So I am running along a random street in Lagos, when I see this poster put up to honor the Glorious Exit of Chief Ezekiel Ojo Alabi Farukan of Lagos Nigeria
Thinking its a beautiful way to honor death, I take a photo, and then I hear yelling. A Nigerian policeman is running at me screaming that I cannot take a photo and he needs to see my camera.
Yelling back, I tell him I am respecting the dead, and he should have more respect too. I then I show him what I am photographing, the poster. He demands to see my camera. Just before we were really going to get into it (I was not going to give up my camera) a woman got off a moped and jumped into the debate.Read More
What does it look like to land at Lagos, Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS)? For those who wonder, I made the following movie while my flight approached and landed just for your enjoyment.
I’m always amazed at the view – those endless shanties that spread out into the horizon. That all that humanity can live so close together. Its not the vertical living of Hong Kong, but Nigeria doesn’t have Asia’s organization either. All those people you see while approaching Lagos International are scrounging for a living in the midst of African chaos.Read More
Sitting here on this Nigerian flight from Lagos to Abuja, I’m surprised to be the only “white” guy on the jet plane. That the majority of passengers are black Africans is not surprising of course, but its the other ethnicity present that shocks – Chinese.
And I do not mean a Chinese here or there. I would say that about a third of the flight is Chinese – not Asian, not Japanese, not Thai, Cambodian or Indonesian. Not even “Overseas Chinese” from Singapore or Hong Kong, but full on mainland Chinese who very much look the part.
Chattering away in putonghua, with the mannerisms and dress of middling businessmen, they are an uninspiring lot at first glance. But by the second or third take, I start to wonder what they’re doing in deepest Africa.Read More
If you are going to fly Virgin Nigeria, be prepared for a little adventure – it’s not like Virgin Airlines by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Virgin Nigeria is a downright adventure no matter if you’re going on an inter-Nigeria or international flight.
Let’s start at getting a ticket. Before you think it’s as easy as booking online, check your optimism. They may have a website, which you can reserve a ticket on, but you better be actually in Nigeria before you think of buying a ticket.
For that, you need to visit an actual Virgin Nigeria ticket office, where you’ll find helpful people who tell you “No” at every chance. Can I get a ticket for the 6pm flight to Abuja? No. What about the 4pm flight? No. Any flight? No. Why? We’re not flying. Okay, not flying today, this week, ever again? I don’t know.Read More
Back when I was eyeball deep in OLPC controversy, I had lunch with a writer from MIT ‘s Technology Review. In the midst of our conversation he raised a fear about developing world cities. He said, “They’re not sustainable” and was concerned they will collapse soon.
At the time, I wondered what he meant, as the cities I’ve seen seem way more vibrant than many of our own here in the USA. Then I went to Lagos, Nigeria.
This is a city that was once prime. You can see it in the buildings now left to rot. You can feel it in the way the people talk about the past. And now, with decades of neglect, you can see that its on decline.Read More