“I think I got the Black Lung, Pop”. [Insert pathetic Zoolander-esque cough here].
I have been in no less than 10 hours of congestion since I arrived on Tuesday morning. That’s a lot of pollution for my rarefied lungs to take. While there’s an MOT/road worthiness system in operation, it’s safe to say that it’s about as useful as a damp rag in a four-engine fire. A couple of days ago, we were trapped behind a ‘molue‘ – a massive public transport vehicle which can carry up to 120, baggage and assorted livestock at any one time. The smoke that was billowing out of the exhaust was thick, black, acrid and alien to everything I know. We could barely see through it. When I made the observation, YorubaDad chuckled and said, “At least you can still see through it.” Well, I like to think I’ll one day inherit this ability to be succinct – he just summed it up perfectly in eight words.
Let’s move on to the roads themselves. They play havoc with the suspension of anything smaller than an army tank. I learned to brace myself for every single pothole and still felt felt the jolt in my teeth and bones. Some things are more difficult to get used to than others.
There’s a lot of talk about the good that the state governor, Babatunde Fashola, is doing for Lagos. He’s introduced new task forces to deal with the litter and general unruliness that seems to plague Lagos’s roads. He’s also clamped down on street hawkers who endanger their lives and other road users while selling their goods in slow moving traffic. As far as I can see, the roads are pleasingly free from litter and drivers seem more reticent to make illegal manoeuvres. However, it will take a lot more to make the hawkers, who have always made their living this way to stop. They sell everything here – magazines, snacks, drinks, torches, live fish, paintings, home furnishings, and as I saw on one memorable occasion, puppies. They were chocolate Labs, who looked about 4 to 6 weeks old, and they were adorable. Soz, Gov Fashola, if I had a pet passport and room for a puppy in my garden-less life in London, I woulda got that fuzzball, named him Lagos, and ain’t nothin’ you could’ve done about it.