Posts Tagged ‘travel’

So, have you been following the story?

Part one is here,

and

Part two is here.

You’re welcome!! Now, let’s get on with part three!

Hello Johannesburg! Na wa… First thing? There was a certain coldness I saw with the officials at the airport, seriously. I can’t explain, and I don’t want to sound prejudiced to all the stories I’d heard about the place, but there was that coldness I noticed.

Anyway, so when it got to my turn I walked up to the officer and said why I was in the country and that I was leaving in 48 hours. He asked a few questions about my visa and while I was rolling my eyes (in my mind), I noticed some guy trying to explain away his life to another officer and the officer repeatedly saying, “ I don’ believe you, I don’t believe you will leave.” No the young man wasn’t Nigerian; his accent was from a region (in Africa) I won’t mention because I couldn’t see his passport so I’m not sure.

As I took my passport back and walked away, I wondered if they would bounce him, and what fine his country would have to pay. And then I thought about a world so equal (or close to equal) that people could come and go as they pleased. Sigh.

Got my suitcase and the driver was waiting. His name is/was Max, and he gave us quite the tour as we drove to 20 West, Morningside, somewhere in Sandton. Benefit of hindsight, I wouldn’t have changed so much money for a 48 hour trip; now I have to find/squeeze another trip to SA to spend it. I’ll explain this sentence later.

On the way, we listened to radio, and at some point a song came on which I heard for the first time in San Antonio last Christmas. Guess what I did? I rang my cousin Chuma so he could hear the song! Lol! Such a laugh.

20 West is beautiful. Repeat after me, 20 West is beautiful. It’s both a hotel and self-catered apartments, and somehow, because my room was given out by mistake, I was upgraded to a self-catered apartment. Thank Jesus for mistakes that turn out to be blessings. Somebody shout halleluyah!

I went upstairs, and after oohing and aahing over the place, I took pictures! Want to see? Of course you do!

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All of this and I’m just here for two days? Please, amen to another trip already!!

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I gushed about the view so much I forgot to take a picture! Lol…

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Err, my photography skills were not up to the point of getting everything in this room. I missed the shower (left the toilet bowl out intentionally though, nothing special there biko)

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Then I hid my #FitFam uniform in a closet and ordered the juiciest burger I’ve had in a bit, complete with an extra helping of avocado. And a hot chocolate ( I know, I can’t be helped). And then I went to sleep. Peaceful sleep.

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Look at all that cheese… get in there!!

 

Woke up a couple hours later, caught up with Ruth Aine (who I first met in Germany in july 0f 2014), and after I spoke to friends and family, had a shower, watched a bit of TV, it was dinner time.

All about the Braai

Truth is, I would have passed up on dinner if Ruth didn’t mention we were having a “braai”which is the local name for a barbecue of sorts of different types of meats. So if I said, ‘I want to braai it’, I could easily have said ‘I want to barbecue it’.

Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed. The meats weren’t super tender/exciting, and there weren’t enough options for it to really qualify.

Even the potatoes weren't all that...

Even the potatoes weren’t all that… Ah. Sausage was lovely…

But, the corn was super tasty ( we had a lot of corn), and Benjamin Mipanghi, the Food and Bar Supervisor said yes to our request for fresh custard for our brownies. That was lovely!!

You can never go wrong with fresh custard!

You can never go wrong with fresh custard!

He also told me about a local dish I know I’m going to try when next I’m in South Africa; it’s called papa and mogudu, which is a maize meal and beef/tripe/offals stew. Even though I’m not one for offals (you’ll never find me in line for ‘assorted’ meat), I’m looking forward to trying this one. Really looking forward.

Dinner over, it was back in the room for a bit more work, a bit more TV, and then bed. Not before I took this incredible picture (if I must say so myself) of the view of the pool from my floor. Incredible.

Incredible.

Incredible.

Good night everyone, come back for part four soon!!

Right! So two days ago we started on the prep and the trip to South Africa via Addis Ababa for Foresight for Development’s Africa Roundtable. Of the options I was given for travel, I chose Ethiopian Airlines because I wanted the stopover story…

Good idea or not? We’re about to find out!

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We got into Addis about 8pm, and I was starving! We had to fill out forms with our seat numbers, country of departure, etc. thanks to Ebola, and then it was time to retrieve my luggage and find the bus which would take me to the hotel I’d been allocated.

Apparently, the name of the hotel was, ‘Ethiopia’. Turned out to be horrible. Jesus Christ! The WIFI only worked in the reception, the porter was rude, the food was (I cannot explain), and the room? On and on and on, I could complain for days, and you know I’m not exactly finicky. Kai.

Looks lovely, but believe me, this explains the 'not all that glitters is gold' saying perfectly!

Looks lovely, but believe me, this explains the ‘not all that glitters is gold’ saying perfectly!

