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.