After getting the necessary directions from the stewards at London Waterloo, I trudged into the train not unlike Noah’s animals entering the ark. I settled into a seat beside another black man, another Nigerian coincidentally and it was then I noticed that Britain is an ‘earphone’ nation. Almost everyone had ear-phones plugged in, they wear it everywhere probably during copulation too. Oh I digress! The innards of the train was super! It looked just like a plane and it was very comfortable. The inside of the train looked far better than anything Nigerian Airways had in her heyday. After almost 3 hours on the train I sought refuge at as friend’s mum’s place at Dorset. You wouldn’t believe this; I actually ate hot Amala and watched AIT while I was there before retiring for the night.
The next morning, my friend’s mum advised me, prayed for me and urged me not to become irresponsible by getting tattoos… Finally, she blessed me with the greatest gift ever, she gave me GARRI! In hindsight I regret not packing a lot when I was coming over from Nigeria, bringing then looked superfluous to me. That aside, I ventured out and the cold hit me smack from my face down to my genitals. My breath started to cloud, I felt like a character in those movies and I was like yeah! I have arrived. I hereby made a mental note to use Aboniki as my body cream every morning (I bought a dozen while I was coming).
The train station proved another challenge, apart from the heavy baggage, paying was kind of hard too, the British currency has so many goddamn coins that it took me an eternity sorting out how much I was actually supposed to pay. This wasn’t helped by my poor mathematical skill which is appalling to say the least. Within an hour-and a half, I got to Bournemouth Train station where I hailed a cab. Even though the weather was freezing cold, I almost broke out in a sweat when I saw the way the cab meter was running, it was faster than Usain Bolt on steroids and I was flustered to say the least. I noticed how neat the roads were, there was a litter bin every few metres. I longed for Nigerian dirt roads where I could go to a corner and pee like a stray dog. Not a chance in hell could I try it here! The whole society is like Big Brother, there is always a camera watching you, so very creepy but it is still better than those nefarious khaki-clad LASTMA officials.
I noticed that the driving was sane, in Nigeria we drive like raving lunatics; here civil driving is an understatement. In Nigeria, when the traffic light turns yellow, you rush to beat it but over here, they just chill and remain relaxed. Here, there are lights for pedestrians and there is a button you press when you are waiting. I compared this to Nigerians who run like rabid fowls on Ikorodu road despite pedestrian bridges. The buses here are driven by neat, responsible men who could pass for school principals. In Nigeria, the drivers are either half-stoned on marijuana or imbibed so much shepe that everything is a purple haze. As I alighted, crossing the road was hard, I kept looking at the wrong side (In Britain it is right hand drive so the roads are constructed as such). While trying to cross a car sped towards me, instead of shouting invectives at me like Were, Oloshi, the man actually smiled and let me pass. At first, I thought it was a peculiar case but I later found out everyone is like that over here. They are so patient that when I cross the road now, I swagger; at least they can’t hit me now? As I walked down to my hostel I noticed that the houses all looked neat with low fences and not the high ones we’ve got in Nigeria. With the fortresses we build back home, you would think there was an Ark of Covenant in each house. God, we even put barb-wires and bottles. How very barbaric!
Getting to school was another experience; I had to hurry because I had missed 2 weeks of lectures. I hurried through registration, snapped a horrid picture for my ID card which looks like a mug shot and bounded over to class. As I walked into class, a lecture was already 30mins in progress. Everyone looked back… Expecting far worse, I was heartily greeted. Apparently they had all been expecting me and believe me they have been helpful in helping me settle. The class was a thoroughly intellectual one, so very much that I started developing a migraine. What the hell did I learn in Nigeria? I put the thought out of my head and vowed to catch up…