A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr…
What would you do when you get to a strange land, knowing nobody and you are stranded? oh yes I see that look. That was my first experience in Abuja. You know I live for such experiences!
I love going to Nigeria but I visit Lagos more frequently and then PortHarcourt, never Abuja so i was really looking forward to this first time in Abuja for a business/visit.
Thinking of going to Abuja? Then read on to learn about my fun and not so fun experiences in Abuja. Abuja is about 2hours from Ghana as you need to go through Lagos. However, it took me almost 5hours to make this trip mainly because there was no direct flight from Ghana to Abuja so I had to transit through Lomé. Good old and nice Lomé! Oh I love Lomé, as part of exploring my home continent, Africa, I have had the opportunity of visiting Lomé, Nairobi, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Lagos, Ouagadougou etc. and one of my favourite cities was Lomé. – If you know me well by now you should know that I LOVE everywhere because I bring with me joy and excitement always. I will tell you tales across the African continent bit by bit but for now let’s focus our travel camera on Abuja!
The Abuja National Mosque… a beautiful architecture
Abuja is a city so clean and organised unlike Lagos and most other African cities. At least for the places I visited in Abuja; Panama, Maitama, central business district and many others were very clean and well organised. If you were expecting something like a dirty African city please Abuja is not the place try Lagos. 🙂 On a more serious note, I really liked Abuja because of its clean streets and safe surroundings.
You find the police at most turns and roundabouts in their nicely constructed police kiosks just as I noticed in Bangkok.
A police in a kiosk… you see lots of these on the road giving you a feeling of security
Abuja had lots of greens which really beautified the place. It gave it a refreshing sense. Step out early in the morning to a sense of newness!
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Greens everywhere… clean streets
As much as I loved Abuja, I had the most horrible experience when I arrived at my hotel after 1hour drive through some really bad roads and heavy rains. I got to the hotel only to find that my hotel had given out the room I booked. I will refrain from mentioning the name of the hotel because they compensated me and apologized duly but an experience is an experience. In the hotel’s defence, they thought I wouldn’t show up as it was 6pm and they tried to reach me but hey I was in the air. Hahaha! That was not a good enough defence because I have arrived at some hotels at 10pm, like Bangkok, I arrived in a hotel in Italy at 8pm, Sao Tome at 7:30pm without prior calls yet my room was available. This is not a good enough excuse though but I will take it since that’s what they got.
We ought to learn from this experience and what better audience than you who take time to read my blog every time.
I was stranded on the streets of Abuja knowing nobody, without a room at 8pm! Hold on, there was a silver lining: my taxi driver Rotimi! Yes Rotimi picked me up from the airport after I bargained so hard with every other taxi driver :).
Rotimi, the kind taxi driver … he was my driver throughout my stay in Abuja
He was kind and very chatty. We soon became best pals on the road, I was nice to him and made him feel appreciated so he stayed around, took my bags into the hotel and waited to make sure my room was sorted. Thank God for this as he ended up being the same person to take me around to get a new hotel. There are good people out there so don’t conclude on people.
In such situations I do not panic, I just asked for internet access, got on to booking and book a hotel, call the hotel to confirm and voila! I got to be in bed by 10pm ready for my meeting at 8am the next day. Thank God Nigeria was only +1GMT!
LESSON: Always call the hotel to confirm after booking and call when at the airport before you board. Email is not sufficient!!!
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