1: Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal is located in the western side of the Iberia Peninsula. The only bordering country is Spain which had invaded them and took most of their lands. Portugal was the first people who built ships and started colonization and international business. Lisbon is the largest city in Portugal followed by Porto. Lisbon is located near the Atlantic Ocean. An 8.5 earthquake had happened in Lisbon on Saturday November 1, 1755. The earthquake had cut Lisbon into two and water from the ocean had surged through the artificial valley created by the earthquake and formed the Tagus River. The Vasco Da Gama Bridge across the Tagus River is the longest bridge in Europe at 17.5km. It is a cable stayed bridge. It was estimated that between 10-100 thousand people perished in the earthquake. As a result, Lisbon became a hilly city without level lands. They have only one airport, The Portela Aeroporto. This and other information I found out at the Lisbon central Library a few days after I arrived. I wanted to know if the city was worth living for me.
I left Berlin Germany and landed in this strange city called Lisbon. It was in a bid to acquire European residence permit. The laws in Germany say that one must either have a Child with a German woman or marry a German citizen before you get their papers. Some of us who never wanted anything like a child or a woman to tie us down in one part of this big universe chose to look elsewhere for the papers. Another reason was that the German police were closing in on me. They had found some illegal drugs in my room and had fixed a date for my court appearance. It was time to run. I had the money after all, so i can afford to spend even 20,000 Euro just to get the papers rather than one woman holding me down in one country for over 10 years in the name of marriage. I had left Berlin that warm afternoon through Berlin Schonefeld airport to Palma de Majorca Spain and then Lisbon Portugal. It took over two hours and at a time, i wondered if we were going back to Africa. I came out of the airport and boarded a taxi to the city center. Jordan, my Nnewi friend in Germany had given me a number of Francis, his brother who lived in Lisbon. I had sent some money to Francis to secure a place for me in Lisbon before my arrival which he did. Francis waited for me at Madrid Hotel near Elephant Blanco Hotel before i arrived. He shook my hand and motioned me to follow him. He took me to a three bedroom flat where he had secured a room for me. I entered my room and unpacked my bags. – for those who has never been to central or western Europe, most of the apartments and rooms usually have everything you need.
You just pack in with your bags- I took my bath and joined Francis in the palour. He was playing Poker with two other guys whom i later learn lived in the same flat. Their names were Vitus and Kennedy. Vitus came to Portugal from Holland for the same purpose like me while Kennedy was a football player who rented the flat with his name. I announced my arrival with ‘Ekene diri
Unu’. An Igbo sentence that translated to ‘Greetings unto you.’
They welcomed me warmly and i rightly guessed that they were anticipating my arrival. I sat down and watched the TV while they played their poker game. One hour later, i told Francis that i wanted to go outside and look around the city. Something i loved doing each time i visit a new city. Vitus, the fat yellow guy jokingly tasked me to buy them drinks since i was a new guy on the block. I happily agreed because i had over 5000Euro with me. They packed their Poker and dressed up for the outing. Kennedy the footballer had a small fiat car which four of us boarded and headed towards the city center. – The city center was like a third class city in Germany and that was when i observed that all European countries were not the same. We headed to a restaurant owned by some Brazilian guys. We requested for Crabs and Vino de tinto.. (Vino de tinto means red
wine in Portuguese and Spanish). We ate and finished our wine, then another wine and another and another. Vitus was a wine tanker that never got filled up. I got bored eventually and demanded that we go to another place. I paid our bills which amounted to 411
Euros and headed to the commerce center called Rossio. (The commerce center was the point where they traded African slaves in the
1800s). The commerce center was also the place where all the Sex workers stood in the evening for business.
It was in the commerce center that i met Lisa and Edora, two beautiful Brazilian girls. We were all drunk except Kennedy the driver
who insisted that he had training in the morning and believed he should not drink. The girls were tipsy and wanted some adventure. We played with them for sometime before my friends decided to go home and rest. -i was not going to let those girls go home alone. Assassins could shoot them on the road. So i decided to hang on a little more while my friends went home. There were
hotels everywhere and i had money with me. No qualms.- I talked more with Edora and her friend and we joked about football and Africa and their beauty and my height and my perfume and why i left Africa etc. Then it was time for them to go home. Lisa remembered that i refused to follow my friend’s home because i insisted on taking them home. She told me to follow them and i did. We
got to their car and i entered the back seat while they both occupied the front seats. We drove for about ten minutes and crossed the long Vasco Da Gama Bridge into the other side of the city where the Benfica Sporting club stadium was situated. We got to their house three minutes later and they asked me to follow them up. We took the lift to the sixth floor and entered their apartment. It was a well furnished two bedroom apartment with a lot of coloured candles in every corner of the room.
They offered me a seat in the palour while they went into their various rooms to
freshen up and change. A few minutes later, Lisa showed up with a bottle of Mexican Pinacolada wine. She opened it and filled two empty glasses. She explained that her partner doesn’t drink much. We sipped the wine slowly and chatted until it became clear to them that i was not going back to my place that night.
“Where are you from?” Lisa asked from nowhere.
“Nigeria” I fired back.
*I was in Portugal now and didn’t care what the Nazi skinheads would do. Portugal, a stone throw to North Africa. I was just looking for Papers. I had money
already and didn’t fear being sent to Africa anymore.
I had shipped over 30 vehicles from Germany plus some cash I sent to my mum
to bank for me. The Germans can send me home for all I care*
“What are you doing in Portugal?” Lisa asked.
“I came from Germany today and I am looking for a residence permit,” I said.
I was tired of lying and I figured out that the fastest way to get whatever you want is to open up yourself and start telling the truth.
“I could help you but it will cost you a lot of money,” Lisa said.
Things were getting interesting.
I was drunk and didn’t want to pursue that topic for the fear of making a mistake. So I asked Lisa to forget the issue and we will talk about it another time. A few minutes later, Edora said out of nowhere that I should come inside and sleep on her bed. I declined, insisting that the chair was comfortable enough. She insisted that I follow her, I did.
Who was I to say no?
I was surprised to find out that it was just a bed for two people and there was no other place I was going to sleep except on that same bed with her. My excitement was building up, my blood was getting hot and my Joystick had just started getting hard. I removed my clothes and wondered where and how I was going to hide my money. I decided to leave the money inside the jean trouser and take my chances. After all I had more in Germany which they would send if I ask for it. I went to the bathroom and showered after they had finished showering. Then I lay with my back on the bed and stared at the concrete ceiling. Edora crawled onto the bed, switched of the main light bulb, switched on the reading light at the head of the bed and said
“Do you like Ses?”