The silver minibus speeds through the main highway that connects Bali’s cultural heart at Ubud with the volcanic lakes of Bratan as well as Buyan and Tamblingan further north. Short moments after passing by a roadside traditional market where fresh local fruits and vegetables are on display, our driver, Gede, makes an abrupt turn to a small road.
We are then transported through small villages on Bali’s highlands towards the slopes of Mount Batukaru, an extinct volcano which at 2,276 m is the second tallest peak on the island. The farther we escape the country road, the more tranquil what lies beyond the car’s windows becomes. At this part of Bali, it appears, tourism only plays a minor role in the local economy, unlike in many parts of the island, chiefly in the south.
Gede keeps driving on a seemingly endless village road, until he…
A few weeks ago, I sat down with my laptop and go-to study playlist and began my first ever practice GRE exam. I was THAT jerk in high school who never even looked at an ACT prep book, yet rolled into the test and got a score I never dreamed of being able to get, so naturally I was pretty confident in my abilities to whip out a killer score with minimum effort. I finished the test under time and excitedly clicked “View my Score.”
So…I viewed my score. My incredibly, painfully low score. Ouch.
There I was: my ego crushed, my spirits low, my stomach craving ice cream. I went into the test expecting the absolute best, and left feeling utterly embarrassed that I thought I could conquer the GRE in one unprepared shot. In a word, I was humbled.
Which brings me to what this is really about:
There are three words that I absolutely abhor seeing on…
I was saddened to read that David Bowie passed away. He was a big artistic influence for me and I felt fortunate to have been able to see him in concert. He was a person who was never afraid to take risks, who constantly redefined himself, and stretched the boundaries of artistic expression.
Here is a great quote from the CNN article about Bowie’s passing.
As the world mourns Bowie’s death, fan Dean Podsta put it best:
“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”
Here is a link to a recent post on my other blog, which is my memories from when I got to see the legendary David Bowie.
In the last 6 weeks the Federal Government of Nigeria has sensitized its citizens about the spread of the acute virus which currently has been reported in 10 states namely Bauchi, Nasarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo, Plateau, Gombe and … Continue reading →
This was an enjoyable read which I highly recommend! @ Vou – Are you sure the husband you’re searching for is reading this? Enjoyed this and all the other odes/letters to NH. This is your year BY GOD’S GRACE (as they say in Naija)
I wrote this article on my other site in 2011 and decided to share it here on this seventh day of the month. By the way, did you know that Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens beat Avatar at the U.S box office today with $761m. Global sales is at $1.5bn. Now there’s some food for thought 🙂
I’ve always been drawn to the number 7. I was born on the 7th of November (Strangely enough my two younger sisters were born on the 27th of June and 7th of October respectively). There’s a 7 in my year of birth too but I’m not saying much more about that. My mobile number MUST have at least a 7 in it else I’m not using that line. Maybe I just feel it’s a lucky number…Maybe it’s much more significant than that. After all, God made full use of 7 days and not 8 days (Created the heavens, earth, animals, man and rested on the 7th day). It’s even kind of sad that when I came 7th out of 30 pupils in one of my primary school examinations I was elated – my parents weren’t. Of course, when the movie SE7EN (with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey) hit the theatres I was more than curious…
If you’re working in an office and there is a clear policy on how staff are meant to address each other, then you’re in the clear – as far as your team mates are concerned. But this doesn’t always hold true when dealing with some supervisors, bosses or any staff that is above your level or grade. Whether you like it or not Office Politics exists and sometimes needs to be understood in order to avoid pitfalls that could ultimately leave you in the bad books of your superiors.
I have been at the receiving end of criticism for calling some bosses by their first name while I have equally received criticism for not referring to bosses by their first name. In a place like Nigeria where culture tends to override bureaucracy I therefore felt it necessary to list ways you can refer to both direct and indirect bosses (by email or speech) without annoying them:
I would be very careful with #4 because if your boss’s name is Brian O’Donnell then you might not be getting away with calling him or her B.O, likewise Freda Upton, Ben Johnson and Peter Pledge. I particularly like #5 which gives you the peace of mind that you are addressing your boss just the way he or she wants.
