Sunday, June 12, 2011


I’m in Africa.

Holy shit, I’m in Africa.

Woke up to explosive thunder that shook the building and rainfall so intense to sound like hail.

Flights were uneventful. Slept for a decent amount on both, thanks in part to Benedryl. Forgot how disoriented it makes you upon waking up. Light does funny things to the brain – I’d fall asleep w/ it light outside and wake up with it dark two hours later because of the flight path, yet I’d psychologically feel like I’d been asleep a lot longer.

Eating eggs and toast right now that were premade in Israel. It’s microwaved. What a bizarre dining room for a hotel…

Saw my first AK-47 in real life. The airport was teeming with military and police. I must say, the intimidation tactic is quite effective – I certainly didn’t want to stir up trouble. The “customs” process was hilarious. There was a team of imposing guards in uniform standing at the exit of the airport terminal. I slowly walked by, looking at them questioningly, and they simply waved me on. That was it. No lines, nothing.

Roads are commonly shared by pedestrians and cars. As such, honking is common, more as a rudimentary form of communication. Roads are not designed for high speeds: even at 30 mph, we seem to be flying down the road. It’s partly because the road is narrow and the spacing of the stripes. It doesn’t help that drivers think of lanes as a suggestion.

Today I complete the journey to Anambra. (I stayed overnight in Lagos.) Should be a lot faster trip. Spent so much time on planes that I’ve lost sense of time and my internal clock. I have no idea where my normal sleep schedule is right now.

There’s a Nigerian soap TV show playing in the dining room. Some things never change. Editing is rather amusingly sparse. There are definite moments of dead time as actors deal with some logistical issue – opening up a wrapped item, turning a car around in a dead end, etc. Such moments would be cut out of an American show, but here the actors are left to their own devices to make up time.

Haggling is commonplace. Street vendors aggressively shop their wares. The savvy buyer can talk them down by 2-5x the original price. My driver, Emmanuel, bought a Blackberry leather cover for 500 Naira ($3.25); asking price was 2500 Naira ($16).

Local Nigerian airport security is quite lax. The security checkpoint consisted of one guard and a rickety old X-ray scanner. Didn’t remove shoes, belt, etc. Pretty nice to not wait in lines for 2 hours.

Plane just called. Off we go.


Amy said...

Lagos in Portugal? Very nice beach town, loved it there.
How exciting that you are in Africa! I will definitely check your blog to hear about your adventures.
Take care, old friend!

xuberantnoodle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
xuberantnoodle said...

I'm very excited for you!! I've never been to Africa, but I'm sure it's a very different place. I've been to some very remote and different places, culturally, in Latin America, but I presume that there are stark, deep, differences between Africa and the US that aren't as pronounced here in Latin America (I'm writing from Costa Rica). It's very cool you're there doing what you're doing. I couldn't help but laugh at the haggling thing. One time in a market in Guatemala this lady was trying to sell my friend some pants as we walked by, and said "fifty quetzales! fifty!" (in spanish), and as we continued walking she said "forty! thirty! twenty five! twenty! ten! five! one!!" It literally got all the way to one quetzal (15 cents). We all busted up laughing. I doubt those last offers were real, but that almost makes it funnier: they're just as aware of how ridiculous the whole thing is, how much of a game it is, and like joking about it. I still find it super fun haggling though. You've seen Life of Brian, right? "no no no, you have to haggle! '10 for that? you must be mad'" haha I miss you man, I hope you're doing well and enjoying your time there. I'll look forward to another bike ride or something when we're both back in the States. stay in touch.

oh and I have a blog too about my time here but I'm not really using it yet. Maybe in a few months check