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Maggie @MaggietheMezzo
, 67 tweets, 34 min read Read on Twitter
It's been a little over a month since I got back from #LivingLaVidaLagos and even though I am still missing it like crazy (someone yell "like CRAZY!"), I feel ready to share some of my experiences; the good, the bad & the neutral.

Lagos, THANK YOU for a truly wonderful time ❤.
One of the best things that I did? I went to the opera 💃! Y'all, did you know there's opera in Lagos? And I don't mean 'good enough for Lagos' opera. I mean, proper, 'beautiful, well-trained instruments', opera! I watched #DonGiovanni at the #MusonCenter.
I also loooved Fela's Shrine. I actually went twice; on the day I arrived & again for #Felabration2018. You guys, it was so much fun! I ended up abandoning my people and going up front to dance with the King!
It was funny how openly & how much people smoked weed. It wasn't my thing & I was fine so if that's your thing, you'll feel right at home, lol. There's even a drink that's made w/weed + alcohol + God knows what else. If you find it, take it easy; it's intense #LivingLaVidaLagos
You know I HAD to experience life like millions of Lagosians do so public transport was a must. Y'all, this was a frigging adventure! As a Nairobian, I felt comfortable enough & rather enjoyed it (coz y'all know our 'matatus' range from fancy to disastrous') #LivingLaVidaLagos
1st up? Keke. They were these affordable cute little bright yellow cars that could only fit 4 people, including the driver! I immediately fell in ❤ w/them. Honestly, their cute factor was high 😍. Downside? Surviving a crash in these would be near-impossible #LivingLaVidaLagos
Next up? Danfo. This was the Kenyan equivalent to those horribly old Kile nissans (but older & smaller) driven with the insanity of Rongai + Forward Travellers + Kenya Mpya javs, but worse! Also, their 'seats' are those church benches from shaggz. And yet...❤ #LivingLaVidaLagos
Finally, okada (bodaboda). These were the most terrifying for me; if you know me, you know that bodas scare me! Drivers also aren't used to women grabbing them so...I warned them 🙈 & they were all very gracious w/me. One told me afterwards "Madam don try" 🙌💃 #LivingLaVidaLagos
For Lagosians, places I traveled to using Keke, Danfo & Okada included: Sangotedo to Lekki Phase 1, Lekki to Balogun Market, Balogun Market to Lekki & even to the beach (the name escapes me right now 🙈). Are you proud of me? Lol #LivingLaVidaLagos
Getting to travel like a typical Lagosian was interesting, eye-opening & even fun. Yes, fun! I mean, talk about a unique experience! That being said, I'm not sure I could hack it on the daily. It was scary & uncomfortable. must do it (w/a local)! #LivingLaVidaLagos
Now you know that no discussion of Lagos is complete without an 'honorable' mention of traffic. Ladies & gentlemen, Lagos traffic is as 'advertised'. It once took us over 1hr to go from Circle Mall area to the big fish roundabout (Ajah?). Yeah. Not cool #LivingLaVidaLagos
Another thing: Lagos traffic is LOUD! Hear that voice chanting? That's how Danfos get customers & it's incessant! If you're in traffic, esp if it's hot/you skipped breakfast/whatever, you're gonna go mad if you don't mentally/physically prepare for it lol #PLAN #LivingLaVidaLagos
Dear Lagos (& Nigerian) government, let's talk.

