Saturday, October 20, 2018

Articles of interest to moi (2018)

Affirmative Action test
History of the downfall of retailing
The courage of Chiune Sugihara
How to get rid of targeted ads
How to delete Facebook
Brave Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
Why some choose to stay silent
Why reporting is hard
Decent men don't do these things
The Kavanaugh Case II
The Kavanaugh Case I
Plastic roads
There's Something About Nicole
She Can STEM
Adieu Arsene
McCain legacy
RIP Kehinde Shote
L&G, say hello to Somaliland
Reducing recidivism
Giving independent news a Chance
Righteous anger
What to the slave is the 4th of July?
Fixing that Wi-Fi password
The void a father leaves
Great fathers do exist
Marquez on US blacklist
Feeling Collins
China's social credit system
Borders and barriers
Trump right about NAFTA?
Separated at birth
Trade Deficits 101
Nature vs Nurture
Grief
Naija-China currency swap deal
A different perspective on Israel-Hamas conflict
The Home Office still can't get it right
I went to school there! First place I fell in love...and got my heart broken
A lynching memorial
Drenched in blackness
Mitt flip-flopping as ever
The ballad of Iniesta
Inside HR McMaster
Inside Gaza
Dodgy Facebook II
Dodgy Facebook I
Windrushed
Junot Diaz's truth
Honesty is the best policy?
Turns out he is not related to Michael Bolton after all
From the horse's mouth
Turkey hunting
Pray for the Yazidis
Trumponomics 101
White Like Me
Encryption
Stephen Hawking in his own words
The real US-China trade deficit
Color pervades everything it seems
Blockchain applications
Equal Justice Initiative
Africa First!
Changing Nigerian kids' lives
Emma Gonzalez!
Immigration war on California
Life after plastic
Energy disruption technologies
Death by a thousand millenials
Best ever TV show
House of pain
Never get high on your own social media
Rwanda leading the blind
No #MeToo for Polanksi?
Bitcoin 101
Bitcoin silver lining
Satirizing Nigeria's democracy
Is whistleblowing worth it?
Zimbabwe horrors
Rohingya crisis relief

Comments-[ comments.]

Saturday, September 08, 2018

We catch flights not feelings

Hola peeps.

First weekend back in Juba since whirlwind month-long vacation and recovering from jetlag. Good thing Coach is away in Ethiopia, so I don’t have to get out of bed for kickboxing classes. It’s over 2 years since I started and still loving every minute of it. Should really get off my arse and compete in an exhibition fight even if I’d get beat.

Arrived on Wednesday morning and headed to the office after dropping bags at home. Took all I had not to empty contents on top of office table on the floor and splay out on table for a long, overdue nap. Struggled to stay awake until end of that work day, unpacked bags and picked out clothes for the next day – all these were in an effort not to fall asleep early. It sorta worked ‘cos woke up at 8am the next day and felt refreshed enough to arrange two hour-long meetings. Returned home and it all came crashing down: slept at 8pm, woke up at 1030pm, and didn’t get to sleep until 330am Friday morning. Same thing happened last night as couldn’t sleep until 3am this morning, thus plans to go running and work out were swapped for a lie-in until 11am. Dreamt Serena Williams flirted with me in the US Open Ladies changing room. Erm, what was I doing there in the first place? Anyhoo, it’s 4pm now and I’m choosing to skip a bbq to quickly type down thoughts to y’all before it’s 2019 and I kick myself for not informing y’all of goings-on in my life.

Was supposed to be on a relaxing vacation but flagellated self by booking a ridiculously tight, even more than is my wont, travel schedule. This is perfectly illustrated by return trip to Lagos from the UK, where I drove to Loye’s crib after arriving at airport at 6am, showered, changed clothes, grabbed a quick bite, then went back to airport to catch a 10am flight to Dakar (via Abidjan). Now you see the advantage of having many siblings that live across a wide swath? God bless Chief.

Speaking of Chief, my stay in the UK intersecting with his, pre- and post-US trips. I made him breakfast and did other stuff a responsible son should do. As usual, my sisters trooped to the family crib with provisions when Chief arrived, but never seem to bother when I am the sole occupant of the house. On the second day of his arrival I had some errands to run and dude called intermittently to discover when I would be returning home. Did he miss me? Nah, dude needed someone to make him dinner as he had subsisted on a banana, croissants and orange juice while I was away. But sisters had brought over food the day before, surely he coulda just placed them in the microwave anddddd oh yes, Chief mightn’t be able to work a microwave! Come to think of it, why would he? His wives cook his meals in Nigeria and if he’s ever in the UK at least one of them is around at same time, or his daughters are available. Dude’s spoilt man.

I recall over a decade ago before I finally moved back to Nigeria Chief returned to the house incredibly famished for some reason. He screamed at Ayo and I – for we were the ones residing there then – to make him something. I checked the fridge and informed him there was vegetable sauce, so he requested for amala. Told him neither Ayo nor I could make what he desired and suggested he settle for eba as that was in my culinary wheelhouse. Dude waited until his hunger was satiated before he went off on an invective about how he could cook up a storm from when he was a teenager – Ayo and I were in our 20s then – and how spoilt we were – we were both unemployed at that time – and he just kept lashing out. If I knew then what I know now I coulda countered with, “sure…sure…bet you cannot work the microwave, can you?”

I love the dude though. He has accomplished a lot in his life and as much as he rants my siblings and I know he loves us. In fact, I think he may love us a bit too much. I jokingly refer to the dude as my girlfriend – behind his back of course – ‘cos he stresses almost as much as a jealous gf would.  He complains if 2 weeks go by and he hasn’t heard from me. And like a true needy gf he won’t call to check up on me, but would instead complain to my mom, sisters, drivers, anyone who’d listen, until they call and prod me to call him.

Just like some gfs I have had, Chief is a hoarder. My goodness! I never realized how much until I had to use his bathroom when I visited the family in Lagos last month. I had arrived the day before from Juba and missed Naija food so much I went directly to an eatery from the airport and overdid it on the pepper. By the time I got to the family house and gobbled down some more food I had to go, so requested to use his loo. On the way in I noticed his study was packed with old newspapers – Chief reads at least 3 newspapers a day – and 75% of his massive bed was the same, newspapers and books. Dude sleeps on only a third of his bed ‘cos of all the junk on it! What is he doing with all those newspapers anyway? I do not recall any of my siblings aspiring to be a suya merchant as a kid, so he obviously cannot bequeath them to us.

