Howard's Blog

This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lagos

We arrive and find our contact, a man with a clipboard with our handwritten names. Our flight is late so we are the last on his list to be checked off. We board the company shuttle. The windows are double-paned and the ac is blowing but they do not keep out the cacaphony nor the wet air.

The shuttle is traveling faster than the other cars. Perhaps this is normal for the company shuttle; colleagues who have traveled to Iraq tell me that you can't take pictures en route simply because things are moving too fast. We are not in Iraq and I don't know if we are approaching Iraq speed, but we are moving at "convoy speed". And the other cars know to get out of the way.
I hear the pulses of a siren warning cars ahead and I realize that we are being accompanied by a modern SUV with flashing lights on top. Nice to have escort. We pass by many building that seem empty; in the dark it's hard to tell. So many seem to be half-built or half-torn, or half-rebuilt and forgotten. Dots of single low-wattage light bulbs reveal a small market, makeshift homes, and the in-between spaces.

We pass a nice buildboard for a Sony Wega. It's better lit than five acres it surrounds.

At regular intervals on the larger roads, there are many buses that wait on the side. Many have people waiting in them. I see no bus stop signs. Has the bus broken down? Is this a stop that everyone just "knows"? Or is there another reason that's too elaborate to explain?

I see walled compounds, barbed wire, and heavy doors. I also see something I remember at my grandmother's place in South Korea: sharpened glass cemented to the tops of walls. In the right light, it can look pretty, mosaic-like. But we are moving too fast for me to know.

Read next post: 1st day.
|| hcpark, 10:20 PM

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