Kemmiiii's Blog

Ajasa’s Tales (3): The Laid Back Lisboa!

Posted on: June 28, 2013

“I made an attempt to get on a crowded bus but was irritated by the noises emanating from within and while contemplating whether to go in or not, I saw Obama beckoning to me to wait for him and not to be in a rush. I was glad to see him and to kill time while waiting for the next bus, we started talking Politics. I warned him not to reverse the decision of the court that jailed Belusconi and to hands-off the whistle blower issue! He smiled as we entered the next bus telling me that I should put myself in his position. The bus jerked suddenly and I hit my leg against one of the poles meant to give support to standers”
Oh la la! I woke up with an excruciating pain in my right big toe and some epigastric discomfort! I had been dreaming! I must have hit my leg against the woodwork of my queen bed and suffering acid reflux from late night beer!
Such was the fun that characterized Restaurados, the section of the city centre where our hotel was located!

The flight to Lisbon from Gatwick was right on time in a brand new Airbus 320. A first time traveler will hold his head in fright for the take off and landing. Perhaps the Pilot was still mastering the new machine!

A lot of things have changed at Gatwick with the change of ownership. The place is now owned, albeit under a lease agreement, by our own Bayo Ogunlesi, heading a financial consortium based in New York. His father is the renowned Prof. Ogunlesi, one of the pioneers of medicine in Nigeria! Who says Nigerians are not great! Gatwick is much cleaner, better automated and of course, better patronized and busier. Perhaps because of the state of affairs at home, Bayo has not sought an opportunity or offered his expertise to the powers that be. Perhaps he cannot navigate the murky waters of Nigerian business deals leaving the likes of Wale Babalakin who understand the language better, even without any claim to the slightest know how or professionalism, to handle similar projects at home. He probably won’t be able to stand the nepotism and god-fatherism that characterise and are demonising the award of contracts in Nigeria! He might have foreseen the truth or wisdom in avoiding riding on the Lion’s back not to end up in his stomach! I feel very sorry for Wale in his predicament and I pray he survives it and gets wiser!

The aerial view of Lisbon shows a well laid out city with draught-like layout of Washington DC around many monumental structures appearing like Adebisi Compound of Idi Ikan, Ibadan. Landing at Lisbon ‘Aeroporte’, looking somewhat quiet at a time when you expect a bee hive like situation gave me the impression of a laid back city and country. The ineptitude of their embassy that embarrassed all Rotarians in Nigeria reenacted itself right from the passport control where there was only one officer on duty causing unnecessary delay. At the Luggage claim area, only one conveyor belt was in use with an inept, carefree attendant who remained on a phone call that gained his attention more than his duty of sorting the luggages.

TY and I by coincidence were on the same flight and it just became economically beautiful for us to hire a cab to our hotel. If not for language difficulty we would have been an easy prey for our cab driver with whom we argued with some Nigerian aggression that we were just not ready to pay more than 35 euros when the innocent and, maybe, God fearing man was telling us with a crooked accent that our journey should cost roughly 15 euros that we took for 50! It took the intervention of a policeman who also was as dumb as the cabman for us to simmer down and continue the journey as we kept our eyes on the meter.

We got to Restaurados with the meter reading a little less than 15 euros. The short and stocky driver feeling vindicated took us right to the doorstep of our hotel located on the second and third floors of a an 18th century building.

As we alighted from the cab, we were greeted by an air akin to a carnival! Even before exploring the area, we knew there and then we were in for the fun of our life. And we were not disappointed.

Staying at the city centre gave us an opportunity to have a good feel of Lisbon. The transport system is amazingly easy and cheap. The Metro(Underground) is the easiest even for an illiterate. There are four lines(linha) red, blue, green and yellow! To get to the convention centre and return cost a little less than 3 euros and took about 30 minutes. From Restaurados, Blue line took us to Sao Sebastiano where we changed to Red line that took us to Oriente, where Feira Internacional de Lisboa, the Rotary International Convention centre is located. An expansive compound of massive structures, Feira is comparable to the the past convention centres and swallowed the rather unusually thin population of Rotarians. Though I don’t have the figure of attendance, with my experience of the last 8 Conventions, I could estimate fairly well.

The convention, though conventional in outlay and program content, was not as bubbly as expected. The few plenary sessions I attended paraded some powerful speakers. The break out sessions too had a lot to offer! The House of Friendship was beautifully decorated but sparsely occupied! The convention closed yesterday, devoid of the usual nostalgic feelings, with lots of Rotarians hurrying out of Lisbon to avoid being caught up in a proposed civil demonstration for fear of it escalating into an unrest and strife!

Generally, Lisbon, an old city of over 2000 years represents another european cultural heritage with laid back population who try to be friendly but appear less so perhaps as a result of their indolence in learning other languages. I cannot understand the basis of their proposed strike of 27th June! Is it in conformity with their peers in Brazil? It is in Portugal that I’ve heard of reverse brain drain! It is an irony of fate and history that young men and women in Portugal now seek opportunities in Angola, Mozambique and the Congos that were formerly Portuguese colonies! The global economic downturn is not sparing any nation And from my own assessment, life seems to be relatively good in Lisbon! I feel they can live life the way it is, rather than the way it ought to be, a Nigerian perspective you will say! Maybe there’s more to it than meets my innocent and short sighed eyes. Whatever he outcome of the strike is and whatever the fate of fellow Rotarians especially from Nigeria caught in the web unprepared is, time will tell.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Etisalat. Enjoy high speed mobile broadband on our easyblaze and plans for BlackBerry. Visit for details.


3 Responses to "Ajasa’s Tales (3): The Laid Back Lisboa!"

I’m in love with daddy already.

Errrr…… Kemi, will you marry me? I want to meet daddy ASAP!

Lol! Sure! When I’m done with med school.

Sent from my iPad

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