Thursday, July 15, 2021

Articles of interest to moi (2021)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Hubert Joly
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Southgate
RIP Kenneth Kaunda
Joys of being an uncle
Inflation 101
Need for statues?

Showcasing Nigerian art
Understanding the Yoruba

How Covid vaccines work

The real Rosa Parks

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

I wrote this song a long time ago, a real long time ago

Hola peeps.

Was gonna send this last Sunday (aka Valentine’s Day) but had to catch up on work. Besides, things haven’t been going swell with EJ and I lately. More on that later. Man, I feel so tired and lower back’s hurting again. Ran just over 13km today and went for kickboxing class 2 hrs after that. Plan was to get Aminaarghhh to run roughshod over my back, but she didn’t pick up her phone, so decided to try out her former employer’s spa. Big mistake.

The lady I was directed to seemed not to have “passed her freedom”, as we say in Nigeria. She looked like she moonlights as a masseuse while her main job is teaching infants. You could tell she was stressed as well at the way she directed at choler at me as soon as I laid down on the massage table. At some point she punched me in the arm severally under the guise of relaxing my muscles. After the massage – which lasted just over 35 mins instead of the obligatory hour – she asked if I wanted to shower to get the oil off. I declined and told her I’d do so at home since my house was not far away. Like the true teacher she is, she proceeded to ignore what I said and started wiping me down with a towel. I coulda sworn I was back in kindergarten. When Aminaaarghhh returned my call later she informed me she was on leave. Trust me, if she wasn’t I woulda driven to her for a real massage. After she worked on me two weeks ago, I slept so well that night I woke up in a child’s pose sucking on my right thumb.


Okay, so back to EJ. I didn’t sleep too well last night as kept tossing and turning over how sad I am making EJ. Worst of all, I don’t know how to rectify the situation ‘cos in classic Tunde style I let my mouth utter what I couldn’t defend. I foolishly chose eve of Val’s day to request a break from talking, as lately our calls have been more rote than anything. I seem to make her angry every other call so requested some time away to get my thoughts together. She’s perfect, there’s nothing really wrong with her, just that I feel I have had to walk on eggshells lately to avoid pissing her off, and not comfy with that. How much time is enough for me though? I had to make it less than a week ‘cos if my precedents are anything to go by, after a week of silence it’s never the same and things come tumbling down soon after. Called her on the 15th and told her how I felt her actions had hurt me. She apologized for being “extra” and provided some sorta background as to why she reacted the way she did. Told y’all she was perfect, didn’t I?


What I didn’t tell her was how during the two days of silence I had convinced myself the relationship was over. Expressed the same to therapist as felt I couldn’t go through being blamed again for stuff that’s not directly my fault. He said it’s good that EJ actually acknowledged what had compelled her unusual response. Still, there remains an obvious schism between us. She’s noticed it and so have I. During the week she asked if I was still mad at her and told her I wasn’t, that workload was insane – six of my staff tested positive for Covid, so had to pile on more tasks – and still needed to get stuff off my chest. Those fateful words, get stuff off my chest, landed me in my current predicament ‘cos that wasn’t what I actually wanted to say, but now EJ expects me to say the stuff that’s been bothering me ‘cos she “feels like she’s in limbo” and now I am all worked up ‘cos she’s sad.


During end of last therapy session when I talked about what I can’t really remember now, the clinical psychologist suggested we do some relaxation exercises after I mentioned stressful workload. He asked me to only listen to the sound of his voice and picture myself in a house on the beach wearing white shorts and a white shirt and….while he was talking my mind went immediately to fancy hotel I stayed in in Mombasa in December 2019 and the view of the ocean from the balcony. Was so relaxed I heard the beginnings of a snore before I startled myself awake. If only I could get him to teach Aminaarghhh that technique without the pain she applies, I would be a happy bunny.


Anyhoo, homework from last week’s session is to talk to EJ about if/how we could make a marriage work with the distance between us. It was a carry-over from two weeks ago, but ‘cos we were also arguing then I couldn’t get the right time to talk to her about it. Can’t remember for sure but think we fell out when I mistook what she said for taking the piss, as I had answered a question she had asked repeatedly. Finally, I blurted out, “am I speaking Greek?!” She was taken aback and rightly so ‘cos it wasn’t her fault. It was just crap Juba internet connection. Initially, I stood my ground and thought I was justified since it wasn’t exactly my fault either, but I apologized and later sent a WhatsApp message further asking her to forgive my outburst. Her response? “Even if I was taking the piss, your response came across as if you were speaking to a stupid child…let’s not do that again, it’s not our thing” Damn, who feels like a blockhead now? She really deserves better. Honestly, if she came up to me and said she wanted to date someone else I wouldn’t object. Drats, I’da just left her when she said she’d only date me if we were headed towards marriage and kid(s). At least then her Valentine’s day wouldn’t have been ruined. Sad thang is the gift package I had delivered was tight. I really researched that stuff.


What I didn’t research was how much effort the calisthenics class would take. Damn, it’s redolent of the first time I tried yoga, have never seated so much in my life. So far, I have had 7 classes till date, and I’d like to say I am getting the hang (geddit?) of things, but I am also reinforcing how stiff my hips are. Kickboxing didn’t resolve it and it appears it’s gonna be the same with calisthenics. Recall I messed up my left hip during a footie tourney back when I worked in PH, but now it’s right hip that appears to cause more pain when I extend it. Nevertheless, I have pushed on like a trooper and like a newbie to every sport I have taken on buying all the latest gear, like exercise rings, parallettes, and a tripod to hold phone so the trainer could monitor my technique. Couldn’t find a tripod in Juba and when I requested a friend in Kenya get one for me, she laughed and asked if I wanted to started a beauty vlog. Now wouldn’t that be a trip. That said, two Thursdays ago, i.e., after 3rd class, was so chuffed I was able to execute a hanging knee tuck flip I recorded myself and sent videos to everyone I know. Maybe I really should start a vlog.


I paid for 16 calisthenics classes and although it’s killing me, I feel I am gonna sign up for more. Can’t say the same for therapy sessions though. This Wednesday is last of 5 classes and dude’s requested EJ join us. So, if I can’t resolve issues with her before then, i.e., figure out the right words to finally extinguish our current cavils, I hope the final session helps with that. The therapist is cool and all so doubt it would be weird informing him I don’t wanna continue with our sessions. Always wondered how entertainers cut off their entourages when they stop being hot and can no longer afford to cater for them. Man, such footage would definitely be featured on my vlog. Hmm, starting to warm up to this vlog idea. How else to show off my Turveydropian deportment to the office on weekdays? Folk in Juba just don’t get it. Some guy referred to me as a musician when I first moved here.