Kai. I’m just upset. However, I bought a really lovely satchel I want to use as a laptop bag. Paid $10 for it, and the strap cut before I left the country. Tourist behaviour I know.

Next morning I got dressed and went down for breakfast before the ride to the airport. Note that I slept hungry (two bottles of coke helped, but only a bit), so I was looking forward to a good meal.

The 'orange juice' tasted like all those concentrates we used to dilute in secondary school, only that this one had been diluted waaaaaaaay too much! Ended up eating only the bread roll (with their sexy butter).

The ‘orange juice’ tasted like all those concentrates we used to dilute in secondary school, only that this one had been diluted waaaaaaaay too much! Ended up eating only the bread roll (with their sexy butter)… The other things I didn’t understand.

Left for the airport and the entire stretch there was a heavily armed policeman (more like army if you asked me) every block or so. Seemed weird, too much policing biko. Also seemed like everyone was running in one direction or the other (in the name of #FitFam), sometimes completely unconcerned by oncoming cars or bikes. I asked someone and she said the punishment for a driver knocking anyone down (especially if the person dies) is life imprisonment. Wow. Premium placed on the lives of their citizens as far as I am concerned; don’t know that it means people shouldn’t have common sense sha.

I was also told that you’re encouraged not to invest in the country if you’re not Ethiopian. Like, it doesn’t profit you and the government will work to frustrate you out. So much for foreign investment that Nigerian leaders are always junketing about for.

Ah! Before I forget, the sun rises very early in Addis! Like really early! About 5am it felt like noon… and there were a lot of people playing footie when we went outside. Looks like a lot of interest in fitness if you asked me!

I was excited to be back at the airport and away from that horrible, horrible hotel. Please don’t ever go there if you want a good night’s rest. The plane to Johannesburg was a lot better (did I mention in the first post that my seat was dodgy) and the food was lovely. Sexy butter anyone?

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On this flight I watched Penguins of Madagascar (love it), and B is for Boy, a film in Igbo. B is for Boy was incredible, and even though I didn’t like the way it ended (felt like the writer got tired and just wrote ‘the end’ in the middle of the story), it was a good film, telling the struggles of women trying for male kids because of tradition. It was very touching, the tribulation she suffered, and reinforced for me that in a marriage, the strongest tag team is between the man and wife. Not the man and his mother. Meaning that we (myself included) have nothing (or should have nothing) to do with grown ass men who great and intelligent and gorgeous and everything else that are, still work around connected to their moms via an umbilical cord made of heavy metal. Know any such people? Sigh. Back to the movie, it was really good, I remember tearing up at some point.

We touched down, and people started clapping. I was confused. No turbulence, no incident, nothing. Why clap? I mean I’ve heard tales of people clapping on the Dubai to Lagos route but I didn’t understand this one at all! Na wa.

By the way, Ethiopian ladies are beautiful. And their hips don’t lie! Gentle reminder for me to pick up on my squats, not about to ‘carry last’ biko.

Also seems like everyone is married. I don’t think I saw any lady without a ring on her ‘wedding finger’ Not one. Hian. Pressure us small small biko; there’s already so much pressure at home. Sigh.

Part three’s up in a few days, and it’s all about Johannesburg! Don’t miss it!

 

 

Sometime in February I got an email from someone representing some people I’ve been writing for for a little while, inviting me to a Roundtable Discussion in March. First off, I didn’t see the time to attend (was that busy I promise you). Second, I wasn’t sure if it was a hoax. So I clicked ‘maybe’ on the calendar invite and let it go.

Two days to the day when we were supposed to indicate by I got a reminder and then I read the email properly! Somehow I just said I’d like to attend. And then boom, invitation letter, choosing a flight path, any dietary requirements, all of that started to happen.

This is the chronicle of my first ever trip to South Africa, noting of course the trip (to and fro), the people, the food, the event itself, and any other business. Ready for it? Let’s start with,

The Prep!

So, I went to VFS to drop off my application, and there I found that my Yellow Card was expired (last time I needed it was in 2010) so I had to run off to the Ministry of Health, navigate the treacherous area (no thanks to road blocks and road diversions because of Boko Haram) and dash to get a new one. Dashed back to the Application Center and was told the processing would take 45 days. Lol… Even if I was trying to get into heaven! Let’s not even talk about the meeting being like 16 days away.

I got home, spoke to a friend who spoke to a friend, and I had my passport and visa back in 4 days. Boom. Thank you Lord!

Easy bit done.

The Trip!

The night before (Friday), I was at work till 9.45pm. Sigh (some days are like that). I got home, started packing, and dozed off (thankfully it was my little suitcase otherwise I’m sure I would have slept inside! Lol. I woke up at 1.50am to pee, and then changed my nail polish, finished my packing, went back to sleep.

