Sunday, September 17, 2017

Articles of interest to moi (2017)

Nigeria marginal field round
Prayer circle
Oh Luxembourg
Beauty of the human spirit
History lesson on war
A new way of teaching
White privilege
Look Me In The Eye
South Sudan kickboxing
Racism on TV
Writing tips
Goodness in man
Kenya plastic bag ban
Influence of cryptocurrency
Debate over statues
Affirmative Action for White Folk
Stock Market 101
Finding Yourself
Perils of Black Thought
America badly needs healthcare
No excuses
Trying to be a real man
Real Healthcare Reform
Crappy Nigerian banks
Why Fathers Leave Their Children
Not having all the answers
Is your God dead?
Middle East imbroglio
Tired of the #WengerOut brigade. Asbury Park FC is the way to go
A better Uber
The Norway, er, Way
Qatari dilemna
Soul Man: The Reality Show
Failing carbon markets
New York state of waste
How to win at policy
Israel's take
Coach, anyone?
Mitch Landrieu remarks
Radicalizing the NAACP
Nigeria tutorial app
Southern Pride
African Risk Capacity
Can someone do this for African countries?
Steve Ballmer is finally interesting
Carter's take on Christianity
Waste your time
The refugee
Case for re-nationalization?
American double standard on Obamacare
Memory palace
Time for Arsene to work from home
How to win a feminist battle
Pray for us
Trump speech
Logic behind male anger
Know your travel rights
Jamal Edwards
King James
WEB Du Bois
Doing business in Africa
Breaking black stereotypes
Obama's Israel legacy

Comments-[ comments.]

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Fresh Prince of Juba and the £50 note

Hola peeps.

Just returned from Kampala to find a note from cleaning lady reminding me to buy sugar as “we had run out”. Yup, we. After 6 months of investigating I have now determined she must be the culprit behind my missing fancy biscuits. Opened fridge to discover onions and salt in a bag. I may have been iffy in the past about whether I ate biscuits and forgot about it, but since I don’t cook I am sure stuff in refrigerator ain’t mine. It appears I am sharing biscuits, bottled water and use of fridge with cleaning lady. Wait, discovered cap of miniature shower gel was opened too. Yup, add shower gel nicked from Nairobi hotel as other stuff I’m unknowingly sharing with cleaning lady. People sure do take the piss. Another case in point was dude I got a t-shirt from the UK. Dude sees me after picking it up from his colleague and didn’t say thanks, instead he provided a screed on how tee was not a snug fit and wanted to know if I also bought shoes for him. Gobsmacked does not quite describe my expression.

Can’t say I blame cleaning lady though since I have hardly spent considerable time in my apartment in the past few months. Returned from Lagos-UK-US-UK-Lagos-Addis trip last Monday with emetic feelings at the thought of boarding another flight. If I hadn’t bought plane ticket to Uganda weeks before for David’s 40th birthday soiree I would not have travelled to Kampala three days after my return to Juba. I was beat, man. I know the UK ain’t exactly a “vacation” spot due to family and friends I gotta meet up with but this was the most tired I have ever been from a trip. Most likely had to do with time spent at airports and planes within a brief time span. On one occasion, it was not until the US immigration officer asked why I was visiting the US for only 2 days, well 1.5 days if we are being accurate, that the folly of my actions to seek a break away from the UK dawned on me. Before you cast aspersions on me for tony flights (pun intended) of fancy just know I never intend to do such again. Travel stops being fun when all one sees are airports and run-of-the-mill hotels.

Finally put money where mouth is by taking Ethiopian Airlines on last trip from Lagos to Juba. Could no longer hand money to Kenya Airways in good conscience after previous trip to Juba was delayed for over 15 hours due to staff shortage. The in-flight experience on Ethiopian Airlines was better as evinced by the extra legroom and modern movies on offer. Once I landed at Addis Ababa though I was not impressed by the airport and having to wait 30 minutes for an airport shuttle did not brighten my mood. If I thought the Juba airport “things are tough” guy was a one-off the Hilton Hotel liaison guy at the Bole international airport at Addis proved me wrong. After commenting on my wooden wrist watch, he showed me his watch and overtly mentioned it was provided by a Chinese client of his. Once the interminable wait for the airport shuttle was over he insisted on walking me to the vehicle just so he could remind me to get him a wooden watch on my next trip through Addis.

One thing Addis has going for it was is the lack of traffic from airport to hotel which is usually not the case in Nairobi. However, the hotels and general hospitality in Nairobi are several notches ahead. Got to the Hilton and was surprised to discover one would have to cough out $12 for internet access. You what?! Could be a Hilton thang as I recall not having free Wi-Fi either when I stayed at a Hilton in Las Vegas 6 years ago. Anyways I wasn’t too fussed as I would only be spending a night, but thought to comment about it to the hotel bellboy who insisted of taking me to room even though I had no luggage. Once in room he showed me how the TV remote control worked, then the faucets in the bathroom, then how to draw the curtains. I stopped him just as he was about to demonstrate the proper way to open the complimentary bottle of water and gave him a tip. Bellboy thanked me and proceeded to offer me an internet access code after making me swear I would not reveal this to anyone. After our business was concluded I left room to grab dinner and laughed out loud after I shut the door and spotted room number was 419. What are the odds of that in a 372-room hotel, eh?

The next morning, I got dropped off at wrong airport terminal by Hilton shuttle so had to traipse through construction site, that is set to become new airport extension, to arrive at right terminal. Was asked by security where I was travelling to and as soon as I mentioned Juba an elderly lady grasped my left hand and would not let go despite pleas to her in best sign language that I had no alms to give. She kept muttering stuff that I did not understand and as a security guard tried to shoo her off another explained to me her daughter works in Juba and she wanted to send stuff to her. Lady looked distraught and understanding the prevailing economic situation in Juba I foolishly accepted the package of what I was assured was food.

Passed it through the x-ray machine at Terminal 1 entrance and prayed that if anything was flagged the security guys would attest to what occurred with lady. Nada happened. Same occurred at second x-ray machine before boarding gate. Lady gave me her daughter’s number so before I boarded plane I got someone in Juba to call and ensure she existed; if no one had answered phone I woulda left package at airport. After an uneventful 2-hr flight – well, were offered no hot towels for cleansing hands – I arrived at Juba airport and handed over food to lady’s daughter. Hope she enjoyed it.

