Monday, April 30, 2007

Welcome / Farewell party - April 29, 2007

On Sunday night there was Welcome / Farewall Party or those of us who just recently moved to Lagos (about 8-12 people/couples/families, I don't recall the exact number) and those who are leaving soon (about 6 people/couples/families or so). The party was at our apartment complex by the pool and the tennis courts. It was a lot of fun and involved food (two whole pigs), drinks, a DJ (an expat's husband), a hula hoop competition (which I barely won), the limbo (the competition was tough!) and some dancing.

Here are some pictures. They are definitely not my best pictures but I am posting them anyway!

One of two whole pigs that were brought in for dinner! The rest of the meal consisted of potluck dishes!

The rest of the food spread!


Hula hooping...


...and dancing!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Outside Movie Night at our Apartment Complex

Friday night, April 27th, was movie night. A few of the guys here borrowed a projector from work and hooked up their DVD player to it. They set everything up in the tennis courts and projected the movie on the wall of the squash courts. It was just like a drive-in movie! The featured movie was Cars, which attracted a number of kids from the cook/driver/steward quarters here onsite. The weather was nice, not too hot or humid, but this time of year, the rainy season, attracts a lot of flying ants. There were tons of them flying around the tennis court lights, which were on while they were setting up for the movie. Luckily most of them went away when the lights were turned off.

I attempted a picture but it did not turn out too great because as I did not want to blind everyone with the flash. Next time I will get one with the flash.

Movie night typically occurs every Friday night and is either outside, like last Friday night, or at someone's place like the previous Friday night (Waking Ned Devine was the featured movie). Once we get a big TV, we will likely host TV night in the future.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Day at Wreck Beach (April 15)

On Saturday April 14th we had to stay within the our gated and guarded apartment complex so that we would be safe during the elections in the event that any riots or related trouble started.

On Sunday we headed to the beach. The company we work for has three boats that can be rented to take us to a number of different beaches. On this day we went to an isolated beach called Wreck Beach as there is a remnant of a ship right on the beach. Unfortunately I did not take a picture in the morning so that you could have seen the entire perimeter of the ship while the tides were low. I will have to get a picture on my next visit.

The boat trip took about 1 hour (35km - Bob recorded the trip on his GPS) to get to the drop off point from which we had to walk about 1 km to get to the beach. The boat ride was on a protected inland waterway, protected by a long thin strip of land about 1km or so deep. It is this strip of land that we had to cross to get to the beach. There were about 14 of us and we did not have to carry all of our stuff to the beach. The family in the village carried it for us and they were amazing. One woman had a cooler and a boogie board on her head! Boy am I am wimp!

The waves were rather big, about 6-8 feet, but it was difficult for anyone to catch a rid on their boogie board of surf board because there was a very strong lateral current that took you pretty quickly down the beach. Bob, the fish that he is, swam out beyond the waves and just hung out out there. I tried to join him but I was getting too winded swimming through the white water and I did not have any goggles to keep my contacts on my eyeballs (excuses, excuses, I know!). I had goggles on my second attempt but by that time the tide had come up so much that I had to swim even longer before getting to the big waves and I was pooped! Now I have a goal!

Check out the little kid with 2 boogie boards and the woman with the cooler and the umbrella.

This is a picture late in the afternoon after the tide has come up significantly. The dark brown stuff sticking out of the water is the remnant of the ship.

Another picture of us on the beach.

The hut on the beach and the only shade... unless you brought your own umbrella. Too bad we did not know and we could have packed one in our shipment. Now we will have to shop around for one here.

Can you bleieve this woman has a very small child on her back and a cooler on her head!

Walking through the beautiful village on the way back to the boat.

Elections, Holidays, Holidays and more Holidays

Since we have been in Lagos (arrived April 4th), we have had 5 holidays. Two of the holidays, April 6th and 9th, were planned for Easter. On Wednesday April 11th at about 4PM, the Nigerian government declared Thursday April 12th and Friday April 13th as national holidays so that the local people had time to travel and locate their polling stations for the local governor elections that were to occur on Saturday April 14th. On election days the government places restrictions on movements of people (no driving) in the hopes that more people will vote. The turn out for the local elections was better than expected and for the most part calm. Bob and I (and everyone else in the complex) were restricted from going anywhere so we just hung out at home watching the elections on TV. The presidential elections were on April 21st and a few days before (Thursday) the government declared Friday April 20th a national holiday for travel purposes. The elections on Saturday April 21st were also relatively "calm" but had much less voter turn out and the results are now being disputed. We were again restricted from travel outside of our complex and spent that Saturday hanging out at home again.

