Sunday, September 28, 2008

I pee easily so be careful what you give to me

Hola peeps. ¡Imagínese el nervio!

So there I am in my penthouse basking in the euphoria of constant power, free cable, free internet access and free food when I get informed by the club management I would have to move out to make way for a newly hired dancer. I was flabberwhelmed! 11 months of bliss and now I’d have to look for a place and go back to the life of mere mortals by purchasing petrol for the generator, making my own bed, cooking hiring someone to cook my own food. Oh the pain, the pain. After two nights of uninterrupted wailing – yes, even guys with killer six-packs cry now and then – I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and set about the task of locating a crib in Warri.

On the first day saw a decrepit 4-bedroom place that needed loadsa work, and was gonna search for other spots ‘til a colleague suggested we share the place. Hmmm, tarred roads, excellent security – there’s a police station a street away – and now a potential roommate who’s willing to cook? Why slap me silly and call me Clay Aiken, I am sold.

Soon afterwards, scurried around for artisans to sort out electricity connection, plumbing, etc. Now this is where one discovers the shady nature of Nigerians. What right do we have to blame our venal leaders if when we get an opportunity we milk it for all it’s worth and hope to use that one opening to set ourselves up for life? Too disappointed to even go into it. U know u try to have faith in human nature and then folk just turn around and smack u upside the head. Reminds me of when I moved back to Naija in 2005 and mom would tell me to be careful how I dealt with domestic staff, mechanics, etc. “That’s ur problem mom,” I would chastise, “u must learn to trust people. How else are we gonna improve as a country?” Well, millions of naira, missing fave pair of jeans, missing fave pair of leather sandals, and stolen three wristwatches (and who knows what else?) later I get what she was trying to say.

U know how as a kid u had a help who beat u up and treated u like crap, and when u got older u wished she’d come back so u’d give her a taste of her own medicine? Well, I got my wish only I got mistreated again, and didn’t know it ‘til it was too late. Peep this: my earliest memory of a domestic staff is aunty Blessing. Can’t remember what she looked like but do recall she had the thickest hair ever. Aunty Blessing would force eba down our throats while she made fried plantain for herself, and would whup us and threaten even more whuppings if we blurted out her deeds to mom. Aunty Blessing resigned/was sacked when I was about 5, 6 years old and kept praying I’d bump into her as I got older so I’d kick her ass.

Fast forward to 2005 when my mom got a help called…wait for it….Blessing. Although this Blessing was from Akwa Ibom State while aunty Blessing was Ibo, she still tortured me, only in subtler ways. This Blessing also waited ‘til mom was away – she travelled to the UK for 3 months – to show her fangs. Mom had advised I lock my room whenever I was stepping out, but chided her on openness (see above). B4 too long all my watches had vanished, but thought they would reappear and that maybe I had carelessly left them somewhere. I finally saw Blessing as, ahem, aunty Blessing incarnate when I returned from work one evening and requested a meal of fish and fried plantain. “Brother, the plantain wey been dey house no gree ripe so I troway am. But I fit make eba for you sha.” Oh no, no, not again, another ‘Blessing’ was depriving me from my plantains. It was then the scales fell from my eyes.

After this recent Plantain-gate wanted to blog about it, but the words just wouldn’t come out. It wasn’t ‘til I started seeing a new shrink few months back that I have summoned the courage to count my, ahem, Blessings…..and name them one by one. Ha hee ha hee ha hee haw. Also considering titling my memoirs, A Tale of Two Blessings. It’s gonna double as a self-help book.

Saddest thang about the tale above is I still ain’t learnt my lesson. I still hope for a modicum of scrupulous behaviour from everyone, especially mechanics. ‘Cos of this I never haggle with mechanics, they tell me what stuff is gonna cost and I pay. The way I see it if I don’t haggle they ain’t gonna hike up their prices or say they bought fake parts ‘cos I haggled them down. And how has that worked for me so far? Let’s just say they tend to see dollar signs on my forehead whenever I stop by.