Noticed something during stopover at Addis Ababa: I am no longer intrigued by Ethiopian women. If you recall, the first time I spent a night there I went on and on about how gorgeous Ethiopian women were. Fast forward two years of seeing them daily in Juba and I am now meh. Human nature, eh? Or could this new found meh-ness be a side effect of stressful vacation? Also have noticed since my return I have tended to take things easy and leave work stuff at work. I am surprising myself I cannot lie. Long may this continue.

Another facet of my post-vacation life is weird dreams I have. I have always had peculiar dreams as y’all know all too well, but what am I to make of one where I shouted at mom in public and directed a cruel joke at a childhood friend? That ain’t me. Yesterday, I dreamt I was performing a stand-up comedy set while taking a dump in a urinal. Woke up after someone complained about the mountain of bog roll I had heaped in said urinal, thus leaving no space for him to urinate. Now that definitely ain’t me.

Brief US trip wasn’t entirely wasted as got to practice some Arabic with the red wine-swilling Saudi Arabian female dental hygienist seated beside me. Got to watch season finale of Game Of Thrones live and visit the Liberty Bell. However, trip highlight was purchasing kettle corn I described in a previous blog post. Again, I refuse to believe this stuff is not crack disguised as food. I wanted to tell immigration officer I was in the US for two nights primarily to get a fix of that oh lovely goodness, but feared he woulda sent me back to the UK for being unserious.

Never seen as many panhandlers in a major US city as Philadelphia. On the flight back to the UK, I sat beside a Trump-supporting Vietnam vet who explained there was a good chance the beggars were veterans like himself, but lacking a support structure. After the war, he served in the Cleveland police department for 20 years before moving to Florida. Ever since he was diagnosed for PTSD he’s travelled to Ibiza annually for a week-long vacation to get wasted on “medicine” and dance his worries away. Though he lacked MY Saudi Arabian princess’s orphic aura, he was interesting all the same.

Mustn’t forget to mention I got a new phone while in the US to replace the crap Samsung Prime that caused me more headaches than the Juba airport “things are tough” guy and his ilk. Unlike previous times when I would acquire a new piece of technology and let it simmer for 1-2 months before using it, I am glad to say this was not the case with my Samsung S8. So far so good (with this post-vacation behavior).

UK trip was meh except for time spent with my daughter. Man, I miss her so. Gone was the Can I press the red button now diva, here was my little bundle of joy. Was so excited to see her I opened with my fallback trick to get kids’ attention where I flip my eyelids so red underside is displayed. This act repulses most kids, but not the apple of my eye who insisted on practicing it on herself. With each failed attempt her eyes got redder and had to beg her to stop before her mom found out. Geez, you would think I would act like a responsible adult occasionally, right? At her age, and sometimes even now, I would get incredibly shy around adults, but my princess is 5 going on 21 with the confidence she displays. Sure got loads to learn from her.

Noticed some of my childhood traits in her like when she cried because she forgot to bring along the rock she had picked up from her beach holiday and time she could not remember the answer to some random information she had been given earlier in the day. That was me as a kid! I cried when I did not get stuff right, especially school work. This was so repetitive on one of her trips outside Nigeria mom got me a tee with the inscription, Boys Don’t Cry. What she did not know at the time was tee shirt was merchandise for The Cure's ‘80s album. Hadn’t a clue myself until years later when we got MTV.

One trait I am glad she hasn’t picked up is my inability to walk straight. Never noticed it much in Juba ‘cos I drive everywhere, but realized I had not overcome it while walking around with peeps during this holiday. I observed I still tend to veer left so much so if I walk a considerable distance with someone on my left I could force them off the road/path. I remember a mate teasing me about this, insisting my bizarre walking style is ‘cos I was sheltered as a kid and never had to take public transportation to school. Ha.

Mom was in the UK when I got there and planned my arrival date to coincide with her birthday. I am sure she musta caught on to my attempts at ingratiation by now as this is second consecutive year I have done this, but she didn’t let on. Aww bless. Our kumbaya phase lasted all of two days before we fell out. Must credit her with trying to restore the putative mother-son close bond between us, but there just doesn’t seem much we have in common anymore. Her constant hope for a “deeper” relationship where I would divulge secrets to her is not feasible. It breaks my heart as a parent myself and I am sure it hurts her more, but it is what it is.

Saw UK dentist and hoping huge bill from him is last I am gonna receive for a long, long time. One more trip to Nigeria next month to fit permanent crown on tooth then dentists assure me I should have a Rolls Royce mouth. Yup, forget airline selections, this time I am literally putting my money where my mouth is.

Tot ziens and God bless.

Comments-[ comments.]

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Was gonna tell y’all Tiffany Haddish is my new crush but wet wipes seem more important now

Hola peeps.

Field trip from hell! All time spent on R.I.G. in Nigeria was as a “company man” so was treated like royalty. This week I got to experience how mere mortals live. Client did not have accommodation so had to ask a fellow contractor to accommodate me and the team. Now we were thankful for this but did not realize contractor took DIY to the extreme: room occupants had to clean own rooms, do own laundry, etc. Room I was placed in was so rank a new bedsheet was purchased and even at that I slept in a hood so no part of me would touch mattress. Also bought new bedsheet to wrap around pillowcase as seemed pillowcase was handed down by the lowest caste of landfill scroungers.

Day 1: Saw the Juba airport “things are tough” pal, but he failed to ask for anything. Maybe ‘cos he noticed I was on a domestic flight or maybe he’s actually changed his ways? Good on him. Arrived at aforementioned filthy camp site and heard some poor guy’s story of fleeing his Syrian homeland when ISIS took over the oilfields. They offered him an option to work in the oilfields for them, but he refused and so his house and cars were confiscated and his family was banned from leaving town. Took a year to escape with his wife and kids. Now lives in Sudan.

Bathroom was dire…real dire and no hot water so desperately searched for alternative accommodation. Bathroom was one of those toilet bowls-cum-shower combos, but this was extra tiny so one would have to contort self to avoid touching grimy walls or placing feet in toilet bowl in order to take a shower. When I took a dump, I laid 5 layers of bog roll on bowl to avoid catching a non-curable disease.

Day 2: Did not shower before heading to work as had hoped to secure another accommodation before end of day. That did not materialize so returned to what we termed Camp WC (Water Closet) only to find there was no running water. Talk about complaining about not having shoes then seeing someone with no feet.