At 9am, I joined Ismail and Seye to conduct interviews for a potential intern for the Abuja Hub of the Global Shapers. Very interesting time, even though I was shocked on many levels; that story is here.

Interview done, I dashed back home, flung my things in the cab, and dashed to the airport. VIKO car services need to up their response time walai. I’ve written about them before so I won’t waste space complaining but there’s no point saving 1000 or 2000 but gain high blood pressure because I’m trying to reach them or their driver! Final warning guys, SMH.

Brethren, do you know it’s easier to go to Europe than it is to travel to South Africa? Hian! First off, they looked through my passport, asked for my invitation, return ticket, hotel booking, etc., and then let me go check in (that’s never been done for me, ever). While all of this was going on (I had to get the hotel reservation I was sent off my laptop), some guy walks up to me and starts mumbling about needing my help. I asked what the issue was and he said his BTA wasn’t enough. When it clicked that BTA = money I was like huh? Then he says if I don’t give him money to make up his BTA he wouldn’t be able to travel, that he needed a thousand dollars. Lol. I smiled, and just walked away.

Later, I spoke to an official who told me that South African Immigration are famous for deporting people, and the cost is borne by the home country, plus a fine, all in dollars. So, it’s only natural that they are extra vigilant with people headed there. Especially for people who aren’t frequent fliers. So they wouldn’t be letting that guy fly. Eh ya.

Finished checking in, and went upstairs. Now, my time in SA was literally for 48 hours so all I had was my hand luggage which I didn’t check in. The lady searching my box in the departure lounge had whispered about ‘something for the weekend’ but I didn’t smile or acknowledge that in any way. Then she says I need to drop my perfumes etc, and what can WE do about it. Lol. I asked her to close my box, quietly went downstairs, checked it in, and came back. This time, she wasn’t smiling. Lol. SMH.

Now, I’d asked that my flight be booked through Addis Ababa each way, only because I wanted a richer story. Other options were to go to Lagos and fly direct via South African Airlines but that didn’t sound as interesting.

Then we boarded. My neighbour wouldn’t keep quiet, even after I put my headphones on. Why do people do this? He would tap me to say something, I’d reply, put my headphones back on, only for him to tap me again! Sigh.

Ahh. The butter was sexy. I remember it as I type; shame I didn’t note the name or anything. Want to see a photo?

Now that I look at it, the salad was lovely too!

Now that I look at it, the salad was lovely too!

So that’s one! Let’s look to parts two and three and four!

Welcome to the end of March! Have you had a good month? I know I have!

Much earlier in the month, I was invited to Warri to facilitate at training for some officials from various organizations working in the Niger Delta. And I was excited, for a number of reasons. Since I ran a couple sessions late last year I discovered that training is something I really enjoy plus I hadn’t been in Warri since 199something and so I was really excited about the trip.

Flight was uneventful except I must mention that Arik Air thrive in the midst of confusion. It’s incredible! So my flight was for 8am, and I was at the airport before 7am. There was a rapidly lengthening queue, Arik Air officials doing what the Lord alone can explain because there wasn’t any progress.

And then of course people started jostling about and getting rowdy because their flights were getting announced. Guess what? They delayed the flight. Lol…

Anyway, we finally boarded the miniature plane, and off we went. Landed in Benin, and then did the 45+ minutes drive to Warri. I was taken to my lodgings, a place called Denaj Hotels. I was a little concerned when I saw these two signs but I said I’d be a good girl and not make a fuss about anything.

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This was at the bar.

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This was at the gate.

Have you noticed that when we say we’re not going to do something bad it seems like all the devils in hell relocate to our ends just to make us renege on that promise?

Children of God, the sheets had funny stains on them – not even going to hazard a guess around that. Then the toilet seat looked like there’s been a pissing contest for blindfolded guys.

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I was confused. There was no menu in the room either, and I was starving.

I called for someone to clean the bathroom (not change the room – remember, no fuss), and then I ordered jollof rice, plantain and chicken. Food came on a tray without cutlery, and the cleaner still hadn’t come.

So I went downstairs, and had to get cutlery myself, and pried a lady attendant from her phone and argument with the receptionist about her not being the person to clean my room. I ate (don’t ask any questions – I was starving), and then had a meeting where I complained to the heavens about the entire situation (by this time chill had departed), and then I spread my mom’s wrapper on the sheets, and slept. The evening, the morning, and it was time to prep for the first day of training.

First off, I woke up with some sort of itch on my arms and feet. There was no hot water. I’d finished my water and I didn’t even feel okay buying water. So, no shower, and I settled for gargling with my mouth wash.

Was I grumpy or what!! Hian! I mean it was lovely to meet the class, 21 bright-eyed people who I was supposed to be useful to, but I couldn’t shake the itch and it was all so disorienting, two mugs of my favorite brew didn’t help.

We were moved to Protea that evening, and guess what I did first? Phew… Thank you Jesus! I had a proper dinner as well, three-course type of business. Talmabout getting my groove back!

