Saturday, December 8, 2007


The morning of December 8th was the GLO Marathon in Lagos. A group of us - me, Niyi (my driver), Kevin, Sharon, Jonathan, and Kazeem (S&J's driver) - have been training for the last few months and this run is what got my butt back into running after moving here. Thanks Kevin! I have done a number of long runs in the US and my core group of friends were the ones I ran with in the wee hours of the morning on the weekdays and on those Saturday long runs. I miss you all!

Training for this run was a lot of fun. Most of my running during the week was on the treadmill but we would get out for some long runs on the weekend and for may of them, my driver Niyi joined us.

The run, like most meeting, events, etc., here in Nigeia, did not start on time. It was supposed to start at 7 but it started at about 7:55AM. The weather was good, for a run in Lagos, as it was overcast for most of the run but it was humid and warm... just like those summer runs in Houston!
Before the run...

The shoes... Converse high tops and flip flops or sandals!

On the run course - notice the bare feet! Amazing! What a contrast to what you see in the US! Near the end many runners were in their socks with their shoes in their hands. I guess they are not used to wearing shoes for running or had probably never run/trained that far in these shoes before!

View from the run course once we were on the mainland

Everyone finished the race and had a great time, which was the goal. Kevin and I ran together for the entire run and kept each other moving. I am very proud of my driver who ran this for the first time and did a great job - he beat me!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

NFS Trip to Okomu National Park

Another weekend spent on the rough roads in Okomu National Park. The trip was organized by Jonathan and was a Nigerian Field Society trip, and our first camping trip since we have been in Nigeria. Thanks goes to Jonathan for writing up the trip report. See it on the NFS website here:
Here are some more pictures:

Rubber Plantation

Road through the forest
Biking on the muddy roads

Fixing the tires
Note the gun with our guard, from the Nigerian Police Force

Sunday, November 25, 2007

St. Andrew's Ball

Last night we attended St. Andrew's Ball at the Muson Center in Lagos. We have been preparing by taking Scottish dance lessons so that we can participate in the fun. We danced the night away and had a great time. We will keep practicing for the next scottish ball in January. It was a black tie event - good thing Bob bought that tux in Hong Kong!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bike the Mainland Bridge

One of the Nigerian Field Society activities is to bike the mainland bridge on environmental day. On environmental day, no one is supposed to drive on the roads between 7 and 10AM as they are to be cleaning. Funny thing is that cleaning consists of burning a bunch of trash all over the city, which is terrible for the environment! Anyway, environemtal day is a good time for us to be on the roads. the ride goes from Ikoyi, where we live onto mainland Lagos and the ride is about 30km. This is the road that we take to get to the airport. About 40 people were on the ride and only one person needed the sag wagon - me! About 5km from the end of the ride, I got a flat tire that could not be patched (valve stem issue) and I did not have the right size tube. Bummer!

A local sail boat
View of homes from the bridge
Floating logs for sale

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Lagos Half Marathon coming December 8th

Here is the group of folks I have been running with lately - from left ot right - Nigel, Steve, CS, Kevin, and me. Only Kevin and I are running the half marathon but the other folks are out there running for exercise and keeping us motivated.

Here are some photos from the running route in a residential area called Banana island, named after its shape. The area is being built on reclaimed land and there is a lot of construction but limited traffic.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sail Around the World - Lagos Yacht Club

Sail Around the World is an annual international food and drink festival at the Lagos Yacht Club with attendance numbers in the 1100 +/- range. A few months back, I had a few drinks at the yacht club a while back and signed up to run the USA booth, having never attended the event and having no idea of the scale of the event. I recruited some other folks, primarily, Nancy (pictured), Susan (pictured), Kelvin and another Nancy to help along with our cook. We served just over 300 mini burgers (our cook made them) and 200 mini hot dogs with condiments, tomatoes, lettuce and pickles and each one was held together with a toothpick with an American flag on it. Too cute! We had baked beans (Thanks Nancy B.!), 600 mini chocolate chip cookies (Thanks Susan!), and homemade lemonade (Thanks Susan!) served with Jack Daniels. Our booth was covered with red, white and blue decorations (Thanks Nancy O.!) and white lights. We had two barbeques going with Kelvin, Bob, Kevin and Bob O taking turns at the grill. Our booth was a success! Next year we will need more hamburgers and more Jack Daniels!

North American was at our booth advertising their direct flights to the USA and we raffled off two economy tickets to the US. Susan won one of the tickets!

Here are some photos. Check back soon as I am waiting to get more photos from others who attended.

We had a fan at the booth and I saw that there was no plug on the end of the wires. I asked my driver first and then the electrician and they told me there was no problem, Just stick the wires in the holes and it will work! Not the safest approach, but of course it worked.

Trip to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria

Bob and I went to Abuja this past week for a conference held at the Sheraton hotel.

Abuja, centrally located in Nigeria, is a 50 minute flight from Lagos and has been the federal capital of Nigeria since 1991. It is a planned city and was chosen to be the new capital in Nigeria in 1970 as the population of Lagos was exploding and the government saw the need to move to a politically and ethnically neutral part of Nigeria. The city construction started in the mid-70’s but moved very slowly and it was not until 1991 that it officially became the capital. Construction in the city is still ongoing. The infrastructure of Abuja is very different from Lagos as the roads are wide and smooth and the power is nearly constant. The other bonus is that okadas are outlawed in the city.