Moaned bitterly to pals in town and they offered suggestions that ranged from using wet wipes – wish I had some – to MacGyvering a way to shower with a 600ml bottle of water. Now I know how it feels to attend a Ja Rule-organized music festival. Settled for doing a rain dance in the end – did not work - as rained like crazy when I left Juba yesterday but not a drop since we arrived here. My pelvic thrust brings all the girls (and water truck) to the yard and they’re like it’s better than yours and…

Day 3: Water truck arrived in the morning – do not underestimate the power of the thrust - and relished bathing with chilly water. Well, maybe relish is a strong word ‘cos I already told you how rank the bathroom was, right? Still, even though I had not attended yoga class in yonks I am glad I still practiced standing on one foot (tree pose?) before every gym session. It was the only way I could wash bottom of feet without any body part touching grimy bathroom wall. I was told the key to keeping balance during tree pose is keeping eyes fixed on a spot/object in front of you. Some people can do it with eyes closed but I am not there yet so had to concentrate on dirty toilet bowl to keep steady. Memo to self: make an appointment with shrink to hypnotize thought from head.

Highlight of day was going to local market to eat fried fish. Had seen fish when we stopped at market yesterday for colleagues to have tea/coffee/shisha at one of the local establishments. Interestingly, we saw a mad woman sucking milk directly from a cow’s udder yesterday as well. When she was done getting her dairy on she passed by us today and we all avoided eye contact, but she still made an aggressive before huffing away. Well, today after the fish as we got into the car she darted towards the car and accused a colleague of striking her above the eye. We rapidly drove off. My kickboxing lessons have not developed to the point where I engage a mad person.

Returned to camp and noticed a kettle in room with a cello tape around it. Something told me to try it and it worked! Yaaay, hot water at last. After pouring two full kettles of hot water in a bucket I was about to boil a third to surprise colleagues in adjoining room, but kettle would no longer function. I banged it around, nada. Tried my pelvic thrust a few times in direction of kettle, nada. Before I left Juba, my Swiss neighbor had lamented waking up twice one night as her TV appeared to turn itself on. The second time she unplugged it from the mains. Teased her about having a poltergeist in her apartment. Well, it appears the poltergeist musta travelled from Juba as it is now messing with kettle.

Day 4: Been sleeping in fits and starts since I arrived here but last night was particularly bad. Had a weird ass dream that was like a scene from the Jungle Book with an especially massive snake and talking animals. We landed a small plane on a Namibian island with all these creatures with the aim of endorsing a lucrative oil deal. However, we got frightened of being stuck on the island for good after one of the talking animals with a penchant for sniffing human butt – it got agitated after a companion tried to show the white Namibians how to twerk – threatened, in an East African lady’s accent, to bite colleague in the butt if she didn’t read it a bedtime story. Was so freaked out when I woke up I rushed outta room and immediately went to the office.

In the evening as I attempted to throw out the trash in the designated receptacle in a dimly lit area of the camp site I saw a stray dog. Normally this wouldn’t bug me as all dogs I have seen dash at sight of humans, but this dog musta known I had a weird dream about talking animals last night ‘cos it stared at me and stood its ground. After glancing around and noticing other humans were safely ensconced in their rooms I regret to inform you I backed away from stray dog.

By the way kettle ain’t working. Banged it around a few times but nyet as Trump’s Russian pals would say. In one last desperate move I did the pelvic thrust while placing the mirror at an angle so full range of thrust could repair kettle a la the Care Bear Stare. Still did not work.

Day 5: First thing I did when I woke up and realized it was extra bright outside was to take trash to main receptacle. Was really, really hoping the stray dog from last night – did I mention it was as huge as a horse? – would be out so I’d give it the Full Contact treatment, but ah no such luck. That doggy horse was lucky.

Discovery of day was option of different meals served at work site so tried Indian food this afternoon. Loved the pepper. Missed pepper so much.

Received a call from the traffic police in Juba who stopped me last Monday for Driving While Foreign (DWF). Was on way to drop off mate at airport when I was stopped for jumping a red light. My pleas that light was green fell on deaf ears as five guys surrounded me. Knew the score so waited until they went after other cars and one guy remained with me. Gave him documents and told him to hold on to them while I drove to airport so mate wouldn’t miss her flight. He requested for my phone number as documents were copies – learnt never to hand over original car documents from incident in Nigeria - so took his and gave him mine. I coulda fled after airport trip was done but I kept my word and gave him a li’l something for lunch. Since then he calls randomly. Today his lament was, “Baba, this sun is too hot...” Told him I was away from Juba but would holler once I get in. Might drop off a carton of water for him and his traffic pals. Hee Hee.

Juba Arabic classes paying off as it’s helping me communicate with Egyptian colleagues. Naturally, mistakes are made like when one of the guys insinuated that a drug for upset stomach should be taken every 6 years instead of every 6 hours. I am also using them to perpetuate the myth of Full Contact and ensures it goes global. Case in point is my volunteering to ride along with military escorts to a site when they expressed discomfort due to reports of kidnapping in the area. They probably gonna spread stories of how macho I am when I only volunteered ‘cos I knew since escorts began insecurity has generally been curbed. They ain’t privy to this so best keep that between us.

Day 6: Last night dreamt I was approached by Diane Kruger to help save the US Constitution from being stolen a la Nic Cage movie National Treasure. Woke up just after I lunged at the bad guys in best kickboxing leap. Dreams getting better though wish it was a better movie from Nic Cage’s oeuvre. Face/Off perhaps?

Day 7: No spectacular dreams last night though only dreamt of upcoming secondary school reunion that I won’t be able to attend. I know I say this all the time but amazing how folks really don’t change much from high school days…. well, except folk like a close pal who felt it was funny to send us a video of him in his underwear doing his best Nollywood actor’s impression. This 43-year-old man started dating a 22-year-old university student last month and I hate to think that’s the reason ‘cos I have ventured into a similar age dating gap scene before, but something’s def off with him. Really?! You let a gf/lover record you in your tidy whities?! What happens when/if you fall out with her?
(Dude must be bored, and to think what we did on boring days in secondary school when we used to rank which public figure we reckoned had the worst poop stench. I remember the final was between Heavy D and the Queen of England. Cannot recall who won though.)

Speaking of falling out, I recall my mom hammering on about some insensitive stuff I did when I was 4 or 5. She would go on about how I have never truly cared for her and her go-to story was about time she was hospitalized with complications from Kemi’s birth and when I was asked to tag along to see her I told them to say hi to her as I was busy watching TV. Yesterday I tried incessantly to call my daughter on FaceTime ‘cos internet connection was wonky and when I finally got through she said hello and immediately asked, “can I press the red button?” to wrap up the conversation. Her mom had to cajole her to keep talking. Man, it burned and I have tried everything to keep her interested. Other day I cut out one eyepatch of those airplane sleep masks in an attempt to impersonate a pirate. Miss Thang wasn’t interested. Nearly donned on taekwondo outfit last month so I’d demonstrate some moves for her. Are these a result of my actions at mom coming back to bite me in the butt? Hmmmm.

