Thursday, November 5, 2009

Are You Working for Money?

In my previous post, I started talking about how my money is working for me. To put things in perspective for you and help you understand how far the good Lord has brought me, I’ve been called ijebu by my own family members because I like to keep my own money and spend everyone else’s.

But what’s the harm in that as long as I share some of mine with you when you’ve exhausted your own? Lol. But seriously, I am not one of those people who love the power that comes with buying whatever they want. Instead I feel like I’ve been overpowered or outsmarted when I spend. As if the seller has succeeded in separating me from my money. But because I like good things (who doesn’t?), I will help you spend yours if you like spending!

I don’t like finding myself without money (abeg who does?) so I’m slightly uneasy and grumpy when I’m broke. I like to have a savings, cut my coat according to my size and take zero risks.

But my motives for being prudent could keep me in a stagnant cycle. Why? Because I can fall into the trap of always working for money and not having my money work for me.

I’ve come to understand that having your money work for you is the path to independence and this will mean different things for different people but I think this means spending my money on things that would:

- bring in more money long term

- save me money in the long run

- improve the quality of my life or someone else’s life

But how does this play out practically? Are there any hard and fast rules? For instance, if you received a $20,000 bonus from your employer, would you use it as a down payment on a house, go back to school for your masters or buy a car? This is assuming that you need all three of these things and don’t own any?

What impact would your life circumstances have on making such a decision? For example, if you were…single, married, a mother, a father, due for retirement, an aspiring entrepreneur etc?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My inverter and My money

My inverter is a huge blessing! I am so so so happy that I invested in it. I was initially intimidated by the price of one battery -N60,000 - And I needed to buy two! So like a wise businesswoman I coaxed daddy dearest into footing the bill for one. After all I won’t carry the thing with me when I’m moving into my own house. Heh heh.

But my people, this inverter is more than worth its value! PHCN gives us an average of six or seven hours of electricity during the day. Yes, when most folks are hard at work in the office they fulfill righteousness and bring light and take it just as you’re stepping into your house in the evening! But with the inverter I can ‘save’ all that electricity for use when I get back home.

I could buy a generator at a cheaper price and have it carry hefty appliances like my A/C and iron, but my inverter still beats a generator hands down because: I don’t have to start combing my neighborhood looking for a kind gentleman to pull my generator. I don’t have to sit in the stuffy heat because I’ve shut the windows against the screaming generator noise. I don’t have to keep reminding myself to put the keg in the car so I can buy fuel for the gen. I don’t have to spend thousands on fuel and I don’t have to store fuel in my house!

Plus whenever they bring light, the inverter automatically switches over and begins to charge up again. I don’t have to interrupt my precious sleep to switch over to PHCN.

Now that’s what I call having my money work for me. More on money in my next post ;)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NYSC Orientation Camp - November 2009

This month, two years ago, I was rounding up my three weeks at NYSC orientation camp. Oh, the good times (I'm not being sarcastic...well maybe a bit;)

But if you never went to a Nigerian government boarding house or more broadly have never been to an NYSC orientation camp, please prepare your mind as you go to camp on Tuesday - here is the Aje-butters guide for surviving NYSC camp.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sweet sweet Love

Mmmhhhaahhhh! That's the sound of the big sigh that I'm letting out. I've been away too long! Where do I start from? Life is interesting, exciting, scary - The mere fact that I do not know what will happen in the next year. Oh yes, I might think I know. But who am I? I can just see God chuckling at me. Yes, I concede, who am I? I don't know nada about tomorrow!

Yet I choose to Love. Because love is all I need. When the Bible says that love is the greatest thing of all, it's not playing. Yes it's talking about the mushy, talk all night on the phone, can't live without you, I must-marry-you now kind of love. But it's also talking about the you really hurt me, your family is mean to me, I can't stand you right now but I still love you kind of love. Why? Because "Love covers a multitude of sins."

