the adventure of a limited traveller.
An assemblage of noise welcomed me as I laid my sandals on the road of Ibadan, these noise can wake a swooning man. I lost motion as I stepped out of the car. I laid my hand on a car, the heat from the car's bonnet burned my hand that I had to remove it instantly.
The crowd that welcomed me to Ibadan were not friendly. I saw a man sitting by the road side with two bundle of banana; some are rotten, some are fresh, he held it tightly and looked at me weakly as I looked at his side. I understood his language, I faced where I was going and walked up to my friend.
"We are all poor." I said to myself. Just as I and my friend crossed the road, I heard him yelled "Agbowo". I didn't know when we hurriedly entered a taxi on the busy road of Ibadan.
When we got to a junction, we called our host. I was thinking we will board another taxi or motorcycle but we trekked. I asked, "what does Agbowo means?"
He looked at me carefully, perhaps, wondering if it was the dirty mechanic shop or the dirty environment that made me ask the question.
"Agbowo is one of the famous city in Ibadan. It's rather a place where everyone brings their money for a kind of submission. Just as you're coming from Osun State now, you're to give me your money because you met me in Agbowo, not someone else. And by the virtue of this city, you're to give me the money you've came with." He said after a brief look at me. I led a sad laughter and my friend joined. My friend finally added, "see, we know that thieves are images of Antichrist here so we've saved all our earnings at the bank before coming. So, by virtue of our meeting in this self-centered city, you're to give us what we've fortunately meet on ground."
Perhaps, our host got confused, he had to hush and pick another topic.
Time crawled, it really crawled. When we got to where were to lay our head, I tried to lift the heavy gym I met in the hostel. My hand failed me this time, they fell and led a loud noise, it was indeed heavy. I saw students from the stairs looking downstairs, fear grabbed/gripped me like a chef and a meat, I stood up instantly and spoke to my sense.
We later went to the school and...after the whole program which made me meet people, took pictures and perhaps made me dance unusually, we set to live Ibadan to our town, Ororuwo on a Sunday afternoon.When we were coming back, it was the first time I board a Tricycle commonly called 'Agagu'. As we got to Agbowo junction/express, we stood on the road waiting for a taxi going to Iwo Junction.
There were assemblage of people trying to board a taxi to Iwo road and I and my friend were part of this congregation of passengers trying to get a taxi. He spread his fingers and stretch his hand for a taxi to stop but as the driver applied his brake, he stopped where our 'co passengers' were. I couldn't run because they were just too much. The risible thing (to me) was that we had to speak with our fingers; If I'm the only person going to Iwo road, I'll have to stretch one of my fingers and show it to the driver so that if he own a reserved space/seat for 'just' a passenger, he will wait. But I have a friend with me, so I copied him and stretched two fingers and waved them at each taxi as they pass but they speed by me esp when they don't have seats reserved for two.We were actually fools at the first instance because we did not want to leave ourselves, we allowed each taxi to pass while we wait for a taxi with seats reserved for at least two passengers. After much ado, I told my friend.
"Tomiwa, let us go back to where we are coming from."
He looked at me with an eye that encoded "I hope you are not mad." I chuckled, "no, it's not that, let's trek back a bit so that when a taxi comes, we will be away from the junction where our 'co passengers' are and we will be opportune to catch the taxi first ..."
"Oh, so you get sense."
He said as I shook my head, I meant to encode "you are mad."
We moved away from them, as we moved, they moved with us. 'this people are MTN o, they're following us." He said as he walked fastly so as to catch up with me.
"Don't worry, we'll get a taxi soon."
We continued the speech of silence as we only spread our fingers to converse to each drivers but we couldn't get a taxi with a minimum of two seats reserved for passengers.
"Dude, go first. You'll wait for me."
I looked at him and said to myself, "why is this guy wicked?"
"Dude, this is my first time of coming to Ibadan, Ilu Ibadan, Tomiwa — since I'm of age —(I said silently). I don't know anywhere."
"Don't worry, you won't..."
He hasn't finished his word when a taxi whisked by us, he stretched a finger and rushed in. I felt I am now in a world where I only exist. I felt lonely beneath a scorching sun, I looked left and right trying to know if I'm okay.
Fortunately, I saw a taxi and I stretched a finger. It slowed down but I found out some passengers have gotten to their bus stop so they're about to come down. Just as I was about to move back to the 'waiting side' of the road, I saw my 'co passengers' running towards me. I didn't know why. A woman said, "se iwo ko lo ni?" Meaning, "are you not going with us?"