So what did I teach the class? We did an introduction to social media, tools and platforms, what their organizations might need (or not), and the personal vs corporate communication. We also learned about keeping ourselves safe online, hyperlinks, infographics, blogging, and developing articles for their organizations. Of course there were lots of things we tried our hands at (internet permitting), and I ended up creating a WordPress blog for one organization, a Facebook page for another, and personal Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for members of the class.

I also met Samson Idoko, a very brilliant young man and co-facilitator who taught Microsoft Office in a way I’ve never seen/heard it taught before. Tips, shortcuts, tricks across Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, and it was a free class for me!! I learned so much!

There was also Frank, a staff of the organization who ensured we were always overfed! God bless him, one afternoon I said I wanted fish and a salad for lunch, and here’s the fish I got! I shared mine with Samson and we gave his out – walai I would have dozed if I ate that alone!

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There was James who drove us around, and had this hilarious bad eye he would give other people who were driving dangerously. Thank you for making me smile everyday!

And the icing on the cake? The feedback from the class! I grabbed a bit of it, and then there was the email from one of the attendees, which was the sweetest thing I’ve read in a while. Sweetest.

I learned lessons about myself, about people, and about social media on this trip. Start from confirming that Lagos, Abuja are on one level with social media, and the rest of the country on a totally different level. Totally different ladies and gentlemen. It might not mean much till you juxtapose that with political communication, numbers and expectations for these elections.

And now for a shameless plug: want a social media trainer for your organization? Get in touch, already!

Warri was great, I love the class, and it was my privilege to share my skill/knowledge; massive thanks to the organizers and technical adviser for the opportunity, and for ensuring that we were comfortable. Let’s do it again!

In September 2014 I attended a service with my girl Tokes at her church, Trinity Chapel, in Barking. It was a special service, and Prophet Gilbert from Ghana was the guest minister.

His topic was “Exposure: good or bad?” and he opened up stories from the bible in ways I didn’t know were possible. See ehn, it’s one thing to read the Bible, and another thing to be given a clear/different understanding of the words you’ve read.

Anyway, let’s get on to the message right? Prophet Gilbert started by saying, “before Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the Garden of Eden they were naked and they knew it. It was the exposure (their eyes being ‘opened’) after eating that brought shame.

In the same way, sometimes we would lead better lives if we hadn’t become ‘exposed’ to certain things/new knowledge. Some things we become aware of destroy us. What have you suddenly become discontented with because you’ve been exposed to something else? How many spouses/partners are no longer happy with what their partners bring home because they’ve heard so-and-so have it better?

Enlightenment should bring development/improvement, not the comparison that leads to destruction. The Bible says that, “comparing themselves with themselves, they became unwise”.

Now, on the flip side, when Adam and Eve became exposed, they covered themselves. Are you covered? What are you covering yourself with? How do you dress?

Prophet Gilbert talked about the image of a person being the sum of their appearance, behavior and communication. Are these three things in your life saying three different things? Are you professing Christianity with your lips but appearing/behaving like a devil?

He also talked about ‘knowing ourselves’ and how people not knowing who they are and what they are made of being the reason they are swayed by every wind of doctrine.

He ended his very thought-provoking message by saying that in five years we’d be products/mash-up of what we’ve read and the people we’ve interacted with. Who are you hanging with? What are you exposing yourself to? Who are we allowing to influence us?

And then we prayed. Sweet baby Jesus we prayed! For direction, for blindness from the exposure that will derail our destinies, for the strength to say no to the wrong influences, we prayed ladies and gentlemen.

I had a great time in the service, and I’m grateful I was there. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, and I pray that we receive grace to do as we have read. Amen!

Have a great rest of the week!

Let’s start from Sunday, and the confusion/relief/strength I felt after Saturday. What did I do with it? Eat, sleep, hang out with my friends, and about night-time, I realised there was something wrong with my body. I was literally shutting down.

Monday morning I had lost every sense of taste and smell. I woke up exhausted – like I don’t know how I carried out all the chores I had to do. Ended up in Lagos and had to change hotel rooms because the air conditioning in mine stopped working. It will be a long time before I book a hotel room on DealDay. A very long time.

Tuesday I was done with wearing makeup; that’s how sick I felt. Struggled through my meetings, satisfied a pizza craving, and got back into Abuja in the evening, about close of business time. Went straight home, and slept. Did I mention that I was sweating profusely the entire day? Even in air-conditioned spaces, I was literally dripping of sweat. And regardless of how much fluid I took, my mouth felt very dry. For once I didn’t look out for anything worth writing about on the flight, as I am wont to do. Didn’t miss the man who came out of the toilet on the plane and the air hostess asked, “did you flush?” The question was loud enough for me to hear, but it was the answer that made me chuckle, even in my sickness. The man responded, “are you saying I am a bush man who cannot flush a toilet?” I dozed off after this, but I can imagine that he said a bit more, from the tone of his voice.