New Year resolutions aside, I usually like to do a body cleanse to get off to a fresh start in the year – cleaning out all the toxins and unknown impurities roaming within me. I’ve used Castor Oil which tends to work fine as long as you have no plans to go out for the whole day otherwise you’ll need to carry an extra pair of underwear. I’ve long detested the thick yellow substance so I opted for something more pleasant on my palate. I’ve heard that using juices is a natural way of doing a body cleanse but I’m skeptical about having frequent access to fresh juices. Why not just take a couple of herbal pills at my fingertips, right? That’s why this time I’m trying the Continue reading →
Last night I went to see The Last Witch Hunter at my local cinema and even though it was 2 hours long and not what I had planned to see I quite enjoyed it (6/10 rating from me). Without dropping any major spoilers the witch hunter at some point in the movie was looking for something he lost – a memory. That took the best part of the movie but he was fortunate to meet a good witch who helped him regain that memory and ultimately unleash clues that helped save the world from the bad witch (trust me, the movie is a bit more complex than poor attempt at illustrating, lol). Anyway, it was a happy ending for Vin, the good witch and the rest of mankind except for the girl sitting two seats to my right Continue reading →
Nobody wants to think of themselves as being a bad person. Bad people are ISIS fighters, child molesters, Shrien Dewani. They do horrible things which are blatant and obvious and talked about in the media. But in the last few months I have found myself in spaces where I’ve had to take a long and careful look at who I am in the world, the attitudes that have formed me and how I conduct myself in certain situations. And to say that it’s been an uncomfortable awakening is an understatement. Because many of you who follow my blog know that I’m relatively outspoken about race issues in this country. I have strong feelings about the socio-economic disparities and the white attitudes that feed them, and while I sit behind my computer screen in my nice study on the Atlantic Seaboard it’s easy to wax lyrical about egalitarianism and the way…
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 60,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 22 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
This is an apt article for this time of year and keeping in mind all the pain caused by unrest in various parts of the world, not least Nigeria with the ongoing Boko Haram crisis. I wish everyone around the world some peace this Christmas and beyond. God bless everyone…
Christmas around a campfire in a tent in Damascus, 2009
Christmas always makes me think of Syria, and this year the thoughts are stronger than ever.
Today my heart is breaking for Syria and her citizens, but it wasn’t always that way.
I first visited Damascus in 1977, and then moved there in 1980 after Poor John and I married in Jordan (must tell that story one day). Our first daughter, Libby (who lives in Paris now), was born in Damascus in 1981 and had her first Christmas in that once beautiful city.
That year I bought an artificial Christmas tree and a variety of simple decorations at the small shop that was around the corner from our flat. I still have all the decorations but, a few years ago, I gave the tree to my dear friend, Maggie.
We were back in Syria for Christmas in 2009. That was…
I was apprehended by my landlord earlier today whilst I was on my way out to shoot some 8-ball and it wasn’t to give me some Christmas cheer I assure you. He asked me what I thought about the ongoing crisis in and out of Nigeria i.e. terrorism. I told him it was all rather unfortunate that the present government cannot give the public the assurance that there is adequate security in place. All that was left, I concluded, was to pray for a positive change. He agreed. But what he went on to say was not what I was prepared for. He expressed his concern for my full beard.
Apparently my landlord believes these are dangerous times where my bearded look can easily have me mistaken for a terrorist. I beg to differ. If terrorists could only be identified by beards and this was common knowledge then the directive from government should be thus: ‘Any man caught sporting a full beard will be imprisoned and assumed to be a member of Boko Haram or ISIS‘.
My question now to you dear readers is this – Do you think I should shave my beard off completely come 2016? I’ll put a poll up and leave you to decide for the rest of 2015. The power is in your hands…
There are a lot of things to consider when shopping for Christmas most of them are not suitable for your boss as gifts.
I know despite my warnings about how to save your money this season, some of you cannot stand the forlorn looks darting your way like fiery arrows across the office. You feel pressed by the cavalier display of qualified affection thrown around by your colleagues towards your bosses.
You should know some people like anything you give them just because you gave it to them. Other people never like anything you give them and there’s nothing you can do about it – most bosses fall into the latter category.
So, what’s the most suitable gift to share with your bosses this Christmas? The honest answer is nothing; but, who wants honest answers when there’s enough to squander and go-a-borrowing in January?
*Guest post by H. Johnson* A trip to the ancient Italian island of Sicily is an exhilarating experience for any traveler that enjoys the authentic flavor of the Mediterranean. The island has something to offer for everyone, whether it be … Continue reading →
Think of a time when you had the worst customer service experience and how it made your blood boil. Is the steam coming out of your ears yet? Great! Now that we’ve set the appropriate mood for this article please read on. I’m no stranger to bad customer service but the scenario that played out two nights ago when I hung out with a good friend at a popular eatery left a bad taste in her mouth (and left mine open).
