Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nigeria, destination 28

Nigeria, destination 28

Flew in on the 14th from Accra arriving after sunset which was cause for some apprehension given the typical ‘Nigerian’ stories that you hear.

Except for a rather peculiar system of having your visa checked by one person who makes a note of how long you wanna stay, then going it to another guy who in turn passes it to another, meaning that immigration formalities require three people the rest was straight forward – oh yes, you get a trolley to haul your luggage only on payment of a small fee!

Another, pleasant surprise, the Naira is roughly a 117 to a USD, which kind of makes my rupee a, relatively, stronger currency.

First impressions of Lagos I have to say were rather bleak…. Tar, concrete, fly-ways, highways…. Most in a state of some disrepair or the other… Perhaps its my perception, given the cities I’ve been in during the last few weeks…. Lagos is too NYC for me.

The market place, typical of most African ones, the hustle and bustle of retail and wholesale business… again though, I lacked the usual sense of oneness I have with such places.

Day three and I was off to Kano, located in Northern Nigeria this is the hub for trading! The city sprawled across the arid landscape, the hot desiccating air, the dust blown from the deserts… certainly more Africa than Lagos was.

My first port of call o arrival was my reason for being here, to see the markets and what sell’s in it. Dele my guide was a refreshingly bright and articulate, a man I found to be immensely personable.

Kano apparently is a dived city between those of the majority followers of Islam and the minority following other religions. This division has tangible examples from parts of the city dominate by minarets to parts where the sky is broken by crosses. Where one to, and you hardly avid not doing so, cast a look upon the ground, the difference still prevails in the condition of the roads, tarred roads, lined by well maintained buildings in on quarter, rutted, dust tracks lined by shabby dilapidated concrete blocks. In one part Sharia law rules, in the other life lived to its fullest.

That evening I was treated to a few hours of jazz, followed by western pop and eventually leading to Afro beat music by a group that was a certainly enthusiastic.

I’m sorry that my stay is just one day.

By the way, another oddity, NONE of the toilets in the bathrooms seem to have seats!

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