The way I am going I’m gonna snap someday and go all Falling Down on all mechanics. For instance, yesterday I drove off when the mechanic and his parts dealer tried to fleece me by doing their good mechanic-shylock trader routine. I’d just had enough; if I had stayed longer I swear I woulda run them over. Dude even had the ding-dongs to call this morning asking when he’d pick up the car. U what, what part of “since I gave u my car it’s been one thing or the other, and now ‘cos of u I’ll have to drive my car with no power steering, hope u are happy”, didn’t he understand? I channelled Sarah Palin and told him, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Quite disheartening ‘cos dude’s the second mechanic I have used in Warri, and though I knew he was fleeceing me, I didn’t say squat ‘cos he did good repairs, until now that is.

I left the first mechanic after he ‘supposedly’ bought some air conditioner parts for Parminder. When I asked him to show me the parts he had replaced he hemmed and hawed and said the parts were kept in his mate’s locker. I returned a few hours later and I got: Erm, erm oga, u no go believe am but thieves came by last night and broke open my guy’s locker. I swear they took everything. And he expected me to believe that? This was same dude who told me he’d bought a part for fifteen grand and when I told him I had requested the one that cost twelve grand he said, But oga, I don buy am and install am already! Ehen, okay ‘cos na u I go forfeit the three thousand balance. Here’s a riddle for y’all, what do u call an honest Nigerian mechanic? Asif. (U don’t get it? Not to worry it’ll hopefully come to you soon like Sarah Palin’s foreign policy credentials)

U know what, it’s all my fault. If only I’d stop dithering and just replace Parminder. Yes, Parminder Tunde’s not that into u. He don’t want u no more. U gonna get traded in babes. Read my lips: TRADED IN. SOLD. GONE like George Bush’s approval rating. FINITO like Yar’Adua’s goodwill. Ooops, promised not to talk about u know who again, didn’t I? My bad.

Ever since I wrote a blog a few months back about replacing Parminder she’s started acting up. I would open the door and discover the trunk would pop open as well. This went on for three straight days until I washed her with dishwashing liquid in holy water - Hey, here’s a joke: How do u make holy water? Boil the hell outta it! - and peed in the petrol tank. Then, it was the turn of the hood to pop open for no reason. Either this is another plot twist by the producers of my life’s version of The Truman Show or my car’s a Transformer.

After a few hypnosis sessions with the shrink I traced this weirdness back to some dude I call the magical mechanic. I refer to him as that ‘cos never seen him in dirty overalls or stained fingernails. I just drop my car off, he quotes an outrageous price, I pay, and voila Parminder is as good as new…okay, newish. And how did I meet the dude? Well, was at an eatery in Warri and she refused to start. Magical mechanic just happened to be passing by – or so he said - and offered to help. Hey, now that I think of it, it was all so convenient, no? Damn TV show producers!

Okay enough of car complaints. How y’all been? Moi? I am aiight. As stated above I’m currently running around like crazy cleaning up new crib, and trying not to get fleeced in the process. With all of this going on had to find time to visit PH to move household accoutrements to Warri. Jumped at the chance when a mate offered a ride to PH. Boy, was it a thrill a minute, and not in a good way.

First, he showed up late and an hour into the trip we saw a ghastly accident. Then we got flagged down by the police but dude said he saw them too late so he drove past the first obstacle in the road. Little did we know that the copper had signalled his colleagues manning the final obstacle, so as we drove past they pushed an engine block across the road that damaged dude’s left rear tire. We drove on for a minute or so until we saw the welcome sign of a vulcanizer’s shed. What we didn’t know was where we parked was the only route to the police station, so it didn’t take long for the officers to come across us. Soon as he saw them mate started remonstrating, saying they had stopped him too late and now his tire’s ruined. Officers asked for his car papers, he handed them over and was winning his argument against them - u see in regular Nigerian society even if u wrong raise ur voice to decibels that would cause a minor earthquake and u more than likely would get away with any offence – until an eagle-eyed officer observed his driver’s license had expired. Uh oh.

They took him to see their sergeant and as these things go they asked for 10 grand else he’d be locked up for the weekend. Now I wasn’t too avid a fan of LA Law to argue for my mate’s release so with the help of an elderly gentleman that coincidentally knew mate from Lagos we beat the officers down to 2.5 grand. Yup, second time in consecutive blogs I have been involved in graft. Man, my future political opponents are gonna have a field day with this.

