Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Week in Lagos

We've been here in Lagos for almost a week now, so we are starting to feel a bit more settled in. We've spent the week unpacking and learning our way around town on a very basic level.

Lagos is a beautiful town, probably about twice the size of Natchitches, so probably 40,000 people, I would guess. The population will go down about a third, I bet, once the tourist season ends.

Meanwhile, the marina is just adjacent to the old part of the city. You get there by crossing a drawbridge which is opened necessary for boats between 8:00 and 10:00PM, so if you are trying to get somewhere you want to allow for the possibility that you'll have to wait until the bridge comes down. The  only time that pedestrians have priority over boats is the ten minutes before the trains leave because the train station is right next to the marina restaurants, so train passengers cannot avoid going over the bridge.

Even though the train station is not more than 200 meters from the boat, we have never heard a train. We've seen them, so we know it's definitely a working station, but it's a very quiet one!

In any case, the old town is lots of little narrow cobblestone streets, and someone decided that all the streets should have designs on them, so they are very pretty. It would be easy to get lost, except that it's all built on a hill, so if you go down you will hit the water eventually and can orient yourself that way.

There are 140 restaurants in this town, which might be a bit much. I wonder if some of them will close for the winter, though. The food so far has been excellent, and with lunchtime main courses for as little as €5.50 it is almost cheaper to eat the main meal out rather than cook in the heat. We can't very well do that forever, but it's quite hot to cook right now.

Fish and seafood are obscenely cheap here, probably because we are so close to the ocean. We spent a hot morning doing errands yesterday and were rewarded with a Japanese restaurant in which you could order endlessly off the menu for a fixed price. Considering how much I like sushi that was a great deal!

There are lots of little shops that cater to tourists, of course, but mixed in with them are other, more practical stores as well. There are several grocery stores near the marina and in town, but the closest one is about a ten-minute walk from the boat--maybe not even that far--and it's large one and very well-stocked. It's very American, though, in the fact that there are never enough cashiers open and it's always crowded.

If you remember my comments about Spanish grocery stores, Portuguese ones (in my negligible experience) are very different. They are organized on basically logical lines so you can feel relatively confident that you'll find what you are looking for in your lifetime.

In lieu of Wal-Marts or Targets, there are stores run mostly by Chinese merchants that sell pretty much everything if you look for it. These are great places for Tupperware, tape, surge protectors, dish towels, beach stuff, etc. Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten the 12V cord to plug the Wii into the wall and that sort of cord is proving to be a bit harder to find. I will persevere, however...

The bus station is just over the bridge, and that's where we'll have to go for Max's bus. Since he will have to go by public bus, one of us will go with him. His school doesn't start until September 24th for the first class, although the other classes start on the 3rd, I think.

I hope we've made the right choice enrolling him in the first class, since he'll turn 7 in October. I think so, given that he'll be learning a new language. In any case, since it's such a small school and his teacher will be working with kids at different levels he should be able to easily make adjustments if necessary. Frank was a Waldorf teacher and he says that situation would be easy to deal with.

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