mandag 29. september 2008

We do live in the tropical rainforest. It is just a bit hard to nitice when it has been turned into hauses and roads. Yesterday we went to Lekki Conservation Centre where a tiny bit of the tropical rainforest is preserved. We were looking at mangrove trees and strangler figs.

When animals eat the fruit from the strangler figs, seeds are passed out in the droppings and ends up on a branch in a tree. When the seeds germinates and sends roots downwards they establish themselves in the existing tree, and will eventually strangle and kill the tree, and win the race for light.

Sofie was very fascinated by gekkos and lizards of every kind. She stopped at each and everyone we passed on our way. It did not matter that we have the same lizards and gekkos at Banana Island close to our home.

We did hear the monkeys and feel their presence several time, but there were only one spot were we could see several of them clearly. They kept their distance. One of the monkeys were curious of Sofie and came closer and closer to watch her when we moved a bit away. But when she took out the camera it went back to the top of the tree. We did get a few pictures, but not any good ones. When we stopped to watch some young monkeys in a tree, the mother hid and startet to make a lot of noices so we should turn the focus towards her. Even if we were aware of this old trick, it worked. We just had to see where she were - and the kids hid.

Lekki Conservation Centre had well developed trails above the ground so we could walk safely in the swamp areas. But half of the area had thei walk way flooded so we need to come back another time, after the end of the rainy season to see the rest.

lørdag 27. september 2008

Procurement of furniture

We moved here in august to a ready furnitured flat. There are always little things lacking like a desk for the childs room, some shelfes for the bathroom and some furniture to relax in on our veranda.
Our company set up a meeting with a lady from a furniture shop the have a frame agreement with. She came to our flat and took measurements and notes and promised that she could deliver this within 2 weeks. This is 6 weeks ago - and I was done waiting. So yesterday i visited procurement, to get to know when something would happen. They called the lady, and the answer was - she could deliver in two weeks time! Procurement seemed very happy with the answer - but I had to ask how we would know that 2 weeks were 2 weeks and not some vague date in a distant future. They got a bit upset with me for asking this from our vendor. I guess it is awfully Norwegian of me to believe and demand that people keep their promises when it comes to deadlines?

mandag 8. september 2008

A trip to the beach

The company has rented a place on a beach for us, where we can go and relax on the sundays. Yesterday we joined the others for a trip to the beach. Sofie was a bit sceptical to spending the whole day there, but she enjoyed every minute of it as far as I could see.

There were local craftsmen there selling their tablecloths, skirt, paintings, sword and knives, wooden boxes and elephants etc and Sofie ended up with a rather big wooden elephant. And she has learned to bargain, and got it for a fair price. Its now in our living room.

We also bought a big tablecloth in nice colours with houses and trees on. We liked it because it reminded us both of the drawings of Dr. Seuss. Sofie wanted it on the table when we got back to the flat.

But I had some learning point before the next beach outing:
- buy plastic plates
- buy plastic cups and glass

and do remember
- your coffee
- and sausages for Sofie.

We are greatful than more experienced beach people saved us with coffe and plates. A great thank you to Randi.

Otherwise - being the only child at the beach with no one to play with could become boring. Sofie were so lucky that some of my collegues took her down and into the big waves (To big for her to play in alone) and that she could swim in a swimmingpool owned by a Norwegian couple who had their beach house not far from us.

onsdag 3. september 2008

Our shipment har arrived!

After waiting for two weeks, our shipment arrived Friday. Hurray! I hurried home from work, the local movers carried the boxes in to the flat and made me sign heaps of papers. Neither Norwegian nor American bureaucracy can compete with the Nigerian one. But still happy - soon we would have our stuff. Sofie had missed her Lego and her Play station, and she was looking forward for them to arrive.

I started rigging the computer, and what an amazing sight! I had never seen anything like it. All the cables, the mouse, the web camera, the wireless internet connector were all tangled up in one big messy heap. It took quite some time to untangle. Have the guys packing never heard about packing units like this one and one? I was starting to fear that this was pure laziness. For me it is important to state that this was done in Stavanger, by the moving company chosen by the company I work for, it was not a local Nigerian company. To me, their work seemed very well executed. The local movers looked also rather shocked when the cords were unpacked, but were far to polite to say anything.

The big LCD screen were wrapped in two layers of bubble wrap and shipped. So when it was unpacked and turned on, it was not a big shock for me to see that the screen was broken - I almost anticipated in when I saw how it was wrapped. Oh, how I envy those who use a moving company that would put the screen in a best possible fitting cardboard box and fill it with chips to protect it while shipping.

Our wireless printer was shipped with the ink cartridges inside. I guess I am partly to blame here, assuming that the people sent to my house to pack my electronic equipment would know what they were doing. An assumption I will never again have. I guess that was being over the limit naive. ALMOST everyone knows that the air pressure in an aircraft is different from on the ground. ALMOST everyone I know have experienced ball point pen having ruined clothes if they have been stupid enough to send a shirt with a pen in the pocket in a suitcase (well some are some so stupid that they learn slow - so I myself have experienced it twice). I assumed that this was common knowledge for moving companies that are supposed to deal with air shipment for big companies. So Sofie’s wireless Lexmark arrived filled with ink from the cartridges squashed into every possible hole in the printer. (In case you wonder - it becomes a sticky brown fluid after air travel and the two weeks in custom.) Off course we tried to clean it. But now the printer is declared "death by airfreight". But then again - a printer is easy to get, you can buy the several places in Lagos, so that is not that bad. But it can easily be prevented.

What is really annoying, and partly tragic is the lack of cables to the play station. We have received the hand controls, the Buzz control, the dance mat, the sing star microphones and the memory card and the play station 2 box. But the person packing this has detached the box from the cables, instead of detaching the cables from TV and electrical sockets on the wall. Imagine packing the play station without cables for electricity? Is this laziness or incompetence? Or both? Based on my experience - packing a play station with all relevant parts are so easy that a seven year old can do it. They do not end up in grand mother’s house without the power cable!

What really annoys me is when I reported this to the moving company they respond by sending me a form that they will send to an insurance company and then transfer some money to my bank account.

No understanding of what they do to other peoples property by not having proper routines and training can not just be paid by money. In my opinion - the person who have packed this should be sent shopping for a new screen and the necessary cables to the play station and then shipping it down here with a 24 hours shipping service and a big "Sorry".
And may be use a competent moving company to ship it for them?

But as young Sofie said; "Good for us that we packed the Lego's our self mum, so they haven’t destroyed them". In this setting I chose not to tell her that Lego are carefully constructed so even a Gorilla playing around with them could not break it.

Next time we move the moving company can handle the Lego's, roller-skates, books, DVD's and CD, and stuffed animals. They were capable of that. But my electronics - a moving company will never-ever be allowed to touch without myself supervising them.


Internet has been non/existing in our flat. We have now been without Internet connection the last two weeks(well not entirely true, we were online thursday evening last week and three minutes monday thsi week). In my humble opinion part of the problems are that the owners of our building has made the business decesion to stick to one provider instead of letting the providers compete. To me this seems to be a far from smart move, particalarly when the speed of the "broadband" connection reminds me of a 64Kb modem I used to love.

But then again - we do have electricity (most of the time) and the water is running, both the warm and the cold.