A member of our team recently took a trip to Lagos, Nigeria and for those who don’t know, the curator of this page (me, lol) is a Nigerian born British citizen (BritiGerian as we like to say ) and just like many other dual citizens, returning to Nigeria is a big deal. Returnees are often addressed as IJGB – I Just Got Back and there is usually an influx of us during the Christmas season (certainly the best time to visit Lagos).
Before I proceed, let me drop 3 awesome tips I think can help you on your next trip to Nigeria (If you’re an IJGB).
- For starters, your foreign accent could either favour you or put you in trouble, it just depends on where you are at and when.
- Your innocent thoughts with bargaining could get you out of pocket very quickly.
- And most importantly, Lagos is the city that never sleeps, the hustle and bustle could easily get you confused.
Also, because two heads are better than one, I decided to have a chat with Ade (My breaking views), a blogger and fellow IJGB who visited Nigeria recently to get her views, tips and survival hacks for IJGBs in Lagos.
NTT: Do you feel like Nigeria is home?
MBV: Yes and No. When I go to Nigeria, I do feel like I am home. It’s a weird feeling though. I belong as regards my skin colour- I’m black and the majority of the people in Nigeria are black so that really feels like home. I enjoy the food, Yam and Egg for breakfast to be exact! (Could literally eat this for breakfast everyyyy dayyyy literarily!) Egusi and pounded yam for lunch and my cousin makes this amazing Indomie noodles with peppers and other ingredients, so I would have that for dinner.
I ENJOY the sunshine! And I love just feeling like I am home. Nigeria is funny because when you are there there’s a sort of “Wooow everyone looks like me” (Well, kind of) and then I open my mouth to speak and then you see it- You see how they look at you differently. I know the locals know I’m not Nigerian. They usually call me Queen of America – which is always amusing and annoying because I’ve never lived in America. I’m British born and bred. So I know that they don’t know where I’m from, but they know I’m from abroad. They know that I’m not really one of them. They give you a look like yeah this one ‘Just Got Back’ which I believe is a thing now? #IJGB A.K.A I Just Got Back! They know that I am not one of them and in that moment I speak, I am reminded that I’m not really home. In my head, I pretend that I’m home and that’s usually up to 3 weeks and my time is up!
So do I feel like I am home when I visit Nigeria? Yes and no again. I’m in a place that I wish was better, more socially acceptable, shined as much as it should because Nigeria has so much going for her. I wish I could call it my home but really and truly, I know I have to swallow the hard pill and accept that it’s not really ever been my home and most likely never will be.
NTT: What issues infuriate you about Nigeria?
MBV: What doesn’t infuriate a fellow Nigerian about Nigeria? The last time I visited, I was there for my cousin’s wedding #MayD2017, which was in Lagos and then I decided to stay for Christmas. This is the longest I’ve ever stayed in Lagos. I usually stay in Delta state which is another ball game compared to Lagos. Delta for those of us who have never been is very quiet and civilised compared to Lagos.
Anyway, there was petrol scarcity, not to mention the traffic. As much as I could see this infuriate my cousins, I don’t believe it affected me as much, because they ensured that I was still able to go out and have fun. One thing I noticed was that Uber fares had gone up because of the petrol scarcity, but being from the UK, I think the taxi fares were still considerably cheaper when compared to London prices. The only thing that really really really infuriated me and yes I have to say “really” 4 times because it’s the only thing that drives me mad – is mosquito bites!! Oh my gosh! They’re devils! (I feel like they are secretly plotting for my next return as I write this LMAO!) I truly believe the mosquitoes in Nigeria are on steroids; they love my blood. I’m sure it’s “fresh blood” for them as the locals call it when they see my bites! Truly, the marks they leave on my skin are on another level. I literally complained everyday about mosquitoes! It must have driven my family mad!
NTT: What challenges do you face when relating with locals?
MBV: I don’t feel like I have faced any real hard challenges when relating with locals to be honest. When I hear the stories that my cousins tell me, I know I haven’t faced anything to be honest, but I do know that once they hear me speak, they think they can try and bump prices. I know most of us can agree. Luckily enough, most of us come from a home where we know how to bargain, so I know when to use it and that time is always in Nigeria. However, sometimes I can allow it, other times, I have to let them know that I drink garri and water for breakfast, lunch and dinner back home (home being the UK). The best way to get around having to deal with locals is knowing roughly the prices that things should be. I remember visiting Nigeria a few years ago, I wanted wash my hair. I asked my aunt before I left the house how much it should be to wash my hair and she gave me a rough figure of no more than N500. I got to the closest salon and the woman told me N2500. I turned around to leave and she begged me; asked how much I was willing to pay and I said N600. Guess what? She was absolutely fine with the payment and she even styled my hair! The cheek! To be honest I don’t blame them. They clearly hear my accent and think I’m rich LOOOOL, which I will be of course!
NTT: What spots would you recommend as must visit in Lagos?
MBV: There are so many spots for one to hang at in Lagos. I’m afraid in Nigeria, the only thing I know is partying and eating Egusi soup! I also love Afro-beat a bit too much actually and for some reason Afro-beat sounds much sweeter in Nigeria – you know with the heat and everyone there is just so gingered LOL!
No honestly, I went to the Lekki Conservation Centre with a friend, which was absolutely amazing. I would go there again. There are beautiful animals, a tree house and the Longest Canopy walk in Africa!! My cousin also took me to Takwa Bay beach, which was quite an experience indeed. There are lots of beaches and sites to see, so I know I still have plenty to do when next I’m there. Nigeria is amazing man!
NTT: Any life hacks for IJGB
MBV: Any life hacks for #IJGB babes? not really, just enjoy life! Go out every night when you are there, turn up and enjoy the sunshine. Carry some mosquito repellent though.
Thank you to Ade (My breaking views) for an honestly beautiful interview, I can definitely relate!
My over all hack for IJGBs is to always have some change on you (lower denominations) because nobody ever has change. They play this game so often you realise later that you’re parting away with your money because you just need to get back on the road. I paid a taxi man in his own coin and he ‘never esperedit’.
I had a 200 naira change with him and he told me he had only 100 naira. I luckily had 150 naira and offered him. Within a twinkle of an eye he produced my 200 naira. It was okay for him to take my 100 naira but it wasn’t alright for him to part away with his 50 naira! Imagine! Always prepare for your visits to Nigeria, You can never be too prepared!
For what you can get up to in Nigeria, stay glued for our next post. You’ll be inspired.
For travel plan support as an IJGB, please talk to us for a trouble free trip- [email protected]