I tell you what, it would be fascinating to watch the help (attempt to) clean his room. Does she take off all the junk on his bed, change the bedsheets and put them back on, or does she place them in the study with the rest of the junk and he accumulates new junk before it’s time to replace bedsheets again? Now if he had a help like MY Harriet he wouldn’t be able to acquire much junk on the bed due to her perverfid interest in ensuring one’s bedsheets get swapped at least thrice weekly. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen her since I arrived 3 days ago. Is she avoiding me? Has she decided to stop playing our own version of ‘how soon before they get together’ that hit TV shows tend to stretch out for as long as possible before they run outta plotlines and then force a coupling up to drive up ratings? But I digress…

On the floor a few feet from Chief’d bed was a veritable mountain of hats most likely acquired from aso-ebi for the gazillions of events he has attended over the years. When I got to the bathroom I discovered the sink and the bidet had the original faucet fittings from when we moved into the house back in June of 1980! Unbelievable.
From when we were kids Chief would receive gifts and never use them, so much so that Kinzo never bought colognes but just nicked them off Chief. Dude had no clue they were missing.  A couple of years ago I discovered an unopened first edition Kindle amongst his junk and gave it out to a friend after Chief confirmed he didn’t know what it was, let alone who had gifted it to him. But I digress….
As I investigated some more I discovered a dusty, unpacked shower curtain hung on his existing shower curtain railing…. two unopened bottles of Listerine mouthwash – probably long expired – by the bathtub, I could go on and on. Wait, are these hoarding traits hereditary? Is that why I still retain chargers for phones I long since disposed of? Or why I still return 2TB portable hard disk into original packaging once done with it, even though I utilize the disk every day at work? Am I gonna be sleeping on a quarter of my bed in my 70s ‘cos rest of it is occupied by photos of Harriet? Yikes.

As expected, during our time together in London after enquiring about progress of work in Juba he delved into my private life.  Seems he and mom jointly agreed to end their moratorium on prodding into my private life sometime last month ‘cos mom raised same subject when I saw her in California 2 weeks later. Jokingly told Chief to hook me up with a diabetic sugar mommy, i.e. a sugar mommy not interested in, ahem, “sugar”. Geddit? He didn’t find that funny. My “serious” responses to them involved so much weaving and bobbing Mohammed Ali musta been cheering from the grave. Even Kinzo’s at it! Dude called 3 weeks ago to say he gave my number to a classmate of mine from primary school. He had bumped into her at a wedding in Lagos and while catching up she asked him about me and mentioned she had a huge crush on me back when we were kids. That was all Kinzo needed to hand over my details to a girl I don’t have any recollection of? At this point if I brought a Martian home I am sure my parents would cheer and ask how long before they expect their half-Martian grandkid.

As usual, highlight of trip was time with my daughter. She’s such a blessing man. I know I’ve done loadsa crap in my life, but God really rewarded me with her. She’s pleasant and doing great in school. For whatever issues the ex-wife and I have I must say she’s done an incredible job in raising our daughter. Couldn’t FaceTime with her on Sunday due to wonky internet connection in Lagos. I hope I can get through tomorrow ‘cos when we spoke two Sundays ago, she was on holiday in Greece and while updating me on her adventures she mentioned a boy called Dino whom she met while there and said he had returned to Cyprus. Okayyyy? Her next statement stuck ‘cos she mentioned how much she missed him and was planning to send him some present she’d made from Lego bricks. U what?! She’s never made me anything from paper let alone durable as heck Lego bricks!  Wish I had this Dino’s last name to investigate further. What sorta name is Dino anyway? The only Dino I know is some corrupt joker of a Nigerian senator who wishes he could aspire to a Trump manqué. Yup, he is that pathetic. A mate from uni, Dean Shorter, nicknamed Deano, was a womanizer extraordinaire. I hear he’s married with kids now, but still…my point is you cannot trust guys either named Dino or with nicknames that sound similar.

This is where y’all females may wonder why I’m getting my panties in a twist. Well, maybe ‘cos my panties were literally in a twist during that FaceTime call with my daughter. You see, I pride myself on being a meticulous packer and so was shocked when I discovered during the eve of my departure from the US that I hadn’t packed enough underwear. Thus, was forced to wear underwear inside out as there wasn’t sufficient time to wash and air out dirty underwear or go grab some from a store. Plus, there must be some research as to why guys are so attached to underwear. Instead of replacing boxer shorts with frayed elastic waist bands I find myself actively setting them aside, saving them for weekends when I plan to be indoors, so I’d rock them while lounging. Makes no sense.

Oh yeah, just remembered Dean Martin, another renowned ladies’ man, was also called Dino. My point’s made.

Tot ziens and God bless.

Comments-[ comments.]

Monday, July 23, 2018

Beating the 8 o’clock deadline

Hola peeps.

It’s 0821hrs on July 23rd, 2018 and been in the office for 10 minutes now. First time in yonks I have left crib before 8am. Nada special about it I know but been having a longing for a while now to beat an 8am deadline for some reason. That’s ‘cos I set alarm to go off at 5am and though I go back to bed and sometimes sleep in for another hour, if I do start up at 5am I try to see if I can get out of the house before 8am. Why the magic witching hour? Dunno. It’s become my personal white whale. Usually I do not bother ‘cos I get to pick colleagues up on way to office and they are never ready at 8am ‘cos official start time is 9am. But for past 3 weeks colleagues I normally pick up have been away and yet I still have not been able to hack it. I always delay for some reason or find a way to push past 8am, even when I am wide awake at 5am.

Regular schedule should be wake up, turn on lights in bedroom and living room, turn off alarm, twist open first lock on door, turn on lights in bathroom, brush teeth, observe self in mirror and admire shape of abs, turn off lights in bathroom, do push-ups in bedroom, read Bible, change from PJs to underwear I wore yesterday or slept in, stretch for ____ (need to time this), take mothballs outta sneakers, put on socks and sneakers, turn on TV, do cardio for 20 plus minutes…while taking off sneakers for last 1 minute of cardio....still dunno why I do this, stretch for 1-2 mins, put moth balls in sneakers, place socks and soaked underwear in laundry basket, observe self in mirror and wonder why abs aren’t as defined as when I just woke up, pop in mouthwash, gargle and keep in mouth while showering, spit out mouthwash while towelling down, sprinkle talcum power in underwear and under armpit, apply beard oil, apply body lotion, comb/brush beard, put on fresh underwear…right leg first for some reason…need to switch to left sometime like I do with watch on wrists, spray deodorant, spray cologne, put on work clothes with right leg inside pants first for some reason, put on socks, then shoes, check self in mirror, blow self a kiss, pick up rucksack, turn off air-conditioner, turn off TV, turn off lights, twist open second lock on door, open door, walk out, lock door, place keys in bag, walk down the stairs and jump in car.

Easy enough, right? Shouldn’t take 3 hrs, i.e. 5am – 8am, right? Well, for some reason it surpasses that. Take this record-breaking morning for instance. Musta finally gotten outta bed at 515am yet I didn’t leave the crib until 750am. Woke up, turned off alarm, brushed teeth, read Bible, did 110 pushups, skipped admiring abs in mirror, stretched, did HIIT while HardTalk was on BBC, read and responded to WhatsApp messages, thought about skipping post-cardio stretches ‘cos body had already cooled down, did measly stretches, dropped soaked socks and underwear in laundry basket, took a long dump while writing in journal, extended dump by reading news articles on phone ranging from Lewis Hamilton’s win at Hockenheim to reason for volatility in oil price to Equalizer 2 topping the US box office and pipping Mama Mia 2 to 2nd place; discovered it’s also first time where top 8 in US box office have been sequels. Skipped out on an ESPN.com article of how a boxing trainer faked his own death to avoid a murder-for-hire perpetrated by his own wife. Walked to bedroom to drop off phone and journal, returned to bathroom to wipe butt and flush loo, popped mouthwash, showered, spat out mouthwash, followed through with beauty regimen and by this time it was 735am. Was excited I would finally break 8am record so took time to buff shoes, decided on a tie even though yesterday when I picked out work clothes I didn’t choose a tie. It’s almost as if internal clock’s ensuring I waste enough time not to break record. Took extra long blowing self kisses that I was lucky to get outta the crib by 757am. Weird this pas de deux with my mind over a senseless 8am mark, no? Could it be another case of the 41.5 year itch/syndrome? Now I wanna try to get to the office before 8am. Wish me luck.

