Settle in, dear readers, for some armchair travelling.
Have you been to Nigeria?
Me neither, but luckily my friend Rosie, has sent her news from a recent trip.
Rosie’s Twitterless Tweets From Uganda
Day 1: Lagos
Nigeria has been rained on for the last four consecutive days. This has made Lagos roads even more log-jammed than normal. Even in the city most of the side roads are muddy tracks full of lorry-sized potholes which are filling up with water as we speak.
The only similarity between Lagos and Cambridge is that they are both utterly flat with Lagos’s highest point lying at 1m above sea level. According to the travel guide “pleasant” and “relaxing” are not words you would use to describe the city, but I have grown to like Lagos – you can just never ever ever be in a rush here.
Day 2: Hotel
Holed up in a hotel with no electricity – or guests for that matter. There is a bronze mannikin bird’s nest outside my window. Delicate strands of grass and herbs poke out of a concrete slab three floors up.
If you want to order tea here you have to specify whether it is tea or coffee. Slight confusion at breakfast when every time I ordered tea the waiter asked if I wanted tea or coffee. So now I know I have to order tea tea as opposed to the other sort – coffee. I bet international travellers staying in the Lagos Hilton don’t have this kind of problem.
Day 3: Seven days of rain
Its absolutely deluging with rain. I’m worried about the mannikin bird. Apparently there is a certain time of year in Nigeria when it rains solidly for seven days. And we are in it.
Day 4: We’re at the workshop with frogs and nuns
Went to sleep to the sound of singing frogs and woke to the sound of singing nuns. They wanted to find a quiet location for our workshop – so they chose a Catholic retreat. The frogs are ten times louder.
Day 5: Nigerian spirits
I can’t go outside tonight on account of the “masqueraders” who tramp around at night worshipping the local deity and I’ve been told that women are not allowed to see them.
Day 6: Nigerian food
Nigerian food: it’s hot and there’s lots. There is Draw Soup, for example, that is so slippery it falls off the spoon when you try and serve it. For breakfast, we had yam and hot egg egg sauce. But I can’t compete with my fellow Nigerians in terms of the sheer quantity they manage to eat.
Day 7: Nigerian Names
…tend to be quite long and begin with the letter O. Luckily, Oguntuase Bukola Gbemisola uses her middle name, while Oluwafemi Samuel Fakayode makes life easy by calling himself Femi.
Day 8: First night without frogs
That was the first time we weren’t deafened by frogs all night. Things are drying out and it’s the last day of the workshop.
Day 9: Lagos Traffic
Just as the Brits talk about the weather, Nigerians talk about the traffic, which is always jammed. We’ve just arrived back in Lagos and it took us 4 hours to cover the last 15 miles bumper to bumper, sometimes literally. Motorcyclists manage to get through the traffic morass by shortening their handlebars and removing the wing mirrors so they can squeeze more easily between the cars.
Thanks Rosie, you visit such interesting places and your tiny snippets give is a
really good flavour of life wherever you find yourself.
Where to next Rosie?
Will there be frogs ? Nuns?
Rosie works for the Tropical Biology Association. See this video to find out about the courses they run all over the world. How proud would I be if one of the kids ever did a course like this?