Ten Days in Lagos...Just WOW!!

I had planned to write regular posts while I was in Lagos but I was just too busy soaking it up. After 15 years in London, my perception of Lagos was a jumble of faded childhood memories and the rose tinted views of relatives eager for me to relocate for good. The reality was just mind blowing!

My first night in Lagos was spent in a state of shock and awe. My dealings with less than professional airport officials, dubious 'policemen' and a harrowing drive through town left me wishing for more familiar pastures. It's near impossible to capture in words the intense reality and mania that is driving in Lagos. Mario Kart comes to mind, except in Mario land everything is well lit and there are fewer obstacles and oh yes your life is not in the balance.

Anyhow by morning, my disposition had become far more cheery. I was ready to take on Lagos and with my sister as my guide I felt more confident. First stop was Eko Hotel for the Lagos Fashion and Design Week press conference, being as it was only a couple of blocks away we made the rather unwise decision to walk. My sister failed to mention that pavements were few and far between and we would be competing for walking space with cars, motorbikes and the occasional horse.

We somehow managed to arrive intact if not a little sweaty only to realise after much toing and froing that I was at the wrong venue! Thanks to a lovely intern, I made it to the right venue but unfortunately too late. Frustrated with myself and life, I did the next best thing and sought out LFDW PR wonder woman Juwon Ajayi. She sorted me out with a press pass, press releases and put a smile back on my face. She may honestly be the best PR person I have ever dealt with. I attended the LFDW exhibition the day after and I was really impressed with the designers I met. Such great entrepreneurial spirit and so many shoppurtunies! Look out for a more in depth post about that.

The rest of my time in Lagos was divided between Lekki and Victoria Island with the odd excursion to Lagos mainland. Jaw droppingly huge mansions are the norm in Lekki and the vehicle of choice is some sort of fancy SUV. This is in stark contrast with areas like Isa-Leko where space and indoor plumbing are very much a luxury. Driving through Lagos, I also spotted swathes of people who had built makeshift homes from sheets of corrugated iron and were residing under bridges. This discrepancy between the haves and have nots is something that made me really uncomfortable and still haunts me. As an outsider looking in, I felt thoroughly helpless and riddled with guilt that I have taken so much of what I have for granted.

24 hour electricity is definitely one of them. The lack of electricity cripples everything! When it's out it affects the running of water into homes, it means no street lights on the already dangerous roads and in a climate as humid as this it means no air conditioning. People have no choice but to opt for expensive diesel guzzling generators to provide electricity for their homes and they are so noisy! I honestly think this is why Lagosians are loud, the whole city is operating a decibel higher than everywhere else.

All in all it was a great trip and a massive eye opener! I met some fabulous people out there and I shall make it my mission to head back more often. Look out for my next post on my LFDW experience and the fashion scene in Lagos!