Here, pull up a chair: 1st? The good. Your airport staff were friendly & human. I know it's an odd thing to say but some of these Western airports seem to sacrifice humanity for 'efficiency'. You guys were both. #LivingLaVidaLagos
Next? The bad.
1. How can your "international" airport not have free WiFi? Come on! In this day & age, this really shouldn't be an issue!
2. Your airport parking is either non-existent or very difficult to find. This is unacceptable! You really must do better #LivingLaVidaLagos
3. It is very (someone SHOUT "VERY!") embarrassing for your staff to ask for "any currency" handouts. I saw this on the way out (everything was great at arrivals) & it was almost everywhere, including security check points & even toilets! #Yikes Baaaad bad bad #LivingLaVidaLagos
Finally, the ugly. Dear Lagos/Nigerian government, what is UP with the drainage situation?!?! A little rain and entire neighborhoods got flooded in minutes. I was told this was mostly an island problem due to poor planning & that mainland wasn't like that. #LivingLaVidaLagos
Whatever the case, this was a huge minus for tourism, health & life! No one was spared; private car owners struggled, taxis couldn't complete rides coz of the flooding, people had wade barefoot + businesses had to sell food & other wares in these conditions #LivingLaVidaLagos
This wasn't about neighborhoods (rich vs poor). This seemed to be everywhere; Alpha beach, Lekki, VGC, Sangotedo...Lagosian floods affected everyone. I really felt the government & citizens (blocking drainage by dumping garbage any/everywhere) could do better #LivingLaVidaLagos
@atiku you're one of the candidates that I've seen as having support for your upcoming Presidential run, based on your results. I hope you'll pay attention to these things because they really detract - distract from the beauty & vibrant energy that is Lagos #LivingLaVidaLagos
While we're on the subject of 'not so nice' things, can we talk about "light" (electricity) or the lack of?

The whole time I was there, we never had even 18hrs straight of electricity. Abeg, Lagos/Nigerian government!

I did learn to celebrate "Up NEPA" Lol #LivingLaVidaLagos
Yes, yes, I know that we (non-Nigerians who consistently have 24hrs of electricity, daily) joke about how Nigeria has oil yet no electricity but it's actually not funny, is it? I mean, even with the current debilitating 'light' situation, Nigerians are some of #LivingLaVidaLagos
Nigerians are some of the most hard working, innovative, driven & successful people I've ever met! This is not empty praise; it's true! (Sorry Kenyans; on this one, our Naija brethren have us beat). Unfortunately, their own country (& the generator cartels... #LivingLaVidaLagos
...their own country (& generator cartels in government) are sabotaging their own citizens. Can you imagine what Nigeria would be like with reliable electricity AND internet? Nigeria would explode in all good things! #LivingLaVidaLagos
I mean, look at what Nigerians have done despite these 2 rather significant hurdles (coz their internet situation isn't great either). Even their legendary 419scams are impressive if you imagine that they swindle 1000s of people globally w/barely any light lol #LivingLaVidaLagos
So in a nutshell, the day the Nigerian govt fixes these 2 things is the day the rest of the world will feel the force of consistent excellence. I'm being dead serious! Their non-corporate/non-white collar wealth will explode, as will their web-based businesses #LivingLaVidaLagos
Let me also tell you about something I saw that totally impressed me re: Nigerians and their attitudes towards work.

1. I saw a bread seller - tray of bread + blue band on her head - walking in the neighborhood, doing her job, IN FULL MAKEUP! #LivingLaVidaLagos
This is not the moment to talk about how much makeup Nigerian women wear (we'll talk about that later). I just want you to recognize that a woman woke up, dressed up + full make up AND SHOWED UP. I was honestly impressed by that attitude #LivingLaVidaLagos
2. One of my Uber drivers was an MBA graduate, and was so proud of his work. He had even figured out how to make his MBA work for him, while still allowing him to keep his Uber business up and running. Great customer service, great conversation, great attitude #LivingLaVidaLagos
Speaking of makeup, yes Nigerians/Lagosians love their makeup. Whether done by self or by a professional, Lagosian ladies seemed to really value their appearance. I secretly hoped to try & improve my makeup game once I got back home. Spoiler: I'm still trying. #LivingLaVidaLagos
I still have so much to tell you (including the men! hehe) but it's 1:26AM & tomorrow's a work day so it'll have to wait.

