The perils and pleasures of shopping in a Lagos market

by on May 5, 2017 - 2 min read
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Yesterday I made an impromptu decision to go to Oshodi Market. It was around 1pm and I hadn’t eaten but needed some fresh fabric asap. Jumped on a bus and was there before I knew it; not much traffic at that time of the day. Was secretly hoping Richard Quest was still hanging around somewhere but I think he’s gone home…

Lagos markets are notoriously difficult to navigate but I’m getting more familiar with the layout at Oshodi. The lack of signposts and directions doesn’t help. And it’s rowdy! Hundreds or thousands of people passing through everyday, looking for a good deal. Dodging cars and “okadas” (commercial motorbikes) is all part of the experience. Most stores don’t have their name up so it can be hard to find the same shop twice! I make a mental note of the merchandise as I pass… ladies jeans, men’s shirts, plenty of ankara but I have that already. I was looking for cotton material, suitable for a work dress.

Eventually, I saw a woman standing in front of a rack of materials in various colours, from navy blue to cream, lime green, orange etc. What I really wanted was fuchsia pink but she didn’t have that. However, there was a lovely caramel coloured fabric, which she called khaki… I thought khaki was more of a green? The ash colour stood out and I thought black would be good too. I wanted to buy two yards of each but she said they sell them in “trouser”, i.e. enough to make a pair of trousers. It was large enough to sew a simple dress so I asked for three “trousers” please!

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