So how can you say you love but then resent a woman just because she's looking fyne! You give your cousin, your ___the silent treatment, and get jealous and angry when good things happen to your friend. Yes, I know that feeling all to well. The pain and fear of unfulfilled dreams. We've all been there and done that. I find myself there one too many times. Why? Because it's my default, factory, human setting. But you know what? I choose not to live that way. I don't have to love only when I'm feeling loved. Nah,this life is too precious for that. I'd be missing out on the enjoying the depths of the greatest gift of all if I do not free myself to love.

Love is too sweet to limit to one small area of your life. I want it to seep into every conversation, every transaction. I want it to sweeten my entire life. I want to feel its warmth. I want it to bring tears to my eyes. I want more of it. Lots more of it. And you know the best part? I don't have to wait to get it. Because true That takes me out of the victim's box and puts me in the driver's seat.

Yesiree! I'm free to love. I am free to give. I am free to live.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why I am still in Nigeria

After my experience at passport control, we drove away from the airport and I was elated. Everything seemed alive! Maybe it’s the dusty roadsides, red soil, lizards or just the people, but everything about Nigeria is engaging. It is only in this country that your okada driver will fight you for not giving him exact change! My people, please hear: I was on my way to the bus stop last week and he asked if I had change, I said yes, afterall N50 is change to me. Apparently, he meant the exact N30 fare. My bad! But he didn’t say exact change, he said change. So, what would have happened if I had given him N200? Of course like a true Nigerian, I didn’t back down when he started flailing his arms and barking at me, saying he didn’t have any change to give me.

An idle onlooker/bus stop agbero saw that neither one of us were budging and interceded by giving me my N20 change. I took it with a scowl on my face but relief in my heart. Honestly, I’m not cut out for confrontation. It took me the rest of the morning to shake the guy’s bleached face and oversized helmet face from my psyche.
Now tell me where else can I find that kind of interaction with a complete stranger? --- Well there was that time during my recent trip; I was in Primark on Oxford street when from my spot on the check out queue, I heard a young lady in the ladies shoe section swearing, shouting, screaming at the top of her lungs to a fellow shopper who had allegedly ( and of course mistakenly) stepped on her.

Some people are just crazy I tell ya!
(The picture was taken from Ebute Metta shoulder of Third Mainland bridge. If you look, far at the right end you'll see the rest of the bridge curving to Oworonshoki)

Monday, August 17, 2009

2 Years later…in Nigeria

It’s been two years since I moved back home to Nigeria. ( My move back date was on my birthday).

I had secured a bargain on on a Lufthansa flight out from Washington Dulles, and the layover at Frankfurt left me tired. It wasn’t a long wait; the airport was just unexciting –very minimalist. It lacked the conventional airport design and airport buzz that allows you alternate between people / plane watching. So when we eventually took off for Abuja and reached cruising altitude, I quickly joined the other fatigued passengers who were jostling to make beds out of the empty rows.

I had to make do with 3 unoccupied seats (my 5’9’ comfortably requires a row of 4 seats). And I was so tired I missed the air hostess’s snack cart. An exotic food lover like myself never ever misses food on an international flight. It’s a big no-no in my world. Food is the highlight of my flight. Besides, I paid for it! Yes ke…even if you don’t feel like eating it when they bring it, collect it, my friend. It’s your own. Give it to your neighbor, eat it later or package it for yourself or for your people (How else will you know I’m a Nigerian?)

I’ll be quick to say though that I’m not one of those people who pull down their trays 15 rows before the airhostesses even reaches them. I respect myself.

So I woke up a few hours into the journey and instinctively popped my head over the chair backs to see if lunch had passed my by. It had. As if reading my mind, one of the hostesses walked over to me to find out if I’d be interested in eating. I nodded vigorously and she brought me a steaming square-shaped pizza. Those Lufthansa air hostesses are till date the nicest cabin attendants I have encountered in several years. They were cheerfully patient, and we all know that Nigerian passengers are not the easiest set of passengers to cater to!

I’ll never forget the Belgian airhostess that spoke sharply into her microphone to her mostly Israeli passengers: “Ladies and gentlemen am I speaking English or chinoise?! Please take your seat until the aircraft has come to a complete stop!” I was so shocked but then my classmates and I broke out laughing as we got off the plane. Israelis (and Nigerians if I may add) have a habit of being overzealous on flights so we didn’t fault the hostess for her frustration.

