Thursday, August 31, 2006

The 17th good thing about Lagos: Fun escapes to the beach

Well, I've been back in Houston for a week and a half now and Brent's already back in Lagos busy with meetings. The week he was here was very busy with the company-required physicals and relocation meetings and screening sessions along with visiting kids and granddaughter up in Austin and looking at townhouses -- it was a whirl. And now that he's gone, life has settled back into a routine here that almost makes my time in Nigeria seem like a dream. It's such a different world from Houston that it seems kind of strange that it's all happening on the same planet. We still haven't decided if we're going to speed up and move fast, or take our time to make sure the project is not going to stall or fall apart and wait to sell the house next spring. There's a lot to do around here to get the house ready to sell -- it makes me tired just thinking about it. But I'll keep plugging away at it.
I never gave a report on our last fun Saturday in Lagos. The ConocoPhillips managing director and his family had just returned from summer vacation in the States on Friday and they were very kind to invite us to go with them to the company beach hut for an outing on Saturday. They said they try to make a point to take visitors there to show them that there is a place to go to escape the filth and crowds of Lagos and get a little bit of escape. We really enjoyed getting to know them and had a great day. It certainly is the way to have an outing at the beach -- there's guys around to load the gear in the car and then to take it from the car to the boat and to have the boat ready and drive you there and then tote it from the dock to the beach hut and to watch over the kids while they play and swim while you relax and play bocce and they cook your dinner and clean up and load the stuff back in the boat when you're ready to leave, and clean up the boat when you return, etc. It's a much more relaxing outing than it would be here in the States. (Not to mention that the guys are toting an AK-47 so you can relax and forget that there may be dangers around you.) You can see the beach hut is really very nice. And the Atlantic Ocean beach was beautiful!

To get there, it's about a 45 minute speedboat ride up the "creek" from Lagos -- it's really quite a wide river which, thankfully, is upstream from the filth of the city. You see views like the pictures below with people doing business and fishing on the river and ferrying across.

The boat dock was on the creek, and we walked across the sandy peninsula (maybe 200 yards) to the beach house, which faces the Atlantic beach. There's coconut palms and one of the guards shimmied up one to cut us down a fresh coconut. Todd and the girls went waterskiing, but I chose not to on this trip, as it was kind of overcast and actually chilly. Wading was as wet as I got. We had a fun expedition to a shipwreck site, which I'll put in another post. All in all, it was a great day. They let me drive the boat on the trip back and I was proclaiming "I AM DRIVING A BOAT IN AFRICA!" It's really amazing the turns that life takes that I never would have dreamed I would experience!

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