What won’t feature on vlog are FaceTime calls with my daughter. They are still meh, and last week the ex had to scold her to call me back after she cut off the call ‘cos she was bored. It hurt big time I won’t lie, but didn’t let it show, and let her go through the motions for a few more minutes before I gave her permission to end the call. During my run this morning I considered not calling her, but the better side of my agathokakological nature (when it comes to her) prevailed. I need to remind myself she’s just a kid and they get bored easily at this age. After shrink directed me to read about cognitive development in children during our first session, I ended up surfing sites like 50 things to know about 9 year old girls . That kept me going for a while, but I am sure I will soon move on, like time when she was born and I signed up for a newsletter that updates parents on behaviours to expect from month to month as the baby develops. I must learn to roll with the punches when it comes to her.


She really has me, you know? Recall last blog entry when I said she requested for a VR birthday present? Though I tried to play it all nonchalant, I must admit that after I got off the call with her I did a quick mental juggle of my network to see if there’s anyone I knew with video game design expertise. One of the reasons I signed up for the calisthenics class, and probably why I am gonna see it through, is to be able to execute a human flag when next we hang (geddit now?! Bah, I give up) so I can become Daddy of The Year. Who am I kidding? She’ll probably say I’m embarrassing her when I try to hang off the drive-through window while ordering her a meal at McDonald’s.


Soooooo, what have y’all been up to since my last post? The Kansas City Chiefs suckkkkked big time and made me regret staying awake for the Superbowl. I had ordered isi ewu a full 2 days before the game from a Naija restaurant, and the owner was so full of promises before the day but failed to respond to my calls. That delicacy woulda at least made my night worthwhile as I woulda been pooping – yup, it always sends me to the loo within an hour of consuming it – instead of watching the crap game.


Speaking of poop – c’mon you guys knew this was coming – I made the mistake of complaining about pressure in bidet hose so many times the plumber made sure he would show me. The dude provided a new hose with such high pressure it has the propensity to force poop back up arse if one isn’t careful. The first day I used it I wasn’t prepared, so after first blast I hurried out of bathroom ‘cos I had an appointment. Quickly wiped bum with bog roll and when I returned an hour later, I noticed brown goop on floor of bathroom. Kept trying to think if I had eaten chocolate while in the bathroom earlier in the day. Then, I looked up at the ceiling and discovered the blast from bidet hose had sent poop everywhere, so started hunting for stains with a magnifying glass before Sandra the cleaning lady could find them and lose all respect for me. Woke up few weeks ago to the sound of what I thought was rainfall and was already doing a jig at this ready excuse not to go running……until I walked into the bathroom and found it flooded. The bidet hose finally burst and was replaced by one from before. I have learnt to no longer complain about the low bidet hose pressure.


Well, returned from work last week and discovered Sandra had washed both my sneakers, so was forced to wait for them to dry and run on consecutive days instead of a day apart, in order to keep up with weekly exercise schedule. Boy, I miss Harriet. She knew me so well. She’s still at apartment complex but has been assigned to other rooms. Now and then we steal glances at each other from across the verandah and reminisce on the good times we had. Man, I am getting emotional. Time to go record do a tearful confessional for my vlog.

Tot ziens and God bless.

Comments-[ comments.]

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Feel like a member of the 76ers now

Hola peeps.

Haven’t blogged in so long I don’t even know where to start. Hold on, it says here last blog entry was August 6th, 2020. Yikes. Talk about procrastination. How do I fit in all that’s happened over the last 6 months?! There was my trip to Turkey in August; my month-long lockdown in the UK in November, where I spent more time with Chief (cumulatively) than I must have since birth; finally got my last will and testament notarized and still tempted to change it every other week after mostly less than stellar FaceTime calls with my daughter. Oh, also had my very first therapy session with a clinical psychologist 2 weeks ago. Yeah, maybe I should talk about that first. Nah, best to get on with recent events before I forget.

Tried to access online church this afternoon via YouTube and saw a link on homepage for the last scene from Whiplash. Peeps, you know how folk talk about stuff then open YouTube and there’s a link to what they had just spoken about? That’s happened to me several times, so I am no longer shocked by that. Thing is I never spoke about Whiplash recently, I dreamt about it last night! Couldn’t even remember the name of the movie when I woke up, and yet here we are. The masters of the internet have either found a way to read our thoughts or I now talk in my sleep. I mean, how else does one explain a niche movie from 7 years ago appearing on my YouTube suggestions?

Speaking of sleep, last night I had the best one I have had in a long while. Aminarrghhh (aka Hands of Steel) drained me yesterday and didn’t get to nap afterwards as had to attend a mate’s shindig. Went to bed about 10pm and woke up fully refreshed. Great thang about Aminarrghhh is that though there’s loadsa pain one’s quite sure it won’t end up pervy. Couldn’t say same for a massage I had in Nairobi while transiting to Juba from Lagos 2 weeks ago. Spent 3 days in Nairobi as had some meetings and decided to get a mani+pedi and a massage. I had suspected it would get pervy with the way the masseuse rubbed my butt, but I was glad at my misprision of her ultimate intention. I kid you not, no one’s spent that much time on my butt ever; even doubt my mom did when changing my diapers as a kid. Before the massage I had decided I would give her a 10% tip after the job’s done, but every time she touched butt, I’d increase the tip in my head by 1%. The lady musta read my thoughts (or moonlights designing algorithms for YouTube) ‘cos she spent over 20 minutes on my butt. First butt caress, hmm, a 10% tip is too low me thinks, maybe I should make it 11%......5 mins later, this lady is still on my left butt cheek?! She must be dedicated, I think I will make it a 40% tip…...15 mins later, wow, my butt’s never felt so lissome, I bet I could twerk now if I put my mind to it, oops, seems to be a spray fart coming out, best tell her to concentrate on other parts of my body…she’s definitely getting a 100% tip. Good thing there was no ATM at the spa ‘cos I reckon I’da withdrawn extra money for her. Don’t look at me that way, at least she didn’t ask for my number unlike the other masseuse I encountered in Nairobi back in October. The tales I could tell.