Now I understand mate was at fault – he confessed to not knowing his license had expired – but u’da seen the way the arresting officers acted. Sometimes I feel for our men in black ‘cos they live in a hypocritical society where we pay them about 17 grand a month and yet expect them not to engage in duplicitous activities. C’mon. That’s why even when my documents are complete and I get stopped I still give them a li’l something. However, when they act all high and mighty and openly extort money from regular citizens it gets my blood boiling – yes, even guys with killer six-packs get miffed now and then – and I look for ways to get even. For instance, if I had written this blog earlier in the week I won’t have resorted to what I am about to do, but seeing as Arsenal lost to Hull yesterday - that’s 2 losses already y’all – someone’s gotta pay. The arresting officer that solicited a bribe is Ndubuisi Nwachukwu with badge number 401683, at least that’s what was stitched on his uniform. If u think this is being mean then u don’t know the half of it ‘cos I still recall the first policeman – saw him directing traffic during last visit to Lagos - that took a bribe from me some months after I returned to Naija; it was a Sunday and was on my way from church to take then girlfriend out to brunch. He and his taller colleague – don’t remember that dude’s face – falsely accused me of jumping a red light. U just wait ‘til I get his details…..

So now that I got that outta my system, what else did I get up to? Oh yeah, by the time we left the police station we had lost two hours. Rest of ride to PH was uneventful, though we got stopped by more coppers, but these guys were friendly. Actually bumped into one who prayed for us. Yup, he called himself Pastor Mopol and for some reason his nom de plume reminded me of some dude that appeared on some cancelled BET talk show proclaiming to be a Homo thug. As the name implies he’s a gangster rapper who is proudly gay. Yeah, since we on this tip what the deallie with Lindsay Lohan? Read last week that she’s in a relationship with some female DJ. Sure. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce u to the newest graduate of the Anne Heche school of straight-gay-straight-gay Hollywood publicity seekers…..Miss Lindsay Lohan.

Other entertainment news: Paul Newman, a fine actor and even better human being, passed away last night. May God bless his soul and console his family.

Nate Dogg’s reported to be doing fine after surviving a second stroke. Hey, how old’s this dude anyway? I reckon he got the 1st stroke after Akon usurped him as the go-to-guy for singing hooks on hip hop songs. Second one was after he realized T-Pain’s passed him as well. Guess Chris Rock was right about the music industry: here today, gone today. All in all One More Day is still one of my fave hip hop songs. Who woulda thunk the lyrics would apply to Nate Dogg so?

And in Nollywood news……yeah right.

PH News: So get into PH late and married mate picks me up. Then we hang out with the guys for a bit b4 I feign tiredness and suggest we leave. Pssttt, married mate doesn’t know this, but his wife called me b4 he showed up and told me to ensure we return early ‘cos she doesn’t like her husband staying out at night. Hey, she feeds me whenever I am in PH so I gotta do whatever she says.

Was ace seeing the guys again and when I asked about a notable absentee was informed he was baby-sitting for his fiancee’s sister. Hey, these things happen.

Struck an interesting conversation with another mate who tells anyone that’ll listen about his readiness to settle down. Among the ‘original’ PH crew he and me are the only single ones left, so there’s kinda an unspoken competition not to be the last unmarried dude. Yeah, so we talking and he’s asking me to hook him up…

