For want of anonymity, I choose to keep certain details of this ‘tory’ un-divulged. This includes the name of the country in question amongst other sure giveaways. As this blog progresses, if it progresses, my reasons for anonymity would gradually become evident and just maybe appreciated. (Question to self: Why does this sound like a roundabout definition of cowardice?)
Naija is the only place where airport employees consistently ask for pepe. Right? WRONG!! The country I reside in at the moment is even much worse because they can’t speak English but they’ll somehow get the message across that you’re being taxed. You can either try to convince a non English speaking, quasi-hungry, military dressed dude, with a permanent smirk on his face indicative of a 100% success rate at taxing foreigners that he does not deserve your hard earned $10. This would easily take you at least half an hour oooooor, you can just get in line, shut up, pay up and save your self the trouble/time. Personally, I make up for the financial loss by dropping the money with an accompanying “olodo, ode, anu-ohia”, serving it up with a soft smile.
Naturally, I had done my research about the country and all so I was particularly interested in the president and his obscure idea of leadership. The first evidence of dictatorship I witnessed hit me like a double backhand slap.
Right out of the airport, I was hungry as hell and asked the driver to take me to the nearest restaurant, so that I could loadup anything that had a remote semblance to pounded yam. After munching up, I was glad when I realized that the waiter was pretty fluent in English. Receiving my bill, I paid in dollars and requested that he spread out my change in the local currency. I’m always in a hurry to build up my forex collection.
When the guy handed me the kishi and started to walk away, I took an exciting look at the latest addition to my piggy bank and I remember thinking to myself “I think sey this oyibo mugu dey understand english” So I call out, he comes back and I explain again; “Like I said before, I need you to give me as many de-nom-in-a-tions, diff-e-rent notes, as possible”. Counting my words to make sure they sink in. The guy gives me a look like “this black dude must be a completely retarded dolt” His grimace (a bit like someone dancing Awilo on the toilet seat cos he’s having a hard time taking a dump) made me take a closer look at the cash and I realized I was in error. I apologized and waved him off while I stared at the notes in utter amazement. Every single denomination, -as in- all the notes, small and big, even the coins had the same picture, that of the incumbent presido. I’m like “wetin be this?”
Still trying to work out how an entire country can let one man, still alive, breathing the same air as everyone else stamp his face allover their doe, it became apparent that that was only the
beginning. My fellow country people, you wont believe what happened next. The presido himself, begin stalk me oh! Yeah, you read right, the president started trailing me. I walk out of the restaurant and BAM, the guy dey there dey look me, right in the eye. I’m walking to the car and he’s still got his eyes on me. All the way back to my hotel I could see him stealing glances from every corner. Almost every other building had a huge picture of the bobo; you know that type of a portrait that stares at you from every angle. The type you see on CNN articles chronicling Saddam’s tyranny, exactly that type of dope shit. It’s very unnerving to see the huge photographs right in front of every building. I guess he was trying to achieve an omnipresent-effect, trust me, it was working!
Thought to self: “Omo, which kine zone be this? Na so I like money reach? I should have rejected this transfer!
I conjure up a mental image of my expected 12month remuneration and it hit like a shot of morphine. Calmed me up completely, infact there was a slight tinge of a residual high. My train of thought brazened up. I be naija man, nothing dey happen.
Next: The essential guide to mortgaging your life: #2 The desert.