’ for another blog post. Basically, PT in Lagos is not a “delighful” experience.

Back to my story.

So, when I woke up this morning deciding whether to take a bus or a cab to my destination, I decided to embrace my new surroundings (and save my money) by taking a bus. So two buses later and I’m flying through the streets of Lagos on an ‘okada ‘(a motor bike for PT) on my way to my final destination. 

Now on this very day, I’m wearing a pretty snug skirt that’s very much not-so-bike friendly. In fact when I boarded theokadaI had to tug and wiggle my skirt to sit comfortably on the bike seat.  Upon reaching my destination, I prepare myself to get off the bike and as I adjust my skirt, a little voice in my head says, “your skirt is going to rip, hike up your skirt before you swing your leg over”. I’m thinking…uhh no way…any higher and I’ll be exposing my undies to the whole world. So I ignore the little voice and swing my leg over the seat to get off the okada, and right before my foot hits the ground….

WOOOOOSSHHH….

Yes, you guessed right; it’s the feeling of the Lagos cool breeze all along my thighs and my tooshy!  I reach back to grab my skirt and what do I feel?  MY PANTIES! My skirt slit had split all the way up to my waist.  I immediately take cover behind a car, not sure who has or who hasn’t seen me. As I stand there in shame and embarrassment, tears spring to my eyes and I swear I’m about to start balling like a baby when I hear…

“Aunti! where u dey go? (“Where are you going?”). I look up and it’s my okada driver.

I give him a death stare and reply, “You no see my skirt don tear? “(Don’t you see my skirt has torn?)
“Ah! I no see oh. En you fi go market and buy new skirt.” (Oh no! I didn’t see it. You can go to the market and buy a new skirt).

Just then, my emotions go from panic and sadness to just plain anger.

“Na you tear am, na your fault!” I growl at the okada man (You tore it! It’s your fault!”).
“No be me oh! You no know say skirt dey tear like dat” (I didn’t tear your skirt. That’s what happens to skirts).
I’m aware it wasn’t his fault that my skirt was quite snug on my hips…(I really should blame it on my consumption of too much fried plantains…). However, I was embarrassed and simply grasping for straws.

Soon I notice a red cab attempting to park next to me, so I immediately flag the car down. As he pulls up to me I ask the cab driver if he can take me to the nearby market. 500 Naira charge he says. Usually, I have a rule. When I am quoted a price on almost anything in Nigeria, I cut the price in half and minus 100 naira. After overpaying for too many items, I learned that bargaining is always almost necessary at places you can bargain. However, today was different. My undies were hanging out for the whole of Lagos to see, all I wanted to do was get into that cab. I nod my head frantically and as I am about to get into the car I hear a voice say,

“My Monie??” (Where is my money?”)

It was the okada man, and despite my dilemma he wasn’t leaving without getting paid. Usually, most okada men launch away in search of their next passenger once you have paid them. So this explains why he was still hanging around there. I grudgingly pass him his 100 naira and practically run into the back seat of the cab.

As the cab drives down the street, my mind is racing.

How will I get out of the car to start shopping for a new skirt? Either way my undies will be in free view for the whole of the market place to see.

I run through a bunch of scenarios and just as I am cracking my brain, what do I see?

The beauty that IS: (game show winning music) A sewing machine!…with a lone man operating it. He was like my guardian angle awaiting to save me from my dilemma.

“Abeg Sir Stop!” (Sir, Please stop), I say to the Taxi man. “I need that man to sew my skirt,” I cried out.

“Your skirt???”

“Yes sir. E don tear.” (Yes sir, my skirt is torn)

“Ah! Sorry oh. But dat man no fit sew am for you. Dat na industrial machine hin dey use”. (He can’t sew it for you, that’s an industrial machine)

Hmmmm…so I have a taxi driver…turned seamstress expert.

He drives past the sewing machine.

*Side note*- How great is Lagos for stuff like this?? How many countries do you see a drive by “tailor”. And mind you, the amending would almost always be dirt cheap; about 50 to 100 Naira. Less than a dollar!

Okay, back to my story…

So the taxi driver turns onto a different street. And almost immediately, I see another man with a sewing machine sitting by the sidewalk in front of a makeshift salon. I tell the cab driver to stop again, but he tries to object again claiming that the man is sewing a bag and he might not be able to sew my skirt. At this point I’m like, does this taxi driver not want me to get my skirt fixed??? However, this time I insist that he stop in front of the tailor, so he parks in front of the salon.

“Okay sister. Go and meet him.”

“Oga I can’t. My skirt is torn,” I thought he understood my dilemma.

“So what do you want me to do”

“Ennn….okay sir, do you think you can take the skirt to him to sew?”

Without replying my question, the taxi driver goes to the salon. I can’t hear what he is telling the gentlemen outside (there were no women at the salon, only men outside the salon and my prospective tailor). Soon the taxi driver comes back with a wrapper aka ankara cloth and tells me, “remove your skirt and use this”. Now because we are in a very busy commercial street and I’m desperate for a solution, I don’t object, I mean how else was I going to get the skirt to the tailor. Still seated in the taxi, with the taxi driver a good distance away, I squeeze out of the skirt (the skirt was still snugly intact around my waist), and tie the wrapper around my bottom. Within 10 minutes my skirt is amended and paid for by the taxi (he paid for it without my knowledge, while I was squeezing my bottom half into my newly amended skirt. I thanked him profusely and we were on our way back to my former destination in no time.

So all my fellow Naija okada-daring-women…Don’t wear a skirt if you want to board an okada! In fact, the money I was trying to save by taking a danfo and an okada instead of a taxi went straight into the pockets of my helpful taxi guy. But at that point I really didn’t care. I was just so grateful that my skirt was in one piece.

Ironically, when I finally met with the person I was meeting with she commented on how great my outfit was. If only she had seen me 30 mins ago…

Oh! And can you believe from the time my skirt tore to me getting it back in one piece and making it to my meeting it took only 30 minutes?  Yup. Here’s to more quick solutions in good ol Lagos!

I will confess I’ve ridden okadas while wearing a skirt more than once since my ordeal…what can I say…I enjoy the lagos breeze whipping around me while I ride on an okada…I can hear my Naija people saying…which kind whipping, u think say okada na Harley Davidson???

*Big Smile* Thanks for reading!! Sayonara my blog readers!!

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