To be continued…

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lagos Spot: Sky Restaurant

Thanks for all the birthday wishes Peeps!The day turned out fabulous. Flowers, a delicious dinner overlooking the Lagos skyline and some good ‘ol loving from friends, family and ofcourse my sweetheart. What else does a girl want ey? The service at Sky Restaurant was fantastic. I can easily say the best customer service I’ve had at any Nigerian restaurant. I can’t say if they’re that good all the time, because it was my first time there, but our waiter was good! Courteous and helpful, not in the annoying yes-ma, yes-sir kind of way, but in the I know my job, I like my job and I’m here to ensure you enjoy your time here kind of way.

So here’s a picture of our plates as we rounded up our appetizers. I got carried away and forgot to take pictures of the entrees that followed. The bill runs high, so budget from N25,000 for two. However, compared to other restaurants in that price range, they’ve got fantastic service and a fantastic view! (Plus a fantastic piano player).

I thought the d├ęcor could have been more intimate and cosy, but the service made up for it.
Sky Restaurant is located at the penthouse of Eko Hotels & Suites in Victoria Island.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This is my life and I love it!

For some reason, I get a bit apprehensive around my birthday. When I was 21 I threw a fit and insisted that I didn’t want to celebrate it. I was visiting my folks for the summer and I just wanted the birthday to pass without a fuss. Thank goodness for my mother who ignored my teenage moods and insisted on cooking and calling every one she knew for a mini replica of my 10th year old bash! It was like she was the owner of the birthday, she was sooo happy!

At the end of the day, I look back on pictures and am grateful for the memory that was created. I thoroughly enjoyed myself that day!

Where we would be without the wisdom and the glowing pride of our mothers/elders?!

So now another birthday is around the corner and I can feel a twinge of mixed emotions running through me. God has just been too good to me and any other feeling besides gratitude would just be sheer ingratitude!

My flesh wants to rebel and whine and sulk. WHY? I have no idea! But hey, sorry to disappoint you fleshie. I refuse to be ruled by fleeting feelings.

This is my life and I love it!

Do you all remember singing along with the problem child:

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. Cry if I want to! Cry if I want to! You would cry too if it happened to you! Ta na na na!

Naw, no such pity party here. I’m singing…

Go shorty, it’s your birthday.. Ima party like it’s my birthday!

To all the July babies out there….here’s to a fantastic, fulfilled, loving, giving, sharing and explosive new year!

Ha ha ha!

Here, here!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Aggression aside!

This morning I was trying to act like a superwoman on my way to work. I had decided to sleep in and consequently had to take public transport to work. Catching a bus from my usually crowded stop was not a problem, but once seated in the danfo, I kept wondering why we didn’t have a conductor in such a large bus (27 seater instead of the usual 15 seater).

My mind conjured up all sorts of explanations including being driven off third mainland bridge into some underwater kingdom. (As if lack of a conductor would be the prerequisite for entry!)

But as I was saying before I hit that weird tangent, I got to Obalande without any of the usual PT drama except having to split N100 change with another passenger who the driver was owing after we all disembarked. Because I was holding the change, I wandered around wondering who to ask for change. I asked one agbero looking man who gruffly told me he didn’t have. Then a big guy walks up to me and offers to make change for us. He must have overheard me or perhaps was on the same bus, but I was so surprised and touched. I don’t think I looked that lost or distraught, this man was just being kind!

Fastforward to my superwoman move. I find a half empty bus going my route. The driver isn’t stopping and with 20 minutes to get to work, there’s no way I’m gonna miss this bus. So I grab the door and hop on board - only to miss my step! Thinking back now the driver must have stopped or my hands must have held me up because I didn’t fall to the ground. I scraped my left thigh against the iron chairs (with bruises to show even though I was wearing jeans) and just sort of hung on the bus.

Kai! Sorry. Eya! Sorry oh! All the passengers called out in a frenzy as I recovered, stepped into the bus, brushed off my jeans settled into my seat. The young man seated to my left even put his arm around me protectively as if to shield me from additional harm !

