Sunday, December 31, 2006

Pictures In My Album

Sometime late this year, I started taking pictures of different parts of Lagos. Unfortunately there are no pictures of the nice looking parts (and there are a lot of nice looking places in Lagos). Thought I would share what I have with you. Unfortunately, I did not save all the pictures on my flash so I may have to share the rest with you some other time.

I was on my way to Surulere and made the mistake of going through Apongbon(?) bridge. Little did I know that a lot of construction work was going on in Lagos Island. I remained in the traffic for over an hour. I was the only one in the car so I spent some time taking pictures and rocking the Lionel Richie tape I bought for N100.00 on the bridge:)

A portion of the bridge was turned into a car park with Alaye Boys (Area Boys) controlling that particular business.

You can buy almost anything on the bridge. Hawkers abound.

Puff-Puff anyone?
Even an ironing board for your laundry..

I was on Eric Moore Street, Surulere when I saw these men fixing some electrical fault. Thy should win an award for best safety practice;)

Making a living under the bridge (Jibowu/Yaba)

The other side of the Jibowu/Yaba bridge

Fixing Bar-beach, Victoria Island (again!). It looks much better now. Will try and get new pictures.

Friday, December 29, 2006

So this is Christmas....

So, how was Christmas at your end? I spent the day at work and got back home at about 4p.m. Don't pity me o! I really don't mind especially as I do not ever have plans to do anything other than to spend the day in worship. This I can always do anywhere. For some years now, I have spent Christmas day and other public holidays at the office seeing as I am considered "essential staff". I get paid overtime so it's cool.

I did not drive to work on Xmas day and was a bit worried as to how I was going to go back home. You see, there were hardly any cabs on the road thanks to the extra looong queues at the petrol stations. You had to see it to believe it. I understand that a lot of people were unable to travel because of the fuel scarcity. Ikorodu road was littered with Area boys and other "business men" selling petrol at black market prices. 4 litres of petrol normally sells for N260 but was being sold for N2000. You buy at your peril as there is no way to tell on the spot if the fuel has not been adulterated with something other substance that may lead to a "knocked engine" or some other more damaging effect.

Then of course, the day after christmas, we were saddened by the news that there had been a pipeline explosion at Abule-Egba somewhere in the outskirts of Lagos. Some vandals had tapped into a pipeline. Others came along with basins, jerrycans and other containers and were scooping and carting away their goods when there was a spark and an explosion followed. At least 260 died. The injured ones did not go to hospital either because they could not afford it or because they wanted to avoid getting arrested on charges of vandalisation. I could do a whole post on what I think about this occurence, but I think not. There's too much to say and I hold a somewhat self-contradictory view that will be hard to express.
All in all, I still saw a lot of children and their parents, weighed down by their festive fineries, going to fast food restaurants and other places. I guess despite it all, some people still managed to have the Christmas of their dreams. After all, we are Nigerians, built with the ability to adjust to anything!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Learning from my friends

I am a firm believer that there is something to learn from everyone and from every thing. Even from things that we may view as being negative, we learn what-not-to-do. Sometimes these lessons are not new to us but act as a reminder to us of what we should already know.

I have a lot of friends that I have learnt from and inspired by bloggers like Overwhelmed, Uzo and London Buki, I have decided to start a series called LEARNING FROM MY FRIENDS. I have started with my favourite story. The story of Bobo.



Bobo was a fine-boy-no-pimples and had da body to boot. He worked in one of the top Oil companies in Nigeria. I met him when I was attached there. He had exquisite taste in everything. He looked good, dressed well and had the nicest ride in town. Looking from the outside in, he looked like the average guy (no offence intended) that would spend his last dime to look good and basically live from check to check as a result.