Skipped out on what woulda been first kickboxing class in the year so I could get tormented by Aminaarghhh, ‘cos yesterday morning I ran 28.4km with a mate. Last year on her birthday she did a full marathon and this year she plans to do 34km to mark her 34th birthday. Yup, this is what Juba ennui does to folk. Since 2 members of our long-distance running quartet have relocated from Juban Juba, I remained the only guinea pig willing to tag along for such craziness. Somewhere around the 20km mark she wanted to quit but I convinced her otherwise, the same happened about the 27km mark. Once we got done, I was so drained by the Juba sun I took a boda home when I’d usually walk the 2kms from the finishing point to mine.

While contemplating whether to still go for kickboxing class, I started wondering what my main problem was. Who am I trying to please/convince with these physical exertions? The Saturday before I ran 14km and did 22km the day after. Why?! It ain’t like I am on social media, so I can’t boast about these activities; so why exactly am I doing them? It can’t be just physical fitness ‘cos we had done 20km before my mate offered to quit. Why didn’t I quit then, after all I am not the one with a race coming up? Last Sunday, a few running mates decided to attend a music concert and I bumped into an acquaintance. While catching up, she told me she’s quit weight training to concentrate solely on calisthenics. Then, she showed me a vid of her holding a pull-up bar with one hand while flipping her feet up 90 degrees and holding that pose for 10 seconds. I fell in love right there and if EJ didn’t exist I woulda stalked this girl for the rest of 2021. Long story short, I signed up with her coach in Nairobi for virtual calisthenics lessons and had my first session this morning, before kickboxing class. Again, what am I trying to prove? Maybe I should discuss this with the clinical psychologist during our session next Wednesday.


Yeah, so I have had two sessions with him till date and not sure I will continue after the 5 sessions I paid for run elapse. Don’t get me wrong, it ain’t like it hasn’t been helpful. It’s just that I find myself staring at my computer clock often, waiting for the session to end. I signed up in the first place ‘cos EJ suggested I talk to someone to get at the root of my on/off aversion to having more kids, since it wouldn’t be fair on her for us to get hitched and I then inform her I’ve changed my mind about kids or resent her for “forcing” me to have one with her.


The takeaway from my first therapy session was “trust the process” and forgiving myself. Told the therapist about acrimonious divorce and how I still get heart palpitations before each FaceTime call for lack of what to say, or possible dejection at daughter wanting to get off phone soon as the call connects. He pinpointed my unresolved guilt at marriage breaking up, especially not being able to be there for my daughter as I would love to, and wondering if this void I experience on FaceTime woulda been different if I was still married and actively involved in raising her. Dude said there is no way to confirm if things woulda been different, re communication-wise, if I was still married and suggested I read up on cognitive development in adolescents.


Now that I think about it, I was not particularly tight with my folks even though they were very present during my early years. I recall getting anxious at the thought of what to say to my dad when we travelled to the UK together for the first time and I knew I would be seated next to him on the plane. In primary school, I vividly recall asking him to lend me money so I could buy school supplies the teacher had asked of us. Yeah, it wasn’t exactly smooth communication then, so maybe therapist is right and I should cut myself some slack. That said, I now prime myself with vids/pics of times my daughter had fun when we were together. It’s to remind me that the sometimes-surly girl on FaceTime calls is same one that always has a blast with me when we meet in the flesh…and to prevent me from inventing that app that automatically notarizes one’s will in case one (hypothetically) chooses to adjust his daughter’s inheritance downwards after each unpleasant FaceTime call.


Therapist also homed in on my hero complex. For instance, choosing to be hurt rather than hurt people. That came from my telling him I’d not mind if EJ came to me and said she’s found someone else who wants to get married and is sure he wants kids. Told him it’d hurt, but I won’t put up a fight since that’s what she ultimately wants and chances are I can’t give her that assurance right this moment. Didn’t discuss my nookie issue and don’t know if that’s gonna come up ‘cos that’s another thing I feel desperately guilty of. Can’t keep EJ hanging on forever, but it won’t bode well for our future if I can’t resolve the nookie thang before I commit. I have discussed this with God and reckon first stage is to prevent females from coming to apartment. It appears once a female stops by, especially one where there’s been stuff with in the past, it’s very likely stuff will recur.


I have decided anyone that wants to hang now will have to settle for a public setting, and that’s what happened when I got a call from a former cleaning lady at the office that always says she misses me. Now I am not so sure if it’s ‘cos her English isn’t tip top she knows no other way to get past hello, but I am avoiding her like the plague. Between her passable English and my piss poor Arabic I got the impression on the phone yesterday that she wanted to stop by mine “just to have soda and only soda”, since she hasn’t seen me in a while. Nope, soda must be in public then. Can’t be getting tempted in the canicular heat ennui-related lust of Juba.


Didn’t realize how much I missed my crib in Juba ‘cos was never comfy comfy during time I spent in Lagos over Xmas. Probably ‘cos I was meant to move to new apartment and as that wasn’t ready, I had to stay in a small bedroom the ladies I sublet Lagos crib to were kind enough to give me. I normally have the master bedroom as I contribute towards rent, but since I was so sure I would be moving out by December I failed to contribute towards the rent and told the ladies they had carte blanche to my things out of the largest bedroom, since they are paying the entire rent and all. Well, when I contracted Covid I had to inform them and, as they needed to disinfect the house, I was forced to move into a short-let apartment for the last week of my stay in Lagos.


Yup, I too am a ‘Rona survivor. I reckon I caught it from my uncle Wilson as he’s the last person I saw on January 1st, and I first exhibited symptoms on January 3rd when I went to Beachland to see mom. I believe I may have given it to mom too. Thanks God she’s back to normal now and so is Uncle Wilson, after a stint in the ICU. Yup, this second wave ain’t no joke. No longer does one hear of a friend of a friend that caught it, one now knows peeps that have died from it.


Spent a month in Lagos for the Xmas holidays, unlike normal 2 weeks I am used to. Mostly extended stay due to a business associate I was expecting from India, but as his flight kept getting moved, I couldn’t wait anymore and took a Covid test on January 11th so I could return to Juba on the 13th. By the time the test results came in on January 12th, I had no symptoms, but the positive result confirmed the body aches, lack of appetite, headaches and fever I suffered the week prior was actually Covid. Boy, I felt miserable. I shoulda known it was Covid after I rejected plantain, ice cream, even chocolates. Was sorta hoping my reduced sugar craving would remain once I was fully cured, but I regret to say I am back to quaffing down chocolates. I am still not as keen on meat as I was prior to catching the ‘Rona, so maybe once I am done with stash of peppered turkey from Nigeria, I could give vegetarianism a go. I love fruits so replacing meat with fish and vegetables shouldn’t be much of a stretch, right?


