Sunday, March 9, 2014

New Experience in Lagos: Beach is great baby!

After a looooooooonnngggg time, hello blog!!!!

I missed it just so much but the work was literally crazy. After so many meetings, top management visits, here I am - alive and full of energy to continue with the blog.

Today was another milestone in my life in Nigeria. WE WENT TO THE BEACH!!! Can you imagine? Of course, don't think that we swam in the sea but still a nice beach with nice chairs count in Lagos. 
The name of the beach is Tropicana and it is only 1 hour away from the island. So it was super convenient and another check point in Lagos.
Thanks to our crew, we left Banana Island at 8am on sunday. yeah, this time I made it and even Becky was surprised that we were ready by 8.02am. :) 
It took us 1 hour to get there and by the time, we got to the beach it was already 9.30 and the sun was out. By the way, I have to mention this, the road was amazingly nice as they are building the Lekki Free Trade Zone on this side of Lagos. This will be the trade machine of Lagos when it is completed. It is great to see some real progress in Lagos.
Lying in the sun all day and having great BBQ with prawns by Rick was amazing.

Nice day in Lagos and we will definitely repeat it as we go along.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Girls Night in - I love you my best friends :)

Istanbul Istanbul!

Always fun and girly when I am in Istanbul with the girls. :) 
I stayed at Burcu's place in the posh Mashattan skyscrapers. and we ofcourse held the "1st Official Girls Night in PJ Party" with chocolate strawberry and some Champagne.
I went to Burcu's place as it is my second home really.

We decided to have a girls' pj party after a long afternoon at Istinye Park to check some dresses.
I am in love with Yves Saint Laurent (1), Vakko Couter (2) and Jenny Packham (3). But still I am in love with the African fabric (Vlisco that I got from Abidjan).

After Istinye Park visit, we ended up at Burcu's place for Girls Night-in.
Mujde initially ordered chocolate strawberry and Burcu prepared one her excellent salads. 
Perfect night with best girlfriends!

I love you girls and this was one of the shortest and most lovely trip to Istanbul.

We will have more fun in May and August. :)


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Francophone Africa - Cote D'Ivoire

Bonsoir Mesdames et Messieurs!!!!

I decided to practice some French after visiting the Francophone part of Africa. Oh lalalaaaa, everything is beauty everywhere is beauty products!

My trip started with some fun: I missed the flight while waiting for the exchange guy! Just a little explanation here, exchanging Naira into USD or Euro is the most difficult task in Nigeria. There is no exchange office and banks also don't want to deal with it. So we have an official exchange guy who brings us foreign currency we need it in the office. :)) Anyways, the guy was supposed to come at 9.30 but I -for some reason- forgot about the "African time" and took the man seriously. Of course, he showed up at 11 and I missed my flight at 12.25 thanks to Lagos traffic. 

Luckily, the next day we found another ticket and I got the order from my maid: don't go to office, go directly to the airport otherwise you are going to miss the flight again! OK, mom :))) 
My flight was with ASKY airlines (heard first time in my life) and it was an airline from Togo and connecting through Lome (Togo capital - heard it for the first time). After getting some reassurance (as it was the subsidiary of Ethiopian Airlines), I decided to take it. Lome is a very very small airport with two mid-size rooms and 5 departure gates. When the time comes for the flight, they announce one of the gates and here you go! 
After 2.5 hours (Lagos-Lome 35 minutes, 1 hour lay-over, 1 hour Lome-Abidjan), I arrived Abidjan. My sweet but silent driver Paul picked me up from the airport. Since I was entering with business visa, they led me to the police station to leave my passport for 1-2 days. It was a scary experience and if Paul was not there, probably I would have freaked out as not many people speak English in Cote D'Ivoire.

Cote D'Ivoire used to be a French colony and became independent in 1960 (the same year with Nigeria). That's why everything everything is French even the Coke adverts.

Another French effect is that people are stylish and give importance to their beauty. Everywhere was full of savon (soap), body lotions, deodorants, nail polish and hair extensions & all kinds of hair products.
This is our beautiful cosmetic store lady :)

Hair extensions for Ivorian Ladies!

Little beauty salon in the open market

Kim's show is the most popular program and in all the billboards

Our hotel was in Plateau which is a nice and affluent neighborhood in Abidjan and our visit started with Cocody which is a nice suburb. That's why my initial impression was "wow, this place is really cool and different than Lagos".

Then we went to the biggest open market in Cote D'Ivoire called Adjame Market and welcome back to Lagos mainland. :)) 
chaotic, busy, high traffic open market...

