Quick thoughts about traveling to Nigeria 🇳🇬

If you follow me on any of my social media accounts you would have noticed that I’m currently on a trip around a few countries in Africa for the next few weeks.

I wanted to share some thoughts while on the road to answer some of the questions I’ve been getting so far around Nigeria and I think it would be great to do this for the other countries, compare notes of the different experiences and share my perspective as I go.

The airport

So I went to the part of Nigeria called Lagos State. My frame of reference for the post will be derived from this. I have never been to any other state and there is a possibility that you may have had a different experience to mine due to geographical location, ruling tribes, size, etc.

The first thing you will most definitely notice when you depart from plane is the humidity. Given that I arrived at Murtala Muhammad Airport, although it’s situated in the Mainland, it’s really close to the Islands and the ocean and it’s positioning near the equator makes for hot and humid temperature. If you’ve been to Dubai, it’s not as hot, if you’ve been to Duran, it’s more humid and I hear it’s quite similar to Thailand in terms of it being constantly overcast, but that could just be the time of year Im traveling in.

The second thing I can guarantee you’ll notice is the chaos. You walk out of the plane into the airport and it’s like you’ve just walked into the twilight zone. EVERYONE is shouting at you and each other, running somewhere (I guess to collect their bags at the carousel) but you will notice, it’s vibrant and it’s buzzing.

You then get to passport control and you wish to die. It’s the longest queue, there’s no aircon, never mind a fan. Natives are shouting (again) at you and each other, there’s a tribal “war” that can subtly be noticed between the men controlling the different areas and the ones trying to escort you through the “priority lane” and the faster you wish to leave the more frustrating it will get.

My experience was made so much more bearable as I had some company and Protocol (invest in protocol!!!!). We quickly adjusted to the chaos and realized the possibilities of being stuck at the airport for at least another 4 hours and started cracking jokes about Malaria and some local celebrities we had flown in with.

Top 2 tips here:

Do not check in any bag. You won’t find it at the carousel

If it’s your first time, organise Protocol, if not to and from the hotel, just get it for your arrival- it can be intimidating as a first timer.

On the way to the hotel

Okay, the one thing I must tell you here is that there is traffic in Lagos at any given time. I arrived at around 8pm local time and there was backed up traffic on the highway that I spotted as we were landing. The trip to the hotel was 28km away, Thank God for Protocol who moved all the traffic aside for our driver. It’s great.

The food

Definitely my take outs in this section are the restaurant in Lagos called The Lagoon where I tried some cheese naan, grilled crayfish and jollof rice. The view was incredible and reminded me so much of Venice and the grand canal. The company was also fantastic!

I also had time to sneak in some Cold Stone ice cream which was just Devine and totally worth all the calories!

Night life

What happens in Lagos stays in Lagos

Closing thoughts

Lagos by far exceeded my expectations. As I write this post in Ghana, I can definitely reflect and say although very loud, Nigerians are way more fun, out there and friendlier than Ghanaians (and they make the best Jollof rice 😂). I had a great time, made more friends than I can count, and my fellow Jordies made it incredibly memorable.

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Book Review: Americanah (My thoughts so far)

So I have been the biggest fan of Chimamanda since we all first heard her speech in Beyonce’s music video “Flawless”.

However, being the fussy reader that I am, I have been putting off buying her books, despite the raving comments I heard. To be honest, when I think about why it took me so long, it wasn’t because I did not think she was a fantastic writer. I was just so intimidated (read: lazy) by the African names and context.

As an African blogger and avid reader from South Africa, my biggest fear was that I would pick up one of her books and just simply NOT RELATE. I thought I’d try and give Americanah a try and close it bitterly after trying to drill the character names into my head and relate to the storyline and the characters experiences. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be black or African enough to get it and the last thing I wanted was to read about the people of my land from a foreign context, I did not want to feel like and imposter. I was so terrified of just disliking liking it.

But alas! After an hour of research and debate in the bookstore I walked out (with a little reservation and confidence) on my new purchase and addition which was Americanah. Why was I never told Ifemelu was a blogger who had monitozed her blog!? People. I would have long been within this book if I knew this!

Needless to say, I cannot express how estatic I am to have one of Chimamanda’s pieces of literature on my bedside table. It is so surreal, and my love for her writing and storyline in the current book I am reading just make the novel that much dreamier. If I could compare Chimamanda’s writing style to food I’d say it smells like French vanilla and melts in your mouth like rich dark cocoa. Her storylines are extensive, and as deep as a freshly brewed pot of coffeee on a Monday morning. I’m in love! My second African author and I am simply in love!

I’m left with 1/3 of the book to go and I just cannot bring myself to finishing it. Do you have any recommendations of a book just as lovely, either written by her or other female African authors? Please swing your recommendations to me via the comments box 🙂

I cannot wait to share my final thoughts and my deconstructed version of a book review with you!

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5 things Americanah taught me about being African

When one gets their wisdom teeth removed, very many things can happen, one of these things, naturally as a bookworm, is having time to read. In between the moments of fatigue and pain I devoured the last few pages I had been savoring of Americanah and finally today I read the final page of an incredible journey found in a book.

As you may have read in my previous blog post (Americanah: My thoughts so far), I was initially apprehensive about reading African literature, but Chimamanda writes in such an incredible way that allows for “cop- outs” as I have alluded to before. She leaves the reader feeling included, catered for and understood in their thought process throughout the journey of reading the book irrespective of the readers background.

Having now completed Americanah, and excitingly attracted some African bloggers to my post, I can certainly say for sure that this experience has taught me the following:

1. Africa as big and diverse as it is, shares a common thread of understanding amongst its people. We all share similar perspectives of what struggle, hope, triumph and success look like.

2. Show me an African who doesn’t like America or London and I will prove to your that person is not from Africa. There’s just something about these places man haha!

3. Interracial relationships… as diverse as the world has now become, society is still very backwards. I have so much to add to this section but for now I will just say this- Chimamanda laid it down in this book! I have never felt like anyone truly understood this dynamic as much as she did when she wrote about it in the Curt chapters. I felt like I was having a DMC with a bff who finally GETS IT.

4. Blesser/blessee life is everywhere and it’s universal. It’s not a black thing.

5. African stories and story writers are out of this world. It doesn’t matter which country you’re from in Africa, we all share similar narratives. There is no better place to gain inspiration from than from an African context. There is just something that hit home when I read this book, a feeling of reading something familiar, as much as it was fictional and influenced by a Nigerian context. I truly felt at home between its modern threads as a South African.

Americanah has been such a joy. One of the realest and most relatable books I’ve read this year. It felt more like a DMC session with a good friend than it felt like reading. At the same time that I was going through this journey with Ifemelu, I felt my own mind and soul detoxing and releasing all these memories and questions I had bottled and buried far within my soul.

Final Verdict: What a joy! I cannot wait to add another one of these gems in my collection!

*If you have any recommendations for female African authors I should look out for and the titles of their books, please swing them my way in the comments section!