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Old 24th July 2006, 13:54   #16
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he hee nice write up there steer. btw dint knew u were in nigeria..Lucky to get such an international bhpian.
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Old 24th July 2006, 13:54   #17
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I'm getting a bit carried away here. This is more than just cars.

Pictures...there arent any pictures of public areas because you dont want to flash your camera around in public. Hence you'll have to excuse. I have a few private photographs:

1. The Beach (Eleko Beach)



2. My son's school roster - see the mixture of names: local, indian, south african, english and swiss. Quite a few expatriates live there:



3. Nigerians (and an Indian) in the national costume. From my son's school:



4. My son and the 7ft Security Guard. For all their ferocity, these people really LOVE children - you can see the hardest nut softening visibly when they see a kid:



5. Yet another school pic (we only took the camera out when there was an event in a private place):



6. And in between all that, we Mallus built an Ayyappa Temple. Pics taken on the consecretion day - excuse poor quality, its from a P800:

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Old 24th July 2006, 14:31   #18
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This is also a favoured way of getting through traffic jams if one is in a hurry - the cops clear the way for you like you're some head of state. Any car that doesnt move out is given the rifle-butt treatment that leaves a large dent on it.
Haha, this reminds me of that scene from "Bruce Almighty" where he sits in his Saleen, moves his hands and the whole traffic just goes onto the pavement to give him a clear road.

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Old 24th July 2006, 14:33   #19
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As usual, nice writeup, Steer. Really enjoyed reading it.

OFF-TOPIC :
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Originally Posted by Steeroid
And in between all that, we Mallus built an Ayyappa Temple.
Nothing surprising about this particular Mallu trait. As they say,
If there is only one Mallu around, things will be normal (pretty drab, actually).
If there are 2, they will form a Malayalee Samajam.
And if there are 3, they will form a trade union.

No offense to any Mallus anywhere. Am one too and proud of it.
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Old 25th July 2006, 03:30   #20
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Dear Steeroid,

Thanx a lot. I am working for a German company so hope will be taken care well. Can i ask what year u were there??. U can PM me if u like.
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Old 25th July 2006, 05:32   #21
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Steeroid... very interesting write up, I have relatives living in Lagos and I hear the same stories all the time.

I dont know if you experienced this but i hear they always have electricity problem, everyone has generators at home. House break in's are common occurance... and if there is a fire the fire brigade will first grab whatever they can put there hands on and then worry about fighting the fire.

Also last year i heard the phone lines were dead cause some locals decided to pull out the copper from the wire running underground
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Old 25th July 2006, 08:22   #22
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Nice one steer! lol

A frnd of mine's house was busted when he was sleepin by some guys. He ended up giving his branded watch. He had to as they had a gun pointed at him.
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Old 25th July 2006, 10:21   #23
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Originally Posted by DaPilot
I dont know if you experienced this but i hear they always have electricity problem, everyone has generators at home. House break in's are common occurance... and if there is a fire the fire brigade will first grab whatever they can put there hands on and then worry about fighting the fire.

Also last year i heard the phone lines were dead cause some locals decided to pull out the copper from the wire running underground
1. Electricity does not exist except for some sporadic moments during the day - NEPA (Nigeria Electric Power Authority) is usually on standby, just like generators are on standby in the rest of the world. We had two generators at home, each of which took turns for 12 hours at a time.

We also had our own borewell and water treatment plant, as did every other house around us. Television was through DTH so you had your own dish. Internet was through VSAT. Every house therefore is self-contained and idea is that once you're in you should be able to live without having to go out for at least 2-3 weeks - every house therefore has a huge store room which resembles a grocery shop because you have supplies for 3-4 weeks, just in case there is a general strike (or a coup in the old days).

2. Most of the expats live in secured 'Estates' which have electric and razor wire all around with armed patrols and security guards at the entry point. In addition, each house has at least 2 security guards (we had 4), 8 ft high walls with spikes and razor wire around it. Security is round-the clock.

3. Break-ins are common if you dont live in an 'estate' or a secured apartment block. People usually have steel doors inside their wooden outer doors. We had a dandy wooden door that was bulletproof because it had bulletproof steel INSIDE the wood. All windows are double grilled and the french windows are usually not used because they are locked with collapsible gates.

4. There are no streetlights in Lagos - every bulb is stolen and sometimes the lampost itself is stolen. The traffic lights dont work either because teh bulbs have been stolen or the traffic lamp itself has been.

5. JK you heard of copper wires - let me tell you about the railway, which incidentally was built by Indian Railways RITES. They complain that the Indians fleeced them because the railway doesnt work - what is conveniently forgotten is that the furniture in the railway carriages (berths and all) were stolen, signal posts were stolen, WHEELS were stolen and in some cases the railway tracks have been removed by thieves. So the railway doesnt work.

6. GSM is hugely popular and successful in Nigeria because nobody can steal the radio waves and therefore you receive uninterrupted service - the landline telephones hardly ever work. We still had issues with our base stations, though - in most cases the base stations had round-the-clock security and 3 generators each to keep them running. We often had to pay money to the area boys to let our fuel trucks reach the cell sites. In Akwa Ibon, our engineers were routinely kidnapped for ransom - they are extremely well taken care of when they are kidnapped, to be fair. One of the engineers also mentioned that he was offered a 10% "cut" on the ransom paid - the kidnappers felt that he was an essential part of the business and therefore deserved a share of the loot. They were surprised that he didnt take the money - obviously it looks like the others were taking money.