I was sooooo embarrassed, but they kept calling out with apologies. It wasn't until I looked up at all of them and said “thank you” then they stop with the eyas!

My ego was seriously smarting, mainly because my attempt to appear an agile chick was exposed! But after I calmed down, I kept thinking: Aggression aside, Nigerians are kind people !
It is on days like this that I’m grateful for my country and optimistic about our future!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The morale of the story

People, people, people, my previous post was not about wanting a new phone. (I don't want one)

I don catch una! With your greedy minds. After all the plenty talk I’ve been talking on this blog. Yes, I was recently delivered from corper-hood and a long-standing affair with miserliness, but sho! definitely not to the point where I’d spend 100k on a phone. Hey, what are daddies and sweethearts for? Heh heh.;)

There’s a deeper message people. Oya, go back and read! ;)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let me live!

I use a Nokia E series phone. The E71 in particular, and it’s fast becoming pure water phone in Nigeria. Everywhere I turn, someone is sporting one. But I’m not surprised why. I’ve had mine for about a year now and even though I managed to keep it from falling during the first 6 months (you know, the honeymoon period when you cradle your high-end phone like it’s a child), lately I’ve noticed that the phone has been falling to the ground much more! But amazingly, it doesn’t scatter—just sort of bounces around.

My E71 reminds me of a good partner. Dependable, versatile and…stylish.

But you see, now there are all sorts of commercials luring me into buying a Bold. Javelin. Storm or some other funkily-named Blackberry. For sure, the Blackberry is for the fast-tracked, talented, young, techie, financially buoyant (as the Nigerian journalist would say) urban professional!

So I must also own a Blackberry right? After all, I shouldn’t I fit in with my fellow Blackberry-toting yuppies?

The rate at which we Nigerians follow after new phones is amazing. It’s funny, one telecoms provider recently began advertising its latest offering, the Blackberry Javelin and people who already own the Storm (which hit the market just 7 months ago) are already demanding for it, even though the Javelin does not have all the features that Blackberry Storm has!

Even I am beginning to wonder if I’m missing out on something? I love my E71 but now I’ve got my eye on the Blackberry. Am I missing out by not owning a Blackberry? I can get one for 110,000 naira. Chunk change isn’t it? Yeah right.

Isn’t this what we often do in life? We’ve got something good but then because everyone else is treading a certain path, we begin to second guess ourselves and wonder if we shouldn’t follow suit.

Even the more permanent elements of life are not immune from this scrutiny: jobs, cars, partners. All face the uncertainty of being swapped for the seeming upgrade!

My Nokia E71 is one of the best phones I’ve ever used! I use it to get on facebook, gmail, take pictures, write shopping list, save my monthly budgets. Name it, it’s done. It has a GPS and Nokia recently started advertising on Lagos billboards that maps are available at What else could a girl want?

Truth is, I might still get a Storm (or more accurately inherit one) if it gives me faster access to the Internet because these days I’m more of a mobile internet user (YES we have internet on our phones in Nigeria! My sister in the States was surprised to learn my phone is my main portal for checking email)

I want a simple life. A life of contentment, not of comparison. I don't want to wake up one day and realize that despite my best intentions, I’ve grown a tail and it’s caught in a high-speed rat race!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

May must not pass me by!

I can't believe I allowed April to pass without posting, just when I was being a good girl and posting more regularly. Now today's the last day of May and I've had about 10 posts swimming in my head but the real owner of my laptop came for it! Yes.

May he or she or whoever it is sold to enjoy it. Boohoo! Now that I've grieved for my baby, I need a new one my people. What's the hottest notebook on the market now? Any recommendations? Usually takes me about a month of serious consumer reading and browsing to settle on a big purchase (car, digital camera, laptop, even my queen sized comforter -- well that took about one year to find the perfect design!) so the sooner I start, the better.

Other stuff that I've got on my mind: How expensive housing can be in Lagos or even in Nigeria in general! Seriously, the cost of living here isn't a joke at all. How do Nigerians earn paychecks in naira but buy goods at the dollar rate?

