will i ever grow up.

a post about Abuja

Posted in Personal stuff by ladybug on December 6, 2011

I love writing about first impressions of a city. It’s spontaneous and blunt, a random thought that is swirling in your head, it might not be accurate but it’s somehow more real than actual facts. It’s like snapping a photo. You’re there and you see something, a light, a shape, an atmosphere and you try to catch it before it goes away.

Abuja has a special atmosphere. It’s a capital, but has nothing of it. Well it does have embassies, a parliament, it is house to a president and to a few 4 million inhabitants, but that’s more or less it. There isn’t much to see unless you’re into malls and hotels. You can’t really walk around the city since it’s all highways, and if not, the streets have no pavement and the houses are inside compounds that have high walls so walking wouldn’t be interesting anyway. And it’s crazily expensive. Much more than major european cities. The corruption is one of the worst it the world. The people are nice, but hey, I’m white. I feel I’m a foreigner, that I’m not very welcome, especially as a Lebanese citizen. Lebanese people are known to be racists and which is totally true. I wish there was a special paint that could make me go black ((and never go back)–(I couldn’t resist to the temptation of doing that joke…hahaha)). But even with all this, I love it. I wouldn’t say I would live here, I would never, nor do I say that I would like to come back again, I probably won’t; but I’m happy I’m getting to know something so different than anything I have ever seen. I don’t judge cities by the number of museums it holds (this one has none), or by the quality of its clubs or the brands of cars they import. How can a city still stand against globalization? I’m not saying it has completely, but somehow it’s still very African. I went to shower after swimming in the pool today, and all the white women were dressing up under their towels while African women were all naked with no taboos whatsoever. That’s in my opinion much more “civilized” (argh how much I hate that term) than the foolish middle aged grumpy women who respond to their governments requirement of civility and morals.

But that’s not what makes this city a city. You start from zero here. Everything is so new. 20 years ago it was still a village in a deserted land. What is striking the most is being there in time, seeing things building up. Seeing it grow bigger and wider, and knowing that if you come back in a few years, it would probably be completely different. It kind of reminded me of the game Sim City. Oh we have an empty space here, let’s put up a lake.

Well that’s my impression after 2 days. And no photos for now as the internet connection is probably the slowest on the planet (finally I found a country that has slower internet than the former Lebanese connection haha).

Until I write again,


8 Responses

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  1. Sherif said, on December 6, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Looking forward for Abuja. At first, I thought you were talking about a guy called Abu Ja

    • ladybug said, on December 6, 2011 at 5:03 am

      haha yes I completely forgot to mention it’s the capital of Nigeria. Many people think it’s Lagos but they changed it to Abuja about 20 years ago I think.

  2. ladybug said, on December 6, 2011 at 5:05 am

    And actually it was named after a king named Abu Ja, so you weren’t that wrong :)

    • fif said, on December 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      Your first impressions of Abuja are really funny… especially from my point of view. Although i don’t know Abuja much…last time i was there, i was 8 years-old so 18 years ago! but Nigeria is Nigeria.
      You should ask someone at the hotel if there’s a market place you could visit (not vegetable markets… something traditional with materials, batik, print, artisanal stufffsss, ask where you can buy Asho2okéh. it’s lovely material that comes in strips about 10cm wide and as long as you like. it that expensive type of material, but worth getting some)… that should be an interesting cultural clash…hehehe

      Dunno if you’ve been ‘experimenting’ on the culinary front, but here are some major Nigerian dishes you should definitely taste:
      – Groundnut stew with pounded yam.
      – Kossay (dunno if they make that in Abuja, but i used to stop and buy in on the streets in Kano from big-old mamas…yum! especially with a nice dose of pepe powder mixed with garlic powder.)
      – Egusi (try to have it plain, without fish or meat or anything)…they serve that with Gari. it’s loooovely!
      – Suya (meat on skewers covered in ‘couli-couli’, a mix of spices, and grilled), amazing, spicy, yummy.

      (Note: i cannot be blamed for any ‘probable’ stomach pains or anything of the sort…lolol)

      well, i hope u de enjoy my country sista! mék you enjoy’am well well.
      P.S: i’m generalizing here, but most african women you’ll see at pools in hotels (especially places like the Hilton, Sheraton…big hotels) are call-girls… mistresses…etc. so don’t be surprised that they’d be less ‘pudique’ than white women over there… ;)

      Enjoy, and work at sending us some more ‘impressions’ of Abuja with some pics!!!


      • ladybug said, on December 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm

        thanks for all the tips fifista!

        That was definetely my first impression because i have a totally different point of view now :)
        I’m going later today to a popular market, should be fun! and yes ive tried some nigerian dishes. I’ll tell you all about it once I’m back,


  3. aida said, on December 6, 2011 at 9:40 am

    More of this yasso.wish u could back it up with some pics.maybe just one?

  4. Ely said, on December 6, 2011 at 10:32 am

    where are the pics booooo

  5. Xananax said, on December 8, 2011 at 5:26 am

    Haha she shows nothing :)

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