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The New Lagos

It’s no news that some of fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. With economic growth on the rise, my last visit to Lagos, Nigeria in November 2012 was very interesting. I had heard that Lagos had become an entertaining, dining and overall ‘everyone likes to have a good time’ city. I had to see this for myself. With new hang-outs and art galleries popping up all over the city, it made for an interesting couple of days of discovery in the traffic induced, colourful and vibrant city of Lagos. Here is a list of interesting places to discover while in Lagos:

Bogobiri House

Bogobiri House is a bar/restaurant/art gallery/ boutique hotel on Victoria Island. The vibe here is Afrocentric and the crowd is Afropolitan. It’s a great place to have lunch, spend the evening with some live music or view some art. The art gallery is part of the Nimbus Gallery which holds some very interesting work by artists like Akin Onipede. Bogobiri is great place to chill out and meet Lagos' creatives.

Terra Kulture

This arts and culture centre has been around for quite some time and just keeps getting better. The centre holds events and exhibitions throughout the year. If you’re interested in what’s happening on the art scene in Lagos this is the place to get clued in. It’s also a great place to sample some Nigerian cuisine.

The Sounds of the City, Part Three

On Spandrella

I don’t know exactly when I started referring to the subway as The Cattle Cars in my head, a characterization that evolved in spite of myself and against my will, since all my previous associations with people and cattle cars have genocidal overtones. It was sometime after I stopped going into mosh pits because they felt too much like crowded trains. After I moved to Brooklyn and started spending upwards of two hours a day on the trains, pressed against people who were pretending I wasn’t there. Or, a couple times, people who were far too aware that I was there, and that I have desirable body parts. You tell yourself you’ll never put up with that shit if it happens to you. And then it happens, and the train’s so crowded you can’t tell who it is, and you’re already late to work, and you don’t want to be the crazy weirdness that all the New Yorkers watch without watching. So you shut up. Your stop is only three away. Deal with it. Ignore. Evacuate.

Late at night in Union Square station. On the upper level, a busker is playing bagpipes, an instrument not designed with low ceilings and tiled walls in mind. Every time he finishes a song, the air fills with angry shouts from the homeless men who are trying to sleep.

Even one level down, at the other end of the platform, with my music turned all the way up, I can still hear them.

In a city of eight million people, I’m the most alone I’ve ever been. I don’t really know anybody here, I don’t have any roommates, and at the mixers and get-to-know-yous and bar hours that my school’s student life organizers put together, I mill around on the edges for an hour or so before leaving without successfully talking to anyone. Sometimes it feels like days go by without me saying anything, without speaking at all. I start to listen to more Fresh Air and This American Life than is strictly necessary for anybody.[1] Ira Glass is the closest thing I have to company. I realize that if something happens to me, it could be days, maybe weeks, before anyone at home really got worried. I start to wonder if the people on the subway aren’t just ignoring me. Maybe I really am invisible. Maybe I’m not really here.

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