Dunni 6 – Ankara Alley, Balogun Market

Dunni 6 – Ankara Alley, Balogun Market

Loud music and the smell of dried fish filled the air, and Dunni tried not to sneeze as she hopped over a pothole the size of a ditch. They were on their way to what Mary, the event planner her aunt had hired to organize the memorial service for Dunni’s grandparents, called the Ankara Alley, and Dunni struggled to keep the event planner in sight while avoiding the hustlers who tugged at her arms and her clothes, calling out wares from fruits, foodstuff, meat, and kitchen utensils to DVDs and toilet brushes. She could not remember the last time she’d been to Balogun Market, but she could remember the first time she had come with Funke, one of her cousins and Folarin’s older sister, and it was a lot similar to this trip too. Lagos as a whole was always a surprise, so big and bustling, but as they’d drove to the market, she could almost swear the city was cleaner and less chaotic.

She’d mentioned her impression to her companion, and Mary had said something about the new Governor and the policies he was putting in place to make Lagos an ultramodern city. While Dunni had seen evidence of that as soon as they entered Lagos, there was nothing ultra-modern about Balogun Market. It was stuck in the past and as vibrant as ever, especially in the fabric section where rows and rows of different colors and patterns of the Ankara material vied for her attention. Dunni ran her hands over a wax print in patterns of blue and pink.

“What do you think of this color?” Mary asked, pointing to another fabric in shades of lilac.

Mary had told her about a trip to Lagos to purchase some bulk food stuff for the caterers and, contrary to her decision to stick with the village women and forget jaunting off on adventures, Dunni had allowed herself to be convinced to come along. So, here she was shopping in downtown Lagos. To be fair to the women, they weren’t the reason she had escaped this time. They had actually let her alone since, while still riled from the encounter with the annoying, if attractive man on the hills of Erin Ijesha, she had retorted one of the women with a barb of her own. This trip was simply an opportunity to see more of Nigeria, and also get some fabrics for friends back in Dallas at what Mary promised would be a better price than she’ll find in Ilorin.

Dunni pointed to the fabrics, including a black and orange print, that she liked, and then joined Mary to haggle gustily with the vendor. She’d noticed that her sparse Yoruba was coming back to her the more she spoke it.

“So, when are coming back to Nigeria?” Mary asked as they walked back to where they parked the car. “You seem to be enjoying it quite a lot.”

Dunni laughed. Mary was telling the truth. The sun was blazing overhead, but even with the sweat dripping off her face and between her breasts, she felt like she was having the time of her life. There was something so lively and immediate about the people that nudged around her as they went about their own businesses. After the long stretch of time when she hadn’t visited, the city was that much more chaotic for her, but what was there not to like in the colors bursting forth from the tomatoes and peppers arranged in pyramids, or the organic green leafy vegetables that lined the tables along the road. She wanted to soak it all in.

“It’s really a lot of fun,” she finally said to Mary, “but I don’t know how people can deal with it on a daily basis. We still have the foodstuff to get at Iddo and I’m already worn out!”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Mary apologized. “You’re always so nice and gracious that I forgot you’re not so used to this our crazy way of doing things. If you want, I can take you to a friend’s office just across the road on the Island and pick you up when I’m done shopping at Iddo.”

Her aching muscles reminded Dunni of the day she’d gone trekking to the Erin-Ijesha falls, and about the man she’d met that day and whom she hadn’t seen since. After joining her in the car, Folarin had referred to him as Babs and said he worked in Lagos, but Dunni had not encouraged a conversation about the maddening man. They’d gone on to discuss the trek and how she’d enjoyed the exertion and the amazing scenery and views. That was a week ago, but she still thought of it regularly, and now she wondered if he worked in one of the offices in the area. She didn’t want to take the chance and find out by bumping into him.

“No, no … that’s OK. I really don’t mind going with you,” she said to Mary.

They got to the car and Dunni began to wind down the passenger side window. A muscular T-shirt covered chest appeared in the side mirror, and her heart jumped in her throat. Speak of the devil, could that be the man from the hill-climbing? With a feeling of Déjà vu, she sat unmoving, watching the person approach. When a dark hand knocked on the glass and a tray of Gala beef rolls was shoved against the car, Dunni let out a sigh of relief; it was only someone selling snacks. Wondering how the Babs man had gotten under her skin so fast, she finished winding down the window and bought two pieces of Gala from the vendor whose grateful grin reminded her of said annoying man.

 

 

Comments

comments


21 thoughts on “Dunni 6 – Ankara Alley, Balogun Market” by Myne (@Myne)

  1. Avatar of adaobiokwy
    adaobiokwy (@): Newbie - 0 pts

    Myne and love as always.
    okay…no action…watz the story?

    check:
    ur 2nd sentence should be reworked…look again. too much info in one

    typo:
    “So, when are coming back to Nigeria?..”are”

    1. Avatar of Myne
      Myne (@): Newbie - 0 pts

      Wowsa! I read that again and tears almost came to my eyes. Sorry, action is coming soon.