Tot ziens and God bless.

PS
Tuesday 24th July 2018: For second day in a row I left the crib before 8am. Seems by keeping this arbitrary target in my head I get to work towards overcoming it. Noticed a weird thing though. Why do I unlock first of two locks as soon as I wake up? Why not unlock door twice when ready to leave the house? Am I saving time by this, same way I reckon I am saving time by unbuttoning work shirt the night before?

Wednesday 25th July 2018: Woke up earlier after a particularly startling nightmare, and yet I stayed in bed much longer than usual. Woke up t-i-r-e-d. Skipped out on stretching and did HIIT after push-ups. Ended up not leaving the crib until 825am as took time to listen to last night’s monologues of US Late Night shows. Tired of keeping track, man.

Comments-[ comments.]

Monday, July 09, 2018

This time I am saying no

Hola peeps.

It’s Independence Day in Juba and spending most of it indoors just ‘cos. Surprised myself by doing HIIT exercise even though I slept in. Vacations or public holidays are usually an excuse to skip working out. Lately, everything’s an excuse to avoid working out. You know how I told y’all about mate who said his eye sight seemed to go the minute he clocked 40, well, my eyesight’s still perfect but for the past few months I have noticed otherwise subtle changes in various aspects of my life. Appears my own changes are occurring at 41.5 years.

Take peeing for instance. I am now forced to wear two pairs of underwear whenever I have a work lunch. This measure was enacted after I noticed a mythical strain of pee would always wait until I am done using the bathroom and only drop out after I have put on underwear, tucked shirt into pants and step out into a public space. After first few times of this occurring I attempted to incent pee to fully drop by doing five (5) extra wiggles after peeing; sometimes I would try to trick it by turning on the faucet, so it would think I was washing hands, and slamming the restroom door. But no siree, this pee would rather I wear double drawers so here we are.

Even my dreams have changed. This morning, I woke up in sweats from a nightmare where I was at a public event in an ill-fitting, multi-colored, double-breasted suit. Yup, this is what counts as nightmares these days.

My taste in women’s changed too. Hung with a mate in Nairobi at the end of May and didn’t find his girlfriend attractive one bit. Now, this ain’t like what I expressed to y’all a while back about no longer finding Habesh women attractive; this girl’s fully Kenyan and at various times I had seriously considered poisoning this dude for her. Spent a weekend binge-watching all twelve seasons of Columbo just so I could hide my tracks, and even planned what to say at dude’s funeral to make his girlfriend sob on my shoulders and end up dating me. It was a major surprise when I then saw her and couldn’t be bothered. Couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I found attractive about her in the first place. The only positive from this is my Peter Falk impression that’s been carefully honed from consuming all those Columbo episodes.

Lately, we talking this past week, I have developed a liking for sparkling water. Sparkling water and searching for any excuse to avoid gym workout? I don’t recognise myself anymore! I still work out, don’t get me wrong, but the number of trips away from home in first 6 months of the year really put a damper on enthusiasm for the gym. When work would become monotonous I used to distract myself by pacing around office while feeling abs over my shirt. Others squeeze stress balls, I stroke my abs. Anyways, few months ago I attempted to do same and felt nada. My abs had disappeared! Sob sob. Blame it on all the junk food consumed during trips. I am now actively devoting morning work outs twice a week exclusively to abs. Also researching intermittent fasting to see if that helps.

Yeah, that reminds me. YouTube suggestions are a clear indication the p0wers-that-be are monitoring all we do. Some guy spoke to me about intermittent fasting in Nairobi 3 weeks ago and sent a WhatsApp message about same to a friend a week afterwards, not mentioned it since. Well, what do you think was on YouTube video suggestions last Saturday? Intermittent fasting! A month ago, took up doing 100 pushups every morning and after I took a break from it for a couple of days YouTube suggestion was a video on “what doing a 100 pushups a day does to your body”. Waiting to see if “they” would suggest “importance of red bedsheets to one’s sleeping pattern” if I get cleaning lady to dispose of her favourite sheets. Yup, I am still struggling with that. If only these new changes that have occurred since I clocked 41.5 years could eliminate the “relationship” with Harriett the cleaning lady.

Due to travel schedule I spent all of 3 days in apartment during the month of May and as a friend was visiting Juba I encouraged her to house-sit for me. For an entire month mate informed me Harriett would interchange striped multi-colored to the plain pink bedsheets, but never laid out the red ones. I kid you not. I would call mate from the far corners of Russia just to confound my suspicions, and she’d crack up each time and tease me with, “this cleaning lady only reserves the red bedsheets, she bought as a Valentine’s Day gift, for you”. First week I settled back in Juba the red bedsheets reappeared. A veritable red-letter day…for Harriett. Now I am scared.

Before my last trip outta Juba I received a knock on the door and assumed it was driver coming to take bags to the car. Was still getting dressed so opened door bare-chested and there was Harriett standing there trying her best to keep her gaze on my face. She shoulda been the one embarrassed but I mumbled something about my thinking she was the driver and dashed back into room to put on a vest. I now peek through the peep hole on door before I open it, even if there’s no knock and I am only heading out. Just to reiterate y’all, I am scared I am gonna get so used to her I’ll end up asking for her other hand – since she got married late last year – in marriage.

Oh yeah, my too-complicated-for-its-own-good HP Elite x3 phone crashed for good 3 weeks ago. Woke up late and checked phone to see why alarm did not go off. Found it off and assumed I may have mistakenly turn it off before bed. Turned it on and after booting it displayed a sad face emoji . I kid you not. Multiple efforts to restart it yielded same emoji. Took it to two different phone “specialists” in Juba and none could fix it after a combined 13 days of effort. Before them I attempted to get it resolved myself through the HP online help forum. They requested phone serial number and ‘cos the plastic phone protector had been on for so long it had sorta melded into back of phone and obscured the serial number. As was in the office, I ended up CSI-ing back of phone with oil from head – yup, finally found a use for excess oil secreted by glands on head - and baby powder – don’t ask me what that’s doing in office drawer - trying to get serial number off back of phone. Gave up after an hour of limited success. Thank goodness I found the manual and other relevant papers when I got home. Shall attempt to get it resolved when in the UK next month. If I cannot get it fixed then I’ll finally move on from Windows-OS phones. It started with Nokia Lumia and chose to stick with Windows phones ‘cos of easy synchronisation with work tools. Well, not anymore.

