Sunday, February 8, 2009

Weekend in Idanre

I don't have time to post much now but I will post 2 videos that shows how beautiful the area around Idanre, Nigeria is. Idanre is located east of Lagos in Ondo state and the drive was about 4.5 hours long to get there.

Bob was not on this trip as he was in Houston for business. ; (

Thirteen people in a caravan of five cars departed Lagos on Saturday morning. Enroute to Idanre, we stopped at a rampart in Epe, a 100km long wall from the 10th Century that used to surround an old kingdom. The areas outside the wall was considered sacred.

Just after Epe, we had an encounter with the infamous sticker boys, people stopping cars to get them to buy local state stickers they say are required to drive on. Sharon and Jonathan’s driver, in the front vehicle with the guard, violently swerved the car toward them to avoid having to stop and nearly rolled the car. It was a very unsafe move and a stupid move when you are with a caravan of cars. The sticker boys threw a stick with nails (a common practice here) in front of the second vehicle who ran it over requiring us to make a short stop down the road to get the tire repaired. I was in the last vehicle and had no idea any of this was going on in front of me.

After many police stops along the way (20+), we checked into the Rock Valley Hotel and then broke up unto two groups, one group that was hiking (group of three) and one group that was biking. Ten people (me included) set out at 2PM for what we thought was a 2.5 hour bike ride but it ended up being 5 hours long and strenuous but fun. The scenery, with Yosemite-like views, was beautiful along the road which went around one of the large granite outcrops (inselberg) through small villages. The first stop along the way was to see the drying of the cocoa beans (300 naira/kg) and down the road Sharon opened a cocoa pod for us to see and taste the goop around the seeds… None for me please! One by one, people got off their bikes and into the SAG wagon that followed us (which ran out of water) or the one that eventually met us from the other direction (met us late but had water). Since we did not anticipate such a long ride, most of us ran out of water or were very low on water which was one of the major reasons folks stopped riding and hopped in the car. Five of the ten completed the whole ride and I am happy to say one of them was me. Back at the hotel we ate a dinner of chicken and chips (fries) or fish and rice. The food was good but the chickens here are very skinny! ; )

On Sunday, the goal was to hike up on top of the inselberg and to get there we ascended over 700 steps and stopped at a few very nice view points. On the hike, we came across a hunter who used a sling shot to kill rodents and he happened to have made a kill that day (see below). Jonathan wanted to see how good the hunter’s accuracy was so he asked him to aim for a particular tree. He aimed his sling shot but missed a few times over, but he was close. We walked through an old village up on the inselberg but it is uninhabited now. As I said before, the views were beautiful. We hiked down a steep rock face to “The Footprint,” a foot-shaped depression in the rock that is used to determine if you are a witch or sorcerer. If you place your foot on it, and it gets stuck, then you are one! Sheryl’s foot fit but she was not a witch. I could have told you that! I did not try! ; ) We walked to the peak to take in the views and then walked to an overview of Idanre, where old unused chalets exist. We may have to come back here to camp.

We hiked back down and reached the bottom about noon and started our drive home which took 5 hours and we had not police stops… they much have all been in church.

A link to another trip write up posted on the Nigerian Field Society page.


All4Naija said...

Thank you for that breathtaking videos of Idanre.

Go2net said...

I love your blog! We just accepted an offer to teach at AISL and we're moving to Lagos in August with our toddler. Any tips you can share will be appreciated.

Lisa said...

Go2net... I posted a few pieces of info in January that might help so check out those posts.

All4Naija said...

Go2net, you can also visit this site to see some images of how Lagos looks like. ---Just copy and paste it on your web browser.

Sean said...

Thanks for keeping this blog -- as others have said, it is a real source of information in an information-starved place.

I am here in Nigeria for 6 months and plan on checking out Idanre (thanks to you) before I go. It looks beautiful.


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