Ten o’clock on a Friday morning and Balogun Market was teeming as usual, there were hordes of people in every direction moving like worker ants on a mission.
Nearly every 5 seconds someone would thrust something in your face.
A boy of about 10 who should have been in school showed me an array of phones attached to his clothing.
“Sister, make you look, I get latest design iPhone” he pointed to an iPhone 4
Another teenage lad came up: “Sister, make you watch ya bag, professional people dey operate for this area oh, pounds dey, dollars dey, I give you good price.”
And on it went, the hustle to make a buck amidst the chaos that is, and will always be Balogun market, Lagos Island. You either loved it or hated it; it was the only place to get everything you needed at a good price.
As a child, I’d fake an illness to get out of going – in the rainy season especially, the market would be dotted with the pot holes of rain, mixed with the contents of the overflowing gutters whilst the smell of the open sewers wrestled with barbecue beef and chicken.The aroma of fried bean cakes and plantain would make your stomach rumble – although common sense told you it was not the place to eat, your stomach thought otherwise. Mum would feel my sticky, sweat-slicked forehead and declaring that I had malaria, would promptly prescribe chloroquine – I’d pretend to swallow and spit it out as soon as her back was turned – anything to get of trudging pot-holed roads when I could be watching MTV.
“Sister, you want buy brassiere?” said another and shoved a few undergarments in my face, bringing me back down to earth, I stared.
“I get Wonderbra, latest design, make I bring size 36 for you?”
He/she was clearly a man in a dress and a push-up bra that would have made Eva Herzigova jealous.
“Wow,” I said. “Are you for real?
“Yes oh, dem dey call me Jordan”
Gosh, this is progress I thought, a man dressed as a woman walking the streets of Lagos Island and no-one bats an eyelid.
It’s a marketing ploy, my cynical self said.
It’s a jolly good one, thought my optimistic self and promptly bought two brassieres from Jordan.
She thanked me and sashayed away, jumping over potholes as you do in Balogun market.