Also noticed I have tended to be less regimented lately. Maybe this 41.5-year thang ain’t so bad after all. Previously, if I woke up late and didn’t have enough time to stretch properly before morning workout I would skip entire workout. Now I go ahead with workout and not fuss about not completing three back stretches. Developed patience for applying post-shave balm on head and facial mask as well.
I have even stopped going for yoga classes on Saturday mornings and sleep-in instead. Same with sticking with Uber as opposed to other ride sharing apps.
Yoga thang wasn’t helped when at the end of last session attended the instructor invited the class to hum, repeat “Krishna”, and said something about opening the third eye. Thought we were just here for stretching, lady. 
The Uber thang was more of a “get them to miss me so much they want me back”. Had used Uber everywhere from Philadelphia to Cairo and never bothered to try an alternative ride sharing apps no matter how many friends and family convinced me otherwise. Recently tried out Taxify in Lagos, Kampala and Nairobi and must say it is cheaper, plus the drivers earn more than on the Uber platform. Reason for the shift mostly had to do with poor service received from an Uber driver in Kampala and the fact I checked my Uber rating and discovered I was a 3.8. You what?! I tip Uber drivers and am polite. How could I not be above a 4.5? Do the drivers know how incredible my abs used to be? Once I discovered my ranking I kept racking head as to why anyone would rank me so low. Even the crap Uber diver from Kampala who dropped me off at an eatery, and in the strangest bit of coincidence was same driver who picked me up after I was done, was given 4 stars. Or maybe it was the entertaining Uber driver from Cairo who complained about his wife’s weight. I’d not have laughed but it was uber – geddit? - funny. Maybe he ranked me poorly ‘cos I laughed so hard?

This being a long weekend in Juba I decided to spend it here instead of travelling somewhere as the pre-41.5-year old Tunde was wont to do. Main reason’s to see if I can spend a month without passing through the airport. Not looking likely as was informed there could be a trip to Kampala in the next two weeks. Haven’t been there since May as other trips have had me transiting through Nairobi. During last two trips to Nairobi I tried out mate’s spa and after the mani+pedi I got a gel nail hardener applied to finger nails. Oh, how they gleamed so! With a gel finish the shine tends to last at least 3 weeks, and until abs return I have taken to doing “jazz hands” in the office when boredom sets in. Others squeeze stress balls, I do jazz hands. During both spa visits I did a body scrub and a massage. So different from Juba where previous experiences at a body scrub have involved a lady using what felt like a scouring sponge on skin. The Nairobi lady used a coffee-based scrub while the one in Juba was probably VIM. There is a new 5-star hotel that recently opened and gonna give their spa treatment a try before I pooh-pooh all Juba’s spa treatments.

Since I turned 41.5 I have become more assertive. Went for a meh massage on Saturday after kickboxing class was cancelled, due to Coach’s illness, then tried out a new mani+pedi place yesterday. After dude was done I ensured he painted over fingernails with clear nail hardener ‘cos I had reminded him earlier I wanted it done. In the past I woulda just assumed dude forgot and not gone back to the place or, if I did, woulda requested someone else. In previous place in Juba I used to get mani+pedi done there was a lady who would always insist they had run outta nail hardener anytime I requested it. Coulda been coincidence, but other ladies always had nail hardener when they worked on me. I reckon she was one of those that deemed it non-masculine to apply nail hardener, but her stance was never strong enough as not to take tips offered by a dude who had requested his nails be painted.

Come to think of it I was hypocritical for judging a dude (who came to my office last week to drop off a job application) for having two fingernails painted bright red. Maybe this 41.5-year itch, or whatever it is, ain’t so bad after all if it teaches me to be more assertive and less judgmental. If only it could help with my Harriett problem.

Tot ziens and God bless.

Comments-[ comments.]

Monday, April 16, 2018

Field of (popcorn) dreams

Hola peeps.

I know I said I missed my bed in Juba in last blog entry, but nada prepared me for the blood red bedsheet-and-duvet combo that greeted me when I walked in from airport. It was as if cleaning lady, who is now married by the way, missed out on celebrating Valentine’s Day with me and so decided to re-enact it. Was scared to sleep on bed for a minute there. Had to check under pillows for chocolates or a secret love note first. Confirmed with a few neighbours that their beddings were not replaced by the apartment administrators. Why was mine changed then? Did cleaning lady expend her own funds on my beddings? Oh well, cannot be too bothered about this as my trip to Russia has been postponed. Was not informed until I returned from Kampala on Saturday. If I had known I’da spent an extra day there, as it’s always fun hanging with David and his crew.

Thankfully, this time I had the proper documents and was able to obtain Russian visa on same day by paying for express service. I was left with no choice as the Russian embassy in Kampala only operates b/w 10am and 12pm on Tuesdays – day I arrived in Kampala - and Thursdays – day I applied for visa - and I had been erroneously informed our flight to Moscow was to depart from Juba yesterday. Not tripping though as now I get to catch my breath and resume gym and kickboxing regimen until travel. Still not sure when travel date is but the organizers had better hurry before my visa validity ends. I would hate to go back to Kampala to apply for another visa as I am running outta passport pages. With my Kenyan visa and South Sudan residence permit also set to expire, chances are I am gonna need a new passport before the end of the year. Last year, I passed through the Juba airport at least once every month of the year bar October and this year’s looking to be just as busy. Already “things are tough” guy has seen me more times than I’d like and has returned to his pleadings. Nah, “pleadings” is not the right word, more like “demands”. Had to brush him off last Tuesday when he held on to my shirt and rubbed his thumb against his index and middle fingers in the universal sign adopted by immigration staff seeking inducement. Yup, I have been too liberal with my funds causing these folks to take the piss. No more. Tight Fist™ is here to stay.

Cannot wait for the Russia trip even though I dreaded the mawkish traits I developed back in February, from what I am attributing to jetlag. How else does one explain the number of times I almost cried during inflight movies, even dumb action movies? Wait, or maybe it was due to flying in coach as opposed to upper class? Hmmm. Since Russia trip is being paid for by the seminar organizers chances are I’ll be flying coach with the other invitees, and it’d be kinda weird to pay for an upgrade since we are travelling as a group. Drats. Guess my theory on hitherto unknown wussy behavior that comes to the fore above 30,000 feet will be put to the test once more. The main reason I am keen on Russia is a get an opportunity to rock the fly jacket I purchased in the UK. Weather in February was so cold I relented and bought this extra warm, knee-length jacket that makes me look like a member of a late 90s-early oughts boy band shooting a video in the snow. Jacket’s so fly some random dude approached me in New Jersey to ask where I bought it. Yup, the Nigerian Panther™ – wait, you thought I retired that name? You know me so little… - is making waves around the world. On a serious tip, the jacket is so fancy I have been praying for climate change to give Juba a whiff of snow, just so I can show it off.

Just occurred to me I never told y’all about my travels in February. My bad. Had hoped to write about it on return flight from the UK but was crazy tired I slept for most of the 8-hour journey. As expected, crap Kenya Airways’ movie selection wasn’t updated since previous time I flew them; wouldn’t have mattered anyway as my screen wasn’t functional. Flight attendant offered to reset it and it musta flummoxed her ‘cos after a few minutes I noticed she stopped coming down my aisle. Like a football tactician the head attendant musta advised her to switch wings – aisles in this case - to confuse the opposition, i.e. me. Punks. Kenya Airways is lucky I still fly them ‘cos I do not like too many flight layovers….and I have friends in Nairobi…...and the Addis Ababa airport is a joke. The business class lounge in Terminal 1 at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is worse than a Greyhound bus terminal. No joke.

