Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fresh Fish

Charley and I are considered to be "Fresh Fish" in Lagos and everyone refers to us with that term.  "Fresh Fish" identifies us as newcomers to the area and we hear it daily - many times!  Most of the expats have been very welcoming and willing to help, by including us in many events.   So far, I've played canasta, attended a Bible study and enjoyed a girl's afternoon at a new friend's home, so we are getting indoctrinated quickly.  Today, we were invited to a BBQ by a fellow Texan, which was fun. I think the harder the assignment, the more people work to include newcomers and we are VERY thankful!   
We were impressed with the smoker set up at Chris and Valerie's home!!  We could smell the BBQ cooking when we drove up, which was absolutely delicious and a wonderful taste of home!!  We met lots of new people and it was fun to spend the afternoon just relaxing.  
As "Fresh Fish", we also notice the little things all that the old-timers take for granted... 
 There's a double layer of barbed wire and electric wires around all the houses and fences.  
Guards are everywhere!  At most houses, four guards are on rotation (2 at a time) 24/7 in the guard house (You can see the windows on the left side).  Today, one guard is in the booth and the other is busy opening the doors for guests (in the white shirt). 
Another interesting sight was the table and chairs sitting outside the gates next to the street for the drivers.  They were invited to relax and eat (jollaf rice and meat) while waiting for the their "Madames and Masters" inside enjoying the party.  Most people here don't arrange food and chairs for the drivers, but many Americans do, which is nice to see. 
Generators and Diesel tanks are normal to see in the front yards.  The generators are the white boxes pictured above and definitely needed here.  Typically, one generator runs when the power is out, while the other one cools.  Generators are rotated about every 8 hours.  The brown tank to the left is the diesel fuel tank to run the generators.  These are just part of the landscape and we see and hear them on every house and building.  I've also noticed when the lights go out (and the place goes dark for a minute) that no one even stops the conversation!  The power goes out multiple times every single day, so it's not a reason to skip a beat!!  I am getting used to the flickering of lights and the power alarms (beep, beep, beep, beep) from the UPS already.  All of our appliances are plugged into UPS (Universal Power Supplies) and then into Surge Protectors, so we have power cords everywhere.  We also use adapters and converters as needed, so it's an interesting array of connections!  
We see these colorful African Lizards everywhere, so I was glad to be able to photograph one on the walls of the house!  Their bright red heads and tails are so distinctive!!  Since they eat mosquitos and malaria is an issue here, they are VERY welcomed in West Africa!  

We are enjoying meeting other expats and seeing how they live.  Many of the expats are thriving here and love the lifestyle.   It's a definite change of mindset and perspective, but we are trying our best to stay positive and learn along the way!  

I'm glad that you are on this journey along with us!
Janet 

2 comments:

Sam said...

I love your electronic journal and it's photos, as it brings some reality to us, I'm sure the sounds and smells are unique and your doing a nice job with your description. Your BSF reminded me of going to a country church in my youth, did you notice the mature members segregated to sex, the men set together and the ladies set together, You and Charley appear as the only couple there. This was common in the old church at Counce when I was a child. The BBQ must have cost a fortune since everything cost 2-5 times more there and I notice tent, tables and chairs were all rentals.
Mike said Lagos was the worst place he had ever lived, but he had the best time and left with the best memories of all the assignment so far. He was headed for Taiwan last I heard.

Erica Nicole said...

I love reading about your adventures!!! You're new life seems so exciting