Day 8: For some reason, I assumed I would be going home tomorrow and thus, had just one night left in this place. Felt depressed. Rest of day was a blur. Went to camp early and slept.

Day 9: Woke up happy realizing that yes in fact I have one night left before escaping to Juba. Joy oh joy. Went to market for tea and encountered mad woman – one sucking milk from cow udder – again. Think a particular Egyptian colleague is the jinx ‘cos whenever we are not with him we never see her. Other day like I told you she charged at car and was railing at him. This time she stepped to us and retreated repeatedly. Did this about 5 times. We tried not to make eye contact and tea vendor drove her away eventually. At one point, she picked up a rock then replaced that with a stick. She kept railing on about kawaja (Caucasian) and since Egyptian dude’s real light skinned we were correct that he was the object of her tirade.

In other news Kate Beckinsale has broken up with her boyfriend. Just in time for me to return to Juba and head to the UK to seek her out. Speaking of which I often wonder what actresses like her and Halle Berry do for money. Real pretty and talented but without much of an active career. Oh well.

Day 10: You know that whole not-counting-chicks-before-they-hatch line? Well, I never seem to learn. When the flight manifest was sent yesterday evening it was discovered my name had been left out. Even though I had reservation confirmed 3 days ago the Einsteins at reservation desk left name out. So, spent last night praying and trying not to get depressed. Need to get on that plane man, need to.

Got to the airport real early after contacts in the field got me an “emergency” pass. Guy whose job it is to just issue boarding passes decided he had greater powers and wanted to know why I was leaving on an emergency pass. Normally I woulda raised a fuss and blamed his department for messing up, but I assumed best referential pose and mumbled something about the vagaries of modern technology and our dependence on them and how it wasn’t really his department’s fault and how if he could use his kind office to find me a spot on the plane and…...let’s just say I surprised even myself with how much browner my nose could get. Even more surprising was how high my voice was. It was like I was the reverse Benjamin Button where I was returning to puberty. If that wasn’t bad enough the illiterate punk then blamed me for spelling last name on ID wrongly; he thought it had two Os when first one was just my middle initial. Then cracked a joke at how complicated my name was. I smiled and thanked kind massa for letting me on his flight.

While pacing (read praying for flight to arrive on time and nothing else to jinx flight) back and forth another over-officious parvenu instructed me to seat down. So first I am not allowed to use my laptop at the airport for “security reasons”, say I buy that, and now I am not allowed to walk around because of what exactly? Again, I woulda normally argued and put my point across but backed down and resumed sitting with rest of the passengers. Observed they all did not have their laptops out or walk around. These guys have been truly trained. Cannot say I blame them though. I spend 10 days here and itching to get out while some of these guys have spent up to two months. Now I get why they do not want to cause a ruckus and get outta here asap.

Thank God, the plane arrived on time and I was first one in the queue. Like that airport scene from Argo I could not wait for plane to take off. Soon as it did I breathed a sigh of relief. They could take my hot water but they could not take my FREEDOM!!!!  After channeling William Wallace, I snoozed off. Landed an hour later in Juba and suddenly my chest felt a little bigger, my shoulders broader. Now had a certain swag about me. Driver picked me up, dropped off bag at home and went to get a haircut. Now I’d normally do it myself as barbers do not get head as clean-shaven as I can with a razor, but I needed to get pampered. After the hair cut I got some ice cream and went to the office to finish up workload before trip tomorrow. Got home at 6pm, packed then spent an eternity under a hot shower. Had dinner with neighbours who are leaving South Sudan for good then went to bed.

Day 11: If I thought eighth day in the field was a blur today was blurrier. Before I knew it, it was time to check in at the airport. X-ray machine at Juba airport has been wonky for 3 weeks now so one must open luggage for inspection before it is loaded on plane. Left hand luggage in car and keys to padlock were in it. While trying to contact driver to bring the keys some airport hanger-on who insisted he carry bags even though they were near empty insisted I need not bother. Dude got a ballpoint pen and with the sharp end he stabbed a hole through zip and voila, my bags were opened. Once inspection was dome he ran zipper over hitherto open slot and bag was back to normal. Freaky. Wonder why I bother with padlocks when anyone can nick stuff from bag.

While inspecting bag airport luggage dude wondered why bags were near empty except for tubs of local sheabutter. Told him the tubs were gifts for family and friends in Nigeria and when he enquired where I purchased them and I told him he requested for a receipt. Truthfully told him I wasn’t given one, but big man threatened to detain bag. Laughed and told him he could keep the sheabutter if he wanted. Wasn’t gonna be cowed, son. Now in my territory of Juba not the field anymore. What a difference a hot shower makes, huh? Nah, make that 2 hot showers! Last night I slept under a duvet for the first time in 10 days damn it, no immigration dude is gonna subsume tasks that aren’t his and try to intimidate me. He eventually backed down, asked for my passport and tried to make a joke about the my name. Wasn’t having it today. Took my passport and walked out with swag intact.

Just when I was about to board the “life is tough” dude saw me and questioned if anyone had come between us. “You used to give me a little something for breakfast, what has happened lately?” Turns out he has not changed a bit. What an eventful 2 weeks, eh? Yup, gonna miss being away from this place, but I need the break.

Tot ziens and God bless.

Comments-[ comments.]

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Kamala Harris is my new crush

Hola peeps.

Rainy Sunday in Juba. Just returned from kickboxing class and Coach was impressed I had not forgotten my technique. Due to number of trips I have made this year I doubt I have had eight consecutive kickboxing classes, i.e. an entire month, uninterrupted. Come to think of it I have passed through the (still under renovation) Juba airport every month this year and looking like I am gonna keep the record going for rest of the year. No rest for the talented, eh? I kid.

I know it’s a lot of travelling and apart from the exposure the other downside is having to see this one dude at the airport departure lounge that comes up with the same hackneyed line all the time. Recall the first guy in Juba that ever solicited a bribe from me? Yup, same dude. Since our ignominious meeting we have become friends, well, maybe “friends” is stretching it a wee bit, but we exchange pleasantries every time we meet. Our exchange each time is so similar it should be scripted.

Me: So how is work?
Airport dude: Boy, things are tough.
Me: Yup, things are tough everywhere.
Airport dude: But you are travelling again and leaving us behind.
Me: But I am going for work.
Airport dude: So nothing for us to buy water to drink?