Tunde: Now why in goodness would I hook u up? U think I wanna be the last one to get married? Dude, misery loves company.
Mate: Ha. But u gotta hook me up. Remember the lengths I went thru to get u that girl’s number?
Tunde: Which one?
Mate: The one that works at Zenith Bank! How did that go anyways?
Tunde: Oh yeah, I remember. Well, dunno if I owe u anything considering she failed the 3-phonecalls-and-ur-number-gets-deleted test…
Mate: That bad, huh? Okay, but u gotta hook me up
Tunde: Okay if u insist. A mate introduced me to this girl in PH and reckon u might like her.
Mate: Is she fine?
Tunde: Heck yeah
Mate: Then why ain’t u interested? Okay if she’s so fine how come she’s single and….what’s wrong with her?
Tunde: U just unbelievable dude. First, u ask for a hook up now u act all flaky, looking for an excuse in case stuff don’t pan out as u want. U remind me of this punk I know called Miguel. He does the same thang.
Mate: Hey, a brother just wants to know….
Tunde: Okay how about this? U a good looking guy, no? U got a nice job, nice crib, nice house, make good money, how come u single? What’s wrong with u? Maybe u a serial killer, maybe u got a cornucopia of STDs. Yeah, maybe that’s it, maybe that’s why u single.
Mate: Ha. Okay I get ur point. So when do I meet her?
Tunde: Well, that depends if u’ll be willing to sign this sheet that states if u guys fall in love y’all won’t get married ‘til after I get hitched…

The next day I returned to my house to pack and wondered why I rented the crib in the first place, considering in two years I probably spent all together less than 3 months in the place. Had some good memories though.

Later that day saw Arsenal beat Bolton (3-1) – now those were the days – and attended some shindig. Saw an empty seat and no sooner had I rested my derriere did some chick start a conversation about nothing in particular. Then, Shania Twain’s You Are Still The One came on and this lady sorta became emotional. What a beautiful song. I am gonna play this on my wedding day. Why do u men always run away at the first little bump in the road? U see my ex…no, I WILL NOT TALK ABOUT HIM. Anyways, u know that Shania wrote the song about her husband, right? Nobody thought they’d make it but they’ve been married for so long now. Didn’t have the heart to tell her that Shania and Mutt Lange are no longer together. As if to further buttress my point Whitney’s I Will Always Love U came on next. Lol, two now-divorced songstresses one after the other. How ironic.

As the night wore on it became obvious that the DJ was only interested in playing slow songs. Hmmm, maybe he’s Miss Talk-A-Lot’s ex; now wouldn’t that be interesting? While grabbing some bbq I heard a Naija song with a nice beat, but the most hilarious song lyrics. I think I heard I just wanna gbe e saya, like a pillow/Baby se se de (Interpretation: I just wanna place u on my chest, like a pillow/Baby quickly come over). Now ain’t that hilarious, the combination of Yoruba and English like that? Okay, here’s a disclosure: I THINK I heard those lyrics but cannot be sure ‘cos last time I thought I had happened upon a hilarious song lyric I was way off base. Y’all remember the popular Yoruba Xtian song Ko so ba bi re? There’s a part in the song where the singer repeats Ko so ba, ko so ba over and over again. Well, ahem, ur fave blogger thought he heard cassava, cassava instead and wondered allowed if the lady was lauding (then Nigerian president) Obasanjo’s promotion of cassava cultivation and export. U’da seen how family members laughed at me.

Oh, u think that’s bad? I definitely recall different peeps swearing (with explanations as to why they were right) that the chorus to Snoop Dogg’s Serial Killer (from the Doggy Style CD) was not Serial Killer, but :

1. Stereo Killer (’cos Snoop songs are so dope they murder ur stereo)
2. Snoopy Dogg July (’cos Snoop was born in the month of July)

Vaguely remember younger sister Seyi switching Warren G’s Regulate lyrics to …they took my rings, they took my BRACELET. Yup, one’s gotta watch out for those bracelet-wearing LA gangsters, no? Ha. If y’all are bored and wanna join in the fun at home try putting on any SEAL CD taking turns to see how u do. Or if you have a life………

Warri news: Say what u want about PH but they got some impressive women. Warri, on the other hand…….let’s just say that sometimes one would rather have a conversation without pidgin English thrown in copiously. Maybe I hang out at the wrong spots, but man, it’s almost as if the women here can’t live without pidgin English. I know I am generalizing, but…okay peep this: A few months back mates come into town and decide to go clubbing. While about to cop tickets I notice this girl standing on her own so I strike up a conversation. She tells me she’s with her friend and they on the look out for someone to pay their way in. U what? Normally this would raise flags, but she spoke fluent English! I go back to the guys’ huddle and while pretending to make audibles like I am Peyton Manning I tell them I just experienced the equivalent of seeing The Abominable Snowman. The guys don’t believe me so they send another on a reconnaissance mission. Dude returns and blurts out, “she cannot be from Warri! She speaks good English. Who cares if her request is dodgy, I say we pay for her and her friend just on the strength of her English.” And they say education no longer opens doors….