Struggled through work on Wednesday, don’t know why I didn’t listen to the children of God who told me to stay home. Work couldn’t wait – there’s so much to get through! Left the office early though, and it was home to sleep.

Woke up on Thursday still feeling pretty exhausted so I went to run some tests. Results at the end of the day said I didn’t have malaria or typhoid or anything like that. I’d spent Wednesday night talking to a doctor friend of mine, and we both agreed all the symptoms I had were the effect of stress/exhaustion. I agreed to slow down, a lot. Ah, I went to a meeting in the evening with a potential client/mentor, and not only had he put in a word of recommendation for me somewhere other than what I was meeting him about, I met someone I’d only ever heard about before! Whoop!

Friday morning. I woke up early, Happy. Stronger. Nostrils were still blocked but I felt considerably stronger. Went to work, hung out with ‘awon goons mi’ afterwards, and was in bed before 11pm. Happy.

Saturday – day didn’t start till 1pm when I had a meeting with a client, and another meeting at 5pm with two people who I’ve just given a week’s contract to do some stuff for us. Really excited, and looking forward to the greatness they will produce. Went grocery shopping afterwards then went straight home to continue playing with my darling nephew.

I’m writing this on my bed – had a good time in church, gorged myself on this lovely bread I bought yesterday (#FITFAM I’m sorry), and trying to get through some writing tasks. So far, so good. Not leaving this house today.

I learned a few things this week –

1. God is the healer of the body, and the saviour of the soul. And He works overtime for me.

2. At the end of the day, you’ve only got yourself. People exclude themselves from your times of need for different reasons, and you exclude others intentionally for other reasons. Either way, the only person who is 100% in the know and on your side when things go south (apart from God), is you.

3. Sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore. ‘Unlook’ (according to my brethren on Twitter) – don’t validate ignorance.

4. Take time to rest the body, otherwise it will shut down.

That’s me! How did your week go?

PS – for the people who honored me enough to call/text/get in touch with me one way or the other, thank you. I won’t forget it.

First off, no it’s not yet 2015 where I am, still got like 3 hours to go…so start the party without me! Can I just digress real quick and say I can imagine God is having an absolute laugh with these time zones? I think it is genius (of course it is, God is behind it) even though it is one of the hardest things for me to work through!

Anyway, let’s talk about 2014, wrap it up real quick. 2014 was super interesting for me, like really, really interesting. I remember that at the end of December 2013, I was just relieved the year was over and nothing else could go wrong. The things my eyes saw, dang – I’m sure I was the definition of pain, patience, long-suffering, and endurance. I lost people really close to me to death, accidents, etc., and I remember one day I was at the point King David was in the Bible where it said “he cried till he had no more power to weep”. Like I was so cried out, I couldn’t be paid to produce a tear!

Not saying there wasn’t any joy in the year o, of course there was. Just that balanced on a scale, the unhappy easily outweighed the happy (same way everything this current government can claim it has achieved falls flat on its face when it is mirrored against the insurgency/insecurity plaguing the country). People, events, family, friends made 2013 special, there were bright spots in 2013 but it was a difficult year. It was.

Blessed  be God however who causes us to forget the sorrows of the former years, whose love and mercy cancels out our transgressions and qualifies us of things we otherwise wouldn’t be deserving of in a million years. Yup! That’s the God I serve!

In January I felt such a strength within, felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to do with myself – the heights I wanted to attain, the circles I wanted to roll in, and generally, I projected what I wanted to be writing about now. That inner strength carried me through the entire year.

“From your lips to God”s ears” was more than a saying for me this year – I saw/handled things I didn’t even think I was ready for. Like, at some point I was cancelling/rescheduling holidays because I had to accommodate new work! I woke up one day in April and looked at my calendar, and it made me smile. A big, toothy, cheshire-cat type smile…little did I know God hadn’t even scratched the surface of things He had lined up for me!

From addressing 60+ people from three continents at The Hague, to that speaking engagement at the House of Lords, to starting a teaching career (social media of course) both professionally and to youths at church, to working with a team to write a book in 5 days, it didn’t stop. On, and on, and on. God used people to open up fresh opportunities, to push me, force me to be/do better, to push myself, to keep at it. Dr Titi Banjoko, Justina Mutuale, Emilia Asim-Ita, Jacque Onalo, and all the others, God bless you!

And when I crashed in November, God healed me. I was exhausted, my body was screaming for rest. I remember waking up one day and having a mini panic attack because I felt overwhelmed. But God was there, and He healed me, showed me what/how to get through it. And I’m grateful.

