Monday, August 14, 2006

The 9th good thing about Lagos: New friends to show me around and give me advice

Yesterday at church I met the two wives of the expatriate families in our local church congregation (our ward). They had known I was coming and invited me to go out with them today and do some touring and go out to lunch. I was glad for the opportunity to talk to expatriate women who had been here for a while and learned the ropes, so to speak. They are both with ExxonMobil and live in a very nice new apartment building where the company has all the flats. I really wish ConocoPhillips would start doing facilities the way ExxonMobil has done here -- taking over whole buildings. Our company has just not as yet had many families here -- they've had more rotators who come 28 here and trade with someone else for 28 days. But now that they're moving more couples here, they need to develop a housing policy that will work for us. I'm a little bit worried about what kind of housing they will provide when we move here for good, as they've told me they want to keep their flats in this building for rotators and those who are already established here. Anyway -- I was very impressed with the ExxonMobil apartment building. My driver had dropped me off at their building and then we visited for a bit and went out with Angela's driver. We went to several shops/galleries with very nice selections of handicrafts and home decorative items and art and furniture. I can see myself having a lot of fun decorating an apartment here -- there's some great stuff! We also went to a different grocery store than I had been to before and saw yet a different selection of products available. They gave me some needed advice on food and I learned that it's really not as restrictive as I had expected. Yes, you still need to soak in a thin bleach solution any fruit or vegetable that you will eat fresh -- but you can even do that with lettuce. I was afraid that I'd never have a salad while I was here. They gave me advice on where to go to get different meats and fish and said they even have a dairy guy who delivers fresh dairy products that are good to their apartment building. So we can eat while we're here -- but much of the food that has been imported is just very expensive. However, at the market the other day we got a fresh pineapple that was delicious for only about $1.50. I soaked it in the bleach solution before we cut into it and so far I haven't had any problems... Anyway, we went out to lunch at a very pleasant looking cafe called Cactus and I had an unusual salad pizza -- it was basically a crust with a Greek salad on top. But it was quite good. And at that place you can even trust that the ice is okay and have ice in your drink. I know that Angela and Sherry will be good friends and advisors when I finally get here to stay -- and they seem very anxious to have me here soon!


Julie said...

I know this is crazy to ask, and I probably already know the answer. As the mother of two toddler boys, I usually shop for products that are hormone free, antibiotic free, and organic...does that even exist in Nigeria?


Carolee said...

Well, Julie, you're much more limited in packaged goods at the grocery store in Lagos. But I would think that many of the fresh things that are grown in Nigeria wouldn't have hormones and antibiotics added because they don't do that kind of farming food production in the country. But if there are packaged products with a shelf life that you and your boys are particular about, you'll likely have to bring them in with you.