Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My tale of two cities


Impressions of a place are about comparisons, surprises as they contrast with expectations, things that impress us and yet also the daily interactions and familiarities that turn a place into one's home. I love living in the FCT and having relocated (at least for now) from Lagos, it's only normal to make comparisons between the two cities. I've been looking out for similarities and so far I've found a few.
  • You know the way the police guys shamelessy, no proudly collect the 20 bucks from the bus drivers. Nope! Haven't seen that around here (On second thoughts, maybe it's more on a professional level ... in offices, with cheques, with contracts)
  • You know the way you just see mad people strutting around town and everybody just walks past like they are normal pedestrians like you. Nope!
  • There's just one beggar on the road from my residence to my place of work in Garki. For someone like me who has lived all her life in Lagos excluding a few months away, you'll admit that this is strange. My mind just drifted towards that trailer-crammed Apapa route.
  • I have never, I mean NEVER ever been stuck in traffic (Okay to be honest, I'm aware you have to watch the time these days. and that means no excuse for lateness anymore.) Queues build up but nothing extraordinary (except of course in times of the fuel scarcity) and besides, the traffic lights are functional. Again Think Apapa.
I admit that these are really random (understatement police!) contrasts but isn't that what endears you the most to anything? The littlest things, right? When I moved to Abuja, I almost fell ill in the first week. The city stank of sloth and inactivity. For a whole week, my body woke up at 5: 00 a.m. already programmed to rush. Well, I learnt my lesson after I became the joke at home and was tagged "hustler." The good side was that I was recommended at work ;) After a while I relaxed and took it for granted and literally forced another ninety minutes into my snooze schedule. A li'l sleep, a li'l slumber ... never hurt nobody! Another time, I needed to buy a notebook and pen and was told that I had to go i.e. be driven all the way to the plaza, supermarket or the central Wuse market. Kai! I remembered Lag once more, where my next door neighbour runs a jack-of-all-trades chemist: Toiletries, recharge cards, bathroom slippers, stationeries, chin-chin.. Obioma nko? You couldn't miss the sound of the tailor's scissors hitting his shoulder-borne machine, or is it the sound of the vendors' horn that would wake me from my post-service siesta to get my Sunday ThisDay newspaper? In fact I even still have some change left with the aboki down the street that recaps my heels. Asking for directions in this city is not even advisable because it appears everybody just moved in too. You are almost sure to get an "I don't know", unlike Lagos where that reply would be a sin. Even the JJC that landed yesterday knows the way. As for finding boli (roasted plantain), it's a long forgotten now broken dream!

I had to go return to Lagos for a week and boy, I was battling with mixed feelings. First things, the sight of okadas, the yellows and blacks (buses and cabs) and the uniformed Owo da brought a smile to my face. It seemed everything was singing the line from Naeto-C's Kini Big deal that says, "One more thing: This is Las Gidi!" Didn't know I'd been gone for so long. Next, I was stuck in Apapa on my way from Victoria Island to Festac for THREE HOURS, not including the hour I spent on the island itself. Of course I got home with different kinds of aches. If I could describe Lagos in one word, I'd choose TOXIC but ... the kind of toxic addiction that eats deep into one's bloodstream and keeps you wanting to go back. Someone called it a strange romance and I couldn't agree more.

Nigerians, Lagosians, Abujans (or what are we called), what do you think? Got any experiences?

PHOTO CREDITS: ME and my camera!

15 comments:

aloted said...

first time here and i like it so far :)
men i refer abuja to lagos o..considering I grew up in ibadan...
Lagos is just CRAZY for me!!!

aloted said...

oh looks like i am first sef...firstimer is first!!!! heheheh

BrownSugar said...

Awww! Glad to have you here aloted! I love Abuja too but Lag ... is definitely a drug!!!

Standtall said...

Hmmm Silent Scream a blogger that stays in Abuja but had to come to Lagos for an interview blogged about her exprience. She didnt find it funny. I am not a morning person and I wont mind waking up at 7 and get to work by 8. All this Lagos rush is killing me.

Me I want to relocate o. I doubt if I will miss lagos that much if I have to remember d traffic, the noise, the disorgnise life and all that but Fashola is trying to reshape Lagos and I pray it works

brownsugar said...

Hi StandTall, I tell you, leaving Lagos for anywhere else even if it's Enugu makes life feel like a vacation! And with this 3rd mainland development, ... I really don't wish to be in Fashola's shoes!

funkola said...

there's just a lot of crazy in lagos, but i guess that's what many of us have come to love. las gidi is home for me. nowhere but here, i tell you, even london stinks for me, i'd much rather be in lagos.

brownsugar said...

Lagos over London! You've been drugged ... lol!

AlooFar said...

Hey Sugar!

Request granted.

How are you?

Standtall said...

Yeah the 3rd Mainland thing. We r coping sha. I will prefer to see that bridge in good shape than it sinking me one day. (God forbid!!!).

But I prefer not to be in Fashola shoe either

ladun said...

sis, u totally blew me off guard..
this is really nice
seriously this is good sturv..oh
u rock

abuja is a cool place, i have spent holidays there but working days nope

but truly we all know lagos is the happening place....

'the city', they call it.....it never sleeps...
and now with the T.M Bridge issue, at 5:00am the streets are filled with people the old,the young, babies,children,adults,the youths

trust me its a lil scary
its like nobody sleeps anymore

but God dey.........

BrownSugar said...

Thanx aloofar. Wow! From Salt to Sugar? Me likes! Im good tho, thanx 4 asking.

TM Bridge .. I gbadun ur initials o, Ladun.

simeoneomobaba said...

i prefer abj to lago .. 1 zillion times over..Lord have mercy on me..but i have turned down jobs..because i dont want to live in lag..when i was serving i would get out of bed 30 mins to resumption time and would still not be late..but u did not mention the way we drive in this city..its something else..is it a bad thing to have good roads again..?

BrownSugar said...

Simeonebaba, true talk o! The drivers are close to crazy and there's an alarming number of accidents occurring daily. Weird!

Chi-Chi said...

I prefer Owerri to Lagos but I burst out laughing at this comment: You know the way the police guys shamelessy, no proudly collect the 20 bucks from the bus drivers. That's Naija for you!

Unknown said...

yes i agree, the kinda toxic that keeps you wanting more....i live in abuja now #truesadstory....lol