A wondeful experience in Lagos,Nigeria!!

I am thrill to update this older post on a wonderful experience in Lagos ,Nigeria. I have long done business with the country and encounter many friends from there , some still in touch. However, to my wonderful surprise I was asked to do an expat mission from France in Lagos Nigeria and it was a thrill to see these friends again in their country! This is the story I love to tell you ,and hope you enjoy it as I. For info , there are other posts.

A few years back, I had the opportunity to try a job experience that have been wonderful and several friends later and a blog post, would like to update.  While working for a French Oil support outfit, I was asked to trained the personnel on the Oracle accounting system set you there,and reports back to home office in France. I needed to move to Lagos, Nigeria for about 3 months!

lagos-bourbon-boat-at-port-2009

The security was tight, I had a driver/car 24 hrs 7/7 and lived in a secure compound Somerset Court. More here in come to Nigeria webpage: https://www.cometonigeria.com/where-to-stay/somerset-court/

We had great shopping at Mega Plaza, Shoprite in the Palms Spring shopping center, and could go out a lot to restaurants and bars, especially the Federal Palace , Sofitel (now a mercure), and Eko hotel complexes.  The favorite links are here:

old Sofitel hotel (now a mercure!): https://all.accor.com/hotel/2770/index.fr.shtml
Federal Palace Hotel and Casino: https://www.suninternational.com/federal-palace/

Eko Hotel: https://www.ekohotels.com/eko-hotel.php

Shoprite supermarket: https://www.shoprite.com.ng/

Palms Shopping Mall, home of Shoprite Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ThePalmsMall/

Some of the favorite restaurants visited were!

Lagoon Indian cuisine restaurant: https://ofadaa.com/lagos/restaurants/lagoon

Golden Gate Restaurant (Chinese) going down since I was there but for the memories: https://hotels.ng/places/restaurant/193-golden-gate-restaurant

Orchid House Thai local cuisine: https://hotels.ng/places/restaurant/1175-orchid-house

Sherlaton Indian restaurant: https://hotels.ng/places/restaurant/3123-sherlaton-indian-restaurant

Local Cuisine and very friendly one of my favorites there was Manuela (it had a  Cuban chef!) and a nice place to stay too if needed: http://www.manuelaresidence.net/

The experience was fulfilling and several friends still in touch, and the feeling that I trained them right and are still on post. On these spots in our world, it is not recommended to go with a family but for short periods I recommend the experience to anyone. The company has a revolving visa system where those on the dock worked 12 weeks and get 4 weeks off on rotation.

Now let me tell you a bit about the history of Lagos ,and Nigeria just a bit that I like.

Lagos or Èkó in the local language of Yoruba, the biggest city of Nigeria and Africa. Lagos is located in a group of several islands in a large lagoon protected from the Atlantic ocean and on the Gulf of Benin. The Portuguese were here in the 15C and named the city in reference to the Port of Lagos from which expeditions to Africa were done back in southern Portugal. It was conquered by the kingdom of Benin in the 15-16C and governed by kings and become a major center of the slave trade during the 18C. An anecdote ,here, the slaves brought to Cuba by Spain were from this area and the Yoruba language was carried with them there, now there are some traces of this and the few words I could remember served me well while in Lagos to the surprise of the locals. In 1861, the British founded a colony and name it Capital of the Protectorate of South Nigeria established in 1914. Lagos stayed as Capital at the moment of Independence of Nigeria in 1960. By 1967, it became a Federal State equal standing with the other 11 States of Nigeria. Later, for political reasons the capital was taken to a new city of Abuya but Lagos remains the economic heartbeat of the nation.

The best areas are east of city center at Ikoyi (where I lived), and Victoria Island. The district of Lagos Island is the business area with an artificial island named Eko Atlantic City.

The Lagos island is on a huge lagoon that goes into the Ogunau river by the Gulf of Benin. Several of these islands have been linked or attached to the continent as peninsula like Iddo Island or Victoria Island. The lagoon opens up to the Atlantic Ocean by a coastal line that extends to 100 km to the east and west of the mouth located near the city. The government decided to transfer the Capital to a new city call Abuja in 1976; this to slow down the growth of Lagos and for the most part to have a divided country without privileging the three main ethnic groups in the country.

There are several ferry lines between Lagos island and the continent managed by the Lagos State Ferry Services Corporation. webpage: http://ferryservices.lagosstate.gov.ng/

Lagos is served by the international airport Murtala Muhammed, (where I came in and out) one of the biggest in Africa and located in the suburbs of Ikeja. Webpage here:  https://www.lagos-airport.com/

The city of Lagos has one of the largest and most extensive road networks in West Africa with the notables Lagos–Ibadan Expressway and the Lagos–Abeokuta Expressway ,also serving as inter-state roads to Oyo and Ogun States. On the west you have the Lagos–Badagry Expressway serves outlying towns such as Festival Town. There is ,also, the Trans–West African Coastal Highway leaving the city as the Badagry Expressway to Benin and beyond as far as Dakar and Nouakchott, also, the Trans-Sahara Highway to Algers, Algeria leaving the city as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The Lagos State has a bus rapid transit (BRT) system and Lagos Rail Mass Transit .  Bus Rapid Transit system, known publicly as ‘BRT,’ regulated by the Lagos State Government. They are also of two types, Blue and Red. The Red Buses ply major roads in Ajah, Ikeja, Iyana-Ipaja, Alagbado, which are majorly residential areas. The Blue Buses (which are air conditioned and better kept) travel from Ikorodu (a Lagos surburb) through Mile 12, the site of the largest food market in Lagos, through Fadeyi, Stadium (the location of the National Stadium in Surulere) to CMS (the location of the oldest church in Nigeria) and Tafawa Balewa Square (the arcade where Nigeria’s independence celebrations were held in 1960), which is the bus terminus.

The Lagos terminus trains webpage: https://hotels.ng/places/terminal/2122-lagos-terminus-iddo

Three major bridges join the island to the mainland. They are the Carter Bridge which starts from Iddo, the Eko Bridge, and the Third Mainland Bridge, which passes through densely populated mainland suburbs to the Lagos Lagoon.

There are popular markets such as Idumota and Balogun Markets. The Bar and Lekki beaches and on the Atlantic side Elegushi and Alpha Beaches, and the museum of Black Heritage . More info here: https://www.cometonigeria.com/where-to-go/badagry-black-heritage-museum/

Other sites that can be visited are the Central Mosque, Glover Memorial Hall, Christ’s Church Cathedral and the Oba’s Palace (Iga Idunganran). Lagos Island’s Tinubu Square is a site of historical importance; it was here that the Amalgamation Ceremony that unified the North and South protectorate to form Nigeria took place in 1914. Ikoyi is connected to Victoria Island by the Falomo bridge, which carries a main road over Five Cowrie creek. Ikoyi, (where I stayed) also has a number of hotels, night clubs, a recreational park and one of Africa’s largest golf courses. Victoria Island with its annexe is situated to the south of Lagos Island, and it has expensive real estate properties and for that reason, many new luxury condos and apartments. Lagos,also has a number of private beach resorts including Inagbe Grand Beach Resort.

The hightlight of any night out is to have the local Suya (spicy shish kebab or spiced roasted beef) which is consumed in local clubs and bars with a bottle of cold pint beer, Star!! A unique experience to be remembered and always in good company!

Enjoy the momento and the pictures in this post and  see other posts on Lagos for more. An exotic experience that turns out a very nice memorable passing by Lagos,Nigeria.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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