  2. Avatar of AnnaBella
    AnnaBella (@): Newbie - 0 pts

    ‘They had actually let her alone since, while still riled from the encounter with the annoying, if attractive man on the hills of Erin Ijesha, she had retorted one of the women with a barb of her own.’
    I think i could make head of this but not tails… maybe if this were 2 distinct sentences.
    Very good description of Lagos market. You got the chaotic nature of the market and yet the tired but happy fulfilment after shopping there. Am inspired.

    1. Avatar of Myne
      Myne (@): Newbie - 0 pts

      Thanks for pointing that out. Will be reworking it to make more sense.

  3. Avatar of shaifamily
    shaifamily (@): Newbie - 0 pts

    Fyne job…U keep skipping me around like that and I might come at u with a ……

    Pencil.

    Looooool.

    1. Avatar of Myne
      Myne (@): Newbie - 0 pts

      bring on the pencil, lol…

      1. Avatar of shaifamily
        shaifamily (@): Newbie - 0 pts

        @Myne I lost it. But don’t worry, try yank me again with another Dunni story….

  4. Avatar of emmyfrosty
    emmyfrosty (@): Newbie - 0 pts

    she finished winding down the window and bought two pieces of Gala from the vendor whose grateful grin reminded her of SAID annoying man..
    shouldn’t it have been “the said”..

    but myne…i need some action too..i like the mystery character..i want to see more of his surprises..please quench my thirst… ##winks
    lol

    1. Avatar of Myne
      Myne (@): Newbie - 0 pts

      LOL…everybody loves Babs. Don’t worry, you’ll see him soon. Thanks for reading. :)

  5. I liked the imagery (market scene) you created here. I thought maybe you could have started the scene with an action as in ” Dunni’s hand flew to her nose as she hopped over a pothole the size of a ditch. The smell of (dried fish?)…” I wasn’t exactly sure if it is was the dried fish affecting her or a putrid smell from the ditch?

    I read the previous submission and understand that you were trying to give us some back story. Since it slowed down the pace of the story, you may want to spice this piece up with some dialogue. Some funny/interesting back and forth between Dunni and Mary or between Dunni and a vendor (possibly the price bargaining) could help.

    I hope my comments help. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Avatar of Myne
      Myne (@): Newbie - 0 pts

      Thank you Yejide, that’s a tip def worth considering. It was the dried fish causing the sneezing.

  6. They were on their way to what Mary, the event planner her aunt had hired to organize the memorial service for Dunni’s grandparents, called the Ankara Alley, and Dunni struggled to keep the event planner in sight while avoiding the hustlers who tugged at her arms and her clothes, calling out wares from fruits, foodstuff, meat, and kitchen utensils to DVDs and toilet brushes.

    This is a loooooooooooong sentence – and the first part is a bit confusing. I’d write this as

    She was with Mary, the event planner her aunt had hired to organize the memorial service for Dunni’s grandparents, and they were on their way to what Mary called the Ankara Alley. Dunni struggled to keep the event planner in sight while avoiding the hustlers who tugged at her arms and her clothes, calling out wares from fruits, foodstuff, meat, and kitchen utensils to DVDs and toilet brushes.

    Then there was this:

    Her aching muscles reminded Dunni of the day she’d gone trekking to the Erin-Ijesha falls, and about the man she’d met that day and whom she hadn’t seen since.

    It made it look as if you were referencing a part of the novel that we hadn’t read . I would have written that as “…reminded Dunni of her earlier trek to Erin-Ijesha falls…”

    But I liked the way you showed the vibrancy and energy of the market, and how we’re seeing that by degrees, Dunni may be feeling something for Babs after all…

    1. Avatar of Seun-Odukoya
      Seun-Odukoya (@): Newbie - 0 pts

      Nice one @Tola

      Look, can I holla at you for a small favour?

      1. Avatar of Tola Odejayi
        Tola Odejayi (@): Newbie - 0 pts

        Sure – you can PM me.

    2. Avatar of Myne
      Myne (@): Newbie - 0 pts

      I appreciate the pointers Tola, that second sentence was indeed a killer. LOL…

  7. Avatar of Seun-Odukoya
    Seun-Odukoya (@): Newbie - 0 pts

    I like the way your Dunni character interacts with Nigeria. It’s so kinda real.

    Good one.

    1. Avatar of Myne
      Myne (@): Newbie - 0 pts

      Thank you Seun :)

  8. Avatar of Ellie
    Ellie (@): Newbie - 0 pts

    Coming along well, like the Balogun market scene- your description of the setting was apt.

  9. Avatar of Raymond
    Raymond (@): Newbie - 0 pts

    In fact, make dis book come out joor! I want to buy!!!

  10. Nice!!! I love the fact that it’s not a hackneyed plot. I mean we all know that it would culminate in some sort of affair between Babs and Dunni. The easy way out would have been for her to bump into him in the market but you gave it a twist. I love that. I’m REALLY impressed.

  11. Avatar of innoalifa
    innoalifa (@): Newbie - 0 pts

    @MYNE lovely……………..

Leave a Reply