And so goes our merry dance. Dude once saw me twice in four days and we went through same routine both times as if our first encounter earlier in the week never existed. Last month I tried to avoid him by donning a rasta hat once I was done with passport control, but there was no fooling this dude. Had to part with a granola bar that day as I had no spare funds on me. Wish he could use his detective skills to discover perpetrator behind vandalised side mirrors of car.

On way home from kickboxing class I stopped by local supermarket – and one of the largest in Juba – to buy insecticide and bog roll and was disappointed to find they had the same crap brand of the latter that has been chafing my butt for yonks. Am I gonna have to start importing bog roll now?! Seriously, it’s like using sandpaper with an extra patina of ground glass to boot. My annual medical check is due next month and since I am now over 40 I was considering asking about for a prostate exam. Now I am contemplating skipping that conversation until next year before doctor thinks I am some perv with a baboon fetish.

Was away in Nigeria for 3 weeks and returned a few days ago. Before that it was 4 US cities in 10 days – jetlag sapped my energy on return, needed the David S. Pumpkins video to keep me going…seriously - and before that it was a week in Nairobi. The Nigerian trip was meant to last 2 weeks but was forced to tag an extra week on due to a tooth infection. Boy, am I glad it did not occur in Juba else I would have hurriedly had to fly out to Kampala or Nairobi and in the process bump into my friendly neighbourhood airport taxman. Had to have a root canal done and a temporary crown is gonna be fitted next month. Between the Nigeria and UK dentists I should be given a plaque or some sort of recognition for keeping the dental profession humming along. Need to drastically reduce sugar intake though I suspect mouth problems are probably legacy issues from time I did not take oral health too seriously. Nah that’s not true. Ever since I saw the $1,200 bill for my first root canal in Atlanta in 2001/2 I ensure I brush and floss twice daily….most of the time. Sometimes I skip brushing teeth at night if I am too tired, other times, as recently as yesterday, I do it intentionally.

Mate in Nigeria took me to a spot two Fridays ago for fish peppersoup served with sweet potatoes. The pepper was just right and the sweet potato combo was novel to me. Meal was so amazing I dreamed about it yesterday! Meal was so amazing I purposely avoided brushing teeth that night just so I could savour the sumptuous taste in my dreams..and I did! Same happened with crab meal (cooked Hong Kong style) I had in Washington DC last month. Dreamed about that crab for two consecutive nights. Another “meal” worth paying a fortune to dentists for is the kettlecorn sold at CVS pharmacies in the US. That stuff should be illegal! No one cannot convince the popcorn isn’t laced with crack cocaine. And I know ‘cos after I was done quaffing down a jumbo bag in 42.53 seconds – a new record – last night I found myself trying to sniff the specks that fell on my bedsheet. Do…Not..Judge….Me.

Speaking of food my chef seems to be back playing hard to get with my food….again. I pay her a monthly sum to buy foodstuff and cook same. Even gave her a recipe book, but she decides what she cooks and when she cooks. I don’t fret too much as she has recently began paying attention and making me fruit salad but my requests to have other types of meat apart from chicken have fallen on deaf multi-pierced ears. The other month I thanked her for fruit salad and reminded her of my aversion for bananas she went ahead and bought bananas next time she went grocery shopping. Before I left for Nigeria I told not to cook ‘cos I’d be travelling and what do you know I get large meals every day during week I was set to travel. Had to give leftovers to the driver.

It’s been a week since I have been back and she hasn’t cooked one bit. Last time she did this and I told someone I was going to fire her I returned from gym that night to find a bowl of fried chicken. It’s like I said, she seems to be playing hard to get. Wait, could it be she has a secret recording device in apartment? Now I need to find a way to type rest of this blog in code so she doesn’t figure out….nah, no one has time for that. IF YOU ARE READING THIS FATIMA, COOK ME SOME FOOD OTHER THAN CHICKEN ELSE I AM GONNA GET SOMEONE ELSE. OH, AND JUST SO YOU KNOW, I AM ON TO YOU. I DO NOT BUY YOUR EXCUSE ONE BIT THAT HAVING A CANDLE-LIT MEAL WITH YOU WHILE SMOOTH JAZZ IS PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND IS THE WAY THINGS ARE DONE BETWEEN CHEFS AND THEIR BOSSES WHERE YOU ARE FROM. JUST GIMME SOMETHING NON-CHICKEN-Y (AND SANS BANANA) TO EAT!

Did not have to worry about food in Nigeria ‘cos every day I treated myself to something different. I definitely overdid it as had ice cream up to 5 times a week knowing best non-store bought ice cream I’d get in Juba is that at Crown Hotel that tastes more like cream without the ice. Another advantage of Nigeria was not having to shave self as there was a barbershop close to office and another close to the crib. The former was more convenient if one ignored the fact that the ever present proprietor’s a 52 year old aspiring rapper who spends his days “dabbing” along to Nigerian music videos when not trying to up-sell his clients a variety of goods. On last visit the dude suggested I buy some aftershave that’s supposedly “the best”. All I remember is it stung like crazy and left me with an after-taste smell of fish. Yup, fish.

Got to see family, which is always good, and boy, are nephews and nieces grown. Picked up Kinzo’s kids for lunch one Sunday and his son Kanye sat in the front seat. I remember when this dude was born and here he is discussing footie and teasing me at Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the Champions League. #WengerandOzilOut

Just after I returned to Juba Loye called to break the good news about his newborn. That makes 24 grandkids (and counting?) for Chief. Dude’s truly blessed. Now I am tempted to go all DJ Khaled at the BET 2017 Awards and scream..”this is my best blog ever ‘cos I wrote it for my new born son nephew yo, for my son nephew!!!” Ha. Speaking of BET Awards the performance by New Edition was amazing, if you ignore Bobby Brown’s misplaced choreography. On another tip, couldn’t help but notice My Prerogative is the most atavistic R&B song title ever. Even antebellum soldiers writing home to their loved ones from the battle front with their marvelous penmanship never used the word “prerogative”. I sure woulda loved to have been there during the songwriting process. Was it one of those Learn-A-New-Word-A-Day days and prerogative happened to be the word of the day? Shall await the next BET New Edition Extended Special – y’all know it’s coming – to shine on light on this.

While we are on this I recently discovered the true lyrics to Michael’s Jackson’s Beat It. Always thought there was an F-word in that part of the song that states, “showin’ how funky..” Y’all can tell I am bored, right? Well, not really…well, sorta. Workload’s so insane I decided to take a day once a week where I don’t bother with work emails so I can stay sane. Plus, half the year’s gone and haven’t attended one Nigerian Union meeting this year. Doing utmost not to miss that for next month in order to have my doctor’s recommended dosage of Nigerian comic relief.

