Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Visit to the Garden City

There are bloggers who don't post for weeks and "it ain't no thing." I feel itchy (not to mention slightly guilty) when I haven't posted in a few days. Okay, make that a week.

I was in Port Harcourt this last week for work. One of the things that I appreciate most about my job is that I am getting to see some different parts of the country. Prior to my recent trips to PH, I'd gone years ago, while still in secondary school, to visit my BFF who was living there at the time. I remember it as being a rather quiet and clean city. My, what a difference a few years makes.

Port Harcourt was certainly a lot dirtier than I recollect from my teenage visits, but maybe then I really had no idea. Since it's currently rainy season and, like many Nigerian cities, PH lacks adequate drainage, dirty water pooled on the sides of the street making it virtually unpassable for pedestrians, unless they chose to wade in it (which they usually had to do since there was no alternative).

"Ha!" I would exclaim with derision whenever anyone told me about how bad Port Harcourt traffic is. Nothing could possibly beat Lagos go-slow. Well, PH traffic is definitely nowhere as bad as Lagos's, but it did manage to surpass my expectations.

Then of course, there was the 'restiveness' in the air (sorry to use such an over-used word), or maybe this was a result of my own prior expectations from all I had read about Port Harcourt. That there is a heavy police presence is undeniable and it feels very strange at first. I suppose after a while you cease to notice them much.

Having to fly into Owerri or Calabar is quite inconvenient. We flew into Owerri and made the approximately two-hour journey to PH. Despite the fact that the roads were quite bad, drivers still managed to speed down them miraculously avoiding falling down crater-like pot-holes.

The descriptor "Garden City" definitely conveys the wrong impression of what Port Harcourt is like, or maybe it harks back to long gone glory days.

4 comments:

In my head and around me said...

I lived in P/H for about 8 months. They do not call it RIVERS state for nothing. It's constantly flooded. The drainage system really can't be much worse.

Em, what is BFF?

Ore said...

BFF is teenage speak for Best Friends Forever. LOL!!

Azuka said...

I'm a PH guy at heart -- at least that's where I lived before I came here.

Rainy season is the worst time to be in PH -- we've got some of the most legendary gutters in Nigeria. If you've ever fallen into one by mistake, you'll realize what I'm talking about.

Dirty, ugly and rapidly getting congested because that's where the 'oil' money is, its indigenes still think PH is the most beautiful city in Nigeria, and you can never convince them otherwise -- that is, except you force them to make a trip to Calabar.

Ore said...

Mmmmm, Calabar is where I want to visit next.