Anyhoo, planned Thailand trip did not fly – pun intended - as was told by the Thailand reps in Kampala one would need to return to Nigeria to apply for a visa. Extended duration of US trip instead. Flew coach for US domestic flights and saw some Caucasian guy on Delta acting as I normally would as he avoided eye contact when the lesser mortals were passing through upper class on their way to the economy class seats. Hee hee. After a week in London, I did San Francisco, California – Burbank, California – San Francisco, California – Minneapolis, Minnesota – Newark, New Jersey - London in 10 days. Was shot by the time I returned to Juba, but what did I expect after experiencing 4 times zones in such a short space of time? Jetlag was so bad I nodded off while shaving head with razor. I have nodded off numerous times while on the loo, but this was a first. I also recall nearly choking when I nodded off while pooping ‘cos I was trying to multi-task by making mouthwash last when I shoulda spit it out after gargling. What an obit I woulda had, huh? Here lies Tunde, who passed away after a short bout of stupidity…...

When not spending time with my daughter in London I hung out with family and friends. This time I did not repair to the cinema as is wont due to tight travel schedule. Caught just two movies, I, Tonya and Black Panther. Prior to the latter’s release I did not understand the whole #BlackPantherChallenge. I figured it was a cynical move by a global corporation to get more people to see their movie under the guise of black upliftment. I am not as cynical after reading this NY Times article and observing the impact of a different superhero story on black folk around the world. While waiting in line to see the movie in London a random black dude came up to me and flashed the Wakanda salute. I kid you not. He musta noticed a lone black face in the sea of Caucasians and Asians and felt a kinship. Then again, I was wearing my fly jacket so maybe that was the real reason for…...hee hee, I’m sorry, I need to grow up. When I told him I hadn’t yet seen the movie, he did not offer any plot details but remarked on how well made movie was, how proud he was to be black after seeing it, and how he hoped black kids in the UK would see it and come out with a positive image of themselves and believe they can achieve greatness.
I saw the movie…twice. Dude was right. When I travelled to the US I compared notes with black folk there, and in addition to their delight they told of unfortunate stories of some Caucasians making up stories of being assaulted during movie screenings or deliberate acts to apportion it less than stellar reviews. Amazes me in 2018 folks still have issues with skin colour. At least black folk are becoming more vigilant: my cousin-in-law said her mate bought Black Panther merchandise from a store, but when she reviewed the receipt and noticed it was rung up as Star Wars she marched back in and ensured it was duly assigned. Bravo.

Due to meetings and visa interviews I have already been to Kampala on three separate occasions this year. There must be something about my cologne ‘cos during each trip I…. let’s just say I seem to be the Pied Piper of drunk women. It’s not exactly my fault, ‘cos kinda like Cairo Kampala’s night life is so unlike Juba’s so I tend to wanna get the most outta it before I have to return here. During my first trip this year, in February, I was out with David and got a bit bored as he was drinking with mates so decided to approach the lone girl at the bar. Thing is I can be a bit charming when I want to, but sometimes I surprise myself. This was one of those instances. Even though girl was waiting for someone, I suggested she join us when we were leaving for another spot. She immediately called off her appointment and that shoulda been a warning sign. We got to the new spot and she ordered a bottle of coconut waragi. Ever seen a 20-year old, 4’ 11” girl down a 750ml bottle of local gin unaided? I have.

I remember when I initially moved to Port Harcourt from Lagos, how PH girls I would meet would always advise me to be wary of “typical” PH girls ‘cos they were money-hungry, and yet would go on to exhibit same behaviour they warned about. Well, Kampala is deja vu all over again. Let’s be clear, I never propositioned Gin Girl. She seemed fun and the fact she went on and on about her new boyfriend made me comfortable around her. People always ask how I can hang until the wee hours of the morning with guys that drink even when I don’t? Well, I tend to alleviate ennui by finding some female to talk to. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong one this time. Two days after, David and some mates came by my hotel to hang and I invited Gin Girl. Noticed she got pissed when David’s mate’s sister-in-law came by and we exchanged numbers. After the girl left Gin Girl called me aside and asked if the girl had been “brought” for me. Huh? She was jealous even though she has a boyfriend?! Explained to her the lady was just David’s mate. That shoulda been my cue to cut ties, right? No siree. It wasn’t until later that night when she met a girl at the bar we all went to and suggested they both return to mine, I decided I had let this go on for a tad too long. Deleted her number after buying her another bottle of local gin – this time she split it with her new girlfriend.

Last month, I took second trip to Kampala and chose to catch a movie with David’s mate’s sister-in-law. Yup, same lady Gin Girl erroneously assumed had been “brought” for me. Ended up not seeing a movie but went for a meal and at end of it she requested some investment for a travel agency she wanted to establish. Serious Tunde requested a business plan when he’da known better. Let’s just say we haven’t been in touch since. That trip was uber eventful ‘cos a few days after the faux investment opportunity I met David’s relative, a demure TV presenter, at a product launch for a bank that doubled as a music concert. Ever seen a demure girl transform into Gangsta B&%ch after three glasses of Long Island ice tea? I have. My goodness! She knew all the lyrics to the most arcane hip-hop songs and would cock her fingers mimicking a gun while dancing. I genuinely feared for my life when I told her I was leaving. How else am I supposed to react when her drunk voice mirrored DMX's? “IS THAT IT? YOU LEAVING NI%GA? GO ON, TAKE MY NUMBER. YOU BEST CALL ME!” I didn’t call her, but just to be safe I moved hotels and chose to walk around Kampala in a rasta hat - with fake dreadlocks and everything – for the rest of that trip.

A friend from Juba, who had flown to Kampala for the Easter weekend with her mates, was staying at new hotel I relocated to. Called her as soon as I checked in and she came over to say hello. What I was not privy to was she and her mates had gone out the night before and gotten so wasted one of them got burnt while smoking shisha. Ever seen someone so drunk they have three distinct burn patches on their right butt cheek that they maintain occurred as a result of another girl at the club being so jealous of them she decided to direct the hot shisha charcoal at their butt? I have…...and my brain still cannot fathom that sequence of events.

Tot ziens and God bless.

Comments-[ comments.]

Monday, April 09, 2018

I just purchased a vibranium bog roll

Hola peeps.

You’ll be glad to know I am not starting this entry like previous two ‘cos I’m pleased to report my poop rhythms have returned to normal. Oh wait, I did spray-fart last week during morning exercise though. Oh well, the laundry lady sure worked for her wages that day.

I am writing this on an Egypt Air flight back to Juba after a week in Cairo for a series of meetings. This trip followed a week in Kampala where I had attempted to secure a Russian visa but did not have proper documents. As a result, I am returning to Kampala tomorrow until Friday, and then it’s looking as if trip to Russia will finally be on Sunday. Yup, I really should get my own plane. Was excited at the thought of flying to places I had not been to, but the proximity of flights has left me longing for my bed in Juba. Never thought I would ever utter the last part of that sentence.

Cairo was a trip, man. I took a day off to do tourist-y stuff and glad I did. Visited the pyramids at Giza while riding a horse. Rode a camel too. As expected, we – my colleague from Juba tagged along - were fleeced on the horse rental and the tourist day itself, but hey, these things happen. Now I know what to do avoid next time I visit there. Highlight of tourist day was guy selling mementoes by the pyramids who adopted accents of his latest mark. It was compelling viewing I tell you. Dude erroneously spoke in a southern US drawl while approaching an African American lady from NY. Hilarity ensued. Was almost tempted to get my South Sudanese colleague to approach him to see what sorta accent he would put on. If he succeeded I woulda Googled various celebs on my phone and offer to buy his wares if he could do canny impressions of them. Alas, the camel ride was a more appealing prospect than choosing to become his manager, relocating to Cairo and securing him a slot on Egypt’s Got Talent.