Tot ziens and God bless.

In case u were wondering, yes, the girl from the club was not from Warri, just visiting for a few days from Benin. Come on Warri, I am gonna be here at least for the next year, surprise me please.

Comments-[ comments.]

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I got my drink and my two-step

Hola peeps. ¿Yo le faltó, usted me faltó?

It’s 8.36pm on Monday night and raining like crazy in Warri. Y’all remember how I have been commending the Delta State governor for the good roads in the Warri environ? Well, slap me twice and call me Faye ‘cos the rains have exposed the sham that’s regarded as road construction. What’s wrong with us Nigerians? Would it kill us to do a good job for once in our lives? Woosah…woosah…I swore - yes, I did. I even executed the whole index finger touching ground, then touching tip of tongue, then pointing index finger to the sky thang that only Nigerians would understand - that I would no longer complain about the goings-on, or in Yar’Adua’s case the non-goings-on (u see I am doing it again!), in the Nigerian political scene. Nah, since this is probably last time I am gonna blog about his incompetence I’d better let stuff off my chest.

U know what really gets me, it’s this rudderless ship he calls a government. Today he’s for something, tomorrow he does a volte face; come on, make up ur mind already! For instance Yar’Adua chose rightly not to recognize Mugabe’s electoral triumph yet few days later he’s supporting Sudan’s al-Bashir against the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment ‘cos Sudan is a “sovereign nation”. Oh I see, and Zimbabwe is what exactly? This dude is…..arrrggghhh.

Never thought it’d happen, but Yar’Adua is making me understand why the Americans voted for Bush twice, at least Dubya stood stubbornly to his deleterious cause of action. In a sure sign that we badly need a change – apologies to Obama – the topic on everyone’s lips is the state of Yar’Adua’s health. The minister of misinformation professes that Yar’Adua is hale and hearty, but no one knows where he is; almost as if he’s the Scarlet Pimpernel, only he ain’t rescuing anyone from anything. Who’s ruling the country now? Surely, not the vice president who hasn’t come out to make a statement on nada let alone the propaganda war between MEND and the Nigerian military (on whether or not military personnel were killed in MEND’s latest assault.) Man, those MEND punks sure are jokers. Now they demanding a construction company they had earlier asked to quit Nigeria to return to the Niger Delta in order to develop the place. No, keep blowing up pipelines leading to more environmental degradation and see if that helps in development. These guys and Yar’Adua deserve each other; they both clueless as to what they want.

Yes, I know this Tunde is angrier than normal, but just can’t help it. I am crazy tired of same ol’ complaining and shrugging of the shoulders. To be honest ever since my return from Liberia – more on that later – I have noticed drastic changes in my attitude. Peep this:

Scenario 1: Tunde comes across peeps going off on Nigerian corrupt public office holders.
Pre-Liberia Tunde would joyfully add his two cents (or two naira forty kobo if the exchange hovers around $1 to N120…man, I am such a geek!)
Post-Liberia Tunde listens to their rantings, smiles, walks round the corner then bangs his head against a wall ‘til his vision gets hazy and he sees dead people corrupt leaders.

Scenario 2: Some chick Tunde ain’t particularly fond of keeps flashing/beeping him.
Pre-Liberia Tunde would call back….eventually.
Post-Liberia Tunde waits ‘til the wee hours of the morning when he knows she’ll be asleep then flashes/beeps her back, laughing maniacally as he does so.

(Some background on scenario 2: Sometime last year while having lunch at some eatery in PH I overheard this chick screaming down the phone ‘cos the party on the other end was late to pick her up. As it was getting late and PH traffic being what it is I stepped over to her table and asked if I’d offer her a ride. She smiled, thanked me for the gesture and assured me her ride would show up. As I walked away she called after me and asked for my number, so I gave her. Worst mistake like ever!