I touched my head and called myself a fool. I removed the bag strapped at my back as I hurriedly move closer to the taxi. As I made an attempt to enter, a guy tried to snatch the door handle from me, I snatched it back while I guard my fragile expensive poor wristwatch. I've once had an encounter like that before. The lady actually spoil the wristwatch and I couldn't do anything. I want to avoid a clash with the guy so I guarded it. He is a male being, I can lash him and shout at him that he'll be afraid even if he doesn't buy me another one or repair it if it spoils. I finally entered to sit near a woman by the front door. Very close to the driver. It was so tight that I couldn't feel my whole body, if they're rather in place or out of place. It was really tight. I closed the door twice so as to ensure I won't fall down if there is a forceful struggle or if we rush into road bumps.
As we journeyed, I tried to spread my skin — my thigh so as to feel if my phone is intact. It might either slip from my subconscious jean trouser or get accompanied by a smart pocket picker from the back seat. I spread my left thigh trying to feel it as we journeyed.
I am not too conscientious or timorous that it will get missing, I am just trying to obey mother.
She had told me, "Ibadan is a big city, if you do the big boy saga there, they don't know people there oh. If you do the big boy thing and you slide your phone into your back pocket, I hope you know its price. If you slide the phone into the back pocket of your Jean as if you are in your village which has committed suicide long time ago, they'll steal it unaware."
"Who will steal Philip Peace's phone there? Don't worry jare, they can't."
She looked at me and shook her head while she looked at me sardonically. "I'm sorry for you, you must be careful and try to know those around you. If their eye is fierce and unfriendly, move away and get a better gentle stranger as a journeying companion."
I don't know if she is being too evasive or preventative but I had to obey her, apparently, I needed those words.
When I got to the junction of Iwo road, I looked pale as I stepped out of the taxi because my friend who uncompletedly said "I will wait for you by the side of the road" was nowhere to be found. I looked at the 4 Cardinal points but the people were a congregation of worldwide Catholic bells. I couldn't even get a track on a body with a purple shirt. I brought out my phone to call, I dialed his line, a stupid woman 'picked it' and said softly said "your account is too low for this call, dial ...", I hung up and muttered, "Is it your father's money?"
I called again, it reached him but he didn't pick his call. The second time, he did.
"Where are you?" I said, almost losing myself, I felt like I'm lost, unfortunately, he asked me same question.
"I'm at Rose Wale Petroleum." I said calmly into the speaker of my phone as he said "I was dropped where I shouldn't have been dropped."
I was interrupted when I heard "you have 1 minutes remaining." I hung up and said to the air, "Ibadan people sha. I think some of these drivers or mad is madding them."
I trekked to my right side trying to look for an unmissing friend in a strange town. When I couldn't catch a sight of him by my right hand side, I returned to my left and called him but I saw him after a long trek as he's also trying to reach me on phone.
"You're trying to call the person that just called you." I said as we chuckled.
I stretched a dirty and torn two hundred naira note to him. "They didn't collect it from me." I said. He had once given me the money to give to the driver because the money is not good and perhaps, they might use it to fuel the taxi. He chuckled and collected it from me as we walked to the other side where we are to board a bus going to Ikirun.
I wanted to take pictures of the traffic jam, sellers and people but he said we should cross to the other side first.
"We are on a bridge, the other side will be better." He said and I admitted.
When we crossed to the other side of the road, I took pictures of the road.... I saw a poor man. He wrapped his cloth on his head as he slept beneath the sun. I wanted to take an image but people were around me and I was afraid he will wake up with a dirty, poor and dejected face while I'll have to do the lady's screams. But I bent my phone and focused the camera on him as I walk by him pretending to be mere trekker while I pressed my volume button. I smiled at myself as I heard the shutter sound of my phone. My friend shook his head of pity at me.
We had to slide down through a quite narrow part but it allures me, I had to take an image from my armaturish sense of photography. I did and I ran across the sloppy built terrace. We walked down to the park as we took a 'selfie' together.
Getting a bus became a problem. We asked different drivers, none of them is heading towards Ikirun. I nod my head to negativity as we reluctantly entered a bus going to Osogbo. We bought a chilled Pepsi for the Journey.
"Actually, I thought the much said about Ibadan wouldn't be like this." I thought in the bus.
"It's so dusty and rusty and rowdy and crowdy than I'd once pictured. There should be no permanent residence here. There are some road that lead to UI that are as thin as a HIV victim, the roads are not big to accommodate two cars at a time, a car even have to dive to the passengers' 'walking side' of the road before it can pass easily. Perhaps, this town is everyone's home yet, a no man's land. Living a luxurious live would be better here, not a penurious life."
I wrote as the bus violently drove me back to my town.
AKINWALE PEACE AKINDAYO