Hello Lagos, how are you?

I’ve never been to Lagos.

I really want to go there one day. But every time I share this bucket list item of mine, I’m greeted with sighs, shrugs (insert shocked faces here), and a load of negativity.

What’s wrong with Lagos?

Everything. Well, at least that’s what a large part of the world seems to think.

Look, I know that Nigeria isn’t the most attractive looking country in the world right now- the political scene is insane (we have to be real right?), but no country is perfect (we also have to be fair?).

So what exactly is the point of this story?

I want to take you on a journey, one that begins and ends in my imagination (for now), but a journey nonetheless.

I’ve spoken to a number of people who have been to Lagos and from their first/many encounters with the city I seem to be in love with, I’ve conjured up a story, or rather, an interesting account of what I think my first time to this megatropolis will turn out to be.
 
Is this crazy?

Yes.

Is this worth it?

I’ll leave that to you.

Be hold, the story.


(Devesh Uba/ Snap it Oga)

Hello Lagos, how are you?

The Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport pretty much gives you the worst first impression you could ask for. It has no allure, does no small talk, or even introduce you to Lagos in a good way. From the moment you land you begin to question the validity and authenticity of what some Lagosians call “the City of Excellence”.

Everyone is in a rush, and the most common feeling you’re most likely to get is confusion and possibly fear. You need an open heart and mind to give this city a second chance and to convince you that there’s much more than meets the eye, and you know what they say, “a way to a man’s anyone’s heart is through his/her stomach”.

Second first date- Let’s eat

Nigerian cuisine opens up my heart with a tangy, spicy yet deeply satisfying taste. What I thought was pap (aka maize meal) is actually pounded yam. It is the softest, most delicious thing I have ever tasted, and is definitely going into my list of great foods. The yam is paired with Nigerian egusi soup- something, I’ve come to learn, that almost every Nigerian (regardless of which state they are from) should know how to prepare. While the beef in the soup is tougher on my teeth than what I’m used to, it still gives my taste buds a bit of a treat. A part of my soul is already filled from the food, and I find myself asking what more Lagos can offer me at this stage.
“Markets, lots and lots of markets,” Lagos whispers.

Market life

From lovely material, to artwork, to food, to home appliances, my eyes are treated to some of the most beautiful items I have ever seen. There is nothing you cannot find at markets in Nigeria. What might look like chaos, translates into excitement for me. The energy is so real, so high, that you can almost touch it. I love dashikis (colourful traditional garment usually worn by West African men) and African print wear, and so my shopping along is tailored to finding the most exquisite designs. 


(Devesh Uba/ Snap it Oga)

(Not) Lost in translation

Since Lagos is part of a Yoruba speaking state, the language that you typically hear on Lagosians streets is Yoruba. But, since Nigeria has over 500 native languages, and Lagos is a market/business hub, you can also expect to hear Nigerian Pidgin English (which is a fusion, Creole language that has been created for the aim of enhancing communication amongst a wide pool of different language speakers). I love the sound of Naija Pidgin English and have decided that this is the language I’ll use to try my best to blend into the city.


(Devesh Uba/ Snap it Oga)


Let’s go to the beach

Through the hustle, the bustle, and what some may call chaos, there’s a piece of paradise that Lagos has offered to show me- Eleko beach. This beach offers a bit of an escape from the usual fast-paced nature of the city. The option of renting a beach hut, or getting someone to roast a BBQ for you as you sip on a cocktail, is Lagos’ way of saying "I can do the finer things in life too."


(Devesh Uba/ Snap it Oga)


People respect Lagos for the amount of hustle that is done there. While it is a fierce city, it has a lot of heart, and you need to go in there knowing what you want Lagos to offer you.

All in all, Lagos is a city that is bursting with life, and is ready to show the world what it is made of. It is now Africa’s largest economy, and the world’s seventh fastest growing economy. While no city, or country is perfect, it is up to us, to travel with open minds in order  to see what each place has to offer us, and be taken on unique journeys that we hope will somewhat satisfy our seemingly insatiable wanderlust nature.


Quick facts about Lagos, Nigeria:
•    It is Africa’s most populous city, with about 21 million people living there.
•    It is Nigeria's largest city, its administrative and economic center, and its chief port.
•    Some have nicknamed it “Lasgidi”, where “las” represents Lagos and “gidi” is a term used in Naija Pidgin English that means “authentic”. So Lasgidi could mean “The Real Lagos”.
•    The climate is of a tropical nature, so while temperatures do not reach high levels, it is fairly humid. The rainy season is from May through to October, while the dry season is from November through April.
•    Lagos was Nigeria's capital city from 1914 until 1991. Abuja is now Nigeria's capital city.

If you loved the pics you saw on this piece, be sure to visit Devesh Uba's website on: www.snapitoga.tumblr.com

Have you been to Lagos? Send us an email telling us of your experience on: info@news24travel.com. Also Join the News24 Travel community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest for travel news, stories, pics and events.
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