Lagos. There is no place like Lagos. Until May of this year I hadn’t been back home for too long a time, so I’d forgotten how hectic and hot it can be. Compared to the laid-back pace of everyday life in London, Lagos is a shock to the system, a rude jolt that hits you the minute you step off the plane; the heat. You haven’t lived until you’ve been to Lagos.
LIFE is how best I can describe it, its alive and constantly on the move, unending buzz, everyone on the go from the market trader to the school kid. Its confusing, maddening, loud, brash, hard, hectic and fun. Lagos is a lot of fun. Yes, there’s no electricity, everyone, or near enough, lives on generators, there’s traffic, crazy- rage traffic, there’s corruption, you cannot get anything done without greasing palms, there’s fuel scarcity…but lagosians roll with it. They roll with it all and come out up top. I have met a lot of people in life, but few come close to how resourceful and industrious Lagosians are. The hustle is next to none. Its not about finding a way its about making one and it will happen.
The disparity between the rich and poor is present and obvious, from the Island to the Mainland, its in your face but that’s neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things. I love the resilience, the tenacity in the face of adversity, the hustle, man the hustle will put many to shame, because survival goes hand in hand with enjoyment; its a truth to be universally acknowledged that no matter how little you have, in Lagos, you can have a good time.
I stayed on the Island, but traipsed the Mainland too, the Island is the business hub of the city and the more opulent part, but the Mainland is something of a local flavour of Lagos; Bankolemoh Rice, is this joint I used to go to when I was little to eat rice, my favourite food ever, but the stew is what moves my heart to sing. It remain so today. And fanta!! OMG! That fanta in Lagos is EVERYTHING there ever will be.
Joints- Ikoyi club, as a kid this was the place to be with your family and friends on a Saturday, swim, play, flirt with cute boys. Much hasn’t changed in Ikoyi club except it feels smaller, back then it was this vast space with so much fun to be had there wasn’t enough time. It was the same old scene only with grown folks in it now. The food is affordable, and that is where I tried Oriijin beer…not bad.
Suya- If you eat one thing in Lagos, make sure its Suya, and if you have to eat Suya, do so at the best place that makes it; Glover Court Ikoyi makes the absolute best Suya. That’s like saying one particular bakery makes the best red velvet cupcake, but in the case of Glover Court this happens to be true. Suya is flame grilled meats on sticks, doused in peanut spice. Its is a meal, an appetiser, brunch, breakfast…whatever it is you want it to be, it is. It is perfect for everything and with everything, Suya with ice cold Garri is one of the meanest combinations in this world, last meal worthy. Make sure you go early to Glover Court, expect to queue because no matter how early you think you are, you’re not, but it is worth it.
Play- The Palms Mall is pretty much a favourite space to unwind especially on Friday evening after a long and hard day at work. It has a Coldstone, so I am always sold, and Mr Biggs, where makes the best meatpie in the world, take that to bank and say I sent you. Chocolate Royale is a dessert place, again on the Island, cupcakes, sweets, donuts, muffins. All good things.
Lagos is heart and soul, the beating drum, the dust beneath your feet, the heat against your skin, a lot of laughs, gutsy broad she is, you’ll never regret it.