Another reason that complicated my stay in Lagos was the office was shut down due to Covid, so couldn’t access it and work as I normally would - working with a computer on lap while seated upright in bed isn’t the most appealing. Thus, I procrastinated on responding to mails and am currently paying for my sins daily by working to reduce backlog of mails and finessing different ways to say, “apologies for my uber late response”. Being away from Juba that long made it finally sink in that my other problem, aside from nookie, is indeed procrastination. I mean, look how long it’s taken me since the last blog! I didn’t tell y’all – ‘cos you were too lazy to blog, duh - I was invited to drop my name in the hat for a CEO search, though never got past the first stage. Now I realize I wasn’t ready ‘cos if I couldn’t keep up with mails for the small outfit I run in Juba while being away for just a month, then how am I supposed to keep abreast of the moving parts for a company with 300+ people? There’s a lot of work to get done inside of me.


One of such it seems is getting to grips with our new time zone in Juba. From February 1st, South Sudan is now 1hr behind East African Time (EAT) and on same time zone as Sudan and Egypt. No one quite knows what prompted the government to make the change, but they failed miserably in sensitizing the public ahead of time. On the official day the change took effect, I heard my neighbour start his car at 6am (former 7am) and cracked up while lying in bed. Mate’s gym instructor showed up at 5am as he thought it was 6am. When I go running now at 630am, it’s all bright and there’s more foot and motor traffic than before the time change. The other day, Sandra the new cleaning lady nearly walked in on me naked as she usually shows up to clean apartment at 9am (when I would normally be in the office), but it was now 8am. Speaking of Sandra, I had hoped the new year or time zone change woulda effected a change in her too, but alas. This lady still washes my towels EVERY day but leaves bedsheets until I pull them off the bed myself. I don’t get it. I have decided to toss off my Gallionic toga and tell her (when next I work from home) to quit washing towels until I put them in the laundry basket.


Man, just realized I am normally supposed to be in London right about now, so I can be around for my daughter’s birthday. But after experience last November when I basically spent a month indoors due to the lockdown, it doesn’t make sense to travel until things ease off. Hope my daughter doesn’t write a book about my missing her birthdays when she’s grown up. Speaking of, I was at a loss at what to get her for a birthday, so settled on a customized pink hoodie. Normally, I would ask the ex, but she and I are not on the best of terms currently. Long story. During last Sunday’s FaceTime call, I asked my daughter what she wanted for her birthday and she asked if I could afford a virtual reality game. Huh? She wants me to create a virtual reality game where she’s the star and can choose to go on various adventures. Na so.


Fasting and praying on how best to approach ex about spending more time with my daughter, as opposed to the cumulative 7-8 hrs I get with her whenever I am in the UK. Not that I didn’t want to earlier, but last thing I want is us arguing in presence of my daughter. Always felt parents should never fight in front of kids and still feel the same. Need my daughter to know my (vast) side of the family, but not keen on going back to court to secure additional access Hoping we can come to an agreement seeing as I’ve been doing this whole supervised visit thang for over 4 years now. I shoulda demonstrated by now that ex’s projected fears of my absconding with daughter ain’t in my DNA. Need to discuss this with lawyer first, the next time I am in Uganda.


Speaking of Uganda, you know girl I liked, the one with the dimples one could swim in? She’s married. Saw her profile pic when I sent her a message last weekend to enquire of her wellbeing, after she told me she lost a close friend due to Covid. Sent my congrats after viewing profile pic of her wedding and asked when she got married. “January”, she replied. “Wow, you didn’t invite me. Didn’t think I’d come?” She then went on about how she told me about her wedding and I probably thought she was joking. I couldn’t recall in the slightest any such conversation, until she said she had mentioned it when we were in Mombasa together. “But that was in December 2019”, I responded. “How was I supposed to remember stuff from over a year ago, and you never mentioned you were getting hitched in January even though we exchanged Xmas greetings”. “No, I got married in January 2020”, she responded. “I am expecting my first child in a few months”. U what?!


I was lost for words. I asked her to put herself in my shoes. Would she take me seriously if we spent 2 consecutive weekends together in Kenya and then she hinted at getting hitched a month from then? Well, guys do that all the time so maybe I am expecting too much from this lady. I mean I have a mate who slept with a lady on the evening of his wedding night while his heavily pregnant wife was busy recounting the events of her wedding day with her friends and relatives. Okay, maybe that’s an awful example. Come to think of it, maybe I am a bit emo ‘cos I genuinely liked her. But would I have married her though? Exactly. Can’t fault the girl for going with the bird in hand.


While driving around Juba after she said what she said, I couldn’t help getting feelings all jumbled up again. I mean I am farthest from a saint and have done stuff I can’t reveal to anyone, not even y’all my confessors, but she shoulda told me, right? Especially after we hung out during my visit to Kampala in February 2020. Yup, less than month after her wedding we hung out with David once or twice, and when she left it was assumed she was headed home to her parents. Never got the “I gotta leave you guys ‘cos I am going to my husband” vibe. Had to call David to confirm my memories from February weren’t make believe. Damn.


There’s still so much to tell y’all but I gotta nap so I wake up in 3.5 hours to watch the Superbowl. Hopefully, I get emails back to manageable size soon, so I have more time to write y’all. To be honest, the main reason I am writing this today is I have a wager with a mate to publish something before EOD tomorrow (February 8th). So, Toun if you are reading this, kiss goodbye to the Spar gift voucher. Ooooiiinnn.


Tot ziens and God bless.

Comments-[ comments.]

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Articles of interest to moi (2020)

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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Life’s too short to use less than 2 ply bog roll

Hola peeps.

It’s 812pm and power has been out in apartment for past 10 minutes. Weird, as it’s never happened in any place I have resided in all my 5.5 years in Juba. Yes, we subsist on generators for power, but this is a strange experience. Feel a sense of calm though ‘cos I am flying out tomorrow. Yup, finally gonna taste air in a different country for first time since March 18th.

Was gonna say last night was first time I had great sleep since the weekend, but was startled awake at 5am this morning with a wet dream. Didn’t know I still had those. Didn’t think amorous thoughts b4 bed, especially since I have been doing God’s Word First Word, God’s Word Last Word (GWFW-GWLW) gleaned from Rick Warren’s podcast, where one reads the Bible first thing in the morning and last thing before one goes to bed as a way of ensuing one remains God-centred throughout the day, so I don’t know what coulda necessitated the morning spill. Oh, power’s back on. The guys musta ran outta diesel and didn’t realize it.

