Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ekaro from Nigeria

To be honest, the journey to Lagos was always going to be undertaken with lots of trepidation. And why not, with news of violence, muggings and general lawlessness creating the right amount of fear. This was mixed with the usual excitement of seeing a new place and the tag of the first business trip outside India. Africa will thus hold a special place in my heart.

There was a really quick transit at Doha; but there was time to observe that many of the staff at Doha Airport were Mallus.

Doha to Lagos was a LONG flight (sorry US travelers, no comparison with you guys); and for the first time ever in my life I took breaks standing up, stretching etc in the flight. Watched Wolverine, Singham, a 2 hour highlights package of the 2011 cricket world cup and Ek Doctor Ki Maut. Man will do ANYTHING to kill time.

The landing in Lagos was a welcome relief and the interesting part was that somehow the strangeness of stepping out of the flight that I felt at Shanghai was not felt here. Maybe Africa is closer to India than China. Or was it because it was my second time?

My Arsenal connections (nothing much - I'm just a fan :) ) ensured an instant rapport with the gentleman who had come to pick us up.

We travelled along the longest bridge in Africa called the 3rd mainland Bridge which connects the Lagos mainland to Victoria Island. One can see the slow stirrings of development in Nigeria and this bridge is symbolic of it. However the massive slums that can be seen along its sides are indicative of the challenges facing Nigeria.

Its been 3 days here and this is what I have learnt -

1. Democracy is the best form of government. Even with all its imperfections, Nigeria will fulfil its potential. It may take it 15 years instead of 8; but its better to reach the finish line slowly with all your citizens rather than reach there quickly with only a handful.

2. Excellent English is spoken here;

3. The local language Yoruba is pretty cool to learn and I have started learning a few words

4. Traffic jams are everywhere :)

5. Formal attire is accorded so much importance that people dont think twice while wearing a suit in the hot sun

6. All houses are fenced/surrounded by high walls which goes to show that the fears of law-breaking are not
completely unfounded

7. Veggies will find it tough!

8. Inflation levels are super high here and petrol is cheaper than water :) {65 Nairas vs approx. 100 Nairas}

Some more time to spend here - hopefully will have much more to learn!

1 comment:

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