AROUND THE WORLD ON 80P Lagos, Nigeria
 
GBP 0.80p = N186 Nigerian Naira (NGN)
 
Let’s begin by playing the word association game - Nigeria - what springs to mind?
Unfortunately, for me its money scams, muggings, being escorted by armed jeeps and on a very different, yet positive note, exceptional and cheap hair braiding /extensions! What would cost roughly £250 in UK would cost N3, 400 (£15).  At this point, I really would love to digress and tell you about my adventurous 24hours in Lagos trying to get my hair braided with power cuts, water cuts and my hairstylist arriving 4hours late, taking 9hours to do my hair, leaving me with just 7hours before my flight home, but that is a whole different story, for a very different blog.  
 
I've been regularly travelling to Lagos for over 10 years now - so let me give you a taste of my experience and real life conversations.
 
Although it was stripped of its Capital City title in 1991, Lagos is Nigeria's most prosperous city.  Lagos has the nation’s most wealth and economic activity, yet the divide between the rich and the poor are incredibly vast.  That wealth does not appear to have been re-invested back into the country.  There is also an apparent lack of understanding towards 'customer service'.   Unlike most countries I visit, Lagos certainly is not a tourist destination!  It is however a major route for business travellers, some even call it the hustler’s utopia.
 
That to one side, my mild 'bug bear' within Lagos is the, putting it politely, personal hygiene of the uniformed service workers i.e., baggage handlers, hotel concierge and such like.  I'm told staff are generally only issued with one uniform.  With the incredibly humid climate, non air-conditioned homes, frequent power cuts and quite often  12hour shifts, the staff do not have the time to wash their uniforms until their actual days off, with some working 7 days straight, before a break - you imagine......!
 
CHEWS :  Unbelievably and well within budget a traditional Nigerian dish costs just N100 (43p) at  'Bukas' slang for  local eateries, you can purchase a plate of rice N50, beans (peas) N30 and choice of meat (usually pork, beef or chicken) N20.  Vegetarians in Nigeria are a rarity - less than 1%, so if you’re a meat lover, you'll certainly enjoy Nigerian full on heavy 'man size meals'.
 
AMUSE: It was all about the pamper session for me in the short 24hours I spent in Lagos.  Although I splashed out on the Hairdressers/Beauty Therapist treatments in my hotel room total cost for Hair braids, manicure and pedicure £18.  But if I hadn't had been so tired, I would have ventured out to the local salons where it's cheap cheap cheap!  Hair braiding costs a mere £1.72 (N400) whilst a pedicure or manicure 86p (N200).
 
What else will my 80p get me? Snacks, soft drinks, small miscellaneous items, essential food items i.e., bread, milk, rice, fruit etc. However, Nigeria is synonymous for its 'ducking & diving' culture - so as a tourist, 80p really doesn't stretch that far, but for an 'entrepreneurial' local, then that's a whole different ball game. 
 
dawne b stewart
Twitter : @dawneb007
 

Article by Dawne B / 24th April 2013

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Around the World on 80p