Life Unparalleled

Loving Life as a Foreign Service Family – Current Parallel 6° 27' North- Lagos, Nigeria

Sold in Traffic

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This week I had my first opportunity to serve as work sponsor for a newly arrived pair of officers.  One of the duties this entails is going out to the airport with motorpool to pick them up.  (Welcome you two!).  We hoped to avoid the rush-hour traffic by leaving at 3pm, but traffic started early and we had a long slow ride, and were a little late getting there.  Fortunately (for me, not so much for them), customs also took its time processing the people on their flight, and the expediters got them out to the curb about the same time we got there.  They then got to enjoy Lagos traffic in their first 2 hours in country.  This was on the way back.

 

On the way to the airport, we passed dozens of hawkers offering their goods between lanes of traffic.  This is particularly noteworthy, as lane markings here seem to be viewed more as guidelines at best (see photo above).  About a third of the way through the ride to the airport I started making a list of the items I saw on offer.  Guess which of the following items were not on my list:

maps

socks

sodas

bottled water

gum and candy

phone chargers and other accessories

fresh papaya

plantain chips

stools

baby shoes

pesticides

newspapers

nuts in bottles

handerchiefs

cookies

socks

chessboards

dartboards

hotpads

belts

nuts in bags

long traditional clothing/robes/kaftans

toy balls

neckties

selfie sticks

ironing boards

windshield wipers

towels with premier league football (soccer) team logos

tools

juice boxes

adult shoes

pants

corkscrews

medicine cabinets (with a mirror)

glue mouse traps

hats

 

 

 

 

 

Give up?  Trick question.  ALL of those were on offer somewhere in the road from the consulate to the airport yesterday.  Last but not least:

The local minibus drivers hire a conductor, who rides in the first seat inside the sliding back door, and collects the money from other passengers.  I saw more than 1 who had sold his seat to make a little extra money and was riding standing in the doorway like this, and even 1 who had sold THAT spot as well, and was standing on the back bumper and holding on to the top of the van.  Maybe Dy was wrong about GAME.  I think the streets are actually the Lagosian equivalent of Walmart.

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