54. The Driving Lessons
We drove straight to my apartment in Surulere area. Since my uncle said he was expected back home immediately because of his wife’s almost due pregnancy, i gave him a bottle of Hennessy i bought for him at the Paris Airport.
Before he left, he promised to come the next day to account for all the money i sent to him.
When he left with a cab, i didn’t know where to start. Everything was new to me, including that apartment and the car.
The SUV was parked in front of my apartment since it was on the groudfloor of the building.
It was a nice comfortable apartment for a newly wedded couple but unfortunately, i was not married. I was going to stay there alone except if i had visitors.
I didn’t know anywhere to go that night and as a result, i ate some snacks and slept off on the chair in the sitting room.
My uncle bought TV, DVD and Fridge as i had told him. There were also cooking pots in the kitchen though i doubted i was going to touched them for the entire time i wanted to spend there in Nigeria.
In the morning of the following day, i went outside and bought a local Sim Card.
The first person i called was my mother. She said she would start coming to Lagos immediately but i told her that i would come to Ekpoma after three days in Lagos.
After several attempts at convincing her not to come, she succumbed to my request.
I called Juliet next. She said the school session was ongoing but that she would leave the class and start coming to Surulere immediately.
I tried to make her stay until the classes were over but she refused.
I understood her, i would do the same in her shoes.
After calling Amsterdam to tell Basil that i was in Nigeria already, i walked to a fast food joint and had a nice breakfast.
I needed to change money to Naira since the 10, 000 Naira my uncle gave me was going down fast.
Since i didn’t know my way around Lagos, i waited until Juliet came.
She said she could drive the Rav4 but had no drivers licence.
I asked if she knew where to make the license but she didn’t.
We took a taxi to Idumota where we changed 2500 Euros to Naira.
With over 500, 000 Naira with me, i felt like the Queen of England.
Despite the money being in Naira, it was still 500, 000 and felt better than its Euro value.
Since Juliet had a bank account, we deposited half of the money in it and returned home.
At somewhere in Surulere, we located a place where we registered to get drivers licence.
We took passport photographs at the same place and waited for some five minutes before it was ready. Then we finished the drivers licence registration and returned to my apartment.
We were told to come and pick it up after two days.
Juliet and I took a Taxi to Sanya Bus Stop at the Oshodi-Apapa highway where we paid some money and enrolled into driving school.
Although Juliet said she could drive but i didn’t trust her driving.
I have never seen her drive and she wasn’t going to test it with my Rav4. I wanted her to start with the Old Volkswagen beetle at the driving learning field. She would have to prove she could handle my baby SUV.
After two hours of enrolling into the driving course, i was already moving a car around the field.
With the help of the instructor, i mastered the gear selection, the steering wheel control, the clutch application and the breaking system. It was all fun.
I felt like i could drive on the highway already but when i looked left to the Oshodi-Apapa expressway and saw the speed at which vehicles moved, i knew instantly that it would take me several weeks to be able to cope with that madness.
Juliet was doing fairly well. She had some driving experience. I guessed she had learnt some basic driving somewhere in the past but she didn’t convince me enough to give her my car keys.
She was going to wait first. If she disturbed too much, she would return to her school to continue where she stopped.
We were told to return the next day for more driving lessons.
Back at home, Juliet insisted on cooking. I gave her money and she went to Ijesha Market to buy foodstuffs.
With just N15000, there were foodstuffs all over the place.
Things were really cheap down in Nigeria, only that the money was difficult to come.
I sat and watched TV while Juliet cooked.
While we ate that night, the light went off.
It suddenly dawned on me that we needed a power generator.
First thing the following day, we took a cab to Lawanson and bought a generator for 35, 000 Naira. The dealer convinced me that it would be able to carry the fridge in the house.
After paying him, he called an electrician who followed us to the house to connect the lights with the new power set.
We bought a change over and wire as he instructed.
By 2pm, the power connection was ready and working.
After paying the electrician, Juliet and I went to pick up our Drivers Licences.
We took it to Sanya and continued our driving lessons.
By the end of the second day, i was able to do a whole lot of things with a car, but one of them wasn’t going anywhere near that nearby highway.
The Lagos drivers drove like mad people. Everybody was in a haste. Car horns shouted from the highway and i wondered what i would do if a trailer blew such horn behind me, i would probably match the breaks first before thinking.
That evening, i called my uncle and told him that i would be going to Ekpoma the following day. He said he would get me a driver for the journey.
When he called back, he gave me a phone number to call.
The driver was also from Edo State. He said he would be in my place by 6am in the morning.
Juliet, despite coming to my place with one cloth, said she would follow me to Ekpoma. It seemed school has been relegated to the backseat.
That night, i gave her three sets of clothes and two shoes. I also gave her a hand bag.
The discussion that night was that she would follow me to Italy. I told her that i would have to think about it first but she wouldn’t hear that.
School was over as far as she was concerned.