It was Sunday, a day of rest after putting in 55 hours of work during the week. But wifey wanted to go out, so we went to the beach. We went to the Tropicana Beach & Resort, a 90 minute trip from where we live. It was a chance to see the different side of Lagos.
Picture below shows a glimpse of Lekki market where, apparently, you can obtain anything under the sun. I haven't visited it yet but most expats say that this is the place to buy stuff, if you know how to bargain well.
Below are the typical Nigerian house. With roofs made from straw, these people live close together, sharing well, planting their own food and rearing animals, who from picture below, lack nourishment just like their owners.
Note: My Nigerian colleague politely reminded me that the picture below is a house in the rural area, i.e. kampung style house. In the city, people live in brick houses, just like those in Malaysia. After he reminded me of this fact, he resigned from the company. Thanks for the info Gbenga.
And this is how people get from one place to the other. They hitchhike.
No joke. When you’re poor and cant afford to buy a transport, you wait by the side of the road and hail down a car. And lots of people will stop. You bargain the price of a journey and if their also going the same way, off you go, as the pictures below show.
Although the highway to Tropicana was mainly free of traffic, sometimes we were slowed down by slow moving vehicles, like this little guy here. But most of the time, our Toyota van was hurling at 120 km/h.
Ok, here comes the bribes. The first one was an ad hoc police blockade. To get through, you pay money. This is when your driver is an asset, depending on how good he negotiates with the police man. This time, we got off scot free, thanks to our driver.
The second picture shows another ad hoc blockade, but this time with pretty women. We ended up paying N1000, N200 for each driver.
Note: My experienced expat colleague informed me that the police usually have road blocks on the weekends to maintain security around the city and in Lagos. Lagos is much safer than Port Harcourt.
But the women who asked for money are apparently gate keepers. Gate keepers exist in every part of the country.
We pay N2000 (RM50) each for entry. The lady in green offered us to drink palm oil wine. Yup, palm oil. It has a strong taste. And apparently, Michael Jackson’s sibling, Marlon was here.
And this is the beach. I could smell the sea water from here. It’s been a long time since I went to the beach.
The ocean we were facing is the Atlantic ocean. So if I were to swim in that direction, and if I don't get eaten by any sharks or swallowed by a whale, I could actually reach Brazil.
For N2000, you can a small bunk to burn yourself in the sun. There is a little umbrella that barely covers the bunk but its all yours to barbeque yourself in the sun, or sleep, like my colleague Hazeem here.
And that is the massage room. For N2500 (RM62.50), a pretty Nigerian lass will massage your whole body for an hour. It was that or a a boat trip for 30 minutes @ N300 each – everyone opted for the boat ride. But that was before…
That was before the weather turned bad very quickly. The weather went from sunny to dark skies within 20 minutes. I have never seen weather change so fast. If we had gone out to see any earlier, we would have been for one hell of an interesting ride.
Some people are rude. There was this plum grumpy lady and her friend sitting in the same place as we were who snapped at me when I accidently sat on her bunker. How was I supposed to know when she was busy sitting inside the rest house?
She snapped at us again when Taufik, our driver, played some local native song from his radio for my wife. Well, we know she wanted some piece and quiet, but she could have been more polite instead of asking us to go and sit far, far away under the trees. This is her below, going off to swim. Too bad she didn't drown and die!
Coconuts. We take this for granted but for some of my colleagues, its not. So they took delight in tasting coconut water and fruit. The handsome man in light green is our faithful driver, Taufik.
It was good fun going to the beach with these guys.