Lagos - Day 2

Slept well last night. I was the sole occupant of a 4 bed dormitory. Chatted with a French guy called Walter.

  • You travelling? I asked
  • err… yes .. erm.. on holiday
  • I speak french

I was glad to be able to chat in French, and Walter and I had many chats over the next few days. He was over here attending a surf school, and was currently “signing on”, that is, drawing unemployment benefit, whilst waiting to be admitted to the French police academy. A bureaucratic process that takes months.

Contacted my bank this morning in an attempt to ascertain the whereabouts of my card.

  • You need to email your counciller, she explained
  • Oh really?
  • Err, yes. You need to email your counciller, I will make a note here, and err, you should email her.
  • So, my card, where is it?
  • It is waiting for you at the bank.
  • In Paris? erm, well, err, I’m in Portugal
  • Oh
  • Is it possible for you to send it over
  • No, that is quite impossible.
  • Then, maybe you can send it to the registered address of the card.
  • No, this also is impossible.
  • Heh.. well. What do you suggest?
  • You will have to send a written agreement to us, but you need to speak to your counciller. Email her.

Well, I emailed her. It would have been of course nicer to talk to her, but I guess she was busy.

I went for a walk, in addition to the bookshop that I noticed yesterday, I saw another advertised on the free map that I was given when I signed in at the Hostel. As my electronic book reader was stolen, and I was about 3/4 of the way through War and Peace, my ostensible aim was to locate this book in the same translation - the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation.

To my suprise, when I asked for the book at counter of the shop I had noticed on the way in yesterday, the man called out to to the assistant who returned with three old volumes, Parts 1, 2, and 3 of War and Peace.

  • €7.50 - €2.50 each you see.
  • Ah, so, can I buy just this one.
  • Oh, no.
  • Ah. You see I have lost my copy and I’ve read the first 2 volumes.

But in anycase, this was the victorian translation by Constance Garnett. The translation I was reading preserved the original French dialogues and French names, whilst the victorian edition was very anglicized, for example, Prince Anderi was called Prince Andrew.

Part of the charm of the book was being able to practice my French, so I didn’t buy.

Next, following my map, I made my way to the second bookshop. As I entered the scottish shopkeeper was holding up the better part of a conversation with a british couple, as I entered they were evidently trying to finish the conversation and leave the shop and were making slow progress towards that end whilst I located another copy of War and Peace, I inspected it as the couple succeeded in leaving the shop, to my disapointment this was also the Constance Garnett translation.

  • What can I do for ya? Asked the shop keeper
  • err, actually I was looking for War and Peace, which, you have. Unfortunately I was looking for a different translation.
  • Ahm surprised that we ‘av a copy of War and Peace at all!

He then started chatting to me, he didn’t require much encouragement, and indeed I felt rather as if I was being held there against my will, he slowly drifted from subject to subject, each time I volunteered a few words he would latch on to them, and talk more enthusiastically. I left at least 45 minutes later, and the conversation was interesting in parts and his volumous talk was full of information. He suggested that I call back the next day with a USB stick so that he could give me a copy of a film he mentioned. I in my turn recommended a film to him:

  • Have you heard of Adam Curtis? The Century of the Self
  • Errr. no
  • He’s a documentary film maker, he did, err, let me think, hes done lots of films, err. ah yeah - The Century of the Self - but hes done others, they are all great.
  • Ah, yeah, I think I remember that, wasn’t it about … he described the wrong film
  • No, its not that. Here let me write it down.
  • Whats yer name?
  • Dan - he shook my hand
  • Phil

He also spent a long time talking about the crusty-hippy-permaculture crowd that frequent this part of the world. I had little idea of what he was talking about.