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Monday, February 1, 2010

Dear Sir or Madam...

...I am the son of a deposed Nigerian prince/governor/president, AdeChiNgoOluwaBlahBlahBlah.  I am writing you to help me collect 50 gazillion dollars from the Bank of BlahBlahBlah.  In exchange for helping me, I will need to collect your Social Security Number, retinal scan, fingerprints, hair, urine and blood samples as well as your  credit card and bank information and account numbers.  And while you're at it, send the passwords to your Facebook and email accounts...

Like most people, this is what I unfortunately often associate with Nigeria.  That and the idiot from the recent Christmas day bomb attempt.  After recently  returning from my mother-in-law's funeral there (which was a wonderful celebration of her life), I made several observations.
  • Corruption runs deep.  Airport officials (as well as almost everyone else who seems to live in that country) at the Lagos airport are notorious for trying to collect bribes from visitors coming and going from abroad.  We were asked for money repeatedly from various airport officials, from customs agents to the passport screeners to allow us to pass through. We refused to pay, leading to me having to fly solo for 28 hours with a 2 year old through 3 continents.  Fun times.
  • It is hot as balls there.  Yes, I said it.  Hot. As. Balls.  I lost about 5 pounds from being there - mostly from dehydration, partly from fear of eating anything and catching some tropical gastrointestinal bug.
  • There are a lot of people.  EVERYWHERE.  Imagine twice the population of New York City without the subways, proper public transit, 95 degrees, 100% humidity, only two or three lane roads, most of which have humongous potholes.  And no constant electricity and no constant running water.  And lots of pollution (the Kid was coughing like a pack a day smoker with emphysema the whole time). And throw in some open sewage in many neighborhoods (thankfully, not the ones where we were staying). 
That was the un-fun part.  The nice part was getting to see some extended family again and meeting a lot of nieces and nephews who weren't born yet last time I went there.  Like this face.

And this one.


And this one.  This nephew thought I had a magic purse, since every time I opened it I had some sort of sweet or juice box or granola bar inside of it.

And of course, this one.  Fanta is safer to drink than the water there. Yummy.

By the way, there were about 700 people at the funeral.  Like weddings, funerals are are always a well attended event.  It was such an awesome celebration of her life.  More to come...

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