Hotels.ng Fellow Milagros DuBouchet shares her experience in Lagos.
"Lagos is crazy," "the traffic is insane," "don't be scared when you arrive at the airport," "don't walk the streets alone"... these were just some of the pre-departure warnings. Once I arrived, everything made sense. There was no shortage of heavily armed guards, who didn't hesitate to demand money, simply for pointing you in the direction of baggage claim. The scene was colorful and hectic. Lawless, even. Welcome to Lagos.
Lagos has been a complete mixed bag. A little bit of everything: including the ubiquitous good, bad, and ugly. I've met some of the most academically accomplished folks in the world, seen some of the poorest communities I've ever been exposed to, engaged with some of the most beautiful spirits, all whilst discovering where chivalry seemed to go and die. It's a world of endless - and sometimes jarring - dichotomies.
I'm living in Ikoyi, one of the most affluent communities of the city, while working in Yaba, one of the poorest neighborhoods I've ever experienced. I wake up every morning, in my fully furnished flat, and head downstairs to a driver waiting with the door open for me. The security guards open the front gate as we exit the protected haven. We hit the road and within minutes, we're on the mainland, where I work. My commute serves as a daily reminder of what life is really like for the most impoverished Lagosians. An array of peddlers: men, women, and children alike, all competing for my spare change. A pregnant woman carrying a small child on her back while balancing an oversized basket of apples on her head. A severely deformed man dragging his body along the highway with a change cup. A 5-year-old boy running along the open road, smiling and tapping the car window while reciting the overly rehearsed "abeg auntie, give me money" opener.
At the end of the workday, I head back to Ikoyi, to a home cooked meal, prepared by our steward. Then, get ready for the nightclub, where the cars are luxurious, the men are flashy, the women even flashier, the celebs are a fixture, and the bottles are passed around with abandon.
The duality of Lagos, has by far, been the most fascinating aspect of this experience.