No wonder there's corruption, greed, materialism...but that's another rant for another day.

How y'all doing?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Big Salon. Bigz Girlz!

I’m not proud of it, but I’m one of those gals who will wear braids, cornrows or weave-on for 3 months if you let her. In the States I used to cite the outrageous price of doing hair as my alibi for carrying ageing hairdos. $55 to relax my hair? Pul-lease. Aren’t relaxer kits supposed to be Do-It-Yourself? I didn’t repent even after I ditched my student earnings of $6.50/hour for a post-graduation paycheck.

Maybe it was the childhood routine of sitting in hot salons between smelly legs, as they wove my hair that causes me to over-exert the freedom that I have now, but I don’t like paying to have my scalp tugged at for hours. I’ve been in Nigeria for almost two years and I’m yet to do braids, even though I can fix braids for a fraction of the price it costs in the States. I’m not ready for that gig, or for the damage it does to my own hair. (weird how I have to say, “my own hair”)

But in Lagos, hair is big business! Trust Nigerian women to turn anything wearable into a status symbol. Imagine my shock when a friend told me her hairdresser, or as y’all would say, stylist, was trying to sell her a N70,000 weave (give or take $500)!

I thought I heard wrong.

I’m used to buying N800 human hair. And I like to buy the type that is very full, so that one pack will reach. In fact, I always warn my hairdresser to manage that pack well, because I’m not going to buy another pack if it finishes before we finish my hair! If ya know what I mean. The stylists used to beg me to remove my hair after two weeks! And when they raised the price of fixing weaves from N400 to N500, I didn’t hide my discontent.

But one Sunday afternoon, God delivered me from the stronghold of miserliness.

It was the weekend before Christmas and I was in a mad rush to do my hair. I was driving through Ikeja GRA area and drove in to a large salon hoping it wouldn’t be too crowded. As I parked I took note of the fancy cars in the lot. Uh oh, I thought nervously, but quickly shrugged it off. How much could it be?

Me, that I’m used to retouching my hair for N300 – pere! By the time I stepped out of their upscale dryers, I was slammed with a bill of N4,500. Embarrassed at my shock, and upset because my hair was poorly done, I gave the stylist a N500 tip to help me stay calm. Later on, I had to stop myself from rattling off the opportunity cost of N5,000 – new shoes, new outfit, fuel for my gen. Hours of GSM talk time. Ok stop.

Two weeks later, seeking to restore the disaster on my hair, I found what looked like a more economical salon, but was served with the same bill. Initially disgruntled, I lightened up when I noticed just how healthy and well cut my hair was. You wouda thought I was wearing a weave! As my American sistas would say, “that girl know how to do hair!” I’ve been able to stay clear of extensions since she started managing my do. With my hair budget up, I feel like I’m being indulgent considering how little I used to spend on my hair.

Now to seal the deal I just need a serious solution to conquer dandruff. Those anti-dandruff shampoos aren’t working. Any suggestions?

So yels, my peoples, do you think I’m shedding the ayetoro mentality and becoming a bigz girlz? Even though I’m not sure I’d buy a $500 Brazilian/Indian/whatever other nationality’s hair—but if you bought for me, I’d wear oh!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Caution - Crazy Drivers!

That’s a picture of one of Abuja’s major highway. In a country where many people buy their driving license, you can see how such freedom can be a hazard!
How do you survive the driving? (my boyfriend visited Nigeria recently and he said the driving there is very risky)When I first moved back home, I was intimidated by the driving, even though before I left Nigeria at 19, I was a crazy Lagos driver. When you leave the shores then return home, it’s like you become a new driver all over again.

Driver’s education is practically non existent in Nigeria, but the driving wouldn’t be such as big issue if people were more courteous on the roads. Here, it is when they see you’re a woman that they want to chance you.

I’ve noticed that Lagos and Abuja driving cultures are different.