The trick with being a first-time tourist is not beating yourself up for being a mark. For instance, we got a good deal at accommodation from the tourist agency at the airport, yet we paid badly over the odds for the trips to the Giza pyramids and Egyptian Museum. It’s akin to having a wedding or being a new parent or moving into one’s first crib. From my experience, anyone, especially family, that says they are giving you a good deal on stuff for your wedding “’cos you are family/friend/favorite client…” is at least doubling the price. Everyone knows new parents will buy all sorts of crap offered ‘cos they wanna do best for their child, but by the time the next child comes along parents have learnt from their folly and poor kid is practically left to raise itself. I am glad I travelled with colleague ‘cos we were able to bounce grifters off each other by switching good cop-bad cop roles. Even after coughing up $80 each for a 2-hour horse ride around the pyramids the guide couldn’t hide his, ahem, thirst from the onset. “My job is to make you happy and I am sure you’ll make me happy afterwards ……Other people like you at the end of the trip some give me $100, others give me $150….” Gosh. The last time I met someone that blatant was back in December 2016, during my first ever (attempted) pervy massage in Lagos. That time I paid masseuse double what she “requested” just so she would stop bugging me and stick to a normal, non-pervy massage. For the pyramid guide we gave him about $30 and ignored the rest of his pleadings. See, they get you the first time, but you become wise and checkmate them.

Another case was my first night in Cairo when mate took me around. We ended up at some café where Cairo’s answer to Milli Vanilli – the duo looked alike and dressed alike, though I doubt they were related – moved from table to table with one blowing a horn while the other sang and they expected, nah demanded, a tip at the end of their “performance”. They came by our table, mate gives one of them a tip before they begin and so while performing I decided to entertain the crowd by doing a jig to their melodious ditty. I initially trotted out the original Rob and Fab’s Milli Vanilli’s patented side to side shuffle, but the Egyptians did not grasp my attempt at being cheeky so resorted to my always dependable fallback, the Running Man.
The non-horn playing one was busy asking for more money from me instead of doing his job so told him I did not have any and reminded him mate had already given his partner some dough. While regaling a mate in Nigeria with this tale and comparing Cairo’s Milli Vanilli tribute act to praise singers at Nigerian events, I was chided for being an “tight fist”. Ladies and gentlemen, I think I may have come upon the perfect title for my kickboxing movie to be entirely shot in Juba: TIGHT FIST: THE JUBA CHRONICLES. Not to be confused with that crap Marvel show on Netflix.  

Speaking of kickboxing I have taken to sparring – just boxing - with gym instructor on weekdays to prepare me for full kickboxing sessions with Coach on weekends. Yup, I am such a sucker for punishment it scares me. Problem is gym instructor does not let off. Coach would at least take me through a few moves before he lets loose; not gym instructor no. Dude punches hard from the off and I’ve resorted to playing Natasha Bedingfield's I Bruise Easily in the background to psych him out. Hasn’t worked…yet. Now I am trying to psych myself by watching Rocky IV training montages and considering changing my name to “Rilwan”. Inside joke: Over Christmas, I saw a list of forthcoming televised boxing bouts in Nigeria and, I kid you not, 6 of the 10 contestants were named Rilwan! Sometimes a Rilwan was fighting another Rilwan! It was mind-boggling….to me anyway. Do a Google search for “why are nigerian boxers named Rilwan?” if you have time on your hands. Okay back to Cairo……

Amazed at how Cairo never sleeps. On day of arrival, mate picked me up from hotel at 9pm to Old Cairo and though I did not return until 3am the town was still buzzing. Saw couples with infants hanging out, school-age kids, old folk. So unlike Juba. Even did all my souvenir shopping at 2am after a midnight meal of friend cow brains – yes, you read that right – and liver. Good thang I did not have any plans for the day after ‘cos my stomach did not agree with the cow brains. Of all the local delicacies my favorite was the dessert Om Ali, which literally translates to “Ali’s Mother”. Legend has it that Ali’s mom caught her husband - Ali’s dad I presume, or could as well have been his stepdad, who happened to be a king -cheating with another woman and so she killed him and made this meal of milk and bread pudding that has been attributed to her ever since. Beats the origin story of Eton Mess, no?

Since Sundays are workdays in Egypt I had to wrap up meeting early yesterday to FaceTime with my daughter. There’s been a drastic change since I returned from the UK in February as I cannot seem to keep her engaged in any way. The best I get is ca. 30 seconds after she says hello before she goes back to either watching TV or doing something else. I ask about school? Nada. I inquire about what she did the week before? Zilch. I am seriously considering asking her next week if I upset her or if there’s another reason why she doesn’t talk to me. Few weeks ago, she turned off the call before I was done ‘cos she was “bored”. I called back and scolded her for the infelicitous act. She responded that there’s nada I can do since I am away. When I tried to explain that only reason I am away from her in Juba is ‘cos of work, she said she didn’t believe me. Now, I heard this clearly, but my heart wanted to believe a 6-year old is not capable of understanding the nuance in her statement. When I could no longer ignore the truth, I proceeded to question my hearing, grasping at any way to explain away the fact that my daughter would rather not connect with me when I am not present in the flesh. Efforts at denying the obvious took me back to time in Lagos when a Liberian girl, I initially met a few years prior in Ghana, came visiting. She was staying with her mate and her boyfriend, and while waiting for her to get dressed so we could go out for a meal I noticed a white substance on the coffee table. Now this girl’s always been wild so naturally my first thought was what I had seen was cocaine. Instead, I worked myself up in knots trying to find a way give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps it’s sugar…nah Tunde, you love sugar, you can identify the structure of sugar from 20km away, this is cocaine. Maybe it’s salt…. really Tunde, SALT?! Pull the other leg bro, it’s got bells on it….  

As the grim nature of FaceTime calls with my daughter has gone on for nigh 2 months if I do go ahead with my plan to ask why she’s upset at me or seek her opinion for improving our FaceTime calls, am I sure I am gonna be ready for the answer? What if she says she no longer wants to talk to me? This is weird ‘cos when we last saw face-to-face back in February we had a pleasant time. Went to a trampoline park one weekend and saw Coco the weekend after. Almost cried myself when I saw her shed a tear during a tender moment in the movie. I lifted her out of her chair, placed her on my lap and quietly tried to reassure her it was just a movie. Thinking about that day still leaves a lump in the throat. As a 6-year-old I probably would never have bothered much if parents were not around if I had a steady diet of TV and chocolate. Amazing how my “steady” diet has not changed much in 36 years. I know it’s not my princess’s fault, the onus is on me to make our FaceTime calls interesting. I need to find a way to pique her interest. I bet Tight Fist™ would know what to do…. or maybe not. You see the other day, while lacking a proper outlet for this subcutaneous feeling of despair and tired of playing Red Robin and Highway 20 Ride on loop, I went for kickboxing training. When that did not ameliorate my mood, I donned on football boots for the first time since 2014 to play in a 5-a-side game I had been invited to join for yonks, but always declined. I hate to say it, but my sole purpose for wanting to play was to kick the life outta any opponent unlucky enough to have the ball. Fortunately for him/her the game was cancelled, else Tight Fist™ mighta maimed someone. On second thoughts, maybe Shikabala would be in a better position to proffer a solution to daughter’s FaceTime ennui.

