Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post card from Lagos

Posted by Varun | Sunday, December 26, 2010 | Category: , , , | 34 comments

As promised, here I am with a picture post card (Click on the thumbnails to see the full size image and don't forget to click on hyperlinks in the post) from Lagos. Before you dive into the pictures, here's a lil tidbit about the city!

"It’s the largest city in Africa, with wall-to-wall people, bumper-to-bumper cars. The city takes its name from the Portuguese for lagoon, and has been a Yoruba port, a British political centre and until 1991, Nigeria’s capital. It remains the economic and cultural powerhouse of the country, and has a superb live music scene and West Africa’s most inimitable street life. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re up for an urban adventure then you might find Lagos truly compelling. A true megacity and the face of modern Africa as much as any picture postcard national park – jump right in." - Lonely Planet

Will start off with a sign board and then move on to my apartment and office. People do keep the city clean. Main roads look spic-and-span but sometimes the footpaths and side roads are as smelly as Phoebe Buffay's cat!

Drawing Room

Balcony next to Drawing Room
Kia Rio, My Roomie Kamal and our Driver Hakim
Stairs from Drawing room to Bedrooms

My Room :)

Work Place. Golden Plaza, Lagos
MTN's Y'ello (Yellow) Christmas Tree

Enough of apartment and Office! Let me move on to bird's eye view of Lagos! (Pictures have been shot from the 9th floor of Golden Plaza!)

 MTN parking lot
Flyover, A housing colony and an old market

Boat Club. Water seen is the back waters of Atlantic Ocean!
Wasn't that just amazing!? I know I am praising my own pictures but is there anything wrong in calling an amazing picture amazing!? :-D

Okay now let me zoom in a little and show you the traffic,some buildings and anything  that caught my eye while driving to work. Haven't really managed to capture the true essence of Lagos and the bumper to bumper traffic yet but since it is something that is seen almost every day, I'll capture if for you very soon! 

I had read somewhere that if you drive in Lagos you can drive anywhere in the world. I think everyone would say the same about the city they live in but after seeing how people drive here, I should say, if you have driven in Bangalore, you can drive blind folded in Lagos.

Awolowo Road. Oh yes! There are Autos

Lagos Taxi. Haven't traveled in one yet

100 cc Motorbikes are everywhere

City Buses (Called Lag Bus) lined up

Back waters you saw in one of the pictures above takes us to lots of lovely little lagoons and islands! One such beach cum lagoon is Ibeshe. We had a team outing there and it was awesome to say the least. I will round off my post with some memories from that trip.

With my Manager and someone who's taller than me

I came here to work. I am not kidding!

Ibeshe Resort

Playing soccer/football

Love the last two pictures!

Hope you had a great Christmas weekend and hope you enjoyed the picture post card from Lagos! Stay tuned for more! :-)

PS:- For the entire album, please click here

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Y’ello from Nigeria!

Posted by Varun | Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Category: , , , , , | 20 comments

It has been a long time since I updated my blog about anything and it might come as a surprise to you that I am updating it from Nigeria. I came here last Sunday and will be here for another 11 weeks. The journey so far has been pleasing and I am hoping it will continue to be the same for next few weeks and months.

Thanks to my organization, I’m living in Lagos (Pronounced as Lay-gos by people out here) and in one of the posh localities of the city.

What strikes me the most in this city/country is the stark contrast between rich and poor! Person here will either own a Toyota Land Cruiser or an Audi or a BMW or will own nothing. Middle class seems to be non-existent.

I will write more about the city as and when I visit it. The only places I have visited so far are my office, a grocery store and a night club facing back waters of the Atlantic Ocean. There is no real threat to life but then we have been advised not to venture out alone.It will be some time before I start visiting places out here.

To give you an example of the life I am leading here, I share an air conditioned 2750 sq ft apartment with my team mate. It has 3 huge rooms, an awesome drawing room and a decent dining hall. And kitchen is any cook’s dream kitchen. Spacious and with all amenities! Wait! I am not done yet! We also have a chauffeur driven black Kia Rio car and a maid/cook :-). Royal treatment Eh!!?

 I don’t remember when, but I was once asked by a British guy as to why we all Indians look alike!? I had no answers back then and since he was a friend, I had told him he must have gone mad! But now I know why he asked me that question. From the day I have landed here, every person looks the same to me. I was actually worried if I will be able to distinguish between the pop singer on TV and my driver. Even though I managed it by second day I call every singer on TV as Hakim now. That is btw my driver’s name.  

Every person out here is friendly and tries to help. If you are out walking about a mile, you’ll end up wishing/greeting at least 10 unknown people along the way. They know that we are scared to even walk alone and try to make our lives as comfortable as possible. Had people not scared me so much, I would have preferred to walk to office every single day. Wondering what changed the lazy guys’ preference? It is traffic jam that has changed it all!! Jams here are the worst jams I have ever seen. Beats Bangalore traffic jams hollow. It took us 1 hour to drive a mile few days back. Weather is quite hot and humid but then that doesn’t really stop us from walking and being Indians, we are used to such heat and humidity.

Coming to food, we get all sorts of veggies and meat. You name it, we get it. It is probably a south Indians’ dream city as we get coconuts :-). Nice fresh ones for cooking! If a Malyali ever decides to migrate from Dubai, this is the city he/she should come to!

The only thing that I am not really happy about is the Internet speed. Feels as though I have gone back 10 years in time. To simply give you an idea about the speeds here, I tried to download a movie last night. The estimated time remaining was 11 weeks and 8 hours. I canceled the download because I might as well reach Bangalore by then and download it in 1 hour. I am not really complaining about the place though. I know every place comes with its set of pros and cons and I am happy as long as I am able to connect to the world!
Pictures and more details in my next post and now that I have time, I’ll post regularly!

Cya later Alligator ( Picked it up from my nephew Archith :-D)

PS: Flight to Nigeria was great. Emirates gets thumbs up from me! and here's the meaning of Y'ello for you!
Y’ello - A super hybrid form of both yo and hello, making a super greeting. Used extensively in Nigeria!