There was only one major railway line from Braga down to Porto, Coimbra, Lisbon, Setubal and down to Faro. Portugal is a Vertical Country. The distance from West to East was approximately 65km while North to South was 562km. Its only neighboduring country was Spain. The rest of its neighbours was Waters.
On the morning of January 2, we had packed our two small bags and played in our room. I had decided to enter into Lisbon area in the night. It would be safer.
Braga to Lisbon was about 322km. I figured out that a direct train running at the average speed of 80km/hour will take about 4hours to get to Lisbon. I added about 25 minutes it would waste at the various stations along the way and got 4hours 25 minutes.
I wanted to get to Lisbon when everyone would be heading to bed. I also wanted to get to Lisbon when I could still be able to get a hotel room.
I trusted Francis but not enough to go back to my old room in Lisbon. The ideal time to leave Braga was 6pm.
I told Jennifer that we were leaving by 6pm. She didn’t know why and she didn’t ask why. She had learnt to trust my decisions and it had been near perfect so far.
She wanted to bring our DVD player along, even cooking pots but I told her to just pick the things she cannot do without. We played until it was 5:40pm, then we entered a taxi and drove to Braga central train station.
I called Francis from the train and told him that I may or may not come to Lisbon anytime soon. He was disappointed because he was hoping for his own share of the permit deal. He was acting as an agent/scout for the Portuguese Immigration criminal.
He was surely going to be paid and being a Nigerian, he would also demand for settlement from me after the deal. I would do the same in his shoes and I believe you would do the same too.
We got to Lisbon at exactly 10:30pm. The city was still busy but not as busy as the day time. We took a taxi down to Setubal, a sub city 20km south of Lisbon. We found a cheap hotel and moved in.
Back in Braga, I had rented and paid for our apartment for one week and spent less than that. When I went back for refund, they pointed out where non refundable clause was added in my receipt in Portuguese.
I decided to pay for one day at a time in Setubal. I didn’t want to waste more money on imprudence.
We settled down and slept. My baby was tired after the bumpy Journey from north.
In the Morning I called Francis and told him that I was sending a friend to Lisbon to meet with him. I told him the friend would come and check out a sample of the permit. I asked him to get a photocopy of it if he could not get the real one. He agreed to meet with my friend in Colombo business district by 12pm.
I found an Angolan Taxi driver and chattered him for 50 Euros an hour. I figured everything would be done in an hour anyway. He took me to the Colombo around 12pm and we had to wait 30 minutes for Francis.
*Africans and timing*
I called and told him where to meet my friend. I was at the back of the Taxi when he came. The driver asked him to get inside and we drove away.
About 2km out of Colombo, I raised my head from the back seat and touched Francis on the shoulder. He nearly jumped out of the car. The driver laughed hard.
We got to a bar and went inside. I settled the cab driver and he disappeared.
I requested for two shots of brandy with ice. Francis settled for Sagres beer.
He brought out the original copy of the permit. He had gotten the copy from the immigration guy. It was a plain one, nothing was written on it, just the original Portuguese immigration seal.
I checked it and it was the original, the problem was getting my data into the immigration database.
This immigration criminal we were going to deal with had only his word for us. There was no way we were going to be sure that he entered the data info.
I was torn between agreeing or disagreeing but the urgent need to leave Portugal was stronger than ever. Finally I agreed to meet with the immigration man.
The deal was €2000 upfront and the balance when he finished adding my data on the permit card.
We finished drinking. Francis asked for my room rent for the month of January, I told him that I wasn’t paying a dime for the place again. I asked him to posses everything in the room.
I told him to wait for my call in the evening. I gave him €150 for his transport and his troubles. I took his phone and opened the back, removed the battery and the sim card. I smiled as I handed the dismembered phone back to him and disappeared from the bar.