Nigeria: poolside dining

Photos to come shortly…

Hotel-bound for the weekend, we’ve taken to eating lunch poolside, under a little awning, with a cool African breeze. It’s quite nice, though it does take much longer than at home. The first day we enjoyed an hour and a half late lunch, yesterday two hours in total, and today a very quick one hour. The pace of life is slow here, relaxed as it must be in a hot climate. I enjoy it. There is no pride in declaring one’s busyness – in fact, it seems the opposite might be most desirable. I think my happy place lies somewhere in the middle, but for now, the Nigerian pace is just right. It has been a long year of little sleep – I’m making up for that pace with this new one.

One thing that is interesting is that we’ve been told, warned, whatever you want to call it, to be careful; it’s dangerous; stay in the hotel. But we feel safe (in the hotel and at our work sites – we’re not out wandering the streets by ourselves by any means). We’re hopeful that is not a false perception, but rather just a culture all too aware that such feelings can quickly change. All the same, we do as we are told, stay at the hotel, only ride with project staff, be smart with our choices. We have no interest in testing their assertions.

Anyways, during our two hour lunch by the pool, how delightful, we noticed a group of army-clad men sitting at the table next to us. Rather large army-clad men. I thought little of it, other than that they were noticeable in that they were large army-clad men. So we ordered our overly particular, nervous-bellied traveler lunches, and sat to enjoy the breeze. I noticed a whistling sound in the background, but thought nothing of it, as the air here is never quiet – music plays, people shout, leaves rustle. Well…I guess they thought something of it, because sure enough the three jumped out of their seats, grabbed their giant guns (they had giant guns?! I didn’t see those when we sat down!), and were off. To where? We don’t know. They didn’t return, but that’s not to say they went anywhere in particular. Such quick bursts of energy must surely be followed by long bouts of relaxation in the land of the heat and humidity.

What did we do? We looked at each other funny. I giggled in that nervous way I tend to. And then we waited for our lunch, because what was the sense in getting all riled up about something we would never understand? We figured there wasn’t much sense. So we sat and waited, conversed about the wonder of an hour and a half lunch.

And that’s just it: in a land not your own, you’ll never understand the why of locals’ actions, so as long as you’re safe, best to sit back and enjoy a leisurely lunch.

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