Then I got to know him. We became fast friends after his birthday party which I (uncharacteristically, I admit) attended. We hung out several times after that and I quickly to the realization that apart from beauty and brawns (wo, the bobo was fyne!! forgive me if I say it a lot), he also had a brain. How? Well, let’s start with the fact that EVERYTHING he bought was bought under the condition that it would not come directly from his salary. It had to come from one of his various businesses or investments. All said investments were originally funded by his salary. In addition to a state of the art cyber-café (which I heard he got rid of when the cyber café business took a nose dive), he sold gold jewelry (he was a supplier to a few retailers in our little town of in South-South Nigeria). He also bought high quality furniture for people from Italy. From time to time, if the market was right, he would also bring in articles of clothing (that was something that was scarce where we lived and always sold like hot cake). He was also always on the look-out for any business deals that would bring in more money. Any expense he had was taken care of from the proceeds of his investments.

Let me give you an example of how he lived his life. His house was largely unfurnished when I met him. He could easily have bought furniture that he would make do with, but he was not in a hurry to cram his house with things he claimed would not make him unhappy or that he would have to throw away in due course. More expensive in the long run. Whenever he had an order to fill for furniture, he would buy use the profit to buy at least one item, e.g a table, a set of chairs, a sofa and that was how he was slowly and surely filling his house. With classic items that would be relevant at least 6 or more years down the line.

Also, he had the best car amongst his peers. Make no mistake, it was just a Tokunbo (second hand) car (he invested the rest of his car loan). His colleagues tried to counsel him against buying such an expensive car and a few even tried to talk him into buying a cheaper Tokunbo (second hand) car. Bobo stuck to his guns, rocked his car for 2years, had minimal visits to the mechanic garage and when the car started flooding the Nigerian market, sold it at close to the amount he got it for.

He sold the car to one of his colleagues. Ironically, it was one of those that had counseled him against getting such an expensive car. By the way, he took that money and bought an even nicer Toyota. It was so nice that it sparked a rumor that he had been promoted at work and given a car to boot. His plan was to slowly climb his way to a brand new car.

Okay, enough for long story. Here are the morals of the tale:

* Treat your salary like it’s your capital.
* Pay for nothing from your capital
* Invest, invest, invest.
* Put a part of your profit back into investment. Don’t spend it all.
* Buy what you are happy with. It’s cheaper in the long run.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The one about being married can he do that, does he not know that I am a married woman?

I heard these words and allowed them segue in my head for a bit, willing myself to ignore them. I lost. Turning to my colleague, I asked her what the offence was. I had only heard the last few words but I was willing to wager that her indignation stemmed from something trivial.

‘What did he do?”

“He took a sip of my drink from my mug”

You could have knocked me down with a feather. Another battle to ignore this played out in my head. Again, I lost. Stop! I begged myself, but my mouth spoke the words of their own accord.

So are you saying that as a single girl, it would be less insulting, unhygienic to have a guy sip from my cup?”

She had no answer.

I hear this all the time. “Don’t you know that I am married?’’

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but apparently, there’s a respect that is to come automatically with being married. Once the ring is put on a chic's finger, there is a supposed to be some sign/stamp put on her that says "Hey! treat me with respect because I'm married". Maybe a halo around the head.

Am I less respectable because I am single?

To be truthful, our society is structured in such a way that a married woman is treated with more respect than a single one. A temper trauma by a married woman is explained away as “exertions of having to keep a home” whilst that of a single woman is sneered at and it is usually declared that the woman is frustrated because she is not married or she does not have a man.

Not too long ago, a friend of mine came to me with a bemused expression on her face. Apparently, she had witnessed a heated verbal war of words between two girls and when it appeared that no-one was winning, the married one said “ How dare you talk to me like that, don’t you know that I am married.” And that to Mrs Married was the ultimate rub-your-nose-in-the-dirt, I-have-won-this-battle move.Sheew. That means that women are not exempt from this give-me-respect move.

Recently, another colleague told me of an altercation that was supposed to have occured between her and some other female colleagues in another unit. I only half listened until she said " ...if they look for my trouble, I will give it back to them. After all, they are married and I am married. Yes, ke!"

My reaction to this state of affairs?

"Sorry, I did not see the halo around your head" I will treat everyone the same way.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What a cALAMity

Here's a podcast where Alams was interviewed. Trust me, you want to hear this. The nerve of the man!