I ate Ikokore the night before I left Lagos. I had not it had in in about 30 years so, when my sister friend, Labake Bode Matthew asked me what I would like her to cook for me, I asked for Ikokore the food of the Ijebus. I have a bucket list of things that I want to do before shuffling off this mortal coil. Things like visiting India, rural China and rural Japan, setting up a business and eating food at Omolabake’s. She has a food blog called Onjeladun and from time to time to time, posts delicious looking foods so, I told her that when next I was at in Naija, I would visit her.
When I got checked in and sat in my allocated chair, I brought out my phone to call my loved ones before switching it off. When I called my sister Yemisi, the first thing she asked me was ‘do you have an upset tummy’? I asked her how she knew. I had been woken up by a fierce tummy pain that threatened to erupt if I did not get up from bed. This was around 4am. After I finished my business, I could not get back to sleep again and had another need to use the loo before leaving for the airport. Throughout checking in, the ache was simmering and I was just hoping that it would keep simmering till I got to the plane and was able to use the loo. My allocated seat was not a nice one – a middle seat in the middle and I told the lady sitting to my right that I would need to use the loo constantly. So, when my sister asked if I had a tummy ache, I wondered how she knew. She then told me that Ikokore does that. Did I not remember the effects when we ate it when Mummy cooked it? I think I vaguely remembered when she mentioned it. I used the loo once on the flight and as soon as I passed immigration at Heathrow, I could not wait for my luggage to come out before I rushed to the loo. And immediately I got home, off to the bathroom I rushed.
About 10 years ago, I went to Lagos via Tripoli, on Afriqiyah. I had heard their service was great and it was also cheap so, I booked it. I was not disappointed. The only issue I had was the long wait at Tripoli for connection to and fro. The day I was to leave Lagos, around 4pm, I saw an ‘elewa agoyin’ – Agonyin beans seller. This was an unusual sight. You only ever see them in the mornings. Ewa agonyin is usually for breakfast and I really love that food. No matter how good a non agonyin is with the stew, they never get it the way the agonyin gets it. I don’t know how they do it, those agonyin people. I was oh so excited to be able to eat the beans in the evening that I wolfed it down immediately I bought it. Big mistake. It was later that I knew that there must be a reason why the ewa agonyin is sold in the mornings. The one that I ate that day must have started fermenting. About an hour after I ate it, the incredible pains started. POW! I used the loo twice before I left for the airport, used the loo at MMI about twice or thrice and throughout the flight to Tripoli, I sat in the loo, even when the plane hit turbulence and people were told to return to their seats and fasten their seatbelts.
As soon as we got to Tripoli, I rushed off to the bathroom. Where I thought the bathroom at MMI was bad, the one at Tripoli was a disaster. Libyans were just piling their sheet in the WC and not flushing. Or, maybe they could not flush. Then when the WCs were filled to overflowing with sheet, they did their sheet on the floor. I had to join them as I could not beat them. I must have done this at least thrice while waiting for the connecting flight. Once I got on the plane again, I was in the loo throughout and once we got to Gatwick, I could not wait for the luggage to come put before I rushed off to the loo again. My clothes felt looser after that incidence. It was that bad. So, there, you have been educated. Ikokore and evening ewa agonying are foods to avoid if you are going on a long distance flight.
Ps… the ‘new’ toilets at MMI… Whoever designed them? No toilet rolls. Only a water hose by the side of the WC. I think whoever designed them meant for people not to use toilet rolls but to ‘tamba’ – use water to wash their bums. Who authorised this? And if that was what they wanted, they should have done a bidet where it would be easy to wash oneself but of course, there is no space for a normal WC and a Bidet so, they did a normal WC but installed a water washing facility which by the way, was not even working! So, after depositing one’s sheet, how is one supposed to clean up? Luckily, because of my sinus issues, I usually have tissues in my bag. But what about people who don’t have that and have done their sheet and then found out no loo roll and no water coming out of the hose? SMH.