Thankfully, the presence of both mobile police and LASTMA has increased in the major cities. In Abuja, they mostly crack down on running red lights, cell phone usage and unfastened seat belts. The sneaky guys will pull up behind you on their law enforcement bikes in slow moving traffic and pull you over. After the stunt I pulled with those police officers, I am careful to abide by traffic laws now!

A major annoyance: There’s no such thing as “right of way” on Abuja roads. If you’re cruising down a street and another car is threatening to merge onto your lane, move over ! They will surely cut in front of you. Lagos drivers don’t do that as much. But the truth is that most of the drivers on Abuja roads are new drivers.

The drivers in Abuja , especially the cab drivers, are more reckless than Lagosians. Economic immigrants from Lagos who are not used to roads that are smooth, wide and free. And boy, do I have stories about those capital city cab drivers!

I remember one particular man who said he’d been driving for just four months, but the confidence with which he owned the road you would have thought he was a veteran!

There’s no courtesy, This commenter puts it aptly when he writes: “They hit you and beg you. They hit you because you are conscious of driving rules and apply it. They, who do not apply simple driving rules, rule the highway in Nigeria. In a society not used to insurance, and where vehicular laws are not implemented, begging has replaced insurance coverage. Even passer bys would chip in to ask the offending reckless driver to beg you and get on with his life. If they beg you, you must accept. That's your only recourse.”

In summary: say your prayers, and then hit the road!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Foreign Shoes on Nigerian Roads

The picture at the top is what my heels looked after I picked it up from the cobbler. What you see on the bottom is what happened the following day! Needless to say I'm going to look for another shoe man!

My hip swinging, shoulders-back strutting, down the streets of Lagos is eating up my heels. I used to wonder why a lot of pretty Lagos ladies wore slippers and suits to work in the morning. Now I understand. They keep their fancy shoes in their handbags. It more than comfort, it’s about preservation.

Thank God for the shoe cobbler in front of my house. I give him N50 and he hammers on new rubber soles for me. But I might have to take the cue and carry my pumps in my handbag like other sensible females.

Nah…I’ll keep clomping down the streets or keep my signature flats. In any color or style, I’d take flats over heels any day. I milk the advantage of not needing the added inches. But I can’t deny there’s nothing like a pair of platforms, stilettos, wedges or the good ‘ol pair of pumps to pump up a gal’s confidence.

In true human fashion, all my neglected shoes that were labeled too high, too big or too un-cool have been dug up from the back of the closet. I also plan on pilfering my mother’s same shoe-size collection. Me, I’m not following them to buy N12, 000 shoes oh. I still can’t get over the prices of goods in Nigeria. More on this later.

Do those of you who live in Chicago, New York, London, experience this shoe chopping effect?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blood, Bills and Buses all in One Day

The picture above is of Reed's (top floor) and the fast food joint, Chicken Republic/St. Elmo's.

I’m sitting on my bed, under my mosquito net and mosquitoes are still biting me but I must finish this post!

Peeps, it looks like my buka days are over. Don’t be fooled by those posh restaurants that I blog about. I love my buka joints! But it turns out that my body doesn’t. Recent blood test results have revealed traces of Typhoid in my blood! Gasp!

When I heard, I thought there must be some mistake. I cannot recall having malaria, talk less typhoid. But it makes sense because every since I resumed work in Lagos I have really become a restaurant hopper. I wonder which one of my "customers" gave me this bacteria or is a virus? What is typhoid anyway? My mother must not hear because I won’t hear the last of it. For years, she has been warning me and my father to stay away from bukas. He complied. I didn’t.

But on the brighter side, like the Doc said, it’s just a trace. So why did he prescribe 4 different drugs? As I sign my hospital bill, I grumble to the nurses that too many pills will make me look like a sick person. I would have called it a money making gimmick but the nurse pointed out that the drugs only cost N2500 out of the N9,500 bill. Come to think of it nine five for what? Yesterday I whined to the doctor about my symptoms, they took my blood and today I picked up my drugs. If not that my insurance was paying I would have made a fuss about that bill!

But I wonder which one of my regular lunch spots is the culprit?

Mosquitoes are still biting me.