Yup, I have an Egyptian doppelganger called Shikabala; he’s got the footballing career I was not skilled enough to manage. Throughout 7 days in Egypt I was stopped at least four times by random strangers – it started with immigration officer screening passport – telling me how remarkable our resemblance is. Now, I do not see an iota of likeness, but then again, unlike most Cairo residents, I am clear-eyed from not staying up past 3am on weekdays smoking shisha and lounging around Old Cairo. Too bad Egyptian Arabic is different from Juba Arabic, else I woulda dived into character like my coulda-been protégé from the Giza pyramids and signed autographs as Shikabala. Tales of autograph-signing would surely keep my daughter engrossed, no?

A mate once teased me about Nigerians loving pepper so much we dice it in baby formula. I believe Egyptians do similar but with tobacco instead of pepper. My goodness, it seems everyone smokes in Egypt. In the hotel elevator, with a bold NO SMOKING sign in full view, some dude was smoking. Went to a club on Friday night with excellent music, but for the first three hours folks did not dance. All they did was smoke shisha and bob their heads…. well, apart from Shisha Fierce who amazingly channeled Beyonce’s choreography while seated and with a shisha hose permanently clasped between lips. Now if I could just get her and that Giza pyramid accent dude into a double act we would win Egypt’s Got Talent for sure.
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Tot ziens and God bless.

PS
Obtw, if you are ever in Egypt and after a merchant offers you stuff they mention “Egyptian hospitality” knock down the price at least by 50%.

Comments-[ comments.]

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Procrastinating Perfectionist

Hola peeps.

Hate to start this entry like last one, but it occurred to me yesterday I haven’t had a non-splatter-filled poop since stomach started acting up following return from Zanzibar. What I wouldn’t give for a faux constipated regular doodle now. Must find time to get checked out at the clinic. Oh my, where are my manners? Happy new year, y’all.

While we’re on the gross subject I must confess farts have become increasingly pungent. Even worse, fart today sounded like one of those sirens played at reggae concerts or in Nigerian clubs after a baller orders champagne. For this reason, I have taken to exercising alone until stomach issues return to normal. Miguel suggested I try colonic irrigation and I responded with a newspaper article poopooing - pun intended – the “science” behind such crap – yup, pun intended again. Back in the ATL Miguel was led to believe colonic irrigation works after some chick he fancied kept prodding – hee hee…these puns just keep coming – him to try it. Sherlock Homeboy, i.e. moi, saw through this sophistry and later discovered her mom worked at an establishment that offered such treatments. It took all my persuasive skills to stop him from giving it a go. However, I couldn’t prevent him from getting a tattoo when this Delilah convinced him tattooed guys are the dernier cri. Punk Miguel tagged along with her to a tattoo parlour and ended up getting inked in Arabic lettering for what he was assured stated, I Love Jesus. As if a non-Muslim African American tattooist would have a clue how to spell his own name in Arabic. Things us guys do for women, eh? Oh, forgot to mention, few weeks later we learnt Delilah had been dating the tattooist all along. Punk Miguel got played. Hee hee hee.

It’s first week back in Juba after a two-week stint in Nigeria for the Christmas holidays. As is norm whenever I leave Juba, I fell ill and am just recovering from a bout of cold. Was welcomed into Lagos by petrol scarcity and it cost 2.5 times normal price for a taxi ride from airport to crib. Fuel supply returned intermittently during the holidays, but not before I bought petrol from the black market at 3x recommended retail price. Petrol scarcity in Juba, petrol scarcity in Lagos…one cannot get a break, huh? Last time I experienced petrol scarcity this bad was during the Abacha years when I accidentally imbibed petrol while siphoning the fuel from my brother Tayo’s car into a jerry can. For 3 subsequent days petrol fumes would emanate from my bowels whenever I belched. Notwithstanding, time in Lagos was surprisingly relaxing, maybe ‘cos I didn’t frequent the Lagos office as I am wont to doing and I ate properly. Overdid it on malt drinks, plantain and ice cream ‘cos knew I wouldn’t get ready access to these in Juba. Weighed myself at gym 3 days ago and I had packed on 3kg in just over 2 weeks. Not bad. After first day at gym this week I lost 0.5kg. Uh oh.

Like I used to do with shoes and CDs I went all out on suits. So here I am getting 4, yes f-o-u-r, bespoke suits made to impress Ms. Hayek, yet she didn’t deign to respond to the Feliz Navidad greeting I sent via Whatsapp. Booo Ms. Hayek, booooo. While we are on about extravagant purchases, my crazily expensive, but crap as can be, HP phone’s acting up again. Latest bout of crappiness occurred after OS got upgraded to Windows 10. Now, I don’t see missed calls, cannot delete events from calendar and when phone is within 20 feet of a TV contact list becomes inaccessible if TV is tuned to the BBC News channel. Why BBC specifically? Like I have the foggiest. I would smash the phone, but it cost an arm and a leg, plus it is so heavy if someone tries to mug me I could probably bludgeon their arm or leg with it. On another tip, I fear the HP phone is jinxing my other Samsung phone as I have had to replace screen guard thrice in 2 weeks. Had never dropped Samsung phone until this new Windows 10 OS on HP phone was installed. Must be Windows/HP Big Brother causing folk to bump into me, so I drop Samsung phone. C’mon, what other plausible explanation is there? Speaking of Big Brother, I understand algorithms sending targeted ads based on one’s search history or webpages visited, but how do you explain a targeted ad appearing on web browser following a face-to-face discussion about a novel topic. Are our phones or laptops also activated to eavesdrop on a discussion and then send ads that way?
Maybe I should be more worried about my thumbs ‘cos of new veritable screen protector I bought in Juba 2 days ago. It must be made of transparent steel ‘cos to send a simple message I am having to depress thumb on screen, place a bit between teeth so I wouldn’t scream, and then bang on thumb repeatedly with a hammer. If I keep this up folk at the spa would have to gimme a discount on mani+pedis ‘cos won’t have any thumbs left.

Back in Lagos, I went to normal mani+pedi spot but they had moved, so decided to try a spot 2 shops away. Now I don’t mind folk being innovative so didn’t react much when the pedicurist brought out a cheese grater for treating soles of feet. Started to get worried when she proceeded to dip feet in tomato paste garnished with chunky bits of onion and set an elevated temperature on the thingy used for soaking feet. Is this a pedicurist or a cannibal hoping to Jedi mind trick me into being her next meal? When she got to my hands she asked if I wash clothes manually. U what? Now what does that have to do with anything? I let her finish the poor excuse for a mani+pedi and left for massage appointment.

Like I stated in last blog entry, I find it hard to reject folks, especially females, but I somehow summoned the courage when masseuse attempted to make massage, ahem, pervy. I told her – okay, more like demonstrated to her - in no uncertain terms – okay, more like politely - I wasn’t interested. Dunno if it’s her massaging technique, or ‘cos I declined her offer, but ended up leaving there dripping in massage lotion. It was so bad car headrest felt like that scene from Coming To America where couch had oily head stains after the Soul Glo family got up.

Remember other traits I wrote in last blog entry? Well, God musta read blog too as some dude I lent bucks 3 years ago contacted me while in Lagos and offered to pay what he owed. Woah, just woah. Told ya Lagos wasn’t bad. Even Slovenian neighbor from Juba loved her time in Lagos; her trip coincided with mine as she had travelled down to see her boyfriend. Saw her more times in Lagos than I had in almost a year in Juba.

