Sunday, March 17, 2013

Groceries and music, my weekend in a nutshell

Happy lazy Sunday afternoon!

I just got back from the grocery store(s) with a huge pile of goodies. Fresh mango and papaya, limes and red bananas (just like regular bananas, but redder!), milk that looks like it might actually be white  this time, and a week's worth of cookies.  It's going to be a good week I can tell.

Here in Lagos grocery shopping is kind of a production. It takes several hours to accomplish - especially if you're visiting more than a couple stores and that's pretty much a must as most stores specialize more than in the US. If you want good bread you go to one, fruits and vegetables, a second, American quality meat a third, dairy products - well, then you just compromise and buy off-white milk... But you get the picture.  Each store also comes with it's own set of challenges. One of the best stores has basically zero parking. Another is located in what I can only describe as the Bermuda Triangle of Nigerian traffic jams, the next requires you to run the gauntlet of puppy sellers (way too much temptation for me), etc.

Another quirk is that it isn't really a good idea to use your credit or debit card here, so you carry all the cash with you. If you have a family of four then prepare to carry a small brick of bills every time you go (unmarked black briefcase optional).  This is mostly due to the fact that the largest denomination issued is the 1000 NAIRA note, equal to about 6-7 USD, but also food here is often as expensive, or more expensive than in the US. (Especially when staples like Lucky Charms cost $10 a box.)

Finally, there are lots of random differences that take some getting used to. You have to weigh your fruits and veggies before you get to the counter - dont't even think about just showing up and expecting the cashier to figure it out for you. That's totally crazy and unreasonable, obviously. You also need to show your receipt to the guards before you are allowed to leave. Heaven help the clueless foreigner who tosses their receipt somewhere into the abyss of their bags because this is apparently a beloved and necessary Nigerian grocery rite. I don't know that it has ever resulted in a reduction of petty theft, but I suppose it's the thought that counts.

Grocery shopping is always an adventure though and I tend to come back feeling successful. Now if I could just do something about that strangely colored milk...

In addition to grocery shopping, this weekend I went out to a St. Patrick's Day event. It was fun, but oh my goodness do they like it loud here. Also, they tend to play a lot more American oldies than Nigerian stuff which is unfortunate because the music scene here is actually very good.

On that note, below are the links to some songs that are popular right now in Nigeria. The first is technically from Ghana, but it's very catchy and pretty popular around the consulate. The second is a Nigerian singer. Enjoy!



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