This probably explains why a lot of expatriate petroleum engineers continue to work in that area despite having been kidnapped more than once. Good side income, especially when you consider the fairly decent ransom figures and that you're treated like a king and not a captive!

7. Finally, Pranil: you will notice that people are phenomenally polite there. The Guards and the Office Boys go out of their way to say "Good Mornin, SAH!" or the more usual "Good Morning, OGA" (OGA = big man/chief). This is usually an indicator that a small Baksheesh is expected. The "Happy Weekend Oga!" starts by around Wednesday evening, and it means that you will have a good weekend therefore please give me some money so that I can have a good one too.

Happy Journey, Oga!

Last edited by Steeroid : 25th July 2006 at 10:31.
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Old 25th July 2006, 12:30   #24
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wow steeroid ,

that was superbbbb....
from whatever u have said ,i feel the safest way to travel would be to have a company vehicle or if you really need to own one ,have something that's not much in demand
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Old 25th July 2006, 13:43   #25
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... Steeroid that was utterly utterly hilarious !! And we in India complain about lack of infra structure .. compared to this we living in heaven -- Good read !!

cheers
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Old 25th July 2006, 14:06   #26
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Steer- u should start a new thread here with ur experiences in Nigeria!

Also if u have similar ones in DXB/any other location on mother earth, would love to read them too.
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Old 25th July 2006, 14:06   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khaadu75
... Steeroid that was utterly utterly hilarious !! And we in India complain about lack of infra structure .. compared to this we living in heaven -- Good read !!

cheers
I think two clarifications are required:

1. While all this may seem hilarious to us, let us remember that it isnt funny for the local population. You see the depths of poverty there, and in most cases the hold-ups and the break-ins are induced by acute poverty. The guys who stole my friend's Prado were extremely polite, refused to take the watch off his kid, dropped him off at the edge of town and gave him money to take a taxi back home with the request "Oga, pray for our souls. We are forced to do this because of our government". WHen you hear things like that it isnt funny anymore. Or the story of my friend who was returning from the club after the evening game of tennis and was held up under the bridge - he had no money to offer the man and he could only offer his tennis racquets and his watch. The poor chap (the robber / the holder-up) actually broke down and told my friend "Oga I done spend so much money and rent this gun and you no give me anything !"

Poverty is pathetic - people live in shacks made from cardboard cartons that are covered with used polythene sheets for protection from the rain.

And remember - ALL THIS in a country that is one of the world's largest exporters of Crude Oil. It is estimated that for every dollar of crude revenue, only about 10 cents makes its way back to the country. The rest is all "invested" in Switzerland and the UK. The story is that if all Nigerians pull their money out of the UK that economy would collapse.

This is a country that doesnt trust its own Government. The people CURSE the day oil was found, because they stopped farming (they were the world's largest producer of Cocoa and Palm Oil before OIL was discovered - now its some south american country and Malaysia), mining, and all the other activities that are possible in this very rich country that is full of natural resources.


2. Despite all this, we had a great time in Nigeria - something I feel guilty about. We had the best facilities available, the best clubs (probably the best I've ever seen in terms of sporting infrastructure - 12 squash courts, 7 badminton courts, 25 TT tables, 4 billards rooms - all airconditioned. 21 tennis courts, an equestrian club and an 18 hole golf course ALL IN ONE CLUB), the best schools for our kids, the best accomodation available and the best security. There was very little to complain about, even if it took a bit of shouting and shoving to get things done sometimes.

People may tend to steal, but this is more on account of circumstances. My driver, for instance, has no electricity at home to recharge his mobilephone. He came to my house at 5 in the morning so that he would get enough time to charge his phone, iron his uniform and wash the car.

Despite all this, they are a very happy bunch of people. Allegedly the happiest on earth - HOW, I dont know.

I hope, for their sake, that the country rises from this mess. In terms of natural resources, its one of the most blessed pieces of land on the planet - they have Oil, Fertile Land, plenty of rainfall, bauxite, mica, iron and other resources in plenty, and a port thats right on the international shipping channel.

When you think of all that, the story is suddenly very sad.

Last edited by Steeroid : 25th July 2006 at 14:10.
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Old 25th July 2006, 14:11   #28
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Originally Posted by himanshugoswami
Steer- u should start a new thread here with ur experiences in Nigeria!

Also if u have similar ones in DXB/any other location on mother earth, would love to read them too.
Himanshu

I have lived in other places like Malaysia, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Ireland and South Africa. NONE of those experiences have been as interesting, involving and even saddening as the one year in Nigeria.

There isnt very much to talk about those places - Nigeria, it makes you laugh and cry at the same time.
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Old 25th July 2006, 14:13   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid
When you think of all that, the story is suddenly very sad.
Hey, I know that ppl are in a way forced to do what they do due to the poverty and its definitely saddening but then its hilarious as well !!! Hilarious coz we arnt directly involved in a situation like that and saddening coz there aint much we can do about it ....

Cheers
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Old 25th July 2006, 14:19   #30
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in some cases the railway tracks have been removed by thieves.
Hmmm, do these thieves wear a blue dress, red cape and red underwear (worn inside out)? LOL

Who are these guys? "Superthieves"?

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