The Grasshopper

In 2006 I gave a two-day lecture in Lagos. At the end of the first day one of the delegates invited me to join him for dinner that evening with two of his friends.  He was an engaging Brazilian oil trader called Bernardo.

He took us to an excellent Italian restaurant. The wine and conversation flowed, and I made the mistake of saying that I had never been to a nightclub. Bernardo said there was a good club locally called the Grasshopper, which we should visit after dinner. I reluctantly agreed, on condition that when I asked to leave then we would leave.

Bernardo drove his four wheel drive to the club, skillfully avoiding the huge rain-filled potholes in the dirt road. We arrived at the car park – a few cars and a lot of people. Bernardo paid some youngsters to look after the car.

The Grasshopper had three concentric barbed-wire fences, about ten feet apart, each with a single gate, bouncers, and armed guards.

At the outer entrance a big crowd waited to get in. The crowd parted for us and the bouncers let us through. At the second gate the crowd was a smaller but still substantial. Again we just walked through. At the third gate there were just a few, the nearly-made-its. It was no obstacle for us, and we walked into the club.

The Grasshopper was a large circular building cut into jungle with tree trunks supporting a roof of palm leaves. It was hot. The floor was bare earth, with a few tables, a fridge, a battered old pool table and a jukebox. The smoky haze was not entirely tobacco.

The center of the building was brightly lit and swarming with girls. The men were just visible in the dark recesses. All eyes were on us. Bernardo got the beers, at $4 each.

A pretty young lady named Sarah came over to me. She was very direct. Her description of the services she offered left nothing to the imagination. With one hand holding a bottle of Budweiser, and the other firmly on my wallet, it was difficult to refasten the buttons on my shirt as Sarah skillfully undid them.

After twenty minutes and two beers, I went over to Bernardo and said it was time for me to leave.

It was six years before I again went into a nightclub, this time in Lisbon. But that is another Tale.

Chris Thorpe

Chris Thorpe is a respected independent lawyer in the upstream oil and gas industry, and an established lecturer and author. Chris has a LLB in law from Magdalene College, Cambridge and trained as a barrister in London. He worked for eight years' as an in-house lawyer for BP and Marathon. Since 1991, Chris has run his own upstream legal practice, CPTL, which has acted for many upstream clients. He has extensive experience of international upstream transactions, principally in the North Sea, the FSU, Africa and the Middle East. Chris has spoken at many UK and International Conferences and Seminars, both public and in-house. His most popular current lecture is Fundamental of Upstream Petroleum Agreements, a two-day course with accompanying book.