I believe GEFW-GWLW has helped, especially with work and being patient with peeps; also, with avoiding nookie. In addition to GWFW-GWLW, I have taken on Dr Warren’s suggestion to choose 10 minutes a day for quiet reflection and listening to God. Been doing that for 2 weeks now and it ain’t easy focusing on keeping mind clear to hear from God. Not sure if God’s spoken to me yet, but the second or third day after I started it I had the most contented day ever. Don’t know how to explain it but everything was just breezy. I woke up at usual time and wasn’t tired, did abs workout and still have sufficient time to leave the apartment earlier than normal, work went great, etc. No day has been like that since, but some days I get prompted to reach out to certain people just to say hi. Was that God talking to me?

Wait, come to think of it I saw Ralph Tresvant’s new video All Mine on YouTube before bed last night and though lady in video had a penchant for floating around in barely-there clothes that enhanced her cleavage, I didn’t think about her much so that couldn’t have been reason for wet dream, could it? If you ask me, I think it’s body’s reaction to finally leaving Juba after 4.5 months. I suspect this because this morning I beat my 10km record by over a minute! Maybe I’d hedge my bets by watching the All Mine vid on loop the night before a marathon.

This trip almost didn’t happen as though I did a Covid-19 test on Monday and was found negative, whoever wrote the report spelled my last name wrong and assigned my gender as female. Thank God a mate knew someone at the center who was able to rectify the issue. I am off to Nairobi for 3 days, Turkey for 9 days, back to Nairobi for 3 days and then return to Juba, where the health authorities can choose to quarantine me in my home for all I care. Just need to get on a plane again. By the way, I chose Turkey ‘cos no Covid results are required prior to entry. Hoped the UK woulda rescinded their 14-day home isolation policy by now, but if they don’t by next month I am still gonna go there, just so I see my daughter. Need to revive the spark in our relationship as the weekly FaceTime calls haven’t improved one bit. It’s been like watching paint dry for both of us.

Travel’s coming at right time ‘cos ijebu garri’s long run out and electric toothbrush has gone kaput. Eerie as same happened to EJ’s toothbrush a week before mine. You know how certain couples start to look alike after being married for a while and female roommates’ periods tend to sync, is that what’s happening to EJ and I? ‘Cos it’s a long-distance relationship, we don’t spend enough time together to take on each other’s physical features, could that be why our electric toothbrushes died at same time? Hmmm.

So chuffed to leave Juba I wrote out a packing list last week and packed for the trip yesterday. All’s syncing in properly for trip as my lower back’s no longer hurting as much. You see, the good thang about being immured in Juba because of Covid is I have taken on greater physical endeavours. Did another self-marathon, though at a slower pace (42.2km in 4hrs 21 mins and 50 secs), and during kickboxing class I have been sparring with a heavyweight. He’s strictly a boxer so apart from sparring I have been trying to match him in feats of strength, and that’s how I messed up lower back. We decided to flip trailer tyres as part of our physical training 3 weeks ago and back’s been hurting since. Just so you know, left pinky finger and big toe are still hurting so the Darfurian ended up causing me great pain for nothing. Drats. Must try a Turkish massage, either in Istanbul or Cappadocia, to see if it alleviates my pain. Running mate from Juba’s already in Turkey so she’s gonna be my travel guide. Can’t wait.

Man, it’s been a while since we communicated; how have y’all been? A member of the running club’s relocating to Addis Ababa this week, like another colleague who left few weeks ago. We used to train together for the Paris marathon and jointly decided to skip it until next year as not sure the race’s gonna hold on rescheduled November date. Since I no longer have these guys in Juba, aim’s to attempt a solo marathon at least once a quarter so I will be prepped by time next marathon comes along, if/when the world’s back to normal. Due to intense running, some female remarked about my uber skinny frame yesterday. Hey, abs are tighter than ever so it ain’t all bad.

During the send-off shindig for the guy that went to Addis last month, a pal brought along spiked cookies. In fairness to him he told me they were spiked, but I didn’t believe him. They tasted nice so ate two and I thank God they didn’t kick in until 5+ hrs later. That days was Independence Day here and as I drove to a bar to pick up 2 girls – one a longtime friend and the other a friend she had recently introduced me to – there were more check points than usual around that time of the night. You see, the last time war broke out in 2016 was around Independence Day so folk get extra jittery around that date, with increased military presence on the roads and car searches. I usually avoid driving around the area where the bar’s located at night, but since the ladies didn’t have a ride I volunteered to pick them up. Foolish idea as got extorted at 3 check points for being the foreigner that I am. Was so glad the effect of the weed cookies didn’t kick in until I was safely back home.

Ca 20 mins after we got to the apartment, the going-away party ended so I left the ladies watching TV in living room while I went to bedroom to work as had to submit a report the next day. Was already pissed at the ladies as they were being extra belligerent at the military checkpoint and, of course, I was the one to bear the brunt of the soldiers’ actions. Took me back to time December 2000, when I returned to Lagos from the UK for the Xmas break and mate and I left a party to drop off a female friend at her crib. As was usual then, there was scarcity of refined petroleum products, but as mate was interested in my female friend he offered to drop her at home. We were driving from Anthony Village to Allen Avenue when we came across a check point at the turn before Opebi Rd. The police officers searched the car and fake indignation when they saw a jerry can of petrol. They accused us of smuggling petrol and our appeals to the contrary fell on deaf years, even when we offered to pour the petrol into the car’s gas tank to demonstrate we had no intentions of selling the fuel at a mark-up. The natural order of things woulda been us haggling over how much the officers would require to return the can of petrol to us, but this girl wouldn’t have it. She went on and on about how corrupt they were and how she’d take it up with her dad – who was then a member of the House of Representatives. The officers got mad and told her to do her worst. As she went on and on, my mate and I got hairs on our balls back and joined her in berating them, all the while thinking once we got to her house she’d get one of her dad’s orderlies to return with us. So we left the can of petrol and drove off to her house, cussing the police all the way. As we got to her crib, she hopped out and said goodbye. Goodbye?! No one’s coming back with us to scare the policemen? “Oh, sorry, my dad’s in Abuja”, she said. Shite. My friend and I drove back to the checkpoint and did the most groveling we had ever done in our lives to get the officers to accept money in exchange for the fuel, which we promptly poured into the gas tank. The actions of the two drunk birds on South Sudan’s Independence Day was eerily similar.