I plan on getting an inverter to supply me with light. I no fit pull gen. Neither can I stand up in the middle of the night to turn off the gen when NEPA blinks. The inverter automatically switches itself off when there’s light and on when there isn’t. Smart ey? If I don’t talk about it by next month please ask me. This is the year of Just Do It.

They should bring light jo!

These days I’ve been forfeiting my free ride to work so I can sleep in. But that means that I have to gear up for the morning crazies at the bus stop. You should the folks at my bus stop. A bus going to Obalende arrives. I always wonder how people know where the bus is going because the conductor never calls out the destination yet 6 people will dash for the bus and clamor for one spot. They won’t even allow the person that wants to get off to come out! That can go on for 10 minutes with the same people doing the mad dash. I don’t join them oh. When I do, like I did this morning, I’ve calculated that I will get a seat. How can I get jabbed in my rib and stepped on for nothing?

They still haven’t brought light. Mosquitoes are still in my net, but there’s a cool evening breeze.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

After the work day

There’s no state-powered electricity, but the generator is on—running on its last few litres.

A friend’s driver ventured out to buy N2,000 fuel.

That's my weekly budget for self- generated electricity.

Thank God for kind help. He also re-fueled and pulled the gen.

While I sleep, I hope electricity comes. I won't be surprised if doesn't. I won't notice if it does.

Lagos driving irked me yesterday. Today I read a magazine.

I ’ve washed my dinner plates, ironed my work clothes and taken out my contacts.

I need to talk about my country...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lagos Treats

What is life without little treats? As much as I'm enjoying the Lagos edge, I also enjoy the following spots of respite. Ofcourse food plays a leading role in all my de-stressing activities ;)

Spice Bar

Spice Bar on Adeola Odeku in Victoria Island. Unlike most foreign restaurants, prices here are fair. Servings are large, sizzling hot and pepperish! Just the right atmosphere for Saturday lunch with the gals or guys. And if your acquaintance  isn't a fan of Indian food, just across the aisle under the same roof is the pizzeria, Debonairs.


Reed's on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi. They've got fantastic Red Curry if you love Thai food. The small rice bowl was insufficient for the huge bowl of curry (in the distance) and we had to buy additional rice at an extra charge. Way pricier than necessary. Guess you're paying heavily for the ambiance and mood. In case your date doesn't like exotic food, order good 'ol chicken wings and lounge on the couches in the bar section.

I like MMA 2: The newer Domestic Terminal. The old one, which is still in use, feels and looks like a bus terminal. This one has 2 food courts, A/C! plus that good 'ol airport vibe and my favorite: a well-stocked bookstore.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wilderness Journey in Lagos

It all began when I dropped a friend off at the Ikeja MMA2 Airport and started heading back towards Lagos Island.  I didn't want to pass through a bumpy strip near Maryland, so I decided to link 3rd mainland bridge via the International Airport road--a route I did not know so well. 

I was driving alone.  I had 30 minutes before darkness would hit Lagos.  I was driving a borrowed Toyota SUV, which the owner had just purchased. But no my strong head convinced me to just follow the road signs. How hard could it be?

Road signs ko, road signs ni! 

I  passed Isolo. Isolo? Mushin! Nope, I'm not driving through there. Ijeshatedo. Family used to live there but I was on the unfamiliar side of the highway. 

Oh no, where is 3rd mainland bridge?

Boo hoo, time to cry. 

But time was not on my side. Night was slowly creeping in, and the courage to stop and ask for directions slipped away. So I stayed on the highway. Yay to traffic-less Sundays. 

That day, I found out how Apapa-Oshodi expressway got its name. 

When I reached Apapa (hey, it was either that or Badagry),  I cornered a dangerous-less looking okada driver (you've got mapquest, we've got bike riders) and asked him to lead me to the bridge that would take me towards my hood. He stopped half way and pointed me the rest of the way, gladly pocketing my N200 gratitude offering. 

I once again reached a crossroad. Where do I go? Mmmh, I didn't put my trust in man O! If it wasn't for God, I'd have showed up in Surulere.

So what is the moral of the story? It's time for me to activate the GPS on my phone!