It finally came down to heading to London....!

"Into Africa" More than a Motorcycle Adventure
Howard Fairbank
Thu 3 Apr 2014 15:19

Sorry for the late update on solving ‘my situation’….. I did get swamped up by the comforts here in London!


Since my last post, I did a full assessment of the situation, and my efforts at sourcing tyres took me down dead ends, but at least this time, there were no muggers waiting! Importing tyres was the only solution, and one that all the local with bigger / different bikes use.


I then stripped off the covers to have a real look at the state of the drive chain, and what I saw is the stuff a museum would value. The teeth on the front sprocket were so badly worn, I am surprised it could even engage the chain to the extent it was….. Hmmm, there was no way I was going to get to Ghana like that….   I tried to source spares from the only Yamaha agent in Lagos, but they said 4-6 weeks!


With my planned, 1 April, meeting in Accra, Ghana, with Ruth now looking like a difficult goal, I looked at various ways of getting to Accra and back without the bike, but each time visa snags came up as major barriers.


Being honest with myself about my leg, I was still worried, that I wasn’t out of the woods yet, and maybe it would be good to get a second opinion from a first world doctor…..?


All this, made it a clear cut case to head back to London, and standing, and make it UK holiday time with Ruth…. She, was very understanding, even converting the decision into a positive opportunity for us to advance  some of our July sailing expedition planning…. 


So thanks to the internet, I was soon booked on the 30 March, 10am direct flight to London.


My three days, based in my Victoria Island, hotel in Lagos, gave some experiences and insights that provided for a more balanced perspective of Lagos, versus the horrendous opening day I had been through.


The guys (both staff and guests) that I met around the hotel, have been all very friendly and helped me see the good, bad and mediums of Lagos. I was very surprised to hear that one Saturday morning a month, ALL Lagos residents, are required to stay at home and do house / garden cleaning work, as an initiative by the governor of the State of Lagos, to clean up the city. It is illegal to be out on the road between 8 and 10am on this Saturday, and police will enforce serious fines if you are found away from home. Just where the city really is, is explained by the fact that almost all private and commercial dwellings have their own generators, as the public power grid is totally unreliable. The hotel I’m in, which is mid level, and can take up to 60 guests, runs only on generator. The main artery roads into the city have only been lit up, for a year now. There were lamp posts from a long while back, but no electricity. The Governor is slowly re-lighting Lagos, but these lights are also powered by local generators at the road side that need to be refuelled daily. This all in a globally significant, capital city, of some 15 million people.


Lagos, is also pretty expensive, for hotels, eating out etc. I do wonder how the locals afford to live there, but as with Luanda and others, I suppose there are dual economies running.


It is great to be away from ‘The struggle’ for a while…. To get a perspective, to re-energise, and then getting the all clear from the doctor here was a nice relief. He did confirm that I had been through a serious infection, and that the healing will take months!


I return to Lagos on the 17th April, and the journey begins from there again…..


Till then take care, and look forward to having you along for the final 10 000 kilometres of this once in a life time, expedition!