In the meantime, share your thoughts/opinion. I'm curious to know where we agree, disagree and/or agree to disagree #LivingLaVidaLagos
I've forgotten what it's called but this is it. Very potent!
I'm still at work but let me steal some time to tell you about the men. Ladies, their reputation is legit! I remember joking w/several ladies about how I couldn't believe they allowed their men to walk around freely coz enyewe (honestly/for real) these Naija 🔥 #LivingLaVidaLagos
Mind you, I'm not talking about sexually-driven or anchored connections (although there's nothing wrong with that). I'm talking about men bending over forwards/backwards/sideways for a lady, whether she's a stranger, a friend, a lover or a wife. #LivingLaVidaLagos
Kwanza (once) they found out that I was visiting, they really went out of their way for me - in little ways and big ways. Right from my seatmate on the flight to Lagos to my seatmate on the flight from Lagos, I met men who were kind, fun, generous & more #LivingLaVidaLagos
And of course flirtatious! I mean, what is life without flirting, right? These men would make me grin & blush with their words, actions, boldness and masculine energy. You should see my face right now as I type this. I think I blushed for 35 days straight, lol #LivingLaVidaLagos
Y'all! A guy actually introduced himself & flirted w/me AFTER CONNING ME! 😂 I really shouldn't laugh but it was funny, (although not to my hosts, who were not amused that I'd been conned over 'air'/tire pressure, of all things!) I was amused by the whole thing #LivingLaVidaLagos
Lagos brought out my femininity. I felt beautiful because every day, at some point, I was appreciated for being beautiful. Every. Day! I was a calmer, happier woman. One more than most gets the credit here. Still, the male energy in Lagos was great for me ❤ #LivingLaVidaLagos
The food. I was surprised to learn that Nigerian culture is not, at its core, an eating out culture. The middle class and those returning from abroad are probably changing that but apparently, eating at home is preferred.

The food was confusing for me #LivingLaVidaLagos
Foods like Asun (peppered goat) & Suya tasted familiar because Kenyans love their goat meat, so I relished those. PS: when a Nigerian offers you peppered goat, understand that it's PEPPER, not a light sprinkling of red chili. Keep water/tissues next to you, lol #LivingLaVidaLagos
Jollof rice: the great debate. I'm holding my true opinion on jollof rice until I return to Lagos & eat several different kinds of jollof, just to be sure. I think I had it twice & it was delicious! I wished I had asked for recommendations prior to traveling #LivingLaVidaLagos
To be honest, I've forgotten what this soup was called but it was one of my favorite meals. I visited someone who was a very gracious host indeed and that added to the flavor of the food. Actually, this whole night was a fun night! #LivingLaVidaLagos
My favorite breakfast: plantain + eggs + greens. I don't know what those greens were but they were so soooooooo delicious! If you're wondering why my plantains look a little burned, it's because I like the flavor & crunch of burnt plantain 🙈😂. #LivingLaVidaLagos
This was my 1st time to try this soup. It's made w/beef & cow "skin". To be honest, this wasn't my favorite soup. The cow skin definitely did a number on my imagination + palm oil has a unique flavor. I'm not ready to give up on this yet; I shall be back! #LivingLaVidaLagos
This is one type of "swallow". I think it's made from a kind of garri/cassava flour. It's similar to Kenyan ugali in consistency & flavor(lessness), perfect w/greens + meat. I did wonder whether I could eat w/milk + sugar, Kikuyu style? Haha #MashakuraLoading #LivingLaVidaLagos
This was my 1st breakfast in Lagos: sweat potato + plantain (of course) + egg sauce. If you're thinking there's too much starch on my plate, we can't be friends; I don't need that kind of negativity in my life #Yum. For sentimental reasons alone, it was my fave #LivingLaVidaLagos
I wish I had taken a better photo of this food. There were two kinds of soups - the cow skin one and a white one (you can kinda see it bottom right corner), and two kinds of swallows - cassava one and a white ugali-looking one. Everyone pounced on these! #Yum #LivingLaVidaLagos
One of the things that I struggled with on the food front was fish & fish stock. Nigerians/Lagosians love fish & cook with it often. Fish lovers, this is a place you will love. #LivingLaVidaLagos
Can we talk about eating out? As I said, I didn't get to eat out much so this is just a little of what I did try. Eating out could be expensive, made worse by the fact that I kept forgetting to convert from N to Kshs so 2500/- for a cocktail was a shock 🙈 haha #LivingLaVidaLagos
This was probably the most incredibly opulent restaurant I had been to in Lagos. I mean...just Google it. It had a view of the ocean and the food + drinks were delicious. It was hard to take pictures because I didn't wanna be tacky but lemme see what I have #LivingLaVidaLagos
Here you go. Isn't it lovely? The food was good and I especially loved their cocktails. #LivingLaVidaLagos
One of my homes away from home was The Autobiography @theautobio. It's at the entrance of Shoprite Sangotedo (right next to the main road). They had great cocktails! I also loved their fries + chicken wings. Next time I go I'm definitely eating off the grill #LivingLaVidaLagos
This was a Jamaican spot. They were really friendly, lots of banter and just excellent customer service. I'm including the menu here so you can also see the address since I'm hopeless on that front. I think this was in V.I. Anyway, delicious food & drinks. #LivingLaVidaLagos
Pizza!!! I had to compare NG Dominos & Debonairs pizzas to Kenya's. I'm happy to report that Kenyan pizzas win this contest hands down 💃. Sorry Lagosians but something just didn't taste right in both these pizzas. I STILL stuffed my face, as evidenced below 🙈 #LivingLaVidaLagos
(More) cocktails! This beauty was from Rhapsody Circle Mall/Lekki?. I also had Asun & this time there were fewer tears from the pepe. This was my "OMG I might actually be morphing into a legit Lagosian 😎 #Pepe" moment. Of course it called for a cocktail, haha. #LivingLaVidaLagos
This was a cute little space that had a long, detailed menu. I loved the setup, I loved how cozy it felt. This is one of the places I'd absolutely return to for more. The interior is also nicer than the interior but the exterior had the address so here you go #LivingLaVidaLagos
Ah! These guys. Loved them. They were in Lekki Phs.1 at probably the coolest, most fun place I visited #UpBeat. If you have kids - or are a big kid - you're gonna love them. Tell Mrs. Hanson I sent you #Enjoy PS: Ladies, the baristas are cute. You're welcome 😎 #LivingLaVidaLagos
This was one fun night! The pic was taken on that new Lekki bridge at about 3am. It was also a few minutes before we got pulled over & searched by armed military/police; intimidating but fine in the end. I wish I'd taken more pics but I was too scared. Boo. #LivingLaVidaLagos
Ah! How could I forget to tell you about my experiences w/Nigerian immigration?