So like I was saying, after getting stripped of all the money I had on me and we drove home, the weed kicked in. Efforts at preparing a PowerPoint presentation for the next day’s deadline proved abortive as the text font appeared to increase and decrease at same time, and my senses became acutely sharp. Kept hearing water gushing in the bathroom even though no one was in there; I know ‘cos I checked……repeatedly. I felt very, very weird. Stopped smoking weed around 1992/93 and stopped drinking a year afterwards so couldn’t fathom what I was feeling. I became uber prayerful when girls said they had to leave and knew I would have to drive to a nearby hotel to get a boda. Reversing my car outta the compound musta taken all of 5 mins as I kept checking and rechecking and didn’t let the girls in the car until I had maneuvered it successfully out of the compound. During the 5 min drive to the hotel I made sure to take the back routes while muttering prayers under my breath, and still can’t explain how/when I got to the hotel. They hopped out and I prayed again as I drove home. Mind kept flashing to that scene in The Wolf of Wall Street where Leo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill drive while high and believe they did a credible job only to return the next morning to find the car in ruins. Had a difficult time sleeping once I got back to apartment and was still buzzing when I woke up, but car was fine. Somehow drove to the office and it wasn’t until 2pm – about 20hrs after consuming the cookies – I was back to normal. Don’t do drugs, kids.

If that was only incident that occurred since last blog entry that woulda been more than enough, but 2 weeks later I invited mate’s friend to lunch, and she came along with another friend. That’s when I knew what kinda chick she was. Oh, forgot to mention that on night I brought them to the party, while I was attempting to work in the room the girls raided my fridge. I mean it was their first time in my home and they shoulda at least have asked before diving into the refrigerator, but I let that slide. So she brings her friend along for lunch and I am thinking it’s definitely the last time I am inviting her out. After the meal she musta signaled her friend to give us some space ‘cos that’s when she asked if I’d be her sponsor. I’ve been in East Africa long enough to know “sponsor” means a sugar daddy - a glucose guardian, if you will – but I still couldn’t believe the gall. I joked that I needed a sponsor myself and she went into a spiel about how our mutual friend had introduced me to her thinking I’d be her sponsor, and if I ain’t keen to sponsor her she’d introduce me to someone else. U what?! Couldn’t even fathom how her friend could think I am that way inclined. I mean I hadn’t seen her in yonks, but last time we saw each other often it’s cos I used to get my mani+pedi done at the salon she worked at. What part of that lent itself to my being viewed as sugar daddy material? I kept my distance and didn’t hear from Lunch Lady again until this past long weekend when she sent a message wondering why I hadn’t invited her for lunch. The gall.

Downside of being stuck in Juba this long’s that I’ve found myself talking to women I’d normally ignore. For instance, Lunch Lady’s been in Juba since 2015 and never bumped into her until last month, probably ‘cos, pre-Covid, I was always out of the country. A few weeks before I met Lunch Lady at friend’s lounge, I bumped into another girl at same venue. Now mind you, I am trying to avoid nookie so it’s mostly to expand circle of folks I hang with that I am not averse to meeting these females. This other lady’s from Tanzania and stood out probably ‘cos of her lighter-than-everyone-in-the-place complexion. Struck up a conversation and agreed to meet for a meal during the week. Meal went great and so was conversation. I’da known something was up when we spoke a few days later while she was hanging with her friends and she put me on the phone with them. Few nights after that, I agreed to meet up with them at the lounge and by time I get there they are all wasted. Worse, the TZ cutie was all over me, calling me baby. Huh? When I excused myself to hang out with the owner of the lounge, she and her friends got angry and at some point she told the owner of the bar she was willing to fight for me. Once I heard that, I took her aside to try calm her down, but she surprised me by saying she’s interested in a relationship with me. Told her plainly that I wasn’t down for same. Put her behaviour down to alcohol, especially after she called the next day to apologize for her actions. She hasn’t reached out since though. Need to find another place to hang out at ‘cos since my friend’s lounge’s new, it’s everyone’s favorite hangout spot in Juba. Place is packed every night, Covid or no Covid.

Until I find another place, being friends with owner of the most popular lounge in Juba has been quite advantageous, if one discounts class of their female clientele. The owner hooked me up with her chef, who has been coming to mine once a week for past 2 months. Chef’s called Vincent and I swear I woulda proposed to him if he wasn’t married. Dude can cook! I have been in Juba this long and only tasted plantain when a friend based in Yambio sent some over. Vincent so knows his way around Juba markets that he gets me catfish and plantain regularly. Got him recipes for mosa and jollof rice and he makes them! I am soooo giddy. I come home sometimes to find little surprises, like the day he made a killer meal of onion bhajis or last month when he prepared chilli poppers. ‘Cos apartment’s small and not well ventilated the smell of plantain usually wafts onto clothes in bedroom. Food tastes so good I wear the clothes with pride. Doesn’t even bother me one bit that animals now trail me when I go running. Yup, some days I actually eschew cologne and dab back of ears and inside of wrists with vegetable oil instead. When folk comment on it I stick chest out and declaim with pride I use Eau de Ororo.

Work has been crazy hectic but made progress despite the circumstances. Should be especially thankful as have neighbors whose contracts ended in April, but they haven’t been able to leave the country as Naija’s airspace remains closed. I think one of the guys is depressed as he mostly stays indoors and refuses all efforts to get him to hang out. The dolorous sight of him makes me thankful I am busy. That said, I got frustrated a few months back as some joker was introduced to us by some higher-ups in government for assistance in acquiring equipment. Now I am all for helping build local capacity so dived into the task and put my company’s reputation on the line only for the punk to start avoiding calls and making promises ad infinitum. Can’t remember last time I had a conniption, but this tinhorn brought it out. If you don’t have money, say so.

Oh snap, almost forgot to tell y’all about an unexpected house guest that caused similar agita. A friend, well more like an acquaintance, showed up at my doorstep unannounced asking if she could crash for 2 nights while she sorts out a place as she had been abruptly kicked outta her hotel. At the time I didn’t think too much about why she came to me of all the people in Juba. Plus, her dad lives in Juba, albeit far away from the central area, and assumed she didn’t wanna stay with him to avoid returning home after late nights at mate’s lounge. Well, 2 nights extended to 7 and by 5th night I was getting uncomfortable ‘cos not only was my house guest acting like a li’l princess she kept drinking my expensive, hard-to-find cans of malt. The first night she moved in I offered her the couch and she huffed and puffed and said I’d sacrifice my bed for her since she’s a guest. I ignored that, as 2ice in the past when we have hung out and it was too late to drive her home I offered her the bed and slept on the couch. But that was a one-off, well two-off, and it was only for a night each time. She kept complaining about this even as she exceeded the number of nights she had promised to spend here. At night, I would shut the door separating the living room and bedroom to grant her privacy, but one morning while doing HIIT she knocked on the door and I assumed maybe she needed to use the bathroom, but it was to ask me to reduce the sound of the HIIT instruction video playing on my iPad as it was disturbing her sleep. Couldn’t believe my ears. Returned from work that day determined to have a talk with her about her needing to move. Turned out to be unnecessary as she told me she had secured a lease. Hallelujah.

