Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tourist Attractions of Lagos, part 4: The Sacred Grove of Oshogbo

Earlier this month, on one of my suddenly many travels, I had the privilege to visit a site I've only ever heard about: The Sacred Grove of Osogbo (pronounced Oshogbo). The history here is completely fascinating. Osogbo is traditionally a Yoruba sacred place, and with some artistic interpretations of Yoruba beliefs added by an Austrian woman it has a very eclectic feel. I'd love to get into the history of it the site but I'm afraid you'd get a more thorough explanation from just googling it. What I can say is that it was a fantastic place to visit and easily one of the highlights of my time in Nigeria. I'd urge anyone living in Lagos (or spending more than a few days there) to make it a point to figure out your security requirements and move Oshogbo to the top of your 'must-see' list.
 
Below are just a few shots from my trip - I hope to post more when my internet cooperates.
 




(Oh, you're trying to take a picture? Too bad we all need to crowd right in front of you and then not even look at the artwork. *sigh*)


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yikes!

I've been a little side-tracked lately and forgot to update the blog.

But there's been a lot going on!

Since I wrote last I had two very awesome opportunities to travel outside the 'safety zone' and see Nigeria. I could not have been more excited to finally explore my host country and neither trip was disappointing. My impression?

Nigeria is jam-packed with interesting sights. We saw crumbling colonial architecture, towering waterfalls, wizened chiefs, universities, markets and plenty of welcoming Nigerians from all walks of life. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but as I've mentioned before life here can be pretty restricted and I've definitely been aching to expand my horizons. So a big thanks to the powers-that-be for authorizing this travel!

I'd like to add a couple places to my 'Tourist in Lagos' series, so a lot of my pictures from the travel will show up later. In the meantime, here are some random shots of random things. *apologize for the picture quality - as I am learning, windows on armored cars tend not to facilitate quality photography and most of my pictures were taken on the go.

 
A mama. I swear she insisted on having her picture taken.

I love all the little shops everywhere. Entrepreneurship is alive and well in Nigeria.

No explanation, but I kind of want my car painted by this guy.

Lots of the artifacts in the national museum also have this facial marking design. Will have to investigate further...

Just a shot of the countryside. 
Look at all that green, lovely isn't it?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

So...bidding

The list is out - accompanied by a flurry of emails between me and my colleagues around the world who are bidding in the same cycle.

At first the list made me a bit nervous. There were an overwhelmingly large number of jobs open in some very high volume places (i.e. visa mills) and after 10 months and almost 15,000 visa interviews that is the one thing that I was hoping to avoid for my second tour.

But, after sorting through the list for valid and imperfect bids (bids where the timing works) I've got a list that I'm pretty happy with. My top 10 all fall into the 'dream post' category and my top 15 would all be fantastic places to spend a couple years.

I still have some tweaking to do of course, but at a certain point it's just one big guessing game. There's really no good way to compare a PD job in Mexico City with a econ job in Ankara; or to compare Skopje and Sofia, Santo Domingo and San Salvador. At a certain point I think I'll be down to rating posts based on who has a Starbucks and who doesn't, but we'll see.

So there it is! Second tour bidding in a nutshell. I might have more to say after I've gotten feedback on my draft list from the CDO. And of course, stay tuned for late Nov/early Dec for the big announcement.