She called that night, “Hi, I am the girl from the restaurant. My name’s X and this is my number.” Called her a few times to say hello and then the flashing began. Sometimes I’d ignore it, other times I’d call her back, then like a, ahem, flash of lightning - geddit? geddit? Aw forget yous - she stopped calling. Phew.

So there I am in PH few months back when I receive a call from a strange number. It was Miss X. I tell her I am PH for a few days and she promises to stop by my hotel. She shows up with a friend and b4 I’d ask about her well being she blurts out, “We hungry o.” Hmmm. As the hotel kitchen’s closed I ask if they’d settle for something from the suya spot nearby. They ask for a sum and I hand it over. Imagine my surprise when they show up with stuff costing less than a fifth of what I forked over. “Hey”, I tell myself, “if they wanna keep the change that’s up to them.” They then take over my TV watching Africa Magic – arrrggghhhhh - until past 11pm, all the while ignoring my subtle hints about needing some zzzzz. Time to go so I walk Thelma and Louise down the stairs and give them bucks to charter a cab. Being the quintessential gentleman I offer to hail a cab but Miss X (aka Thelma) refuses and instead they hop on an okada – who woulda thunk they operate that late? I was flabberwhelmed. There’s taking the piss and there’s grabbing the entire WC; they did the latter and then some. If that ain’t enough Miss X insists on flashing continuously. Would it kill these peeps to send a text message now and then or……woosah…woosah….

So what happened in Liberia that’s brought about this change? Dunno. Maybe something happened during week spent in Lagos prior to trip to Liberia or week b4 that spent on a course in PH. Either way I have decided I ain’t gonna complain anymore, but spend my energy seeking out feasible solutions instead. Of course I’ll still publish stories of government malfeasance in the Articles of Interest section of the blog, but gonna try to make a change by exploring the option of running for public office. I’m serious.

Spent three nights in Monrovia and it was just about enough. Not that I didn’t enjoy myself it was just that, how do I say this, Monrovia reminded me too much of Lagos. I mean why would I take off from Lagos only to arrive in Lagos; makes no sense, right? Before I go on here’s a quick recap of Tunde’s week in Lagos.

Saturday August 16th: Flight from PH landed at 4pm and rushed home to get changed as had a wedding to attend. Showered, changed and looked a million bucks but couldn’t get in touch with mate who had the invite – it was the wedding of a military top brass so no invite no entry – so skipped the wedding and caught Get Smart (which was quite funny) with Mama and her hot doctor friend I have a crush on.

After dropping off hot doctor at her crib got stopped by the police – they were hating on my blazer of many colours (that Dolly Parton’s mama made for me) - who asked for the car papers and discovered they had expired. Asked Mama why her car papers were allowed to lapse and she offered the quaint, “No one ever stops me, especially after they sight my white coat hanging at the back and realize I am a doctor”. Alrighty then. After hemming and hawing – and suggesting I drive to an ATM when I told them I didn’t have much cash on me - the coppers settled for two grand. Not bad for a night’s work, eh?

(In case y’all are wondering why I am giving a detailed account of my involvement in graft it’s to prove to y’all that even brothers with killer six-packs err sometimes…..and also to get my dirty laundry out in the open b4 someone does a Sarah Palin on me. Besides, I believe in full disclosure and, wait, that sounds like a winning catch phrase. FULL DISCLOSURE. If Yar’Adua and his cronies can use ‘Rule of Law’ as reason for their tepid performance in office, when I become president I’d use ‘Full Disclosure’ as a get-out-of-jail card for everything from authorizing phone taps to explaining my penchant for holding press conferences wearing only boxers shorts.)

Sunday August 17th: Woke up early for church. Visited mates that live on the Island then attended a ‘surprise’ – only surprise was being the first person to arrive at the venue a full thirty minutes b4 anyone else - shindig of a mate going to the UK for her Masters.

