Casey was off the past five days, but he finally went back to work today! There are two planes that he flies, and one of them was grounded due to a bird strike (a bird hit the wing so they had to fix it). There are a lot of first officers here right now too, so they have to rotate a number of pilots around one plane. So what does Casey do with his time? Well, he relaxes! He wants to fly though, so he’s been anxious to get back out there. I enjoy having him around though. He makes the days go by quicker, and we’re able to run errands. I prefer to wait until he’s off to go shopping so we can go together.
The purpose of this post is to document our “urban hike” that we went on yesterday! Our car is ALMOST here, which means that the ship has docked in Lagos and our car needs to clear customs. We needed to go to the bank in order to transfer money from Casey’s account to our car guy’s account, so we figured yesterday was a good day to do it. Casey was off, it was Saturday, and banks are open on Saturday, right? That’s what we thought. We embarked around 10am with our belongings and comfy shoes. We decided to walk to save some money on a taxi since the bank wasn’t too far. I had also been wanting to exercise lately, so this walk was actually very nice. It was hot and humid, but we managed. The roads were a LITTLE less crowded because it was the weekend, so that was better as well. We took back roads when we could so there would be less traffic.
At one point, we crossed a bridge which sits atop a lush jungle! It’s crazy to see this tropical forest so close to the city, but that’s Lagos for you. It kind of reminds me of Hawaii, just much more crowded.
It was quite a pleasant walk, so we were in good spirits. We stopped at a market for a bottle of cold water on the way. After an hour, we arrived at the bank! Everything was going well until a security guard told us that the bank wasn’t open! Only certain locations are open on Saturday, which we didn’t realize before. We stood outside for a few minutes deciding what to do. Even if we transferred the money today, it probably wouldn’t go through until Monday anyway, but we wanted to get the process going as soon as possible. We didn’t know what time the cut off would be on Monday either, and we weren’t sure if Casey would work that day. I’m not on the account, so I wouldn’t be able to do it for him. After thinking about it, we decided to take a taxi and go to the only open location about 20-30 minutes away.
It was an easy ride to the bank and, surprisingly, the transfer process was quite quick! We’ve been having difficult bank experiences lately because whenever we want to do something, they make us handwrite a letter to the branch manager. About a month ago, we wanted to close Casey’s USD account (he has a USD and a Naira account). First they said you can’t do it, and then they said we had to write a letter to the manager who is sitting across the room. Why can’t the manager just come over and talk to us? We’re not sure. Why isn’t there a form to close an account? We’re not sure either. I was writing the letter for Casey but apparently my format was wrong so the personal banker kept telling me to rewrite it, but she wouldn’t tell me what the format was. We eventually had to leave and the account was never closed. That was actually fortunate though because we ended up needing the account in order to send a wire transfer from the US to Nigeria.
The second issue we had was a week ago. We went to the bank to transfer that money from Casey’s USD account to his Naira account. They want us to use our checks to withdraw and deposit the money, but they never gave Casey checks in the first place. We had to handwrite more letters to the manager sitting a few feet away to request checks! What’s the deal with these handwritten letters?! Luckily, one of the personal bankers wrote me an example letter, so I finally had a template to copy. I wrote a letter requesting checks for Casey’s USD account, and then another letter requesting checks for his Naira account. The checks would take a few days to arrive, so we urged them to just transfer the money. It’s a bank; they should be able to do that. They kept trying to talk us out of it since there would be a $6 fee to withdraw money without checks, but we assured them that we’d be happy to pay the silly fee. Why do they care about us paying a fee anyway? The funny part is that I believe they just didn’t want to hassle with our transfer and tried to use this fee as an excuse to dissuade us. Sigh.
There was another problem because we’d be withdrawing money in US dollars, then we’d need to change the money into Nigerian Naira, and then deposit that Naira into his Naira account. The trouble was that the bank can’t change the currency, even though they have exchange rates listed on a huge board above the teller windows. We’re not sure what the deal was about that. Anyway, we were FINALLY able to write a letter to some manager at a different branch who would apparently be able to transfer the money! WHEW! I used to work at a bank, so I was getting very frustrated knowing I could do their job in a few minutes as opposed to them taking an hour to do nothing but have me write letters.
That was a long rant! Where were we… oh yes, we arrived at the bank to transfer money to our car guy and that process was simple! We were very surprised after everything we’ve gone through. I thought we’d have to handwrite a letter for sure, but they actually had a form to fill out! We filled it out, waited about 20 minutes for a reason that we’re not exactly sure, the manager came over to the teller to approve our transfer, and we were done! Done! Wow! We hopped back in our taxi and drove back home. Finally a win for CnL!
On the way, we decided to get dropped off at a produce market close to our apartment. We found this place a few days ago and they said to come back on Saturday because they’d be getting more items in. The area of Lagos we live in doesn’t have any good produce markets, so we were very excited to find this place, especially since it’s so close to our flat. Their selection is decent, the produce is pretty fresh, and the prices are reasonable! We picked some sweet potatoes, bananas, and a pineapple to try! I think I’ll cut up the pineapple today and see how it is. Their tropical fruits are quite good compared to what I’m used to in Las Vegas, so I think we’ll have good luck. Casey also got some sour sop juice at the insistence of an employee who claimed that we would like it. I’ve only heard of sour sops but haven’t tried them, and it was quite interesting! It was slightly sweet, very tangy, and thick like a nectar. It reminded me of concord grapes, which I absolutely love, but I’m not sure if I love sour sops just yet. Casey enjoyed it after awhile though. He said that he “acquired the taste” for it within a 15 minute period.
Another nice thing is that they deliver! Their website online says that they deliver for free, but when the guy arrived, the receipt said there was a small delivery fee. We tried to explain that their website claims “free delivery,” but he said, “You have to pay the fee because it’s written on the receipt.” Hmm, that logic didn’t make sense to us, but we paid it and took our fruit. If we decide to go back to this place, we might be able to get the money back by talking to the manager.
And that was our day! We got back home around 2pm, so it was a fairly successful outing overall, even with the little hiccup with the bank being closed. We’re soooo excited to get our car! We decided to have our guy deliver the car to us because we’ve heard it’s not too safe to pick it up yourself at the dock, especially since we’re foreigners. Apparently there are scammers/thieves/bad people who wait near the exit and try to get money or goods from you as you leave, since they know you’re picking up recently shipped items. Our friends here told us it’s better to let someone deliver the car to us, so we agreed. We’re hoping that we get the car sometime this week! Who knows how long it’ll take to clear customs though. We haven’t been able to find out any time frame yet.
Other than waiting for our things, we’re trying to plan a trip back home! It would have been great timing to leave this past week because Casey wasn’t working, but we have to wait until our car arrives. We might be able to leave next week if we’re able to get the car soon. The unfortunate thing is that Casey needs to come back to Lagos by the middle of December because there will be less pilots then, so they’ll need him to fly, so we’re trying to juggle these priorities. I’m having a hard time figuring out what to do because I’m able to stay in the states longer than Casey, but I don’t want to send him back here by himself! I know he’d be perfectly fine without me, but I’d feel sad knowing he’d come home from work without dinner made for him and no one to keep him company. He assures me that he’d be fine, and I know he would be, but I still feel bad. I’ll have to figure out what to do soon though since we need to plan. Eek!
That’s it for now. Happy Sunday everyone!