Day 21 in Nigeria

As we begin our final weekend, we want to experience anything left that we have missed.  Personally, I am torn between wanting to see more or wanting to just hang out in my room and rest in preparation for a very busy week next week as we do our final presentations to our clients, a large media event on Friday, and most of us fly out on Saturday.

Niki and Kate were ambitious and decided to head down to Lagos for the weekend.  Lagos is described as hustling and bustling – extremely busy and hectic at all times, a big ball of energy.  Since I can barely walk through Times Square in NYC without getting annoyed at all of the people (as well as uncertainty regarding the security situation), I decided to stay behind.  Knowing that I can live vicariously through Niki and Kate, I am looking forward to hearing about their experiences!

Glyn arranged for his driver to pick us up and take us to a local market.  We walked around the market (which was quite large) for a couple of hours and many people were begging us to take their pictures.  It seems that some of them assumed we were some sort of media people since Glyn had his large SLR camera and Kim and Asha had their cameras at the ready as well.  Some people seem excited about having their pictures taken, some people want to charge you money to take their picture, and others don’t want their pictures taken at all.  I’m finding it easier to just not take pictures rather than figure out minute by minute whether it is okay or not.

National Soccer Stadium in Abuja, Nigeria

Once we left the market, we decided to check out the National Soccer Stadium.  It was closed but a security guard was happy to take us inside.  There wasn’t room in our vehicle so he trotted in front of the car through the parking lot to the stadium itself.  Next time I see it on television, I’ll be able to say I was there! (And I checked in on FourSquare as well, never know when you will need something like that for a badge!)

After leaving the stadium, a little after 11 AM, a short trip around a traffic circle to take a picture turned into our afternoon adventure.  There was road construction and we probably went about 10 miles before there was a place to turn around… and then traffic was backed up for miles, so Glyn’s driver, Chris decided to take an alternate route back to town rather than sitting in completely stopped traffic for hours.  I think in total, the detour took close to three hours and we ended up skipping lunch… again. lol (yeah, if you know me, you know that I like lunch).

Impromtu Toll Booth set up by locals. The blue Mercedes is in the process of going through the "toll-gate"

In some places, due to the traffic on the actual road, local residents decided to make impromptu toll booths, where you have to pay money to drive on the land to bypass the traffic on the road, and they erect barriers to make sure that you cannot get through unless you come through their “toll booth”.  To the left you will see one such toll booth.  No one can argue that the Nigerian people are not enterprising!

Due to much more traffic and security check points, including bonfires and bulldozers where the government was demolishing buildings which had been erected illegally, we didn’t get back to the hotel until around 2pm.  Here is a picture of the traffic (at this point, we had cut through a playground with swing sets and were trying to get back on the highway.) The smoke in the picture is from one of several bonfires set by the demolition crews, and there were police standing by to guard the activities.

Traffic coming into Abuja. Us (and the cars we are following) had just cut through a children's playground and were trying to get back on the highway.

I was scheduled to go with Glyn in the afternoon to visit some boy scouts he had happened

Nigerian Peace Corps building. They stated in March 2011 they were pulling out of Nigeria, but there are still western-looking clothes hanging on the fence. I assume they are still in the process of finalizing the details.

upon the previous week, but by the time we got back to the hotel, I was pretty much done

for the day.  Glyn unfortunately got stuck in traffic again for several hours due to rain and flooding, so although I felt bad for him, I was happy in my decision to veg at at the hotel for the rest of the day.

 

 

#ibmcsc nigeria

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