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A week in Lagos, hiding in comfort

"Eyo of Eko" festival statue, funeral rites for a deceased Oba (local chief).

A white brother was doing his daily circle walks in the luxurious Eko Hotel garden. He looked scruffy in his sweaty, bleached clothes and bent over walking style. So this is what a white brother may look like after a few years in Nigeria.


To my surprise the international airport in Lagos is small, only two wings, with 5 or 6 gates on each side. Lagos has 10 million people but the government seat was moved in 1991 to Abuja, the newly founded capital city in Central Nigeria.

Airport and billboard with living on the Coke side of life

Personnel from the company we visit, pick us up outside the terminal building and direct us to the company bus. The bus has the usual overly cool air-conditioning. A police escort , 4 officers in a brand new SUV, follow us for safety.

Most buildings along the highway have only one or two stories with typical rusty corrugated iron roofs. These I noticed already from the air and the city looks very organized, with dirt roads in the outskirts only.

Eko Hotel

We arrive at the Eko hotel after less than a one hour drive from the airport. The hotel is a large compound consisting of several buildings. This will be home for this week, a luxurious 4 star hiding place. There are several restaurants in the compound so there will be no need to go out for dinner at night. The Italian restaurant is the best. A true resort.

Pool and garden of the Eko Hotel, picture taken from Rm 600.

Pool and hotel building at the back side.

Rooms from the 6th floor up are newly decorated and carpets have been replaced with stone tiles with a grey granite texture. It looks nice and smells very fresh and clean. Room 600 at the end of the SW corridor is bigger and recommended.

The small hotel garden has a reasonable 15 to 20 m pool and a large bar with the usual big bellies drinking beers, mostly Brits, presumably serving short term contracts. The big bellies seem typical for some increased standard of living but not all the way. They did not invest their earnings wisely.

The fitness club has new equipment but I wanted to go to the nearby beach for running. However, I am advised not to go without an escort, but they are not available at night.

The Eko Hotel is named after the “Eyo of Eko” festival. The statue plague states that such rituals are held during the funeral obsequis ( funeral rites) of a deceased Oba (local chief) by his successor before his coronation”.

Eyo of Eko at the reception.

The compound of the hotel has a souvenir shop with carvings.

Queen of Africa.

Friendly touch of the Queen of Africa, a la Lubbers”. Anonomous until proven guilty, still investigated by the UN.

In the garden we see a man walking endlessly in circles looking very focused, see Movie (50 MByte). He is here every day between 5 and 7 PM. He looks a bit scruffy in his oversized bleached and sweaty clothes. Has he been a long time in Nigeria? Did the white brother go bananas?

Man walking in circles in the garden.

Half a year later, he is still there but now he is jogging at a good pace.

White brother, running in circles in the garden (click on picture for movie, 18 Mbyte)

Heavy rain starts and the white brother dashes for shelter, see close up movie, 3 MByte.

Daily Routine

A bus with a police escort take us to and from the office.

We pass several billboards, Nigerian are religious people.

Don't hang yourself, hopes awaits you in Jesus”.

Office, one of the tallest buildings.

Police Escort.

Streets are busy, some are lined with market stalls and having lunch tasting the local cuisine would be easy but we are requested to stay inside and have delivery pizza. Only once we go to a local restaurant for lunch, but again using cars.

Between the Federal Place Hotel and the office, the locals created an illegal underpass under the highway by removing big concrete blocks.

Traffic using an illegal underpass causing a traffic jam.

The illegal underpass does make sense but was never built. The traffic crosses our two lanes but getting on the dirt underpass is not simple as they have to get up the curb and this creates a 1 or 2 km traffic jam on the regular road. See Movie, 20 MByte.

On Thursday morning policemen are trying to stop the crossing traffic and are hitting motor cyclists who object, to make their point. The next day, the traffic jam is gone and the concrete blocks blocking the illegal underpass are guarded by a policeman.

Every day, on the way back, we passed a monkey statue. It is for sale.

Monkey statue, 2 m high.

We pass merchants selling fruits on the street.

Merchant with “garden eggs”.

Getting out of the down town area takes 20-30 minutes by traffic jams as everybody tries to get on the highway. We pass cars with interesting slogans.

I am covered by the blood of Jesus”.

We also pass the yacht club.

Yacht Club.

During a trip to a local restaurant we witnessed an accident, a minibus backing up hits a motorcycle. The minibus tried to get away but was stuck in a traffic jam. It is forced by the police to take the man, who is bleeding at the shoulder, to the hospital, presumably as an insurance for the medical bills and perhaps even more like damage payments.

Way back

From the office to the international airport took 3 hours and 10 minutes. Traffic is bad on Thursday and Friday between 4 and 8 PM but I managed to read several pages in a book, annoyed when we started speeding up again.

In traffic jam merchants were walking on the highway.

Merchants on the highway.

On my second trip I took pictures along the road, mostly from billboards. Now we only needed 35 minutes to reach the airport.

Living on the coke side of life”

Very Nigerian. Very Virgin.”

Fishermen near the main bridge.

At the airport we are reminded that Nigerians are the happiest people in the world.

Hope you had a happy stay in Nigeria.” Of course we did.

The business class lounge was totally overcrowded and many white brothers and sisters seem keen to leave. There seem to be no real alternative, the restaurant in the Departures area has only very basic food. The staff permits us to go to the First Class lounge and here it is quiet, so this feels just like home again.

On my second trip we discover that the Air France and Sky Team Lounges are nearly empty and are much nicer. All the KLM travellers congregate in one place.

More pictures

Annemiek giving a class using the wall projector.

Power Yoga in Nigeria

Elbow balancing, legs to the back and finish in arm stand (almost).

Downward facing dog and legs throuhg arm, finish sitting up. Hands were sliding on the slippery floor.

Elbow balancing, professional example how you should do it from utube (38 MByte).