Monday August 18th: Routine dentist appointment turned into wisdom tooth being pulled out. If that wasn’t bad enough while walking down the street with chest protruding – Memo to readers: It always helps to purchase shirts two sizes too small to create the impression one is more buff than normal - and strutting my stuff like the Bee Gees in the Staying Alive video the sole of my left shoe split open just as some foxy older lady – Paging Bimbo Oloyede from Channels News! Paging Bimbo Oloyede from Channels News! - was checking me out. I hopped to the car and drove around the Island ‘til I found a cobbler.

How do I explain unfortunate turn of events that day? Coincidence? Karma? Fate? Nah, M-I-G-U-E-L . Yes, the punk’s moved back to Nigeria ‘cos he couldn’t find anyone sad enough in the US to marry him. He was the first person I saw that day and reckon he’s imported his ATL ‘jazz’ with him. Get thee behind me Miguel!

Later, had lunch with mate’s wife’s sister I have a crush on and caught The Dark Knight.

Tuesday August 19th: Saw The Mummy 3 with mate’s wife I have a crush on and her friend who I don’t have a crush on. Then caught The Dark Knight again - ‘cos missed first ten minutes yesterday while waiting on mates…or maybe that’s Miguel’s influence as well – with ‘my small wife’ (aka Seyi’s childhood friend I have a crush on), but missed the first 5 minutes this time. Arrggghhhh. Miguel, Miguel, Miguel. How many times I call ur name? No talk say I no warn u o.

Wednesday August 20th: Spent entire day at home.
That’s right Neo if u reading this, I didn’t move an inch from the crib. U always said I couldn’t stay still, almost as if I had ants in my pants. Well, I am so still I am statuesque baby. So, erm, u gonna call me? Sob….sob…please call…sob

Thursday August 21st: Stopped by Unilag to see some dude working on a website for my presidential campaign. Also bumped into mate’s sister I still have a crush on, though she’s married and 7 months preggers. It wasn’t ‘til I left Unilag for the Island I remembered I shoulda called Miss Y.

(Some background: A few months ago while working out in my penthouse – u’da seen my abs - I received a call from someone called Miss Y. Turns out she is Mass Communications student at Unilag – or so she says - and was calling to find out who I was ‘cos she saw my business card while ruffling through some old documents and couldn’t remember for the life of her where we met.

Couldn’t recollect either. Seeing as the male exotic dancing industry is so close-knit it’d be possible she got my card from a client. Anyways we have kept in contact since – hey, she doesn’t flash/beep so that’s a brownie point - and had promised to call her when in Lagos. Ooops.

Got to the Island and hung out with one set of mates over lunch and another over dinner. Then it was off home to pack for trip to Liberia.

Liberia news: Something was quite ominous about the trip. First, boarding pass disappeared after I placed it with other travelling documents in tray b4 passing it through those x-ray machine thingies at MMIA. I kinda get that socks vanish into thin air in washing machines, but boarding passes getting swallowed by airport x-ray machines? Come on! Haba Miguel, wetin I do you?

Later, just as plane is about to lift off the ground the pilot slams on his brakes hard as if he’s driving a molue. The lady behind me is screaming Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, as the pilot explains he was asked to delay take off ‘cos a plane was approaching for a landing. Miguel, ur efforts will not work. Worst part of this was looking out the window and seeing carcases of some burnt planes – noticed a few Nigeria Airways planes – on the grass straddling the runway. What gives?

Stop over at Accra to let passengers off, and had some time to kill so struck up conversations with the air stewardesses and discovered ALL the Aero Contractor stewardesses on this international flights have extra white teeth. Maybe it’s a one-off but couldn’t help thinking management purposely recruited them for their toothpaste commercial smiles, while sending those with tree bark-hewed teeth to man local flights. Y’all may think I am paranoid but the Nigerians among u suspect I am telling the truth. For sure y’all musta noticed the well-endowed chicks at GLO Customer Care offices – yes, that’s Nigeria’s answer to Hooters – or the predominance of light skinned chicks at Zenith Bank branches. Yes, Miss W you are extremely qualified for the position and we would love to have you work for us, BUT there’s just one tiny problem. Erm, on ur resume u say u crave challenges, so here’s a challenge for u: How would u feel changing ur skin pigment? Not to worry we are very professional here, and u can be rest assured u won’t end up having purple patches on ur skin….. Ha hee ha hee ha hee.

