I can’t believe that I’ve been in Lagos for 2 weeks! Felt a little homesick earlier this week but had a long BBM conversation with my brother in Guyana. Yes, you read correctly…BBM! Back in 2009 I converted to an iPhone and haven’t looked back. But when in Rome, I mean Gidi…Most Nigerians still use Blackberries and my boo made sure to set me up with one sharp sharp (that means ‘without delay’ in Pidgin or broken English). My new hair stylist, The Hair Whisperer (I will do a separate post about her because she is a New Yorker and oh so fabulous), suggested that I learn Pidgin right away in order to “fit in” and avoid the “akata tax” (an “akata” is an African American). When most vendors spot the american accent their prices tend to go up, if you know what I mean.
There are hundreds of languages spoken in Nigeria but EVERYONE from the house boy to the CEO speaks Pidgin. My first Pidgin lesson occurred on my way to the shopping mall. Because the shopping malls here have limited parking we sat in traffic for over 20 minutes. Traffic creates a perfect storms for street vendors. Hundreds of cars packed with restless people. Dozens of vendors weave through the stalled vehicles with all kinds of merchandise ranging from candy bars to cellphone chargers. The most popular items we saw that day and everyday since were DVD’s. In the US we totally take for granted the unlimited access we have to television shows and movies. My subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video do not work here so what’s a girl to do? The only thing that was keeping me from the Real Housewives of Lekki and all of the latest US blockbusters was my American accent and fear of the akata tax. I rolled down the window and with some guidance from my boo and a whole lot of NY swag I yelled out “mek I get two” (translation: I would like to buy 2 dvds). It was that simple! I’m still learning and laughing at myself in the process. I’ve translated a few of my favorite Pidgin words and saying below:
– How now? What’s up?
–Where you dey go? Where are you going?
– Abi? Right?
– I don tire for today. I’m tired.
– Abeg. Please
– O ya. No wahala. Alright, no problem.
– Oga at de top. My boo