Monday, March 30, 2009

where i work

It is an old residential compound made up of 6 units redesigned into office space.
A peacock and 5 turkeys wonder around all day.
An empty swimming pool with its tucked away sun beds gets cleaned every time it rains.
Two tennis courts have been conveniently turned into a huge car park.
Pre-fabricated office units are slowly taking over the once lush gardens.
It is definitely an unusual working environment nonetheless it is a very friendly place.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

faits divers

We are in Lagos since 2 months. We have slowly settled into a cozy routine confirming our incredible ability to make do with very little and be happy about it!!

Earth hour went unnoticed in Nigeria yesterday. First half the country is in the dark, second the Government power supply is erratic and unreliable. Everything and everyone rely on generator electricity. Dealing with environment issues is light years away in Nigeria.

The thunderstorms and lightening in Lagos are awesome and majestic. When it rains it lasts long and it is very noisy. As soon as it stops I love the smell of the earth. It is sublime.

While enjoying a lovely dinner at our neighbors on Friday surrounded by people from all over the world, it downed on me that our world is now a metropolis and the cities are towns where we wander in and out on a shoestring!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Stuck in a go slow, step down and hire an okada at your own risk!
Okada's are motorbikes for hire just like a taxi or micro buses of Cairo.
Okadas' have grown exponentially in Lagos in recent years. Owning and running this service comes with a reasonable revenue and little costs. It is cheap to buy a motorbike. Filling up with petrol is very cheap. It costs very little to register a motorbike. It is not regulated; the money you earn is not taxable and insurance is unheard of. A successful set up to earn money and be self employed.
The only regulations okadas follow are traffic related. The helmet is mandatory however it is not standardized. You see all colors and types. Sometimes it is a safety hat; sometimes its a bicycle helmet, sometimes it is an old army helmet and the funniest are those who wear their helmet back to front, a fashion statement perhaps.
Today while waiting at the traffic light; there were more than 100 Okadas swirling around the cars in the traffic. As soon as the light hit green, a sea of human beings on two wheels zooms ahead and the noise beats a thunderstorm.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

how to keep lagos clean

The signs are written in red and say
Do not urinate
Do not defecate
Do not throw refuse
Keep Lagos clean !

No comments....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Street barber...

Need a barber? turn right... most side streets and neighborhoods have a barber spot.
There you will find a bench, a mirror hanging on a villa or a residential compound wall and a small lamp hanging on top of the mirror. As soon as a customer arrives, the barber turns on his small generator, hooks the electric shaver, turns on the lamp, wraps a dark towel around your shoulders and off he goes dealing with the unwanted hair.
I don't know how much our neighborhood barber charges. I am sure his business is thriving since every time I drive by he is busy. Mind you the barbers' customer base is limited to people walking by; in that respect our barber seem to have found a lucrative low cost corner for himself!

Friday, March 20, 2009

ingenuity or resourcefulness?

Medicines are easily available in Lagos, however the chances of finding authentic ones are very slim...consequently you end up bringing some medicines with you from home or in my case you buy it from the supermarket!!!! Yes on the second level of goodies you will find a medicine counter.
Today Thomas's cough allergy is back. The doctor in Beirut prescribed the medicine over the phone. Next, we talk to Mr. Ali @ goodies. He confirms that one is available now but the second one shall be delivered tomorrow from Beirut. When I went to pick it up, he explained to me the system. With every flight from Beirut to Lagos a medicine parcel is sent from a pharmacy in Beirut. MEA flies to Lagos 3 times a week, so when you are short on any medicine, they are more than happy to arrange it for you. Of course it comes at a price many residents are willing to pay!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

off line

Last week ended nicely.! But the internet connection at home is down since saturday. We are using a 3G card since then. More news soon !

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Surprise delivery

After failing to deliver the book case on Saturday March 7, 2009 even though they called to inform us they were on their way, we stopped waiting. Instead we went out for a brunch at Chocolat Royal. Later on Cecilia and Nazlie both visiting Lagos for the first time dropped by for coffee and cake. Then together we went to Cactus Restaurant for dinner. The most talked of place in the city. It was a disappointing experience. The food served was tasteless Lebanese. It is so noisy you would think you are in a sidewalk eatery rather than a restaurant.
Sunday we had a quiet morning followed by a majestic lunch at the Chinese Regent Restaurant in Victoria Island. We had dim sum galore, it was delightful and the service impeccable.
The book cases were still on their way..
Monday started on an extremely sad note. The tragic loss of Jan E. the head of our market in a car accident. He was a remarkable man. He hired me on Sept 1, 2000 in Lebanon to join this company. Everyone was shaken, sad and in shock. This news has put all my petty and vain worries in perspective. It humbled me. Through out the day the news of his death dominated every meeting or phone call in the office.
Just before leaving the office with my guests that evening, I hear that the delivery was done; on top of it they also delivered a complete balcony furniture set. It is true then that good things happens to those who wait! So what is next?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Inshalla boukra

Despite following up and receiving confirmation that the delivery is on schedule; the book shelves were not delivered yesterday.
At one point they told me we are in front of your building!
At another they said we had to return back because we forgot the tools.
On the third call, they finally said the truth; inshalla boukra at 2 pm!
In the meantime my inshalla ok attitude gained another day.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

One month

We are here since a month; it went by slowly or let us say not as fast as i am use to!
The settling down is still on going and I firmly take an Inshala boukra attitude now.
My residence permit has not been applied for though I have received all the papers signed and approved. The visa person keeps taking my passport to do nothing with it.
Taking up a membership @ country club is pending an invitation by a member. The rules here are very strict. The invite has not been sent.
This laissez faire attitude is seeping in me too...
I cannot be bothered to join a gym and get back to my fitness routine. Worst of all; in an effort to grow my curly hair a bit long in order to get a new look; I keep postponing the hairdresser appointment but now the white hair is showing all over - I must forget the new hairstyle and fix this. Finally Inshalla boukra the book shelves will be delivered and we get rid of all the remaining boxes in the hallway. Perhaps then our place will be filled with the friendly warmth of our books and I recover my energy!