At the foot of Aso Rock, you will find the main government offices in an area called Three Arms Zone (executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government). Bob and I were pretty busy while in Abuja but I did get out with a coworker/friend Sharon for two mornings on a running tour of Abuja. We ran from the Sheraton Hotel past the National Mosque and the National Ecumenical Church (Christian) to the National Assembly buildings. In front of the National Assembly buildings is a large bronze statue called “The Mandate”. I have been reading travel books and the internet in search of the significance of the statue but have not come up with anything concrete. All around the base of the statue are life size bronze figures of people from many Nigerian tribes from the Gwari people, who were the nomadic people that occupied Abuja prior to it becoming the capital, to the Fulani, Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa people. The guards walked around the statue describing where each person was from. I got a number of pictures of the statue before someone started yelling at the guards for letting us take pictures without permission. This is when Sharon and I said thanks and ran off to the next site, which was Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We approached the tomb from its backside and took some pictures. As we were leaving a guard was trying to get our attention by shaking his finger at us but we just said good morning, waved and ran off back towards the hotel. We later read the ordinary people are not to get close to the tomb. Oops!

Here are some photos. The sky cleared up over the course of the week but initially there were many flight delays due to poor visibility caused by the West African trade winds called the Harmattan. Upon moving here I was amazed to find out that from November to March, fine dust particles are blown south from the Sahara Desert significantly reducing the visibility. I have been told that many people have respitory problems during the Harmattan.

To read more about Abuja, go here:
To see some more pictures, go here:
Sheraton Hotel:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lekki Conservation Center

The Lekki Conservation Center was built in 1990 and is located across the street from the Chevron complex on Lekki Peninsula (45 minute drive because of traffic - should be 15 minutes). It consists of swamp and savannah habitats and is run by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation and supported by Chevron (I believe it is located on Chevron’s land). The area is secure.

Bob and I spent the day at the conservatory after a night at the Protea Oakwood Hotel (see post on August 4, 2007 to read about how we got a free night there). The center is in need of some serious upkeep as the elevated walkways are falling apart in places, but that did not take away from enjoying the swamp. We saw Mona monkeys, monitor lizards, huge turtles, peacocks and it is reported that there are also crocodiles, bush bucks, duikers and giant rats (oh boy!) in the park.

More Links on Lekki Conservatory:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Still working on the Hong Kong & Thailand post

Check back in the next day or two for the trip details. I can't seem to get it done... I keep working on shorter easier posts! I will do it soon! ; ) Here are some photos. More to come soon. BANGKOK, THAILAND

Lagos Half Marathon - The official website

They have finally published a website for the Lagos Half marathon. Here is the link:

Here are a couple of interesting excerpts from the website:

Running Rule #1
All teams must complete the courses as instructed and marked. No motorized forms of transport are allowed unless otherwise required (e.g. during an emergency).

Comment: I have heard that many people try to cheat by taking an okada (motorcycle) for part of the run!

For your safety, it is advised that you do not participate in the event if you have had a fever or cold in the past week, or have a hangover, as these can contribute towards heat exhaustion, dehydration, or life threatening heatstroke.

Comment: Interesting that they have to mention hangovers here. Duh!!!

Please note: Toilet facilities at the Half Marathon Start will provided. Urinals for men will be available at the Half Marathon Start to assist with waiting times. The organisers ask that all men utilise these urinals where at all possible.

Comment: Are there no women's restrooms??? Uh Oh!!

Lagos post on YouTube

I just ran across this video on YouTube and I think it provides a representative view of Lagos. The video must have been taken on a holiday or weekend as there is no traffic.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oyibos Online - Most Timely Nigeria News

An expat recommended the website Oyibos Online for the lastest in Nigeria news. They mentioned that it is the most up to date and timely website for news, even better the the US Consolate and CNN. Check it out:

Vendors at the Beach

Here are a few pictures of the vendors at the beach selling handicrafts such as batik tablecloths and African print shirts, Nigeria and Ghana baskets, beads, knives from Mali and wood carvings.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Lagos Holidays

Monday, October 1 was a holiday In Nigeria to celebrate it’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1960.

Thursday, October 11 and Friday, October 12 were declared Public Holidays by the Federal Government to celebrate this year's ID-EL-FITRI. ID-EL-FITRI (spelled many different ways) marks the end of Ramadan, a 30-day period of daytime fasting observed by Muslims.

Learn more about Ramadan:

Learn more about Nigeria Holidays:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vegetable Sterilization

We had a dinner party this Thursday Night and as Daniel was preparing I snapped a picture of the vegetables in the sink. All of our vegetables have to be soaked in a sterilizing solution before we can eat them; we use Milton tablets. I had never heard of this stuff before but I read up on it and it is mostly used (in the UK, I think) to sterilize baby bottles. It is basically a bleach solution that we soak our vegetables in for about 20 minutes and it kills all germs (bacteria, viruses and fungi). I asked our cook if he needs to sterilize the vegetables he eats and he said that he does, especially to protect against typhoid! Yikes!