While in the US first saw ad for and thought it was a naff idea until I saw it again last week on CNN. To the uninitiated it’s about some dude selling a shirt especially designed to be worn untucked. Now why didn’t I think of that? Took a sleeve – geddit? – outta his book and currently working on ¾-length pants especially designed to be worn without underwear. Yup, going commando, or “sailing” as we used to call it back in boarding school, is soon going to be all the rage.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

The 40 year old bed-wetter

Hola peeps.

Currently on a Kenya Airways (KQ) flight from London to Nairobi and would normally spend flight time catching up on the inflight entertainment but the remote control is busted. Why can’t I adjust the screen manually? Yeah, the unhelpful flight attendant suggested the same after I summoned her (manually) by waving arms frantically. Can’t be bothered as I have flown KQ circa 10 times since the beginning of the year and the entertainment offering hasn’t budged since June last year. Punk ass KQ. Now I find myself staring at the awful The Accountant (dude seated to my right) and Harry Potter and Tunde Doesn’t Give a Hoot (dude to my left). Oh goody, crap airline food is being served. Shall return to the blog after this intermission…..

….I am back!!! Typing with one hand after my left hand was scalded with hot water. I suspect the guilty attendant may have read the top paragraph castigating KQ. I’d sue, but then again…..where was I? Sorry, Training Day is showing two screens to my right. Excellent movie. Yeah, KQ is lucky I am all for promoting African businesses so no chance of litigation here. Plus with my increased tolerance for pain from kickboxing training the burning sensation will soon pass. Punk KQ.

2 days in the UK, then 4 US cities in 10 days, and finally one night in the UK before hopping on this flight to Nairobi. I’d arrive in Nairobi 5am tomorrow morning and then board the 730am flight from there to Juba. Plan is to go directly to the office from the airport and know it’s going to be a tough week as jetlag has never been a buddy of mine and I have loadsa work piled up. No rest for the talented, eh?

Unexpectedly, US trip was very relaxing. Guess it helped that I stayed at hotels this time instead of with friends/family as was previously the wont. Domestic air travel within the US remains the acme of privation - charges for checked-in luggage, charges for carry-ons, sale of food and beverages on the plane, etc. The flights themselves were mostly uneventful except for Spirit Airlines where an audible sound was heard when plane taxiied. I thought I was going loco when I heard what sounded like a DJ ‘scratching’ a turntable when taxiing before takeoff from Atlanta airport, and then it happened again and again. Was about to panic until dude beside me, a frequent flyer on Spirit Airlines it turns out, guffawed and assured me the noise was normal. The “normal” sound occurred again, in the same sequence, just after plane landed in Baltimore. The experience/sound took me back to teenage years in Nigeria driving a jalopy where spare funds were used in purchasing shawarma and sponge cake from Dallas Bakery, Apapa for whomever I was crushing on at the time instead of replacing car brake pads. In order to cajole car to stop I would “pump” the brake repeatedly with foot while fiddling a rosary in hand not on steering wheel. The noise that emanated from car was similar that heard on the plane ride. I should thank the cheapskates at Spirit Airlines for taking me back to a simpler time when I had no money. Such memories keep one humble.

Speaking of weird sounds I heard a police siren while working out in New York and it took a while to register this sound was as a result of my fart. I kid you not. It was like my butt was conducting an orchestra. Siren would cease when I clenched butt then resume when I unclenched. Good thing only other person at the gym had his headphones on. I blame American food.

Since last blog entry I got over my cunctating tendencies when it comes to technology and finally activated my uber complicated new phone. Not impressed. Phone is heavy and I’ve had to buy a new wardrobe just so it can fit into pockets of my pants. Dunno if new wardrobe has anything to do with it or it’s all in my head, but I coulda sworn my pants fitted snugly on the day I left Juba for the UK, and throughout two week stay outside the country I did not need a belt. Today when I am set to return to Juba pants are slack around waist again. Same thing happened just over the Easter break when I travelled to Kampala. Moral of the story? There ain’t any.

Kampala was fun as usual and ace seeing David’s extended family again. Met one of David’s mates nicknamed A-Pork-Alypse ‘cos of his affinity for pork. He is the member of the X-Men you never hear about. By day he drives around in a van with a radio antenna scanning people’s telephone conversations for pork orders and by night, well, he does the same thing at night as well. It is a full time job. You know how Wolverine’s claws protrude when he is about to engage in battle, in A-Pork-Alypse’s case meat skewers protrude from his body when he is about to engage in battle…with pork. I witnessed this in the flesh, it was a sight to behold.

The night life in Uganda was interesting as always, but still do not get why David loves Guvnors night club. Yes, he gets VVIP treatment, but what use is exclusivity when… best can I say this… my age there’s no way I should be the youngest guy in the club. I mean c’mon! The women there were wearing their Sunday best – spanx did not help - and actually went all in on the Sunday theme by practicing their church dance steps in the club. It’s as if all churches in Uganda decided to have a gathering of deaconesses at the night club. Not gonna even talk about the men and their protruding guts - spanx did not help either. You know someone is too old to be in a club when he asks the waiter for a glass of warm water to place his dentures in before stepping on the dance floor.

Finally had a non-pervy massage. Well, had two - in Kampala and Nairobi – and they were great. So glad there were no “incidents” to report. Well, sorta. The masseuse is Kampala was very good and does house calls. She was probably a hairdresser in an earlier life as she regaled me with stories upon stories while giving me a hot stone massage. Funniest story was of a guy she diagnosed with STDs while giving him a massage. Forget hairdresser, she musta been a clairvoyant! She said she could tell from discoloration on his skin and suggested he get checked out. Problem is she announced her diagnosis while dude’s wife was in the room. She hasn’t been invited back to dude’s crib since.

Expectedly, I caught up on movies during my time away from Juba. Saw the New Edition (NE) movie on BET and it’s as impressive as Straight Outta Compton. Really need to appreciate what these guys have accomplished coming from where they came from. With success of NE movie, are we gonna have copycats like how superhero movies keep going on and on? We gonna have The Search For All-Black Leather Outfits: The Jodeci Movie soon? The NE movie showed importance of ‘other’ members of the band. Learnt a few things I never knew about the group. Movie took me back to…..crushing on Feyi Faye Fasan in primary school…..Oti Barrow trying to repeat steps to If It Isn’t Love music video in boarding school…..listening to Hit Me Off just before leaving Nigeria for Bradford……dancing to Something About You in Bradford with some Asian girl called Anita and desperately searching for Ricky Bell’s kangol hat from the video.