My family? Rock solid. Love em to bits! My baby boy is advanced way beyond his age, speaks clearer than any two-year old I know/I’ve known. God is increasing all of us on every side. Momma finished her PhD this year (at 62, whoop); Grace and Progress Family Chapel was born this year too, and is doing great! God is building His church, and nothing can stand against it! I love, love, love you guys!

To Tokes, who knew that meetings in December 2013 would forge a bond so strong we now feel like we’ve known each other for years? Wunmi, bestie of life and destiny, whatever would I do without you? Our latest iyawo!! To Francesca, my personal support system and human chill pill, thank you for sharing your house and heart with me, for real talk, and for that Sunday in April you prayed for me when I literally fell apart. To my sister Adaora, thank you, thank you, thank you. Chief Sista, I just love you. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, I  do!

To every man of God whose word blessed my life, whether in person or online, God bless you. I never sat under a teaching that didn’t bless me, and for that I’m grateful. Very grateful.

For safe travels in 2014 (and it’s been my most mobile year), for provision, for protection, for healing, for direction; the fact that I’m alive is more than enough reason to bow down and worship.

Here’s to incredible things in 2015!

 

 

Seasons greetings ladies and gentlemen, readers of the Fairy GodSister’s blog. Welcome! To the old-timers and the new readers, welcome! You are the reason I write; where would I be without your company?

So, what are your plans for Christmas? Mine? I’ll tell you in a minute.

Greetings from Texas, where I will be spending the holidays. Any bloggers in Texas? Say hello or something!

Now, how about how I got here? We’ll start from Friday, where I had a production meeting, did all sorts of running around, was frustrated by Guaranty Trust Bank (will update that story or do a follow up one in a bit), and lost my way close to midnight in the name of helping a friend.

Saturday, 7am we were on location to shoot my latest project, six short pieces on indigeneity, religious freedom, and belonging. I promise you can have a look when it’s ready! Lost an earring, somehow managed to spoil my HTC, but we had a lovely shoot and I’m really grateful to the cast and crew. Really grateful.

Got home about 9pm, entertained a guest till 11pm, then bedtime. Did I mention I’d been invited to Lagos for a meeting on Sunday? A meeting I couldn’t get out of. So it was off to the airport first thing in the morning. Drove to the airport, caught my Air Peace flight. It was alright I guess, nothing extra. Except for the silly man who wanted to pee just before we landed and started yelling at the hostesses when he was told he had to return to his seat. Silly, silly man, with all his “do you know who I am” foolishness. Yuck.

Insert GSD. Big smile.

Meeting was incredible – great minds, even greater ideas, and the outline of a lot of work that God wiling will lead to a greater, even more prosperous tomorrow for everyone. Amen.

Race back to the airport, big thank you to the gentleman who drove, and for pleasant company. Of course, my 5.35pm flight was delayed. Aero Contractors would have been renamed Chioma Contractors if they were on time! SMH. Finally boarded past 7pm, so I got in after 8pm. Thank God JT insisted I pack before the Lagos trip.

Monday morning. 22nd of December. Was up at 5.25am to put finishing touches to my packing. Packing? Yes. I’m off to London. I’d checked in, so I kinda took my time. Wrong move. Very wrong move.

We got to the airport area around 7.50am, and the queue stretched as long as it broke my heart. And there’s some refurbishment going on at the airport so what should have been a straight drive was windy, tenuous, and slow enough for me to come down, get someone to drag my box, and we raced to BA’s check-in counter.

There was only one lady left, and I was told there was no way I could get on the flight. I was directed to the manager on duty, and I was still telling her how I couldn’t miss the flight (if I had a pound for every time I’ve used that phrase, sigh) when she said, “I’ve already told them to check you in”. Oh!! Thank you God! So they accepted my first suitcase, don’t roll your eyes but my carryon was in the taxi. So I ran out, got it, and ran back. I must have looked like a really crazy lady, sigh. Anyway, boarded, slept. Woke up to eat, slept. Woke up, struggled through Rio 2 (yup, watched it again), Boyhood, and half of The Hundred Hour Journey, and it was sleep, a sandwich, and we’d landed!

Immigration sorted, and I got in a pod to head to my hotel. To be honest, I decided to stay in this hotel because I’d be able to take a pod there. It’s the only hotel accessible by the pod so why not? Plus it was waaaay cheaper than Sofitel and the Hilton which I’d considered, and for the price I paid, it was really lovely! A couple selfies, trip to Dartford and back, and the loveliest chicken tikka masala after, it was bed time!

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Morning! How did you sleep? Very well for me thank you… Shower, a bit of work, then it was breakfast (my usual omelettes, hashbrowns, beans, and sausages) and back to the airport in the pod. More selfies! And yup, another trip! Last one for at least two weeks.

Hello Austin!! Ten hours after. With their silly airport without free WIFI. We took a couple selfies, popped into Houston, where we had a lovely dinner with my aunt, uncle and cousins – so lovely to see everyone! We gisted, laughed, recounted stories, and now, we’re at another cousin’s house.

