Friday, 6 February 2009


Yesterday getting back from Victoria Island was HORRENDOUS and decided to go to this supermarket on the way – we were stuck in grid-lock traffic for 3 hours. Before we set off in the morning we had to give the taxi driver 2000 (£10) for fuel, which seems to be fairly usual these days for ropey taxis - 69 naire a litre (40p per litre approximately). To make matters worse we were paying the taxi by the hour! (12 hours in all at 1000 naira per hour! – needless to say we negotiated a set price with taxis after this episode, for the distance not the time!

A mini bus had conked out by the side of the road and a hugely fat man who did not look as if he was going anywhere for two obvious reasons, sat by the vehicle on the curb. However later l spotted him over-taking our stationary taxi with what seemed like a comparative pace!!! Twice! Our taxi driver this day was hopeless, and did not know ‘down town’ Lagos, hence the delays and just sitting in traffic! Oh Joy! Eventually we got to ‘Shoprite’! A big supermarket – not my favourite thing in my own life back in the UK, even at the best of times - at this point l was loosing the will to live!

Piled back in the car – meanwhile the driver was sitting cross-legged on the bonnet of his old banger - and off we went again to join the long road back with cars now dangerously hurling themselves all over the road at top speed. We were however now going at some odd sedate pace down the middle of the road! I guessed this was to avoid the breakdowns in the slow lane and the maniacs on the other side, at this point l felt it pertinent not to ask!

Then l could see that there was a broken down TIR in front of us, which actually had a red triangle at the back of it – approaching at our SAME steady speed l realised, as we got rather near it, that he had not noticed this..... do l grit my teeth and wait for the bang, shout and wake him up, or will he notice it in the next 10 seconds I thought to myself! The exclamation told me that he had at last noticed it and we managed to avoid it, whilst not causing an accident on the other side!

We must have passed the Goethe-Institute at least twice on that eventful journey back, which l am sure we were not supposed to, that is if my map reading was right.

Ended by paying him 12,000 naire (£60!) from 10am to 10.30 pm – a lot of that was sitting in traffic, getting lost, and asking people the way!

Went to the Harmattan Gallery run by Mudiare Onobrakpeya, Bruce Onobrakpeya’s son. His gallery consisted of a foyer with two offices going off at each side where some artwork was also stored. The foyer had cream tiled floor, white walls and spot lights.

Mudiare who had done an MBA in the US and studied accounting before this in the UK – certainly walked the talk!!! He represents about 5 artists, one being his father, Jimoh Buraimah (70’s Oshogbo artist making figurative paintings with beadwork), Dr Peju Laiwola, and Sam Ovraiti (painter using impasto).

We saw a triptach of his father’s work depicting the last supper with the stations of the cross around it, which was made to look like bone or ivory but was in fact resin (or plastic as they often call it here). He said it was made to look like bone or ivory, as it was a material that people identified with and was connected with religious iconography. It was interesting to me though that it was a 'fake' material, like the plastic (made to look like wood) mounding around the door frame in the Vines Hotel.

Another horrendous journey back from Terra Kulture in a clapped out taxi – had to hide again while Amara negotiated a fee – 1600 to get back usually 2000 and 3500 from another ‘taxi rank’. We broke down twice (dark when we left too!) – steam coming out of the bonnet this time – first fixed the fan – then it was obviously that it needed water, which we managed to get for him, but luckily we did not use Plan B, which was to abandon the taxi and try another.

Thankfully we got home in one piece!

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