Unfortunately Bob and I worked on all of the holidays in an effort to get settled. Losers!

Click on this NPR link to hear more about the presidential elections (fued between outgoing president and outgoing vice-president, low turn-out for voting, and more):

Near-term holidays:

Tuesday May 1st is a holiday to celebrate May Day. Be happy that we don't work 15 hour days!
What is May Day?

Tuesday May 29th is Democracy Day which commemorates the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999. That day, Olusegun Obasanjo took office as President of Nigeria, the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule (from Wikipedia). I believe the term of office for the president and state governors in Nigeria is 4 years and in 2003 Olusegun Obasanjo was elected for president for a second term. There was an effort to amend the constitution to allow serving a third term but it never passed. Democracy Day 2007 will mark the first transfer from civilian to civilian government.

That is the end of the holidays until October… ; ( I don’t know how I am going to cope!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Our New Home as of April 10th

We moved into our place less than a week after arriving to Nigeria. We could have moved in on the first day we got here (April 4) but there was a mix up and it was never communicated to anyone, not even us, that our place was available. Actually it was announced to the Welcome Committee who had put flowers, some books, a nice note and a casserole in our flat.

We asked around on our first day in the office if our flat was ready but all the people who knew had already gone on vacation (our first day in the office was Thursday and the office was closed Friday and the following Monday for Easter). We found out our flat was ready at the end of the day when we were headed back to the hotel so we went to the apartment on Friday and started moving furniture and getting stuff repaired.

Upon arrival, the kitchen and master bath floor had standing water. The cords for the shower heads did not reach the showerhead mount on the wall so you basically had to hold the showerhead in your hand while showering or just take a bath. Hello! The washing machine leaked a bunch of water and our doorbell also did not work. Oh yeah... and we moved a freezer form the kitchen into the laundry room and the outlet we wanted to plug it into did not work so we had to get that fixed. We have had some other maintenance requests since then but I think you get the point!

We flew in with seven bags of luggage and already had two bags in lagos from our first trip to Lagos in February. We brought some basics (towels, sheets, pillows, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.) and also some things to make our place a little more of a home until our shipment arrives (speakers of the IPOD, pictures, bedspread, etc.).

Here are some pictures of the living and dining room, kitchen and master bedroom.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Our Temporary Home in Lagos - April 4-April 10

Upon arrival we stayed at a hotel complex called Eko. I say complex because there are 3 hotels and about 5 restaurants. We stayed in the nicest rooms, called the Eko Suites. Since we arrived just before the holiday weekend, this was a great place to "be stuck" because there are a number of restauruants, one of which is an excellent steak house.



The first night in the hotel, we heard some loud noises outside and we looked out the window to see a large display of fireworks! We assumed they were in honor of our arrival to Lagos. ; )


Friday, April 20, 2007


Here are a few pictures of some of our things boxed up on the driveway (packing and loading took 3 full days, not to mention the time in the evenings preparing for the next day with the movers) ...

...and Bob packing our seven bags of carry-on luggage. We finished packing at about 1AM (that is why Bob looks so happy) and then headed back to the hotel to crash.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Going Away Party

About one month before the move (early March) some good friends had a going away party for Bob and I. The party group primarily consisted of the group that I have been running with for the last 3 or 4 years plus some other good frineds. I will miss everyone while I am in Nigeria as I spent a lot of time with them and shared a lot of good times (wedding parties, babies, running accomplishments, birthdays happy hours) and hard times (some of those long runs were tough in the Houston heat). Many of these folks listened to me complain constantly during the remodel of our home and I thank them for that! ; ) the party had a Nigeria theme, of course and there was a yummy chocolate cake in the shape of Africa. It was great! The table cloth was a Nigerian flag!

Party Hosts with their gift of beads from Nigeria

From left to right: Bob in the background, Lisa, Shelly, Yvonne, Lucy and Leslie

Our cake - What a great idea!