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Thank you Lord for strength. For safe travels. For safety, especially on Friday night. Thank you for family, for love, for peace, for togetherness. Super grateful Lord! Thank you for a the beginning of a fabulous Christmas!

I’d promised Tolu Ogunlesi I would make his wedding slated for the 29th of November 2014 and because I am a child of God who keeps her promises, I got into Nigeria early in the morning of the 28th.

A bit about the flight – British Airways was super disappointing biko. The in-flight entertainment didn’t work (at all) the entire flight. After the initial apologies when we first boarded and talk about sorting it out, nothing o, till we touched down in Abuja. Very unlike British Airways.

On the other hand I had pesto pasta and a lovely, lovely pudding. British Airways, you’re forgiven – go and sin no more.

Anyway, so we touched down and one of my bags was damaged. Lord have mercy! One hour, some yelling (I’m sorry), and some sarcasm (not sorry for that), and a filled out damages form after, it was home time. Of course Boo Boo had gone off to school and I missed seeing him.

Rushed out almost immediately with my cabbie, first to the bank, then to run some errands, see my sister, then we sped off back to the airport so I could catch a 4pm flight to Ibadan.

3.30pm. All checked in and waiting to be called to board. 4pm. 4.30pm. 5pm. Flight was finally announced, and we queued up. Next thing I heard some commotion at the front of the line. Apparently, Overland Airways/Airlines (whatever they’re called) said the ‘plane was full’ so we would have to wait for another one that had taken off to Ilorin to come back for us. What!!!!!!!! As in, who does that!?!!!  How did they not know the capacity of the plane and sold tickets accordingly?

I was exhausted, and angry! Sweet baby Jesus I was angry! Everyone was furious, and they almost moved from being physical with the station manager to full-scale violence.

We finally boarded at 7.30pm and of course I dozed even before we took off; I was beat. Touched down an hour later (thank you Lord) and just as I was getting off, power at the airport went out; didn’t come back on for at least 10 minutes. Do you know what the Bible calls ‘gross darkness’? Hian! All I could think of was what would have happened if the power had gone out while we were landing. God forbid. By the way, there were no buildings at the said airport, just canopies. Jesu!

Caught a cab to the hotel, a bit of drama with the cabbie and his car (I ended up changing taxis and paying 700 naira instead of 4000 naira) and as soon as I showered, had dinner, and checked in with my friends and loved ones, it was bedtime!

WEddINg dAY

Woke up feeling really rested and excited – whoop! Took my time with my shower, got ready, and had a cup of tea. Almost had a wardrobe malfunction (that only Mercy and JT know about because God will not allow my enemies to laugh at me) and then it was time to go!

Egghead picked me up, we got Mercy and then it was off to church – but first a selfie!!!

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Duck mouth!

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Selfie in church – don’t worry, service had ended!

Wedding ceremony was great, funny how people just assume they know what a couple want. The Pastor said, “in a few months from now, Kemi will be pregnant”. Yes o, instruction from the Lord ke nan!

Wedding over, it was off to the reception – beautiful, gorgeously decorated hall, sufficient stewards, and really tasty food! I learned something I think I’ll have done at mine – guests were fed as soon as they sat down. There were menu cards, and as soon we sat down our orders were taken and delivered. After we ate, the couple came in and the reception proper started – much better than starving your guests and leaving their eyes alternating between the clock and the order cos they’re anxious for ‘item 7′.

High point of the reception? The daddy/daughter dance – it was everything! Loved it! Kemi was crying though, I can imagine my dad is going to cry too.

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With the one and only Gbenga Sesan!

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With Eggie!!

Courtesy Omojuwa, who defines the word 'LOYAL'!!

Courtesy Omojuwa, who defines the word ‘LOYAL’!!

Loads of dancing, small chops chowing, selfies and co after, it was back to the hotel for a bit more rest. Here’s a bit about my room, told in photos.

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So. This is the name of my room. It was really the Queen’s room, as in Mama Charlie!

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Not bad at all to be honest! Really spacious, loved that I had a bath and a shower in the bathroom, and two air conditioners (ended up turning both off in the night when they threatened to freeze my lungs!) Notice the portrait hanging over the bed? Queen.

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Everything is a decoration. These two coaster sets were on the table. Queen.

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Another wall, another Queen portrait.

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Yet another portrait. Queen.

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Is it me, or the owner of this hotel deserves to be knighted? More Queen!

Still on the hotel, in the morning I rang the reception and asked for a taxi. They didn’t have any so I asked if they could find one for me. Guess the reply I got when I got a call back?

Receptionist: Mr Ojo’s mother is ill so he has gone to Ilesha to see her.

Me: I’m sorry, who is Mr Ojo?

Receptionist: That’s the taxi we wanted to call for you.

