Prior to bidding on Lagos I remember searching the Overseas Briefing Center (at FSI) for information about my potential new home. There wasn't much information available, but I distinctly remember a document called '8 reasons to bid on Lagos' but the tone was more '8 reasons Lagos isn't so bad'. While I appreciate that the document was written for a broad audience of people (and that I've only been here for 4.5 months so far) I think there are tons of reasons to bid on Lagos - not only for what it isn't, but for what it is.
So on that note, 8 reasons to bid Lagos high - in installments because I have a day job:
First, Lagos is the land of possibility. The huge supply of labor means that there is always someone around who can figure out what you want done and make it happen. Back in the US I've had tailors tell me that it would be cheaper to buy a new coat than have the lining in mine replaced. Same with shoes, bags, etc. Here, it's not only possible but cheap. I love my little red sandals (below) and got them fixed on the street outside my building for about 2 dollars - and judging from the look on the cobbler's face I got ripped off. It doesn't just apply to repairs either. Do you want a DJ for your barbeque? It's totally possible - and dirt cheap. Want a maid for a day to clean your house before your parents show up? 20 bucks should cover it. Want only two batteries instead of the whole pack? Why not? Want someone to deliver a case of coke in bottles (because those are more fun) directly to your door and return the bottles after? Go for it! Want the entire season of Walking Dead for 4 dollars? ....okay, maybe there are some limits to what you can/should do, but you get my point.
Second, food. True, Nigeria isn't known for its cuisine yet, but there are a few things that I'm going to really miss when I leave here. Spicy fish pepper soup - so spicy it almost cut off my airflow the first time I tried it, but so amazing that I keep going back for more; Suya (hard to explain, but a form of spicy meat on a stick), Akara - balls of some kind of corn dough that almost cause a riot with both the American staff and the Nigerian staff when they're served in the cafeteria; jollof rice; and don't even get me started on the fruits and vegetables. It's mango season here and did you know there are multiple types of mangos? Neither did I. But they come in different sizes (from snack-size to ginormous) and colors. My new favorite fruit is the red bananas. They're so much better than regular bananas that I don't know if I'll be able to switch back at the end of my tour. I've also been loving the pineapples, avocados, papaya, and surprising good grapes. (Who knew they had grapes in Nigeria?)
Ok - that's it for today. I'm off for vacation later this week so I'm afraid it might be radio silence for a week or two. Odabo! (good-bye in Yoruba)