It was a day not quite like any other day when I popped out of the office with a colleague for lunch at a nearby local restaurant. I was so hungry I could eat a horse (word to my stomach). I settled down to an aromatic bowl of okra soup with a generous ball of pounded yam and I couldn’t have washed my hand any quicker so I could dig in. It was halfway through my gulps of satisfaction and eyes rolling to the back of my head that an over zealous restaurant staff decided to reach over an switch on the air-conditioning close to me. Nothing prepared me for the next thing that happened.
Let’s make this a bit more interesting. Which of the following scenarios took place after the restaurant switched on the air-conditioning:
A baby roach crawled into my okra soup
Sweat from the restaurant staff’s forehead dropped into my pounded yam
A gush of soot hit my face and landed on my entire lunch plate
Now only one of the above scenarios actually took place today and was immediately followed by a thousand apologies and an offer of a replacement meal. The winners get a social media treat courtesy of the Crazy Nigerian so have a go 😀
Gone are the days when I used to enjoy the luxury of living only 15mins away from my office. I would wake up at 7.00am, take a shower before leaving my flat at 7.15, and then I’d be in my office by 7.30am (resumption time). With my new job I live about 1hr away…when there’s no traffic, but 3hrs when I’m on my way back home during rush hour. A couple of things have suffered with this recent change: My biceps and triceps got smaller; my alarm clock and I are no longer on speaking terms; my blog developed cobwebs; and more importantly, I have developed an eating disorder…well, let’s just say I don’t eat in any particular order anymore.
3-square meals are usually the norm when it comes to daily food consumption. However, the diet of the average banker in Lagos is rather different. Most bachelors eat at least twice a day – one outdoor meal from the local canteen and a home-cooked meal. Married men however may eat just one heavy meal at night since its in their best interest not to piss their wives off. The result? Pot belly. I currently fall into the bachelor category (phew!) but dare I say the content of my meals may raise a few eyebrows:
Morning – Rice, beans and plantain (as early as 8.30am!)
Afternoon – A sausage roll (The Superbite brand)
In between – Fried Yam with pepper sauce, plantain chips
Evening – Bowl of cereal and/or a packet of noodles (Indomie Chicken flavour, of course)
I am well aware of the fact that this diet (eaten 5days a week) is not a balanced diet. It is a banker’s diet. Once in a while I throw in the odd stewed vegetables and an apple with some almonds but generally there’s little time to eat. Eating outdoors all the time is very risky. Bankers in Lagos could probably tell you a few of their food-poisoning stories. There have been instances of stooling and even Typhoid inflicted on unsuspecting bankers who patronized canteens with suspicious water supplies. The cost of such food is part of the allure. At 100 Naira (less than 50 pence/75 cents) you could have a meal of rice or beans that could keep you going for the next 4hrs. And don’t get me started on the inevitable addiction to energy drinks loaded with abnormal amounts of caffeine. Coffee is so 80s now…
I’m trying to find the balance I once had so I’m faced with 3 choices – Get yet another job and location OR Get familiar with just one outdoor meal source and stick to it OR Get married! (at least the fear of getting a pot belly would probably encourage me to do more exercise, which would equally restore my biceps and triceps to their former glory :D)