Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I think it was Basho

Dec. 23, 2009

I think it was Basho...

The final day of shooting went well. The “I’ll smash your camera!” guy was the first one to greet us and was enthusiastic to speak on camera about the definitions of “Tokunbo” (i.e. fairly used vehicles – the subject of our film). We made the rounds saying goodbye to the people we’ve been working with at the various sites, and then Adis did a little car business of his own before we sat down for another pauper’s meal of yams, beans, and plantains. I’ve been very lucky with the foods here and have quite enjoyed what I’ve tasted of Nigerian cuisine. But I am not (as some of you may have noticed) Nigerian: I’m a West Coast boy who is craving sushi, fresh vegetables, and a glass of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir like you wouldn’t believe.

Later on during our last full day here we went to the funky hotel, Bogobiri, to have drinks with Mazzi and Chuma (our high-society friends) where we brainstormed about possible funding sources here in Nigeria. I think these two could be able to contribute to our project since they are here full-time and might be able to assist with our search for funding.

I’m staying in this morning as my tolerance for Lagos traffic has now officially reached its limit. However, Adis is out running errands, like getting his dread-locks cut before going to his village so that his mother doesn’t refuse him entrance and he ends up sitting all alone on the street for Christmas dinner.

Cleaning cameras and equipment kept me busy this morning and then I had a conversation with the Hausa man who is the gatekeeper where we’ve been staying. He also does little jobs around the grounds and inside the house. I’ve learned very little Hausa (Salaam Malaeoko [sp?]), but my pigeon English be get better, so I was able to follow a bit of what he was saying. He suggested that I go to his village with my camera to make a film: he’ll take me around showing me all the wildlife (catfish the size of a grown male, if I got him correctly), the birds and crocodiles, and the interesting style of house construction. If it is possible, on another trip to Nigeria, I’d love to see the countryside; this trip has been exclusively urban outside of our two days in the ocean.

Finally, barring any last-minute delays by police road blocks or the like, I’ll be off to the airport for a night-flight to Atlanta, wrestle with customs officers in the wee hours of the morning, and with a little luck, catch my flight to Boston where I’ll arrive at 10:30am, Christmas Eve – that’ll be a shocker. It doesn’t really feel like Christmas around here, namely because of the bright sun and heat.

I’ve come to learn that for those fortunate enough, most Nigerians return to their home village for a 5 to 6 day Christmas holiday with their families, so the city of Lagos pretty much closes down for about a week come Christmas Day. And that means the international airport is going to be “kolo” (kind of like "loco"). It’ll be busy with masses of people, Adis has assured me, coming IN to Lagos and that very few people actually fly out right before Christmas. If my plane is indeed practically vacant then I’ll try to charm my way into first-class seating and get my fill of mindless movies and red wine. If not, then it’s ten hours inside a sardine can re-reading a stack of National Geographics munching Twix bars.

Well, that’s all from Lagos. Thanks for reading and to all who’ve sent along comments on the blog. I look forward to getting back to see my Sweetie, putting this film together, and being able to catch up with all the wonderful Wobblers of Western Mass over a pint at The Dirty Truth.

Adventure becomes memorable by return (Matsuo Basho)

This is Professor KevMan signing out.

1:00 PM
Dec. 23, 2009
Lagos, Nigeria

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