Thursday, October 25, 2012

The 331st good thing about Lagos: Seeing a bit of Ibadan

(Just noticed that I wrote this last fall, but never published it.  It was listed as a draft in blogger.  So here is my delayed blogpost about our trip to Ibadan.)
Well, I'm very glad that I've finally caught up with my blogging to the current season.  I'm only a little over a month behind!  I had been back in Lagos just a week in September when we joined a Nigerian Field Society trip to Ibadan.  I had driven through Ibadan before, but hadn't seen any more than the crowded streets.  The objective of this trip was to visit a few of the historic buildings in Ibadan.  It was an architecture tour, really. 
We started out meeting in Lagos in Freedom Park, which is a nice new park which is built on the site of a historic prison.  I hadn't been there before, so it was nice to get a look at it. 
 These are reconstructed prison cells that are now used when they have market days as stalls for the vendors.
 This is one of the old gates.
 There are sculptures, green areas, ponds and fountains, a history museum and an amphitheater.  It's really quite a nice oasis right in the middle of a very busy part of Lagos Island. 

 The drive to Ibadan was scheduled to take 1 1/2 hours, but actually took almost 3.  We finally made it to Mapo Hall, a public works building and former city hall that dates from 1926.  It was kind of incongruous to me to see this Greek temple architecture in Nigeria.
 Inside it's now used for public events.  The blue is from the plastic panels they are using in the roof skylights.
 There was a great view of this huge city from Mapo Hall.  At the time of Nigeria's Independence in 1960, Ibadan was the largest city in Nigeria and the 3rd largest city in Africa, after Cairo and Johannesburg.  It is now the 3rd largest city in Nigeria, after Lagos and Kano.  It is the capital of Oyo State.  The University of Ibadan was the first university in Nigeria and is still an important educational institution.
 This Saturday was a busy market day.

 Off in the distance we could see Cocoa House, the tall building where cocoa futures are traded.  Wikipedia says it was the first skyscraper in Africa.
 At Mapo Hall the guide there got out some of the ledger books from the early days at the city hall.
 The ledger had correspondence in Arabic and English.  I thought it was interesting that all the letters I saw were headed with "My Good Friend,"
 The roads were tight and crowded and we drove through a lot of very primitive looking and run-down areas. 
 At one stop we went by boys who were getting water from the local faucet.

Many roundabouts had monumental sculptures surrounded by neglected landscaping.

We next visited Bower Tower, a tower built in 1936 to commemorate Captain Bower, the first colonial resident.  It was used for military surveillance.
The hall next to the tower had some nicely carved wooden doors.

 The tower had a very tight double helix staircase inside.  One side of the helix was for going up and the other for going down.

I forget the name of this church, which was right next to the historic home which was our next stop.

We visited Hinderer's House, the home of early missionaries, from around 1853.
Although the home is a heritage site, it's now privately used,
and seems to be quite neglected.  I wouldn't want to go up in this shed part hanging off the end of the 2nd floor!
This was an old barracks building next to Hinderer's House.
I always enjoy seeing the alphabets painted on the walls of schools.  "R" is always for "rat" on these alphabets. That's not the typical choice in alphabets in schools in the US!
We were told that this tree was there before the house was built on this land and they believe it's around 300 years old.  It looked like it was in a lot better shape than a lot of the newer sites in the city.
There's a lot more to be seen in Ibadan, but that was all we had time to do on a day trip -- the drive home took even longer than the morning drive to Ibadan.  As we left the city there was a downpour and the streets were flooding.  We passed through some very muddy places and saw trucks tipped over on their sides after they had tried to go around traffic jams and didn't stay upright. The traffic on the Ibadan expressway is notoriously awful.  It's always an interesting adventure to get out of Lagos!

The 330th good thing about Lagos: Living far away makes summer get-togethers very precious

When we first moved to Lagos we only had one grandchild.  We now have seven.  Of course we love visiting our children, but spending time with grandchildren is extra special.  Undoubtedly the hardest thing about living so far away from family is missing out on so many occasions, special and everyday with our parents, children and grandchildren.  So we were very glad to spend lots of happy times together with them this summer.
We made it back just in time for Owen's graduation from preschool.  He's now the biggest kid in his kindergarten class and he reads at a 3rd grade level.
 I love that our oldest grandchild, Elise, is enjoying learning to play the piano.  She did a great job at her piano recital.
 We spent LOTS of time in the pool over the summer.  Here I am with Spencer and Austin, grandsons that live in Boston.  I'm so glad they could spend a couple of weeks with us in Houston.

 Maggie likes to make funny faces.
 We had a fun couple of days in Sea World in San Antonio.  Here's my daughter Lindsay with the 5 grandkids who could go on this ride.  It was so fun to get all the grandkids together!

At the Aquarium at Sea World
 We took some walks in the park.
 Story time at the library.

 3-D movie.
 Electrifying times at the park.

 Playing veterinarian at the Children's Museum.
 Lindsay and kids at a play at Miller Outdoor Theater.
 The cousins loved playing together at the jumping fun place.
 And a fun trip to Galveston Beach.

And, of course, there were plenty of days of just playing hide and seek and games and the stuff that doesn't get captured in photos.  We are so blessed to have 7 healthy, smart and beautiful grandchildren and we love them all so much and are grateful for their wonderful parents who do such a good job teaching and caring for them.
  Brent was in Houston for the beginning of the summer vacation and then again at the end.   In early August we met up in Seattle where we enjoyed celebrating my nephew's wedding.
 Then we drove with my parents to Vancouver, where we met my aunt (dad's sister) and went on a cruise to Alaska.  I loved our dinnertimes on the ship because I learned a lot of new things about my dad's life when he reminisced with his sister.
 We saw some beautiful scenery -- wonderful glaciers!

 My aunt is so great -- I'm so glad she could come along.
 And my parents had wanted to go to Alaska for years and had never been on a cruise before.  It was a dream come true to do this trip -- I'm so glad we could do it together!
 And it was such a literal breath of fresh air for Brent and I to get away from the dirt and noise of Lagos and enjoy beautiful nature and cool breezes!
 In Anchorage we met up with my cousin -- who I hadn't seen for almost 30 years -- and met his wife.  He's a fighter pilot with the Air Force and she quit the Air Force and is flying planes for Fed Ex.  They live life in the fast lane!  We enjoyed getting to know them better.
 We had a couple of the most beautiful days in Denali National Park with two days of the most clear views of the mountain.  It was wonderful!

 And on a trip down to Seward, we stayed in a yurt on Resurrection Bay and this eagle greeted us when we got up in the morning.
 We watched the sea otters play from the deck of our yurt.
It was a wonderful trip to Alaska and a wonderful summer!