Also saw Fate of the Furious and can see Tyrese’s dealing from the Chris Tucker Rush Hour series deck of cards. Hey, who am I to question someone’s career path? I chose to relocate from Lagos to Juba for goodness sake. Being in Juba reminds me of time in boarding school where one looked forward to visiting day – quarterly board meeting in my current scenario – or when term ends – planned trips outside the country in my current scenario. Do you know as soon as I unpacked bag from weekend trip to Nigeria in April I immediately packed for Kampala trip which was two weeks away? Did the same for UK/US trip after returning from Kampala even though travel date was over a month away! I clearly needed this trip as hectic workload – and no work-life balance - in Juba was getting to me. Woke up some Saturday wondering whether or not to go for yoga and that’s when it hit me that all my weekends in Juba are alike. Can’t even say for sure if yoga is helping with stamina during kickboxing class, but I know it made me flexible enough to lance a boil on back two months ago.

You know you need a life when highlight of your weekend is kickboxing class. You know you need a life when you believe birds on windowsill are not so much singing as ululating like Tarzan to invite other animals over to window. You know you need a life when the only part of dream you can remember is paying a cable bill… Juba Arabic! Told ya I started Juba Arabic classes, right? Going okay. Actually took my Juba Arabic text with me to the US fooling myself into thinking I would read it. I practice the language with my driver and design mnemonics for grasping certain words. Even tried to teach my daughter to say Ma salaam (goodbye) during one of our weekly FaceTime sessions. Her response? “I do not live in South Sudan, why would I ever need to learn to say the language?” Touché.

Dunno if it is my chef’s cooking or drinking tamarind juice, but don’t seem to need air freshener again in Juba. First day I noticed it was when poop smelled like curl activator and next time it smelled like freshly cut wood. You know you need a life when poop is redolent of hair care products. Sadly, had to cut down on tamarind juice when I happened on its laxative properties during a 10k run last month. You don’t wanna know how that story ends, trust me. Just leave me with the patina of self-respect I have managed to cling to. Next topic please.

Yeah, observed I have to have cloth hangers face same direction, blinds have to be drawn just right and all cupboards shut while executing HIIT, I mean it’s driving me insane. So now I am trying to observe behaviour properly to “surprise” my pseudo-OCD. For instance, which leg goes into pants first, reason for applying deodorant after body lotion and why not before, etc…..

Going back to chef’s cooking for a minute, I sure am glad I hired her as I do not look gaunt anymore. Her cooking has helped reduce consumption of crap….somewhat. During previous trip to the UK in February I filled a duffel bag with chocolate and stuffed freezer full with chocs hoping the sight of all that chocolate would shock me into giving up or curbing amount of chocolate I consume daily. Did it work? Peep this: Had a bad sore throat last month and someone recommended honey and lime. Did not have any honey or lime so this 40 year old punk ended up gobbling chocolate and a can of Sprite. Sad thang is it made sense to me at the time. See why I need the chef in my life?

Other things I need in my life include a kickboxing fight. Actual fight, no more sparring. Exhibition flight planned for April 21st was cancelled as my opponent backed out. Not that he was scared of me or anything, just that he had other priorities. Trying to simulate what a real fight would be like with regular household practices. The other day I popped a zit on nose just to imagine what it would feel like to be punched on the nose, and I have taken to quickly guzzling freezing water hoping the brain freeze would provide a clue to experiencing what getting hit in the face would feel. You know you need a life when….yeah yeah I am sure you get it by now. Really need a fight so I can get my macho on. Recently, after having not spoken in about a fortnight the first words outta Chief’s mouth were “I have missed you”. You what? Tried to play it off as if I did not hear and he repeated it again. “Didn’t you hear what I said? I said I miss you.” I quickly repeated the same to him sotto voce so he would stop harping on about it. You gotta love the dude.

Rest of family is good and I continue to thank God for them. Lost my aunt Kate to cancer few months ago and recent death of friends’ parents have got me thinking about my relationship with God and what I would do when my folks pass on. Like to think of myself as hard especially when it comes to emotionally issues but I really surprised myself after mom had a near fatal car accident in 2011. I recall sobbing like a baby and didn’t even know why, tried to stop myself but couldn’t. Even worse I did it in public! Trust me I tried my darndest to stop and I couldn’t. I remember Nike talking to me on the phone and I couldn’t stop crying. She (and I later discovered the rest of the clan) could not believe what they were hearing/seeing. I couldn’t either. Man, I hate to think of that time. Chris Rock has a line in his new standup special where he says he hopes to find God before God finds him. Hear, hear.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Loving life in the Friend (Twilight) Zone

Hola peeps.

Two blogs in the space of two days? Haven’t done this in yonks. Yup, feeling fresh as just returned from kickboxing where coach gave me a new nickname: Full Contact. Yah man, Full Contact is in the hizouuuuu. Had planned to activate new phone but it’s so complicated I fear messing around with it without first reading the manual properly may bring down a NASA satellite, so I am gonna take time and get it right. A massage woulda been tight after conditioning training today, but after yesterday’s experience I think I’m gonna wait for fancy phone to help locate a non-pervy massage spa.

You know how ALL Nigerian artisans, from electricians to car mechanics to carpenters, all start out by condemning their predecessor’s work before they start to fleece you and demonstrate they are just as incompetent? How they all blurt out the same line, Who be the guy wey do this work? Oga, the guy no sabi work at all!, as if it’s part of their union oath? Well, from my experience over the past 3 months, dodgy masseuses have a similar mantra. Whenever she compliments you on your body and asks if you work out, just know that presages some untoward contact. Please get off the massage table pronto and head for the hills, or stay, if you are that way inclined.

After his call on Valentine’s Day I won’t be surprised if Chief sent out a secret memo to massage spas to be on the lookout for me and do their utmost to help me r-e-l-a-x. Started out in November when I bumped into an Ethiopian acquaintance that once slapped me when she was drunk – story for another day – and she told me of a new spa she just opened. Decided to pay a visit and had the best massage I had had in Juba……until near the end when masseuse did a, ahem, let’s just say she did her best to get me aroused.
Over the Christmas holidays some dude that used to cut my hair saw me and requested I come try out his new spot. I did. Had a haircut and stayed for a mani+pedi. When beautician told me as it was the last Friday of the month they offer deals on mani+pedi+massage combos, I jumped at the chance. Again, it was the best deep tissue massage I had had in yonks….until near the end when she started negotiating the size of the tip I should offer her and blatantly offered to gimme a “happy ending”. Politely declined, gave her a 50% tip and quickly donned on clothes. Maybe it’s just me but felt the receptionists gave me a knowing wink as I darted for the door. Almost as if saying to themselves, “I bet he had a great time in there”. Oh man, felt so ashamed – though I did nothing wrong I must stress….again – when I stopped by an eatery afterwards I voluntarily paid for a total stranger’s – she was married, had to make sure she was married so she wouldn’t get the wrong idea - meal just to wash the stench(?) of guilt off myself.

