I can’t believe it’s almost 2 weeks since I’ve been back! It was so great to be home after a long time away. Lagos (where I spent 100% of my time) is a beehive of activities in December; one ends up being spoilt for choice. You have to be committed to brave the traffic and choose events that speak to you. Naija nomads did a post on a number of IJGB (‘I Just Got Backs) – a term for Nigerians living abroad that descend upon the country for the holidays. IJGBs get a bad rap, but we’re mostly just happy to be home ☺.
My priorities for the holiday period were: eating, spending time with family, reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones, attending a concert, a comedy show, exploring parts of Lagos that I hadn’t previously explored and supporting our growing theatre! How Did I do? Let’s see!
Comedy, Theatre, and Music
Social media is what you make of it. I used Instagram to find vendors and events in Nigeria that appealed to me (Tip: I’d recommend it, plus some social media handles such as @nothingtodoinlagos , @expatsng, and @decemberinlagos promote activities of all kind) . First on the list was laugh fest, an event put together by an actress and philanthropist to raise funds for malaria prevention. I decided to go to support the cause and because of the line up. The event started over an hour behind schedule (and I was stressed out because we arrived 15 minutes late ha!), so we ended up being one of the first seated. We sat in the front row and felt like VIP with our regular tickets. My friend got a little excited while bidding on a celebrity date #forthecause but she won the date! Overall, a great night!
I planned to see the newly released blockbuster – Wedding Party 2 – in Lagos and we did. It was predictable but like Wedding Party, it was a great celebration of our culture and it was hilarious. I totally took a photo at the cinema and looked like an IJGB! Right after the movie, I went to see Star Wars courtesy of a generous invitation by Nigerian Abroad. Thanks Chica!
I learned of ‘Adesewa the Musical’ on instagram and decided to take my mom to the show on Christmas day. Mama WWH loves plays but doesn’t get to see them very often. My mom totally enjoyed it, so much that she relayed the play to us on the way home (as if we weren’t there ☺). My favorite thing about this musical though was that interns were cast alongside veteran actors and actresses. I also loved that one of the objectives was also to promote tourism in Nigeria, which I wholeheartedly support!
ONSWAG with Adekunle Gold!! I’m a big fan of his music, I heard there was a concert, and I had to be there. We arrived late and it started even later but it was worth it. Adekunle and the band put on quite the show! The opening acts, the music, the lyrics, the dancing and choreography, and then the performance with Simi! GOLDEN (all pun intended)! We were standing and dancing for most of the concert!
Being A Tourist in Lagos:
On the 29th of December, Kemi and I signed up for the Keke Experience, a full day of exploration via tricycle (known as keke in Nigeria) as curated by Mide and Dara of the DARE Experience (@thedareexperience) and Tourist in Lagos (@touristinlagos) respectively. We had a fun group of six, and Nene wrote a comprehensive review of the experience here. Check it out for all the deets! Do not hesitate to reach out if you’re in Lagos and are looking for a personalized itinerary.
Fela & The Kalakuta Queens: We wrapped up the keke experience with this show at Terra Culture! Bolanle Austen-Peters (BAP) is a visionary and a boss! The show was amazing, every detail so well thought out. Of course, I told everyone I know to go see the show! I can only hope that this show goes on tour outside Nigeria. For the second time in 2017, a BAP production made me so proud. The queens took on their roles with grit, grace and humor and I love that this production tells their story so boldly. It is OUTSTANDING, so much so that it was extended for an additional weekend in Lagos. I can’t wait to see it taken outside Nigeria.
Family & Friends
I had the opportunity to see friends – old and new. I got to meet the following Nigerian Travel bloggers/experience curators/content creators and posted about them on instagram: Naija Nomads, Amarachi, Nigerian Abroad, The Ajala Bug, Folaswaka, Unravelling Nigeria. I’m bummed that I missed out on meeting the lovely Lorikemi, but there’ll be another time.
Everyone knows I was out and about town with right hand woman (aka Jerry to my Tom), Kemi! Of course, I spent time (off the gram) with family and I shared some of my grandmother’s stories on Instastories… apparently grandma was the pioneer globetrotter travelling by ship from Nigeria to the UK (legally) some 50 years ago. I love listening to stories from days gone by from my parents and grandmother and I got to do quite a bit of that over the holidays.
I also got to catch up with old friends and celebrate a milestone birthday in my family. I’m just thankful to God for life and the make up artist that hooked me up!
Yup, I ate a lot!! From eating amala on Day 1 at our favorite buka (street side restaurant) with my dad, to following that up with Buka date (with Kemi) at 100 Degrees in Ikoyi. I love Amala, it is the way to my heart as you can tell. I ate everything and anything , you naaaaaammeee it (yes, sing it)! I also checked out Yellow Chili’s seadfood okra and ate at Iya Oyo Buka.
Lagos is a city of contrasts to be completely honest and people could have very different experiences depending on what side you’re on. I ate at a full meal at buka for N400 but also spent multiples of that at nicer establishments. I did not have a bad meal in Lagos. From nameless Bukas to street side Grilled plantains and suya, to ‘The Place’ because Mr. Biggs is pretty much done, to 100 Degrees, Hard Rock Café to Bay Lounge, to the Backyard to Yellow Chilli, it was all quite yummy! There’s something for every budget and I’d happily recommend all of those places!
Then there were the great home cooked meals, the most cooking I did was warming up food in the microwave. Now, I’m back to the normal single professional girl abroad life, this means I do all the cooking. Eating out all the time is not good for the travel budget!
It was great be home, to catch up with family and friends in person, to make new connections at home as an adult, and to get caught up on whats happening back home in person. I’m thankful for the opportunity to see and thank the people that have always showed up for my family for decades and decades! I’m glad that I got to share a bit of the city that raised me through the stories and images I shared on the gram and through instastories (and on here too). On future trips, I’m excited to share even more of the city and perhaps more of the contrasts that I find! I felt Lagos embrace me with the traffic and heat, and everything else.
Home is where my story began, and this homecoming left me wanting more. Lagos, I’ll be back!!
Well there you have it, Where did you spend the holiday season and what was the best part?