Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Welcome to Lagos!"

My back pocket felt noticeably lighter as soon as I succeeded in squeezing myself through the mass of humanity standing near the door of the bus.
I reached for my back pocket as soon as my feet touched ground, and my worst fears were confirmed. My wallet had disappeared. Welcome to Lagos!
A fellow commuter, a wizened old man that alighted from the same bus, solemnly patted me on the back, shook his head, and mumbled “Welcome to Lagos.”
Within seconds, 11 commuters surrounded me, offering their condolences and sharing similar experiences, apparently thinking it would make me feel better.
Their stories were diverse. One had his two mobile phones lifted from separate pockets at the same time; another had his lace Kaftan slashed with a razor so that the wily pickpockets could get to his wallet. Indeed, on the spot statistics revealed that almost 50% of regular commuters of the Obalende-Mile 2 route had fallen prey to the pick-pockets at one time or the other.
They were all generous with their advice; Divide your money amongst your various pockets! Do not carry a wallet! Don’t carry all your ATM cards except when you really need them! Hold your phones, and wallets, and other valuables while boarding or alighting from the bus! Buy your own car!
And each of them signed off his/her piece of advice with, “Welcome to Lagos.”
Reeling from the shock, dizzy with thoughts of how to handle the impromptu economic recession, and thirsty from my long trek home, I decided to console myself at a local watering hole.
A couple of beers later, and feeling slightly better, I reached for my wallet to settle the bill....Oh no!
What happened next? That’s another story.

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