Moving to Lagos? You need to know the lowdown on the lingo.

Expat Lagos Nigeria A-Z

 

The Role of the English Language in Nigeria

The official language of Nigeria, the language of business and commerce, the common language for Igbos, Yorubas, Hausas and other tribes to communicate with one another is English. Whether you are a native English speaker, or like many expats have English as a second (or impressive third or even forth) language, it sounds like one less thing to worry about when moving to Nigeria.

Pidgin English

However, even when more standardized English is spoken (and a lot of the time it will be the less comprehensible pidgin English that you hear around you), there are various words and phrases that are likely to confuse, amuse or befuddle you from the moment you step off the plane.  You might figure them out easily, you might not.  Let me help by decoding a little bit of Lagos Lingo for you.

An A-Z of Lagos Lingo for the Uninitiated

A is for Area Boy

A local hoodlum.  Watch out, watch out if you are told the area boys are about.

B is for Breaking Plates

Plates that are not plastic.  i.e. the regular kind of porcelain plates that most expats over the age of 5 would eat from. Continue reading

Alarmed

We spent five years living in Lagos, Nigeria. To date, I’ve barely touched on our time there. It’s a chaotic and often frustrating place to live and it’s difficult to know where to start as there are so many memories and mishaps to dust off.  As a first taster, I’m sharing one of the many (but far from the most) frustrating vignettes with you.

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This is a smoke alarm.  I think it’s used for catching mosquitos.  No?

The estate electrician phoned one day to tell me that he was coming to install smoke alarms. I was confused as we already had plenty thoroughly our apartment.

Me:                        We already have smoke alarms.

Electrician:          Yes, I am coming to put smoke alarms.

Me:                        Where are you going to put them? Why are you going to put smoke                                                        alarms? What’s wrong with the ones we have? Continue reading

Don’t Worry, Only the Cows Can See You

 

loo with a view

Loo with an Unexpected View

I think this must be the first ever loo I’ve visited with floor to ceiling windows. It was completely disconcerting.  There’s a nice trough below the window encouraging the resident Nguni Cattle to come close and eyeball you.  With their wide handlebar horns and barrel chests they are a distinctive sight to behold.

It’s enough to give you stage fright.

Loo with a view, poo with a moo, but don’t worry, only the cows can see you.

You too can visit this loo.  Drop by the Blueberry Cafe in South Africa’s Kwa Zulu Natal Midlands.  Their food is tasty, the views delightful and there’s a nice little gift shop to boot.

Have you come across any loos with unusual views?

 

Discover Johannesburg’s Sci Bono Discovery Centre

Children's party at Sci Bono Discovery Centre Johannesburg

Sci Bono Discovery Centre is situated in an old power station in Johannesburg’s Newtown. We’ve taken our kids a few times and they love it.  We hosted a birthday party there this morning, which included a guided tour of the best bits and an awesome exploding science show.  Quite a few of our guests had never been, which made me realise that plenty of Jo’burgers have never checked this place out.

This is why you should:

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10 Reasons to have a Dog in Johannesburg

Shortly after arriving in Johannesburg, South Africa, we adopted a little rescue dog.  It turns out that despite my initial concerns and reservations, I’m actually quite pleased that we did.

To be fair, most of the reasons I give for getting a dog apply to wherever you are in the world, but prior to arriving in Johannesburg adding a dog into the mix had never been a serious consideration. Reasons 4 and 5 are particularly pertinent to people who have just moved (like expats) and probably reason 6 also.  Reasons 9 and 10 are two specific reasons that meant that getting a dog in Jo’burg was particularly appealing.  Here are my 10 Reason for getting a dog: Continue reading

New Gold Rush in Gauteng!

Gold is the magic that pumped through the earth’s veins giving life to Johannesburg on land that was otherwise not suitable to attract and sustain a large human population. Primarily, it is unsuitable land because there is no natural water source to support the consumption needs of a vast landlocked city and the joke runs that the only reef to be found anywhere near here is the Witwatersrand Gold Reef.

Johannesburg sprang up virtually overnight when the first gold rush started after the discovery of gold in 1886 and is known as the City of Gold.  It now looks like we could see a second gold rush 130 years later….

On Easter Sunday we went to an Easter Egg Hunt at Birnisan Farm to the North of Johannesburg. What we actually found (or rather what Pickle found) was far, far more exciting.

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‘Diamonds’ gathering dust on the windowsill.

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Weird Week

Life is rarely dull in Johannesburg, but some weeks are definitely more eventful and weirder than others, the week before last was a case in point.

 

MONDAY:  I nearly got washed off the road during a massive storm.  Water was streaming over the central reservation forming a downhill torrent.  Instead of going shopping, I went and sat in the school carpark.  Grateful to be dry and pleased to have avoided the subsequent traffic, I waited it out.  As the school bell rang, the rain stopped and by the time we got back in the car, the road surface was mainly dry.

RIVER ROAD

Road or River?

 

TUESDAY:  We had an unwelcome visitor in the garden. Continue reading

These Easter Eggs are a No-Glow

We haven’t had any blackouts here in our neck of Johannesburg for a while (fingers crossed, touch wood, famous last words), nevertheless South Africa is now fully prepared for Easter next week should the power go off.

Loadshedding Eggs 1

Load Shedding Easter Eggs are glow in the dark eggs.  Small torches are included in the box to help you hunt for the eggs in the dark.  It sounds like a fun idea.

However, entertaining as they are, these load shedding eggs have a fatal flaw, a catastrophic flaw in fact.

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The Escape Room Phenomenon hits South Africa

I’m always looking for new things to do and now I’ve found a great way to escape FROM Johannesburg IN Johannesburg.

Escape room johannesburg, keys, codes and mysteries.

Escape rooms (also known as puzzle rooms) are already massively popular in many big cities around the world.  Johannesburg, South Africa is no exception.  Here’s our list of Johannesburg’s Escape Rooms.  Which one will you pick?

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The Big 4 – part III

Being in the bush can be slightly terrifying. There was an awful moment on our third game drive when I knew I was going to have to request a loo stop. It turns out everybody bursting and we all took turns to have a wild wee.  Even though we had been desperate to see a leopard, were very much hoping that for those few moments at least that we didn’t come across one.

There was another incident where, as Pickle ran toward me in nothing but swimming shorts and sandals, I spotted a skinny snake and shoved my surprise boy into our room mid stride.  It was most likely a harmless garden variety one, but we couldn’t identify it from the guide’s snake manual, so we’ll never know.

Despite these terrors, we loved every minute of our bush break.

There was the gorgeous scenery. There was the fact that we were fed – fed often and fed well. There was a lovely moment in the early evening when a mobile mini bar popped out of the safari truck ready for sundowners with biltong and other treats.

…and of course there were all the magical animal, bug and bird sightings. So let me very quickly finish telling you about those….

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