They couldn’t just tell me he wasn’t available?

Later that evening, we went out for drinks and a laugh (or two or three depending on what the subject was). I ordered a small chops platter which took forty minutes but came with ‘microwaved-from-frozen’ items.

2014-11-30 00.46.27Sigh.

Ah!! Did I mention there were ladies in the lounge wearing lace? Even saw a couple with gele! Not kidding!

Back in the land of the queen (also known as my room) it was bedtime, with prayers that I’d be up early enough to catch my ride to Lagos! Thank you @Babsburton for the ride, and @seyitaylor for the company!

This was written from the safety/warmth of my lodgings in Lagos, totally grateful to God for safe travels (London-Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos) over four days. Beyond non-functional in-flight entertainment, delayed flights, and bad roads, my trips were without incident. For that I’m super grateful.

It was awesome to catch up with my old friends (too numerous to mention) but also to meet folk from Twitter! People like @BisiOgunwale (Mr President), @Obadayo (helmet), @OkShorty1, and the delectable @LAkintobi!

To @eggheader, egbon of life! Thank you for making sure we were comfortable/taken care of. Thank you.

And to the latest couple, @toluogunlesi and @kemichronicles, congratulations! Welcome to the best years of your lives.

Photo courtesy Eggheader. Isn't the bride just gorgeous!! I love her gown! Simple and oh-so-beautiful!

Photo courtesy Eggheader. Isn’t the bride just gorgeous!! I love her gown! Simple and oh-so-beautiful!

Love ya!

Greetings from London! Whoop! The weather is chilly, just how I like it (my skin flourishes in cold weather)! Would have been happier if it was a tad less grey and depressing sha, haba!

I’m looking forward to resting from the marathon three weeks I’ve just had, so grateful I can go away, refresh, and come back.

So, want to hear about the trip (as always)? You know, sometimes when I have an uneventful flight I’m a tad disappointed there’s nothing to write about.

Anyway, so about this one; so you know I got home about 10.30pmish, had yahuza, suya (see why all my #FitFam and dieting will not prosper) and drank my medicine (which I couldn’t find this morning by the way). What I didn’t mention in that one was the fact I decided to ‘lie down for a bit’ when I went into my room. Next thing I knew, it was 3.30am. Of course my boxes were unpacked, I’m not even sure I knew where my passport was!

I began putting things into the chosen suitcases, arranged passports et al, and it looked like I would be ready on time. Time check? 5.30am, the time I’d arranged with a taxi company to get me. And there begins the Viko Car Hire story.

The general idea for Viko Car Hire is that you pay N5000 for them to take you home from the airport, and then your return to the airport (whenever) is free, provided you give them 24 hours notice. Nice deal/business model right? Considering rides back to town from the airport cost between 4000 and 6000 (one-way), depending on your negotiation skills.

I heard about them around the middle of the year, and I’ve used them ever since, with minimal complaint. Here’s the thing though: there’s a difference between the dream and then the people to bring that dream to life (a.k.a the Viko drivers).

I personally think they’ve taken on a few devil drivers recently because in the last two months I’ve been yelled at, picked up late, and not picked up at all.

This particular morning, my driver was running late by an hour and so I rang their care line. They said they’d reach him for me, only for someone to call back and say the driver said he’d rung my number and spoken to a man the night before who he told his car was bad so he wouldn’t be able to come take me to the airport. And ‘the man’ (whoever he was) said ok.

Lol. Silliness in the highest – how much more foolish can people get? Here’s everything I did yesterday here. Where is the man he spoke to o!!

I was upset. Sweet baby Jesus I was so upset! How can we be playing this kind of rough play with an international flight?

How did we resolve it? They begged me to come to the airport myself (of course everyone knew the driver was lying through his teeth), and the driver would refund my fare.

Got to the airport (kisses to my sister for dropping me at the junction where I caught a cab) where I got the staff of Viko to sign something saying someone would refund my money. Rubbish.

Boarded the flight, buckled myself in, covered my feet (I can never sleep with my feet uncovered, even in scorching weather), and I slept. Immediately. After speaking to my friends and loved ones of course (if we spoke or chatted this morning you’re in the number, he he he.) In my book of life ke nan.

So I slept til it was food time, somehow I’m unconsciously programmed to wake up to eat when I’m really hungry, and meal over, I slept a bit and then watched Rio 2. Loved it, it was just incredible! Can’t wait to buy it for Boo Boo, I know he will thoroughly enjoy all the singing and dancing in the movie. Cartoons are the way forward jor!

Err, want to see the official trailer for it?

Went back to sleep immediately after, and then the lady beside me woke me to take my snack pack and some juice. And I went straight back to sleep. Next time I woke up, we’d touched down – I’m sure the lady beside me would have been wondering if there wasn’t anything wrong with me! And no, they didn’t forget me on the plane either!