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Lagos Nigeria: From the eyes of a tourist

This is how an American tourist described Nigeria after spending 12 days in Lagos:

Nigeria is chaos. The cities are extremely crowded, dirty (more on that later), noisy, and lively. Everyone seems to be talking all the time, often over each other.

Outside the few modern sections of Lagos (and probably the capital, Abuja), Nigerian cities are made of endless winding roads and alleys periodically packed with open-air markets.

Middle class and rich people all live behind walls topped with barbed wire or broken glass, and are protected by guards. Poor people live in slums that sprawl eternally in and around the cities, consisting of concrete, wood, or metal hovels stuffed into every square inch of space.

A significant chunk of Lagos holds slums built on stilts on the water populated by fisherman and boat people.

I wasn’t sure if Nigeria or India is the poorest country I’ve been to by sheer number of impoverished people. It turns out there is much tighter competition here than I thought:

You really do feel it on the ground. I’ve been to a lot of poor countries, but Nigeria felt just a bit poorer. Part of it was the omnipresent shacks and slums in the major cities, but it was also the constant haggling over extremely small amounts of money (often under $0.50), or how even decent restaurants have ugly florescent lighting, or how a chair collapsed under me in the airport, or how my driver in Kano stopped for a 30 minute detour to buy a bag of rice.

I’ve encountered plenty of child beggars, but I’ve never had two (a boy and girl) grab each of my hands and refuse to let go as they followed me down the street for 100 yards until a helpful onlooker yelled at them.

Or maybe it’s the literal piss and shit that makes Nigeria seem so poor, though in my experience, this is another area where Nigeria has a close rivalry with India. There is no other way to say this — I saw a lot of people pissing and shitting, and not in bathrooms. I saw them do it on the side of the street, in alleyways, basically anywhere. I actually saw it on my first night, when a guy pissed out the side of a boat in the open, and then I saw it again on my final day, when a guy was squatting on the side of the road leading out of Nigeria and into Benin.

Lagos has the worst traffic I have ever seen. Worse than Istanbul, Manila, Cairo, Baghdad, parts of China, parts of India, Los Angeles, etc. I missed a train because my Uber ran into a dead standstill on a major road at 7 AM. More than one trip took 4X longer than Google Maps said.

Source: Naijaloaded

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