Last Day in Phoenix

My last day in Phoenix got rained out, but the rain was a welcome reprieve from the heat. I’m sure the locals would agree.

I will have to visit Phoenix again one day soon, during the winter months, when I have more time to plan and more things will be open.

But, to make the most of the day, I decided to go out anyway. I did not go out for very long; the rental car that I was driving was very small and I’m nervous about driving in the rain in foreign places. In Houston, where I live, it floods a lot, so I am always concerned about street flooding, no matter where I am.

To start the day, I decided to go out of the way to get lunch. I ended up at the In and Out Burger, a place that I’ve heard a lot about!

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I cannot recommend the In N Out burger, though. The menu is very limited and the burger wasn’t that great. Perhaps there’s something that I am missing? Maybe that’s the fun of it, having fewer choices and eating a small burger? I’m not sure. Like the media  always does, I’ll blame the hype of this establishment on the millenials. Sorry Millenials. Ha, ha, just kidding. No, seriously, what’s so great about this place? The bun didn’t even have sesame seeds on it. A disgrace!

The rest of the day, I just drove around, somewhat randomly, taking photos and looking at things along the highways.

Whatever this thing was, it was the highlight of my drive. I had never seen anything like this. It is a, ummm, I have no idea. It’s like a very large hill, but the sides have big holes. It’s like Swiss cheese had a baby with a mountain, or something like that. Perhaps I should Google it and get a proper name for it. Whatever it was, it was majestic and very, very interesting!

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The most surprising thing about Phoenix was the architecture. I really liked how lots and lots of the buildings were one story; many had flat roofs. Then, there were these really, really interesting buildings, like this apartment building, that kind of shot up along the roads. Many of the newer apartment buildings were, what’s a good word…fantastical! Very interesting designs, colors, shapes, etc. And, I love how the folks in Phoenix incorporate greenery into the landscape in interesting ways. This was an apartment building in Scottsdale, which isn’t very fair from downtown Phoenix. Look at those bright red patios and hanging plants over every balcony! GORGEOUS.

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This is the shirt I wore to drive around. It’s a glitter skull. I was going to wear it to the John Mayer concert and look super cool, but I found the other shirt and wore that one instead.

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The photo below will only be humorous to the folks in my hometown of Shreveport. I saw this place, named Kokopeli’s and laughed out loud. In my hometown, Kokopeli’s is a very rowdy and often times fatally violent night club. To see this quaint little gift shop baring the same name was like an inside joke that I shared with myself.

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I saw these horse sculptures while riding around in Scottsdale.

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This video shows a short detour that I took through a residential area. Look at the short houses and the really, really nice roads. I also found Phoenix to be very, very clean!

This video shows more of the very nice and well kept roads in Phoenix.

 

And on to my last Phoenix related story!

Take a look at these two gentlemen.

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These two probably nice, but definitely ANNOYING gentlemen were in front of me at the airport. Goodness!

These two guys were German, and I think they came to Phoenix to buy every, single used electronic item in the whole damn city.

Do you know how nowadays you have to take out your “larger than an iPhone” electronics and place each one in a separate bin? These guys used probably 10 different bins, I’m not kidding. They very methodically took out every, single, damn, item, oh, my, GOD.

I am glad that I’m usually at the airport very early; I was able to wait behind these guys and still have time to eat a salad and walk leisurely to the gate and make a restroom stop before boarding started.

Also, these two guys also had two of their bags searched. I also had my roller, carry on luggage searched because I had found some super discounted bath bombs at Ross and purchased them. They were only $2! But, they set off the TSA agents, so I had to be searched. When the guy asked me what they were, I had the intelligence and common sense to call them “bath soaps” instead of “bath bombs”, because, well, you know, I was in an airport. I would probably be in a holding cell right now if I had made that mistake.

The flight home was better than the one going there, except for the terrible landing and quite a bit of turbulence. It’s 9 hours later and I still feel queasy, but I’m glad to be back home.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures in Phoenix.

Until next time, my friends…

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John Mayer is LIFE

I just got back from the John Mayer concert in Phoenix and all I can say is WOW. I am so glad that I came here for this concert because the set list was very different from the one he played in London. I am now contemplating going to see him for a third time, in The Woodlands, Texas, this weekend. I am thinking, “How many set lists are there?!”

Despite being seated between two dead fish and two social media assholes, errm, I mean “junkies”, I had the best time ever. It would have come in handy to have someone with me, to sit in between me and the ditzy broads aka the social media junkies, but, I survived their presence and was able to really enjoy the concert.

I had a pretty darn good seat; by the time I decided to buy a ticket, the best available I got was still several sections from the stage, but I am really happy with the view that I had.

Plus, I figured out that if I kept hitting the girl next to me with my purse, “accidentally”, of course, she would move over to take her obnoxious videos and selfies. It worked! The people to my left should have been kicked out; they were like sitting next to corpses. The people in front of me were also corpses. The people behind me were overly talkative, baby boomers, but at least they were lively and didn’t constantly take photos. Gah!

