Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yankari National Park, Nigeria

Bob, Sharon and Jonathan spent the four day weekend central Nigeria visiting Yankari National Park and the surrounding area. Bob only took a few photos so I will post them now until I get more and I will post more details about their trip (when I get them).
The baboons were fed well that weekend, first they ate the driver's/guard's food from the to of the car (they were warned) and then one of them jumped into Sharon and Jonathan's car and grabbed their rolls...  that was all she could grab before Sharon threw her and her baby out of the car.

There are lions in Nigeria...

The drivers, guards and guide.

Recent posts on past trips

Here are a few posts I have done this weekend.  I post them on the date of the event, not on the day of actual posting so I am posting this link so that you don't miss out.
Mountain Biking in Omo Forest – November 2009 / March 2009
Trip to Paris with my mom – October 2009
Added pictures to the Oktoberfest post

I am still working on
Uganda trip – September 2009
Third Mainland Bridge Bike Ride – November 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

GLO Lagos Marathon postponed...

Just like last year, the GLO Lagos Marathon (half marathon) scheduled this December has been postponed...  likely until February.  The marathon that was to hold in December 2008, was postponed until February 2009 and I assume the same will happen again.  It is unfortunate as the weather in December is cooler than in February. 

I have just updated my blog post for the February 2009 Half Marathon.  Check it out.

Wonderful spa right around the corner on Ikoyi Island

Many great places in Lagos, especially restaurants, are hidden behind walls and unless you are in the know...  you are in the dark that these places even exist.
The Grape Grazers Wine Club recently hosted a wine tasting event at the Clear Essence California Spa and Wellness Resort.  It is located on Ikoyi Island not far from where we live and the place is wonderful.  It is a members only spa but until they get enough members they may be open to non-members, at least they said they were.  It is pricey but for a special occasion or event, it would be worth it.

A one-year membership is 500,000 naira (~$3350).  Check out what the membership includes here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mountain Biking in Omo Forest, November 8 (and Bob's trip in March)

Friend Jonathan arranged a Nigerian Field Society trip to go mountain biking in Omo Forest, located east of Lagos, about a 3 hour drive away. At about 7AM, a group of about 14 of us headed out in a convoy with Nigerian Police in the vehicles to help us get through the many check points (15+) where Nigerian Police try to get money from almost every vehicle that passes. "Anything for the weekend?" I hate it but on one hand they get paid so poorly, I don't blame them. I believe it is these check points and the bad roads that keep most Nigerians from traveling around their own country, other than going to their village and back, and when they can fly, they do. We have to travel with Nigerian Police in our car outside of Lagos and we are happy to have them as they get us right through the check points with no hassle (usually).
The drive was uneventful, though I was happy to have friends in the car who enjoyed reminiscing and listening to music from the 1980s, especially the metal (hair) bands! It was fun!
The goal was to ride to Omo Camp (~15km), eat lunch, then ride back. Because we got off to a slow start (Ilsa and Rob decided to add on some distance to their ride by taking the wrong road) and the crowd was not as fast as Jonathan had anticipated. Jonathan has got to be the fittest person I know and his estimates of how long a ride will take and the level of exertion are usually a bit underestimated! I was just OK but not all participants were in as good of shape as me (and I have not done much cardio since I tore a tendon in my foot training for the half marathon earlier this year) and did not have as much mountain biking experience. It is pretty flat around Lagos and most people think that when you travel outside of Lagos, it is also flat. Well that is not the case as Omo forest has hills. The route we took was a Jeep road, though it is mostly used by Okadas (motorcycles). Our driver served as the SAG wagon for about half of the ride but then had to stop as the bridge was washed out. About half of the group made it about half way to the iron bridge and we rode on another 5 km (3km short of the camp) before stopping for a snack and turning around.  Here are some pictures:

The road...

Hmmm...  was it a good idea to go so soon after the rainy season ended?!  Me riding through one of the many water holes, some do depe your feet get soaked.

The washed out bridge with Rob standing on the other side (hard to see, I know).  The small picture is of me and Ilsa and was taken by Rob.

This was the bypass route, that we and the okadas use.  No more vehicle travel past this point.

The iron bridge over a river.  In front is Ilsa, Rob and Sharon.


Overall it was a great trip. I met some new people, got in some good exercise, and got outside of Lagos. Unfortunately Bob missed out on this trip as he was in Houston. He had done this one before in March of this year, while I stayed home to get some work done.

Here are some pics from the earlier trip in March 2009, in the dry season.

Kevin, Bob, Jonathan and their guard.

The main bridge in March 2009, which was completely washed out in November.

One of the bridges in March 2009.
I don't recall seeing this one so it must have been beyond where we rode.

Omo Camp - Folks have camped here in the past but now that the bridges are washed out, it would take a bit of effort to get there with our stuff and water.

The standard transportation on these roads, an okada (motorcycle).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Still working on the Paris and Uganda posts...

Oktoberfest at Lagos Yacht Club

Sunset in the Lagos Harbor the night an Oktoberfest celebration was held at the Lagos Yacht Club. A band was flown in from Bavaria (Koenig Ludwig Musikanten) we had Bavarian beer (brewed in Nigeria), sausage, sauerkraut and the rest of the fixins. We had a fun time but had to wait a long time for food... which meant more drinking! We had fun!
There were many toasts and each one was made while standing on the picnic table benches.
"Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gem├╝tlichkeit "
"Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gem├╝tlichkeit "

Bob, Ilsa & me

Ilsa's husband Rob...  Ilsa and Rob are either looking out for each other or
drinking way too much over here in Nigeria!

Joanne and Ingo...  Ingo made sure he had his big beer stein from home!
Ingo also made sure we pronounced the toast properly as he is one of our resident Germans.

The band... squint real hard and you may be able to see them in the background.