So. Thursday. We were thankful to have arrived at our hotel in Abuja and after an attempt to get fuel we decided to wait until morning – the lines were unbelievable. I was more than ready to get out of a sitting position. What I wanted was to be in a horizontal position. We had to unload everything as it’s just not a good idea to leave things inside a vehicle overnight lest anyone think we left it there for the taking. We tucked in for the night and enjoyed dinner at the hotel. On the menu for Neal and Tobi was pounded yam and vegetable soup with goat. Now I’m sure when I say ‘vegetable soup’ one might think fresh (well probably canned) veggies chopped up in a beef broth with leftover pot roast. Or something along those lines. Au contraire mon ami. Nigerian vegetable soup consists of what might be described as greens – lots of them – chopped up and cooked in oil and spices. Very spicy spices. And a few other things. Just the way we like it. The thing you gotta love about Nigerians is they don’t even question whether you want it spicy or not. Not even if you’re a kid. It just comes that way. They are proud of the way they eat and you should be too. Neal and Tobi were in heaven! I opted for rice and a similar spicy red stew. Also got a side of eggs for some protein – which were of course cooked with freshly chopped habanero peppers. Steam was coming out of my ears and we were all sniffling.
Tobi had his own room and enjoyed it – wasn’t sure what he’d think at first. But he warmed up to the idea and then decided it was pretty cool. Usually when we travel and stay in a hotel, we all cram into one room. This time a friend of ours made the reservations for us – AND paid for the rooms. We are blessed! Not only did he pay for the rooms, he put down credit for us to eat. He wanted us to eat well so he gave way more than we could eat at dinner and breakfast combined. He’s a Nigerian that learned of our ministry when we were living in Diffa and would send support up from time to time to Diffa — to the church there. We’ve been in touch with him since and he’s been such a blessing to us.
We asked for breakfast to be ready at 7am and were pleasantly surprised when they called our room at 6:55 to say it was ready. We, surprise surprise, had spicy, spicy eggs and tea for breakfast. I created a bit of a scene when I inhaled one of the peppers and it went down ‘the wrong pipe’ as they say. Wrong is right! Unbelievably painful. Neal and Tobi could do nothing but sit there and watch me writhe and choke for about 10 minutes. Fortunately no one else was eating breakfast…
We learned the night before that it would be wise to ask our taxi man to come back and lead us out of the city. The ‘hiccup’ could be whether he would come on time or not. We were thinking (based on experience) that ‘on time’ would mean 30 or more minutes late. We asked him to be there by 7:30. We (by we I mean Neal and Tobi) packed the car before breakfast so after I finished choking we went outside and to our surprise Mr. Taxi Man was there waiting for us. Gosh, we are just being blessed all over the place! We explained to him that we needed to get fuel, knowing he would lead us to the best place to do that.
Not being used to lines for gas, this is where we got in the cue. There were 6 lines I think.
We waited for about 15 minutes. You can see the gate like structures near the road. They go down the road in one of the lanes for several hundred feet. That’s where you line up for your fuel.
Neal was talking with the gas man about the cue and was told that this was in fact no cue at all – but a bit later and in the afternoon it would be backed up for a mile or more. Once again, we were counting our blessings!
Thought this was a cool tree as we were driving through the city.
This is about where Taxi man left us. It was a very well spent $12 and on top of that, we made his day! Fortunately we were leaving the city while the traffic backed up in the other direction for some serious rush hour. Pretty impressive road systems though!
Cool building – probably a mosque.
Now there’s something familiar…
Not too long before we were once again down to 2 lanes. But pretty decent roads! The challenge was getting by truck after truck.
Hard boiled eggs – snack time! One can find a variety of items for sale on the side of the road.
Riding can wear one out!
Another familiar site… Those cows probably came from Niger.
A mosque on almost every corner….
But the churches are built on The Rock!
There were so many crashed vehicles on the side of the road.
I just got photos of a few.
I’m convinced they were left there as a warning…
Lunch in the city of Auchi at Mr. Biggs. Mr. Biggs serves Nigerian Fast Food. It is quite yummy. Except for the chicken sandwich. That’s not Nigerian and it’s not yummy. Tobi and I both got one and had to go back and get the spicy chicken. Now that’s more like it! We are loving not having to travel with all our food and water for an entire journey, knowing there will be food to eat along the way. Good food!
Even more tropical! Lovin’ all the green!!
They have quite an impressive compound.
Palm grove. Gorgeous! And so foreign for us desert dwellers.
Those are some serious logs! Wasn’t real comfortable hanging behind him for too long!
Benin City! We have arrived!
We arrived in the outskirts of the city at about 3:00. Even though things had grown and changed drastically, Neal could find his way to the Miracle Center Compound where he lived and where the Bible School used to be. We couldn’t quite make our way to Faith Arena or to where we were staying but Bishop Feb & Laurie Idahosa had made arrangements for us and we were soon settled in to our home for the next 3 weeks. Which is where I’m writing from now.
Next post will be about our time here thus far. It’s been great and has brought back so many wonderful memories for Neal.