Sometime about her 5th night here, not sure if it was her behaviour or the diminishing malt stash – it was probably both - that made me offer to ask my landlord if they had a spare apartment to let her, but reckon that musta pissed her off ‘cos a week after she got her place I sent a message to ask how she was settling down, but she didn’t respond. Same thang after I sent a greeting on her birthday. Few weeks ago, I saw her at mate’s lounge and she purposely avoided me. Good riddance. Can now freely walk around apartment in boxer shorts while drinking malt and dreaming of things to do in Nairobi and Istanbul. Yeah, life’s good.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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Monday, June 08, 2020

Once bitten, twice a tetanus injection

Hola peeps. Happy New Month as loadsa Nigerians have wished me. Damn, I hate that phrase. When did that become a thang? 

Just came in from the loo, for the second time this evening. Fear it musta been the goat meat I had for lunch. Smelt a bit rank while packing it last night but didn’t wanna waste it and to be honest it didn’t taste weird after heating it in microwave at maximum setting for a total of 6 minutes – 3 mins, shake bowl vigorously, then heat for another 3 mins. Now I am paying for it. Hope it clears my system tonight as plan to do a 10km run before work tomorrow morning.

How y’all been? Can’t wait for Covid to end, man, as it’s cramped every aspect of my life. My garri stash is almost done and snack reservoir has emptied so have been forced to purchase biscuits from nearby grocery store. Although it’s the largest supermarket in Juba their biscuit choices leave a lot to be desired; their faux Bourbon biscuit leaves a chalky aftertaste. The other day, I had to get Kelloggs Cornflakes through someone who knew someone who knew a guy who got it off the back of a truck pre-Covid ‘cos all major supermarkets had only Weetabix. This demonstrates supply chain of consumer goods into Juba is probably run by a monopoly. Now one would think this realization would be catalyst enough to come up with a business idea to provide competition, but only idea that’s been foremost on my mind lately is an e-notary public app, something akin to Why? ‘Cos lately, weekly calls with my daughter have been strenuous to say the least.

Dunno if it’s being stuck at home for months on end or what, but she’s been particularly curt these past weeks; giving me a 5-minute time limit for our weekly conversations and it hasn’t helped that she no longer desires to do our Word Of The Week exercises. You see, I updated my will once Covid-19 started sweeping through the world. Not that I was scared or anything but wanted to be prepared just in case. Well, after every dour Facetime session I am tempted to reduce daughter’s part of my inheritance by 5%. Hence, the desire for a notary public app so I get to readily adjust will as I deem fit and get it notarized pronto. Y’all think I am kidding, huh? Just you wait ‘til I launch an IPO after the app blows up.

Man, I miss flying!!! Y’all must be tired of hearing this by now but I really do. Never knew how monotonous my life in Juba was until I couldn’t leave the country. It’s mostly wake up, morning run or exercise, work, gym, sleep. Rinse and repeat. Might have to introduce myself to neighbours as this routine is making me pull my goatee out. Travel during this time woulda been perfect too as woulda been able to join one of the anti-racism protests around the world in solidarity with what’s happening in the US. This time really could be different as it appears peeps have had enough. The videos of police crackdowns on protesters have been beyond shocking. To think they could do this when they are being recorded. Prior to the protests, the Amy Cooper episode in Central Park 
left a big hole. For days I couldn’t get over this weight of sadness when thinking of the harm that coulda happened to the birdwatcher Chris Cooper if the police had shown up and there was no video supporting his claim. I don’t get how in 2020 folk still detest each other primarily cos of their skin tone. Shocking.

Now folk are taking their lives in their hands to protest despite Covid. That’s the spirit. Here in South Sudan, the Covid cases have been going up exponentially but no one seems to give much of a hoot. Well, except Chief. Since dude heard that a third of the ruling cabinet tested positive for Covid-19 he enquiries weekly as to my health and eating habits, ‘cos I used to be diabetic and it’s been reported Type 2 diabetes is one of the pre-existing conditions that pose a higher risk of Covid. Dude appears to think I am big shot in South Sudan ‘cos he implied I’d be careful since I “hobnob with the top people”. Ha ha. It ain’t like I don’t care about Covid but what’s one supposed to do? I have a new chef Vincent who comes to apartment once a week. Do I know where he’s been before arriving at apartment? Same with cleaning lady Harriet who shows up every weekday. What about when I go running in the streets? What about my driver? What about kickboxing class? No way to avoid interacting with folk so I don’t change my schedule. I only wear a mask – designed like Bane's 
- when I am about to enter office as it’s one of the stipulations of the landlord. Otherwise, I don’t bother.
Met some friends for lunch last week and they are convinced they had Covid-19. They both had aching joints, raging fevers at night, days with anosmia and ageusia, breathing problems. Unfortunately, heard of a Nigerian lady here that died two weekends ago. Complained of joint pains but was treated for arthritis. A couple of days later she developed breathing problems, but no hospital would take her in ‘cos they suspected she had Covid and after 4 hours of driving around she gave up the ghost. Guess Chief’s right to be worried after all.

Like I mentioned, I haven’t stopped regular activities and proud to announce I completed first marathon two Sundays ago. It was a solo 42.1km run that I completed in 4hrs 9 mins and 5 secs. I took a somewhat different route than I normally run so I wouldn’t be able to keep track of how much distance I covered. By the time I glanced at watch and realized I had done 41km I was so chuffed I tried to sprint but knees wouldn’t cooperate so I continued my waddle and kept glancing at watch until it hit 42.1km. As soon as I got to that mark it appeared as if I couldn’t move anymore, even walking proved difficult. I took a boda to apartment complex and it took all I could muster to walk up the stairs. Drank ijebu garri, then reached into fridge and drank all I could find; we talking soda, water, even goat meat stew. Rested for about 45mins, showered and went for kickboxing class. Must tell you I didn’t believe it would work, but placed anti-chafing cream on inner thighs, ankles, nipples and under armpits before marathon and when I was done and about to shower I noticed bottom of scrotum hurt. It then dawned on me I hadn’t placed anti-chafing cream there before run, so maybe it’s not sophism after all. Ran with compression socks as well. Need to figure out a way to check if they had any effect too.