Fast forward to yesterday when I decided to try out a spa close to my crib. The spa shut down after July skirmishes and just reopened so I thought I would give my neighbourhood spa some business. Shoulda known there was something dodgy when masseuse was eating on the massage table, and couldn’t quite explain to me the advantages of a hot stone massage over a deep tissue one. To avoid getting scalded I settled for a deep tissue massage, but it was the worst massage ever. Once I turned over to lie on back and she started with the whole nice-body-I-am-sure-you-work-out line I shoulda known what to expect. My mani+pedi place in Juba is sorted, but the search for a non-pervy massage place continues.

On to more wholesome stuff, I FaceTimed my daughter today and saw she had lost her first tooth. Aww man, being absent for such occasions really tears at me. Unlike previous times, we really talked for a bit today and she showed me the note and the “gold coin” (£2 coin but didn’t wanna ruin it for her) the tooth fairy left under her pillow last night. Man, the innocence of kids, eh? Cannot remember tooth fairy leaving me diddly after I lost tooth. Think mom made me akara with pap the morning after and that was it. I am definitely gonna make it a point to stress these non-pampering moments by parents in my autobiography.

Seeing my daughter in the UK was highlight of my trip. Was a bit antsy before trip due to inability to hold her attention during FaceTime conversations. Was she gonna tire of me after just 30 minutes? Boy, was I wrong. You should see how wide my grin is anytime she calls me “daddy” in her inimitable Queen of England voice. Woah, just woah. Cannot thank God enough for her. Took her and Nike’s 7 year old son to an indoor jungle gym and still amazed at how satisfied kids are with just running through obstacles and throwing plastic balls in the air. I really shouldn’t, but I am already fretting on how our relationship would evolve as she grows older. Would she understand how/why work took me to another country during the early years of her life? She’s a kid now so rough-housing with her and buying presents is fine, how do her maintain the bond as she grows older?

Trying to figure this out as well with teenage kids of siblings; Zane is a perfect example. Used to kid around with him a lot when he was younger, but now he is 13 going on 14 I know practicing my kickboxing moves on him like I do with his younger brother ain’t gonna fly. He is a good kid, a real good kid, and I actually had tears in my eyes when Nike requested Chief pray for him last September before he ventured off to boarding school. Of course, being MACHO I didn’t let anyone see my tears and as there was no one chopping onions within the vicinity I quickly made up an excuse to use the bathroom when I felt I couldn’t hold it in any longer. On another tip, you know they really shouldn’t refer to it as “boarding school” as Zane gets mobile phone privileges, returns home every weekend, gets his laundry done, etc. In other news, the ghost of Tunde from FGC Warri can be observed shaking his head in disgust and vowing to expand that chapter in his autobiography about his parents not truly loving him.

Zane is on What’s App messenger so send him messages time to time to check up on how he’s doing. Apart from that I really am not sure how to bond with him. Took him and his brother to see The Lego Batman Movie earlier this month and with the exception of a few “enjoying the movie?.....okay with the popcorn?” chitchat that was it. Took him to the Notting Hill carnival last year and he appreciated it. When I dropped him off at home afterwards he offered to walk me to the nearest tube station, but told him it was cool. Maybe he was trying to reach out then, you know to discuss stuff, girls maybe (?), he wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to his folks about. Perhaps all I need to do is be more observant and let him know I am available if he needs to talk. Man, when did I become such a wuss? On to more macho stuff…

So Full Contact is definitely, definitely gonna fight in April. Coach has agreed to bring on a regular fighter to spar with me from next week in preparing for the fight. Even though my offer to fight a lady kickboxer was rejected – hey, I am secure enough in my masculinity to fight a woman – Coach agreed that as it’s my first fight I am only going to go one 3-minute round with another expat. Dude’s called Sam and is Russian. I know him a bit as he’s been to a few parties at my apartment complex. Sam used to train with Coach, but hasn’t in a long while as he told Coach he is now “more into music than fighting”. Those words were…wait for itwait….wait….drum roll please…sweet music to my ears. Hmmm, wonder what sorta entrance music I should request for as I strut into the ring. Meanwhile, somewhere in London Full Contact’s dentist (aka the reverse tooth fairy) is making a down payment on a Ferrari at the thought of replacing several teeth should Sam kick Full Contact’s arse.  

In order to properly prep for fight I have decided to improve eating habit as I have developed dimples on cheeks from shedding so much skin. It’s one of the reasons why I elected to grow a beard as got tired of folk in Nigeria and the UK and Kampala and Nairobi commenting on how gaunt I now look. Hired a cook and recently discovered a source for plantain from Uganda. As soon as Full Contact gets recipes sent over from Nigeria, Full Contact is gonna bulk up on beans and plantain. Oh yeah, Full Contact sure does love referring to himself in the third person. He is…wait for it…ill-eism like that. Oh man, this dude should have his own TV show!

While scanning TV channels today I saw a behind-the-scenes feature on John Wick 2. In it they talked about all the martial arts Keanu had to quickly master and I recall he did the same with The Matrix movies. How come actors get trained in various types of martial arts and become au fait with them in such a short space of time? Is it ‘cos they get the best trainers and totally dedicate themselves to the craft since they don’t have a day job? Or does the process of learning dialogue somehow expand their brain’s power to quickly absolve multiple tasks? Maybe I should take acting classes in bid to help with kickboxing. I occasionally go watch salsa dancers in Juba – to be honest, I really go to laugh at the novices when I wanna take out frustration after another Arsenal collapse – and was gonna try (uttered sotto voce) salsa to aid hip movement in kickboxing, so acting classes shouldn’t be much of a stretch. Trouble is I have no spare time, plus, after experience in West African dance class I would rather get beat by a lady kickboxer, and even proudly wear a tee embossed with the words I GOT BEAT UP BY A GIRL…AND I LIKED IT, than “perform” in front of a bunch of strangers. Full Contact out.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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