By Nkem Ndem
Visiting Nigeria can be a mind-blowing experience as there are so many places to see, cities to visit, and cultures to explore. Certainly, along with the excitement of traveling to or living in a foreign land comes the possibility of the visitor experiencing some form of culture shock.
A number of tourists who have visited or lived in Nigeria have testified to being shocked and overwhelmed by the lifestyle, customs and practices of its people. Jovago.com, Africa’s No.1 online hotel booking portal reveals the top seven things tourists often find strange about Nigerians.
Nigerians find it hard to believe, but they are exceptionally loud, especially those from the western region. Some have stated that the loudness is a consequence of their local dialect and their cultural practices, while other believe that the average Nigerian lous because is is their heritage to be boisterous. A typical Nigerian will not hesitate to belt out a song in crowded street in the bid to sell potions or win souls, and most locals will not even try to reduce the pitch of their voice, as long as they feel the need to air an opinion. While locals see these as normal, most visitors find it utterly alarming.
Church buildings every couple of miles
Nigerians are very religious people and a larger part of the country actually practice Christianity and they are very zealous in their faith. It is hard to find a street in most parts of the country (excluding the northern regions which are saturated with muslims)without at least one church or meeting place. Visitors find it remarkable and some have wondered how these churches maintain their members.
Nigerians tend to carry large amounts of cash
For most people who live outside the country, ATMs and credit cards are the way to go when it comes to buying or purchasing. Most wander about with wallets utterly devoid of cash, they do not see the need to carry cash around as it even creates opportunities of getting robbed or maimed. They find it amazing that Nigerians on the other hand seem to love the scent of raw cash and carry money around with them at all times, despite the fact that there ATM machines around and most stores and spots have POS for credit cards. Nigeria is slowly becoming a cashless society, however they are finding it hard to give up the feel of paper money in their hands.
Bold requests for tips
Nigerians are not shy, not when it comes to money. Most visitors not only find it weird that they may have to paying extra for someone to do their job , they are baffled that waiters/waitresses do not hesitate to hint at or outrightly ask for a tip when it is time to collect the bill . Unlike it is in the UK, there’s no set arrangement for tipping at restaurant and bars and so there is set amount or percentage one should tip neither is it clear, who should get tipped. The locals however do not see anything wrong with the whole situation as basically, it is the norm. When in Rome, act like the romans.
Liquor for everyone
Most countries around the world have a legal drinking age of 18 and so does Nigeria, so, many tourists find it astonishing when they see teenagers who are obviously below the age limit buying alcoholic drinks or spirits. The most commonly purchased are the NGN50 satchet liquor sold by women who carry them around in trays and basins.Nigeria has a much more liberal stance on public drinking, and while most visitors find this delightful, there are who consider it unacceptable.
Locals eating full meals in public buses
The public buses, from BRT to Moluwe and Danfo are a major means of transportation for most locals in Nigeria, and while it would generally be considered unhygienic or just improper to eat while in motion or in public spaces that are not meant for eating, a lot of Nigerians flaunt the etiquette anyway and you cannot blame them really as desperate times call for desperate measures. It is no secret that certain large cities in the country are plagued with the incessant traffic jams, and the locals basically cannot stifle the need to stay on the hustle, so, they save time by eating on the bus. Do not be surprised to see someone eating not just gala and coke, but full blown meal like jollof rice, fried yam and sauce or even Amala and Ewedu.
Their strong belief in superstition
Nigerians generally believe in superstition. It is an aspect of almost all the culture in the country and so it is generally accepted. There are so many signs and events that they believe are consequent to how things would turn out and they tend to read meaning to certain things visitors may consider as normal. For instance, Nigerians tend to think that the right eye twitching is a sign that the person would see something good, while the average tourist see it as a sign of stress. Nigerians take their superstition so seriously that they could change their plan for the future or just for the day for something as simple as a black crow perching on one’s roof.
Ndem Nkem is Travel/Tech writer for Jovago.com