I also have to talk about the different cabs colored according to neighborhoods. Around Cocody, the taxies are yellow, around Adjame green and in Yopugon they are blue. 
There are also red cabs which are allowed to go everywhere in the country.

and everything is portable in line with most African countries!

and of course seafood everywhere...

The next day my friends (on facebook who have never been to Abidjan but thanks to technology :)) recommend me the place called "Chez Georges" which scored the 2nd best in Tripadvisor. However, i kept this reco for my next visit in February.

Before I forget, I got to know the most fashionable African fabric brand - Vlisco thanks to Temi. :) some of their fabrics were around 500-1000 Euro. Crazy but there are obviously designer brands in African fashion. :)

Bye bye Abidjan for this time and see you in 3 weeks. :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to my blog with peaceful Mauritius

Hello Blog,
Long time, no see! This time I salute you from Mauritius!

Amazing, beautiful, green island! When landing to Mauritius, one thing I learnt is you should stop everything you do and watch the beautiful green fields, volcano which has been asleep in the last 700 hundred year, the biggest lake in the country and turquoise ocean!

After we landed, a very modern, cleaner and nicer airport (compared to Lagos) greeted us. I am positively surprised as knowing the Lagos Airport, I was expecting something old, crowded and not in proper order. The Mauritius airport was exact opposite and I was out in 15 minutes.
We were staying Lux Grande Gaube and the driver picked me up at the airport.
He was a very nice and intellectual guy who was originally Indian (long long time ago) and was born & raised in Mauritius. When we were passing through, he told me all the stories about his home town - Phoenix - and the capital - Port Louis. I have seen amazing buildings in Phoenix as they are building it like a modern city. Port Louis was a real port with a big bus station and the port where ships were waiting to be filled.

First impressions are positive about the country and ultra positive about the city. They ask what kind of scent you want in your room or they come for soap service so you put the soap crumbles next to your underwear.

More pics to come, a lot more to see in Mauritius! Let the fun begin...


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lisboa here we come! :)

OK, the name of the blog is Hello Africa but give me a break! I'd like to talk about our girl's weekend out in Lisbon with my dear friends Belde & Canan - you will see the photos of them below :)

Amazing amazing amazing... After a freezing week in Geneva (-20C but I managed to run :)), we decided to have a weekend escape to Lisbon. 
Absolutely perfect choice: nice weather, warm city, chill out places, nice restaurants (Eleven is highly recommended as a Michelin Restaurant) and nice clubs (Silk, Lux, Urban Beach)...

First moments, when we arrived. Stayed at Sofitel Liberdade and the location of the hotel was perfect. Belde and Canan are discussing what to wear for the night :)
First day at the restaurant... I don't remember the name but it was a lovely place where we had wine-tasting and delicious Portugal appetizers. 

Next day: Shopping in Chiado!

The church that we've never managed to find the gate!!!
China tiles: A Protuguese classic...

Canan got very excited when she saw the theater building :))) Belde was our guide on the road :)

From the palace with amazing view. Cannot imagine this place in summer!

Docas and cool place by the sea: Opart... MUST SEE especially during the sunset... under bridge like Istanbul and nice restaurants are placed one after the other by the sea. Am sure it'd be cool to have a drink when the sun comes down in summer.

beautiful churches and culture...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wedding in Nigeria - Mix of Praying & Dancing

First Nigerian wedding experience: AWESOME!

When Chidinma (one of the young girls at work) invited me to her wedding, I felt really happy as wedding was a must-see tradition in Nigeria! 

Since I got the invitation last year (December), I totally forgot about it and missed the pre-wedding preparations as well. Anyways, I have been there and it was so much fun. :)
Key highlights:
- There is a color code for every wedding and the guests are expected to follow the code. Today the color code was gray and fuchsia and everybody was dressed in different tones of these two colors.
- Bridesmaids dress up look alike from the head to the toe!
- Bride bring a style of fabric (in gray and fuchsia) to all  different groups and the people among these groups buy the fabric and have a dress made from the same style fabric. For instance the people in the family was wearing different style of dresses from the same fabric and P&G group was in different one.
- Ceremony starts with praying and wedding at the church. This part takes 2 hours and another 2 hours for the party after the official part.
- The first part is praying with the leadership of the priest and the second part was the actual wedding ceremony. The bride and the groom told the wows and wore the rings. 
- After priest announced them husband and wife, everybody started dancing in the church together with the bride & groom.
- The part took place in a hall next to the church and there were around 200-250 guests. 
- Bride and groom came to the party hall dancing after everyone got seated.
- The party was really full of dance and fun!

At the church...

 At the party...

The bride dancing....

Official Nigerian food... jellof rice, fried rice, fried chicken, fried fish and cabbage salad...

Bride's flower is going going gone while All the Single Ladies is played :)