Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nigeria 2012 - Day 3 (1/23)

I again slept well until about 1:30 AM, after which I tossed around for a few hours.  I remember looking at my phone clock around 5, and then being awoken by my phone alarm at 7.  I liked that 2 hours of good sleep so much that I reset my alarm to 8 and slept some more.  After waking up I washed myself (bucket-style, because I couldn't figure out how to work the shower) and then met up with my parents.

I tried to use the cyber cafe downstairs, but I was told by a porter that I would need something called "air time" (which I didn't quite understand).  He took me down the street to an Internet cafe to get it (whatever it is), but their Internet connection was down.  So we headed back to the hotel.

My parents and I then headed out to an Etisalat store to buy, register, and activate cell phone SIM cards.  The registration process is not trivial - they ask a bunch of questions and take a picture and 4 digital fingerprints.  The cost for a SIM card was 150 naira each.  We each got 1000 naira worth of talk time (though I never figured out how much time that actually translates to) and I also got a data plan to use with my everyday Nexus S (unlike my parents, who used 2 extra phones that my dad brought instead of their normal phones) - 1.5 GB for 4000 naira (though in hindsight this was way too much - I should have gone with 200 MB for 1000 naira or 500 MB for 2000 naira).  After that we went back to the hotel, where Ma was able to call her relatives and make some arrangements.

Pa and I then headed out to take another look at the house.  We were able to confirm him as the winner of a bet between him and Ma over how many bedrooms are in the house (8 total, including 2 master suites).  We also visited with Vin and Julie for a bit and made arrangements with them.  We made it back to the hotel around 3:30, where we joined my mom in resting.  I didn't sleep this time, as I wanted to try to fully adjust to the time zone and get a whole night of good sleep later.

While I relaxed in my room, there were a couple more brief (less than 30 seconds) power outages.  When I went to my parents' room a little after 7 my mother's sister, Chinwe, was there to pick up some things.  She hadn't seen me in over 20 years and was taken aback by my appearance - but in addition to complimenting my looks she also said that I look like a girl.  Hilariously, within 5 minutes she also demanded that I not marry a white girl (so that I learn my culture).  We helped carry her bags down and then ordered dinner, which ended up being a comedy of errors. We ordered rice with plantain and beef, and fufu with bitter leaf soup, and Star beer for Pa.

When the food finally arrived an hour later, they had brought the wrong kind of soup, and they didn't bring the rice.  Then a little later they brought the rice, but it had fish instead of beef.  Then after that they brought the fufu but without the extra soup Ma had asked for (and the beef was too tough), and the beer was warm, and there was no bottle opener.  Pa sent back the beer, but they did not have a cold one to bring back; though they at least brought an opener.  In any case, we eventually satisfied our appetites, even if Pa had to eat leftovers to do it.  After eating I went to bed around 10:30.
 
Some pictures from the trip:
 

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