During kickboxing class I couldn’t lift feet, so did a listless version of hitting the punching bag as had little or no energy. Had more than enough energy to crack up though after some dude showed up enquiring about a class that could teach him to “do 180 degree splits like van Damme”. Wait, that’s only reason you wanna take kickboxing classes for? Wow. Drove home after class, showered and noticed ball sack chafe again while toweling off. Used straws to guzzle a Sprite and a malt drink - found it at same spot where they house stuff that fall off trucks – at same time. Watched season 5 of Better Call Saul and worked from home the following day as couldn’t be bothered to leave bedroom. For the entire week after the marathon I’d wake up every morning at 6am to turn alarm off and be so tired I’d return to bed for at least another hour before leaving for the office. During these 1-hr morning naps I’d have the craziest dreams. The other day, I dreamt I was in Nigeria wearing knee-length denim shorts while skate-boarding to the filming of a soap opera. At the studio I bumped into folk I hadn’t seen for ages like my girlfriend from 2005/6, best-man at my wedding who was wearing a sparkly jacket, mate from secondary school who’s now outta the closet wore a dress for some reason, and some others I can’t remember now.

Contrast that with my first attempt at a marathon on May 9th. Could only manage 34.8km that day and did it in 3hrs 25mins and 54secs. Prior to the run, I had envisioned myself sprinting at the end and hitting chest, a la Kipchoge after his record-breaking sub-2hr marathon, and being able to go for kickboxing class afterwards. Had planned to do usual 10km loop 4.21 times, but after 1st loop I decided to try out a different route and was buzzing even after 21km. Then, I went along a route that had loads peaks and troughs with no shade, so when the sun came out it was brutal. Had wanted to stop along the way multiple times but kept willing self to go on. Gave up when I couldn’t take the heat anymore. Didn’t help that the thought of ijebu garri in ice cold water, that I usually use to motivate self during last km of runs to finish strong, was foremost on mind after 21km. I pushed it aside and kept prodding on with 1km lap time steadily increasing. I’d look at watch and tell myself, “okay at least you are maintaining under 5.5mins per km”, then it became, “let’s not go to 6km per km”, then it was, “we mustn’t reach 7km per km”. The mental part was the hardest ‘cos I got over bum big toe on left foot by km 3, then aching left knee became dominant pain and think I got over that by km 15. Ache that stayed the longest was lower back, then it became chest and switched to lower back again. Got distracted at km 12 by colleague from the Ministry of Petroleum riding a bike, then at km 16 it was a friend from the Nigerian embassy. I welcomed those “distractions” as they gave me stuff to think about. Unfortunately, didn’t bump into more people I knew and the mental part was hardest of all. Just to fill head for 3.5hrs I went through all the gospel songs I knew, then all the Bible passages I could remember, prayed for every member of family, then extended family, then for my current employers and everybody I could remember in every company I had worked in, and then blank. It was all so draining.

By the time I stopped running I was ca 1.5km from my crib so chose to walk back, taking stops along the way to flex knees (‘cos both knees were shot) and to consider what had hurt me in life to make me consider running such distances. Stumbled into apartment, turned on the aircon and crouched into a fetal position on couch while aircon blew over me. Got up after 5 mins and struggled to get dry ice pack on knees. Opened a bottle of Vitamalt Ginger and went back to fetal position. About 15 mins in I took off clothes, had a shower and was about to dip feet in bowl of Epsom salt when the security guard informed me a neighbour needed me to move car. Tossed car key to security to get neighbour to move car himself, but he told me the dude’s still learning to drive. And y’all still try to convince me I am not starring in the black version of The Truman Show. Waddled downstairs with extreme difficulty and car wouldn’t start despite several tries. Ahem. Eventually got in neighbour’s car and maneuvered his car out from front of mine while I contacted the mechanic. Called Coach and told him I won’t make it as car’s not starting. Even if car was working and pulled by chariots no way I’da made it to kickboxing class. Returned to apartment and dipped feet in Epsom salt bath while I drank garri. As it was a special occasion – longest solo run ever – I added some powdered milk to garri as reward.  After a few hours, I went to Aminarrgghh for a massage and she dealt with my hurting parts but not as bad as The Darfurian.

Surprisingly, during the 42.1km run my mind wasn’t trammeled by thoughts of what’s next, maybe ‘cos I had gone through that on 1st marathon attempt. Coincidentally, had been listening to Jodeci on repeat in car few weeks before run so kept reciting their songs, in between gospel songs, and imagining self bringing back black baggy leather pants, black cut-off denims, black boots and a black White Sox hat. Yup, it’s the gospel according to Jodeci. Now that I think of it, maybe that’s what I should do post-Covid. Yeah. Heck yeah! ‘Cos abs are back in tip-top shape, I plan to walk around airports shirtless like K-Ci Hailey. Not sure anyone would arrest me ‘cos in a post-Covid world everyone would probably just be happy to be alive and concern themselves primarily with:
what to do with leftover cloth facemasks;
how to fit travel blankets, pillows and bedsheets into carry-on bags for flights;
how to source for ventilators since hip-hop artistes would regard them as de rigueur bling for their socially distant music videos;
what to wear for Halloween as everyone is tired of wearing masks;
whether to get a pied-a-terre since folks are scared to stay in hotels or Airbnbs;
if the “we already have the experience” platform of the presidential ticket of Jim Carrey and Antonio Banderas would sway US voters in 4 years’ time. Don’t worry, you’ll get this joke in a few weeks.

It’s rumoured Juba airport’s set to resume international flights at end of the month. Won’t risk parading shirtless in Juba airport ‘cos these guys don’t joke. I recall some years back when a female pal returning to Uganda was prevented from boarding ‘cos she wore short shorts. The screener instructed her to “go wear something more decent”. Had to plead with him before he acquiesced. Either way, it won’t matter as long as countries in the region remain shut or insist on 14-day quarantine for visitors. I hear Spain won’t require visitors to quarantine from July 1st so if Juba airport’s opened then I’ll be heading to Europe for some well-deserved R&R. Hopefully things settle down by August so I can go see daughter in the UK. Wonder if she’ll still have any inheritance by then.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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