Aircon in room blew up, but didn’t bother to get it fixed as it occurred on penultimate night in Lagos. Had to fix jalopy though. Even though I get the car serviced just before every trip I make to Lagos it still causes me more and more trouble. First, the front passenger window would not go up so had to buy a new “engine” for it. Ever notice how Nigerian artisans try to make things more complicated than they are so they can fleece you? They tend to use words like “engine” to describe middling gizmos, hence why the rewirer – another quintessentially Nigerian (African?) job description – recommended I replace the “engine” of thingy that causes window to go up and down, and plumber suggested I replace the “thermostat engine” in water heater as if the word “thermostat” is insufficient to explain the gravity of work he needed to do. I half-expected the tailor to complain about the “engine” of the fabric as reason for not having suits ready on day he promised. Punks.
Next, the ball joint of the front tyre would make a rattle so bad I ended up driving at excessive speeds, and with the radio blasted at a high volume, just to drown out the noise. You know you drive a jalopy when you do stuff like that. Ha. Recall another jalopy I was handed down when I first moved back to Nigeria in 2005. You know you drive a jalopy when your dad asks if you know how to drive ‘cos you bug him for money to fix car for the umpteenth time. You know you drive a jalopy when a mate asks if you pay tithes as he cannot get why car keeps breaking down so reckons it must be something spiritual.

All in all, didn’t mind too much driving jalopy around Lagos ‘cos didn’t experience much traffic save for day I went to see parents at Apapa. Dunno when the horrendous traffic situation will be resolved for good as different administrations seem unwilling to fix the road or disperse the glut of articulated lorries that create gridlock. Mom’s driver had to wait on the expressway to direct me on how to maneuver one-way, i.e. drive against traffic, to get to the home I was raised in. Sad. Just for kicks I turned on the voice prompt in Google Maps to see if their algorithm had been fine-tuned to account for Lagosians’ penchant for driving one-way. It hadn’t. Booo Google, booo.

On eve of departure from Lagos, I met up with tighty-whitie mate and three others from boarding school. Confirmed premise from last blog entry on how folks don’t really change, even though we have 8 kids between us. One of the guys, Timmy, has always been a character and that coulda resulted from his being left to his own devices as a kid since there’s at least a ten-year age gap between him and his nearest sibling. Dude still dances like every song is from the New Jack Swing era, so you can imagine his 2018 is already made after Bruno Mars dropped Finesse. Timmy had an acrimonious divorce that left him shattered, but now feels like God’s gift to women since he started dating again. Dude suggested visiting South Sudan to “sample the honeys” even though I told him how conservative the country is. Unlike in Nigeria he would not be able to get away with sowing his wild oats willy nilly and might be forced to marry the woman should he get caught, paying a dowry ranging from tens to hundreds of cows. Timmy’s response? “Cows?! I am such hot stuff the girl’s parents are gonna give her to me gratis. I might throw in a family-size bucket of KFC as dowry, you know, just to fulfil tradition.” Yup, with friends like Timmy I would get beaten up in South Sudan.

We reminisced about school days and folks’ nicknames. There was Feeling K. Collins (aka Funso Aladetoyinbo). Nicest guy you’d ever meet. He stuttered a bit when he spoke, but never had a temper unlike other school mates who had similar speech impediments. This was a guy who was himself from secondary school up until the moment he passed away after uni – no one could remember how he died – and never tried to hang with the in-crowd or pretend to be something other than what he was. A heckuva guy.
We talked about how as students in JSS 1 we would go for socials (aka entertainment) on Saturday nights and dash to where girls were dancing as soon as a song we liked came on. But, instead of asking the girls to dance, we’d turn around and continue dancing with each other and hope our backs bumped into the girls, so they’d turn around and we’d then dance with them. Full disclosure: I asked a girl in my class to dance once and was “nailed” - that was term used when someone was soundly rejected. The rest of the night was a blur. All I remember was a herd of boys in my year chasing me to be the first one to remove the metaphorical nail from my head. For days afterwards, random folk would come up to me to enquire if I was the one that was “nailed” so appallingly. I boycotted socials for a while after that.
We recalled how we would rub soap into hair to save time showering in the morning. I tried to be overly efficient with that stuff and started rubbing soap into hair before bed. Stopped after hair turned orange and folk started questioning if I was an albino.
No doubt I musta told y’all of time in SS3 we decided to get even with a girl that was smelling herself a bit too much by surprising her on Valentine’s Day with a tin of cookies that was filled with poop – my poop – and 3-day old beans.
Then, there were the memorable fights like when Sinclair, puny dude with a hearing aid, whupped a much larger boy soundly. In JSS1, a girl, Oghomwen, beat up a mixed-race boy, and felt invincible enough to attempt it on another boy. Unfortunately, she took on Calabar’s finest, Victor Inyang, and dude didn’t play. Her fighting career ended after that.
There was the girl who we joked that anyone who dated her would have to be equipped with a face mask and an umbrella ‘cos she had halitosis and spat when she talked.
There was Victor Onwubuke who was so hungry he ate kulikuli (snack made from groundnuts) even though he had a groundnut allergy. Perhaps he hoped he would be immune - kinda like folk who say they do not eat pork but choose to eat bacon just ‘cos it doesn’t have “pork” in its name. No such luck. Dude broke out in bumps like a black Hulk and spent 1-2 days away from class recuperating.
Lastly, we couldn’t help remembering our first awkward steps at approaching the fairer sex. Unsurprisingly, Timmy had total recall when it came to these cringe-worthy moments. He seemed to derive a certain concupiscence with each recollection. He would laugh hysterically and then regale us with incident after incident, like when he walked behind a “couple” for 20 minutes without a word being exchanged between them. Good times….

Soooo, less than a week in Juba yet feels longer; already getting a case of wanderlust. With visas for Kenya and Uganda expiring soon, and same for SS residence permit, I fear I’m gonna need a new passport before the year is done. This is not accounting for visit to Thailand I had hoped to squeeze in next month to see mate on a 3-month culinary course in Bangkok. Not sure I can make that anymore ‘cos one of visa requirements is an NDLEA clearance certificate, the acquisition of which is as daunting any task Hercules ever faced. If I end up not making first ever trip to Asia next month at least I can relish the fisherman pants a mate got me from Vietnam. Once I learn to knot them properly I am gonna rock them everywhere, the office, yoga, kickboxing class, church…. I am talking everywhere. Plan to do same with suits as well. Booo Ms. Hayek, booo.

Tot ziens and God bless.

PS

Sorry, forgot to explain Funso’s nom de plume. You see Funso had a thang for this girl Amina Jimoh and we kept egging him on to talk to her. Dude acquiesces and makes the fatal error of telling us not only that she rejected him, but HOW she did so: He went up to Amina and asked if she had feelings for him; chick responded in the negative. At that time, Funso was already nicknamed Kasali - after the security guard from a Nigeria sitcom - ‘cos his bunk was closest to the door. Unfortunately for him, Phil CollinsAnother Day In Paradise was getting massive airplay when he asked if Amina about her feelings, so poor Funso goes from Kalasi to FEELING KALASI COLLINS, better known to his friends as Feeling K. Collins. David S. Pumpkins eat your heart out. RIP bro.

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