Monday, April 7, 2008

Landed in Lagos

I am sorry for the long silence since I arrived in Lagos!

Lagos in a snapshot is a big city..so in that it is no better or worse than a city like Delhi or Mumbai....sure it has all the problems: constant traffic [called "go slow" or "hold up, can take upto 2-3 hours to get from one place to another] especially at peak times, bad sanitation, pollution, people rushing to sell you things all the time, low pedestrian safety....but looking at the sunny side, it has those good things too: diverse and easily accessable means of transport [the bikes called "okadas" after a defunct airline, the taxis if you want go solo, the "use till they die" minibuses called "danfos" which can carry upto 30 people, the well maintained high speed bus with a special lane [what Delhi is attempting to do]...]; a booming market: you really marvel the entreprenuerial spirit of the people, as you are waiting in go slow, atleast 10 people will come up to your bus and you can buy pretty much anything [fried plantains, recharge cards for mobile, hankys, cakes, icecream, colddrinks called "minerals" here, mouth fresheners, coconut chips, music etc etc]....; variety of food: you have a wide range of food to choose from, the local nigerian street food to fast food joints, there is even a China Town here! [I feel very lucky being in Lagos that I can have any of these foods anytime compared to my fellow volunteers who dont have such luxury living in smaller towns or villages]....

And of course the bubbly, loud, Nigerian spirit! You know atleast once a day on my to-and-fro in the bus, something or the other happens which causes a "wahalla" [problem]...usually it is the conductor who talks back to an irritating passenger or doesnt give back change or a fight about why so five people are forced to cramp on a seat meant for four...its so interesting to see strangers coming to the rescue and joining in your fight!

My target now is to visit the happening "Victoria Island" and of course the beaches nearby Lagos...I have been on the Marina and like Bombay, its quite beautiful...oh the sight of all that water!! Due to traffic, it takes almost 2-3 hours to get to the closest beach...well my goal for next weekend is to use my charm with some serving volunteers and get them to take me to the beach...can't wait:)

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