Enough of my complaining! I tried to keep my own obnoxiousness to a  minimum by only capturing the first ten seconds of several songs, instead of attempting to record entire songs at once. Let’s get to it!

First, let’s look at my earrings and t-shirt. Here’s what I wore to the concert:

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And here’s my ticket!

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And here are some videos from the performance. I won’t post them all, but here’s a sampling. These alone should encourage you to go to your nearest computer and buy your own tickets to see JM before the summer tour ends. If you click on the video, it should show in the correct orientation.

Oh man, all of that good music has me very tired. But, I’m not too tired to share a few photos that I snapped!

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John is known for his intense face contortions during live performances. Tonight was no exception. His face makes me an even bigger fan than I am already.

Whew! What an exciting night. Since I wasn’t feeling 100%, a part of me just wanted to nap in the hotel room all night. But, as soon as I exited the hotel, I could feel the energy in the air (the venue is just across the street). I joined all these thousands of other John Mayer fans and I found some energy to get in there and enjoy John Mayer. I am so glad that I found the energy to go; it was some of the best money I’ve spent.

It’s on my bucket list to somehow meet him one day, maybe get a photo with him!

Until tomorrow, my friends…ROCK ON!

Summer Time in the City

It’s Tuesday in Phoenix!

It’s also the first day of August!

Do you know what those things mean? They mean that it’s still hot as hell in Phoenix! NEWS FLASH, uhh, not!

After an eventful day of traveling and site seeing, I slept like the dead last night. My body is also on Houston time, two hours ahead. So, at around 7:30 pm, I was thinking, “Gosh, when will the sun go down?!”

Oh, I forgot to write about the expensive, but tasty, dinner I had last night. I had a turkey burger from the hotel restaurant, which is called “The Blue Hound.” It’s some kind of chic and swank place; I know this because I looked at the full menu online. My guilty pleasure of staying in a hotel room is ROOM SERVICE. I know that it is overpriced, but how often do I get to ring some friendly person up and they have the food delivered to my bedroom? Then, I can eat the food, in the bed, knowing that the bed will be re-made in the morning, by someone else? There’s simply nothing like room service.

Here’s a photo of the delicious food from last night:

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I had a turkey burger with fries, unsweetened iced tea, free tap water (the water in the background in the bottle cost $8, which is why I am celebrating the free water in the glass), and a strawberry trifle. The strawberry trifle was surprisingly good, but not as surprisingly good as the turkey burger. It was flavorful and beautifully presented.

The other thing I failed to mention last night was this creepy bird sculpture. It is about the size of a real bird, and it creeped me out when I first entered the room yesterday. It is some kind of creepy green bird sculpture thing, covered in felt or some such foolishness. This bird is my least part of the room. I hate this bird more than I dislike the Phoenix temperatures.

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This morning, I ordered room service again for breakfast because I was starving. I also had to order some toothpaste, since I forgot mine at home. Both came and were quite satisfactory.

I am not feeling well again today, though, and that’s kind of a bummer. Also, several of the things I wanted to visit, like the Frank Lloyd Wright house Taliesen West, is closed for the summer. I understand why things would be closed during the summer here; the heat is brutal. So, I decided to just go out for a few hours, even though I am not feeling so great.

I first went to Target for some supplies to help with my current ailment.

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Lucky for me, I stumbled upon a BRAND NEW TARGET! Have you ever been into a brand new Target? I haven’t and Target is basically the best place on Earth in my opinion. So, for a Target to be both TARGET and NEW, was basically the best thing ever!

I did not take photos inside the store because I didn’t want to be *that* obnoxious, but it is small and the ceilings are lower than what I am used to. Whenever I travel, it’s always fun to compare things to how things are in Houston, where I live. The saying “everything’s bigger in Texas” is true in lots of cases. This Target was almost what I’d describe as “quaint” when compared to the smallest Target that I know of in Houston. It had all of the essentials I needed for my ailment and a Starbucks, which of course I visited. A drink from Starbucks can cure almost any ailment, right?

When I left the Target, I casually wondered where all the homeless people are. Since it is so hot here, I wondered if there were special places for them to sleep. Where I live in Houston, it is very, very common to see homeless or transient people, so for them to be missing from the “urban landscape” (excuse me if that’s offensive, I have no idea how better to say what I am trying to say) is strange and noticeable for me.

Just as I was leaving the Target, I heard a lot of loud yelling and fussing. I then saw a man, dressed a little shabbily, talking and fussing very loudly with himself. He was making threatening gestures to people as they walked by, but nothing aggressive enough for people to run or even seem really upset by it. Perhaps he’s well known in that area; perhaps it’s just too damn hot to even be afraid of anything. What are you going to do? RUN? In this heat? Hell nall.

That experienced reminded me of home, all of the countless transient or others in need who I see every day. Perhaps some of them need mental health services, perhaps sometimes they’re inebriated. Either way, the guy outside of Target still reminded me of home.