So where was I? Okay, so I am chilling on the plane at Accra one minute then the carnival starts. Either Liberians, like Nigerians, don’t believe in carrying light hand luggage or they, like Nigerians, travel with loadsa luggage. This and other experiences in Liberia convinced me that Nigerians and Liberians are distant relatives. The people look the same, they act the same, only way u can tell us apart is the lovely sing-song way Liberians talk. It’s sheer joy to listen to them talk.

Flight lands in Monrovia about 11am on Friday August 22nd and the immigration officers are as glum-faced as their Nigerian counterparts. While waiting on my Liberian mate Salome to pick me up I wander around and if it wasn’t for the accents and the small airport u’d swear – yes, the whole finger-floor-tongue-sky thang - u were in Lagos. Guys kept trying to offer me a taxi even after I told them repeatedly I wasn’t interested.

While people watching I observe this Nigerian dude, Ibo to be precise, get into an argument with the airport security. Peeps, believe me, u haven’t lived ‘til u hear an Ibo guy speak with a Liberian accent. Oh man, almost keeled over laughing. Man, u gotta love us Nigerians, we are everywhere. That wasn’t my only encounter with fellow Nigerians in Liberia. The next day while chilling at a bar with Salome, her friend Winnie and their boyfriends this Ibo guy walks up to the table and introduces himself as a sales representative for a company that manufactures herbal medicine that aids one’s sexual prowess. While we having a good laugh about this Salome’s boyfriend asks him for the cost of a sachet, and dude replies he only sells them in bulk. U what?

As only spent a short time in the country I didn’t get up to much, though almost got arrested on first day in the country for trying to take a pic of the police headquarters. Hey, there were no signs stipulating that pics weren’t allowed. Was taken to see the police commissioner – on his desk was a framed photo he took with Bill Clinton – to explain myself. While there some huge dude wearing Senegalese outfit – later discovered he’s a big shot in the army – barged in enquiring about the dude caught taking pics of the police headquarters. Lol…less than 3 hours in the country and I am already a celebrity. I explained myself and told him I hadn’t taken any pics of the place. After he scans pics in camera he directs me to some dude in public relations. By this time I don’t really want the pic anymore, but chose to see the public relations guy ‘cos don’t wanna offend army dude or Mr. Clinton’s close pal. In a move that proved Liberian and Nigerian civil servants are alike the guy tells me as it’s nigh on closing time and I’d have to return on Monday. “But I depart for Nigeria on Monday”, I protested. “Besides isn’t Monday a public holiday where y’all celebrate Flag Day?” Typical.

So what information did I garner from my trip?

1. We all have our li’l idiosyncracies: Liberians place tissue on a bottle top before opening, so that one can use tissue to wipe the brim of the bottle before placing on lips; Ugandans tend to count in orders of 7, e.g. “Ur food will be ready in 7 minutes, sir”, while Nigerians – and everyone else - count in multiples of 5.

2. Liberians don’t get why Nigerian funerals are more like huge parties.

3. I wasn’t surprised with Liberians’ love for Nigerian movies and music – got over that after trip to East Africa – but everywhere I went Akon’s Hold My Hand or Wyclef Jean’s Anything Can Happen was being played. The latter’s quite old (1998 I think) so don’t get why it’s still on heavy rotation here. Maybe there’s something about the lyrics of both songs that appeals to Liberians.

4. I don’t get why Salome – or anyone in particular – would love No Air by Chris Brown and Jordin Sparks so much. She played it so often one day I actively listened to the lyrics and all I can say is it’s the equivalent of a Nollywood movie. Just when u think the song’s about to end the producer makes it longer by insisting they repeat the word, ‘air’. Do u know how many times the word ‘air’ comes up in that song? 50. That’s right, five-zero! I counted…..yup, I need to get a life.

All in all it was a good trip and on the eve of my departure I bumped into my friend the army big shot at The Embassy night club. Dude was decked in full camouflage – hey, that’s one way to avoid paying the gate fee.

Tot ziens and…hold on, just wanna flash that girl again, hee hee haw haw….God bless.

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