The lady I spoke with in Nairobi on phone was pleasant & very helpful. The man I spoke with in Abuja (on phone) was rude & dismissive 😠

But this is about the ones at the airport #LivingLaVidaLagos
I was nervous too coz I'd been warned about them; they never have change $ *cough*, they can bully & coerce money out of you, visa fees can increase on a whim & of course receipts only reflect the original fee. #LivingLaVidaLagos
So when I arrived, I was anxious. I ended up interacting w/3 officials; 1 female, 2 male. You guys, I'm being serious when I tell you that everything was opposite! I'm not gonna deny that others have had -ve experiences but I'd be lying if I said the same... #LivingLaVidaLagos
#LivingLaVidaLagos I filled out my card & took it to the first counter; the lady. I said hello, she questioned me and then passed me over to the next guy. He was equally pleasant. He looked at my visa form & realized that I'd skipped a step so he directed me to the right office.
I half ran to the office (one of my flight friends was waiting for me) only to find that it was full! One of the guys saw me waving at my friend & asked if we were together. I said yes. He asked for my documents, saw I was Kenyan & promptly handled me himself! #LivingLaVidaLagos
When people complained, he told them he was only dealing w/Kenyans, lol.

In case you didn't know, Kenyans have the privilege of visa-on-arrival on Nigeria. Now you know!

Anyway, I ran back to the female/male from before, was immediately processed & DONE!

My exit from Lagos was a little more dramatic.

1st, @KenyaAirways canceled our flight and waited 4 hours to tell us. I love you guys but you REALLY must do better. It's not fair to wait until we're at the airport & lined up for 3 hours before communicating.

The security guys probably felt bad for us so they were lenient when I kept having to dash out to say goodbye. 4 hours later, we left (it took at least another hour to get some information on accommodation) & no compensation. Tsk tsk @KenyaAirways. Do better. #LivingLaVidaLagos
Day 2, they booked me on RwandaAir (#Nope I was charged more for a direct flight so no way I was going to Kigali first) and THEN they didn't tell me. To be fair, the airport staff were exhausted but again, no compensation from @KenyaAirways #Tsk #LivingLaVidaLagos
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