*It’s the most wonderful time of the year…* so Andy Williams sings, after all it’s Christmas season – I get that. What I don’t agree with is the weather we have in Nigeria during this period. While I know a white Christmas could be cold it’s also beautiful; with everything white – rooftops, cars, roads – all white everything (just like the snowflakes on my site). But here in Nigeria we have Harmattan. Wikipedia does a good job describing it:
The Harmattan is a cold-dry and dusty trade wind, blowing over the West African subcontinent. This northeasterly wind blows from the Sahara Desert into the Gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March
i. It’s dusty – Imagine you drive to work, your car looking spick and span in the morning and by closing time you come back to the car park after 8 hrs and find your car looking like it hasn’t been driven for 8 months. I mean, when I think about the winter I experienced in the UK I could decide to build Frosty the Snowman. What on earth can you build with dust? Dusty the Sandman? Dust is as useful as Oscar Pistorius in ad promoting Valentines Day, #IMO.
ii. It’s foggy – In the early hours of the morning when the day breaks, the fog is quite thick and it’s a wonder how someone with poor eyesight would cope during this period. I notice some motorists on my route driving slower than usual when there’s no car in front of them and swaying slightly between two lanes – it’s because they need glasses! Harmattan isn’t going to make it any easier for them so my advise for every motorist in Nigeria is to drive with caution or you will end up using your caution sign.
iii. It’s cold-dry – It gets a little nippy outside in the early hours of the morning and at night all though this year its kind of humid. If you use air conditioners (ACs) then you may find that they’re working a bit better than usual – cooler air. You may even wake up with a runny nose or cold head. And if you’re really unlucky you might get a groggy throat too *cough cough*.
iv. It dries my skin – I can’t afford not to take notice of my exposed body parts when I leave my flat. When I go to work I need to make sure that my hands don’t have dry white patches between my fingers. When I’m out on the weekends in flip-flops my feet should be creamed thoroughly so I don’t look like I’ve been living on the streets. If I wear short sleeves I need to ensure my elbows aren’t looking like the Negev desert.
v. It makes me clean up continuously – My flat right now is gathering dust but not as quickly as Oscar Pistorius’ running blades (pardon me, but I’m really on his case for obvious reasons). My wooden floors are slippery and all possible surfaces and equipment have a thin layer of dust coating. My once-a-week household cleaning would have to step up to two times a week (but we both know that works only in theory).
That said, I wish you all (in Nigeria) Merry Christmas in advance and a dusty Harmattan!
2> The Mega prize sms: Whenever you receive a text message it’s very hard to resist opening it. Curiosity gets the better of you most of the time. Now imagine a situation where the text message supposedly from a popular network … Continue reading →
Nigeria is a lovely place to live in; great climate, abundant natural resources, amazing landscapes and beaches, and a whole bunch of amusing people. Unfortunately among us are a faction whom have pledged to wreak havoc on the finances of the unsuspecting victim. You can’t be in Nigeria and ignore the scams I’m about to list in this article. They’re as relevant today as they were over 20 years ago (a colleague of mine today confirmed that his mum was a victim of scam No. 5) Continue reading →
Twitter came through on connecting me with a celeb last week to my surprise. I attended a Jazz series event on Friday and among the artists that performed there were two whom I was keen to hear and meet. One of them was Mos Def (whom I believe is known off stage as Yasiin Bey). He’s a prominent American rapper lyrically gifted and insanely deep. He flew in to get a feel of the Nigerian scene (and probably something at the shrine). His performance was electric and he looked like he was really having a good time. This special appearance was possible thanks to the second celeb who was performing alongside him – Seun Anikulapo Kuti, son of the legendary Fela Kuti. Seun is a renowned saxophonist who took right after his dad and has perfected his art and added his own style. I had no idea when it was suddenly almost 1am and I was still watching the two of them entertain the crowd. Here are some pics of the show (Click one to view large slideshow):
The following Saturday I posted a tweet about the show and that’s when I later noticed this conversation and a retweet from the Jazz man himself 😀 :
I can’t deny I had a big smile on my face. He didn’t shake my hand or give me a free concert ticket or invite me to collab with him on the studio. He just retweeted my tweet and copied me in a response – November was a good month indeed. I wonder if Obama would respond if I tweeted a pressing question to him. There’s only one way to find out 😉
As the saying goes, ‘It takes two to tango‘. Similarly in relationships each party needs to put in work to make it work. So if you were once head-over-heels for someone it’s quite possible that you left yourself vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Perfectly good eye-sight begins to fail as everyone else seems to notice inconsiderate behaviour on your partner’s part; everyone but you whose renewing rent on Cloud 9. However once the stupor has cleared from your eyes and you sink back into the harsh reality of your new relationship status (what’s that d word…not divorced…ah yes, ‘dumped’) you might just appreciate these signs Continue reading →