After the Target visit, I decided to go to the Heard Museum. It had very high ratings on YELP and other internet places. On the way there, I took some more photos of the roads. I am obsessed with the roads here and it is fun to compare them to roads in Houston. First, every road that I have driven on has been smooth and pot hole free! That’s a big change from driving on the roads in Houston!

Also, all of the roads I have experienced have such nice trees and other plants planted alongside. I love all of the beautiful angles and photo opportunities the greenery gives as you’re driving along. IMG_6418IMG_6426IMG_6428

 

I also found a cactus and two people riding their bikes, even in this crazy heat!

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I made it to the Heard Museum. It is an art museum and they had a big Frida Kahlo exhibit going on.

Sorry to spoil it here for you, but I did not go inside and see the exhibit. I began to feel even less well while I was there, so I decided to tough it through long enough to go into the shops, get souvenirs for family, and then head out. However, I have to say that there is so much beautiful artwork on the grounds of the museum; I do still feel like I had a great experience there.

Here are some photos I took on the grounds of the museum. I took these photos with my iPhone camera. See if you can notice any quality difference from these and the ones from yesterday, which I took with my DSLR.

REFLECTION POOL AREA

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OUTDOOR SCULPTURES

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MORE SCULPTURES HONORING THE SERVICE OF NATIVE AMERICANS IN UNITED STATES MILITARY ACTION

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MY FAVORITE SCULPTURE; THIS ONE MADE ME HAPPY FOR SOME REASON

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OTHER VIEWS OF THE BEAUTIFUL MUSEUM GROUNDS

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CURIOUS GREEN TREES (have you ever seen a tree this shade of green? I have not; after I noticed these at the museum, I started to see them EVERYWHERE!)

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THE WALL OF PAPER FLOWERS & ME TAKING A SELFIE IN FRONT OF IT

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THIS CURIOUS, YET DELIGHTFUL, ROUND WALKWAY THAT SWIRLS DOWN INTO THE GROUND

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I would take photos of the items I got at the gift shop, but they’re for family and I don’t want to ruin the surprise for them.

Oh, when I was in the museum gift shop, one of the employees asked me if I was there with a large group of women, there to take a jewelry making class.

I said no, and he said, “Oh, I ask because you like somewhat exotic.” In my signature, very dry sense of humor, I replied, “Ahh, I look somewhat exotic because I am. I am not from here. I’m from a far off land known as Texas.” I didn’t laugh or anything; I was still not feeling well, but I can’t really help myself being a little bit of an ass whenever possible.

The teenagers in line behind me whispered, “Did she say TEXAS?” I am not kidding. All of this really happened to me.

The clerk responded, “Well, you ARE VERY EXOTIC!” He said that and let out a very loud chuckle. Since the gift shop was very small, a part of me wished that I had not amused him quite that much. I regretted making him so amused that he felt he needed to laugh so loudly and speak even louder. But, I guess it was ok. When I got back to the hotel, I looked in the mirror and tried to find what on my face made me seem exotic, since I had not spoken at all when the clerk told me I was “exotic.” I should say that I have seen very few Black folks here, but I have seen a few, so surely my race isn’t what made me look exotic to him. I suppose it’ll remain a mystery.

After leaving the museum, I went to Dairy Queen and ordered a salad and fudge sundae. I sat in the car, not wanting to go in and not wanting to order another $30 meal from room service, and ate the salad. It was surprisingly good, the sundae was a little sub-par, since they gave me peanuts instead of pecans and omitted the whipped cream and the cherry. I felt a little jipped, but decided I would enjoy my paltry sundae as best I could.

I listened to the latest episode of “Levar Burton Reads”, my new favorite podcast. If you’re unfamiliar with Levar Burton and/or podcasts in general, I highly recommend his podcast. It’s like having a friend in the car with you, reading you a great story, and who doesn’t want that?

After that, I drove the sad little rental car back to the hotel and wrote this post. Tonight is the John Mayer concert and I am going to rest up a bit before it starts. I’ll be there whether I feel like $1 million dollars or .01 dollars. I am excited!

Stay tuned tomorrow!

 

Not in Lagos, but It’s Still Hot Here

Hey y’all,

I am back after a hiatus. I don’t know about writing every day again, because I feel like a fraud writing on a blog called “Life in Lagos” when I am not currently in Lagos!

But, I do love this little blog and all of the dedication it took for me to write everyday for several weeks. It might not seem like much, but it was a great exercise in discipline for me.

Today, I arrived in a super hot place, even though it’s not Lagos: it’s Phoenix, Arizona. I am here to go see John Mayer ( YES, AGAIN!) before he ends his stateside tour.

I am already quite fond of Phoenix, even though I don’t know if I could live here. It is super, super hot, but the people have been friendly so far and I love all of the desert plant life that line the streets.

Traveling to other places, whether near or far, stateside or abroad, is my favorite thing to do, hands down. Even the miserable places help me see home in a new light: I always return home with a new understanding of it and the people there, having been to a new place and experienced a new place and the folks in the new place. Also, traveling makes me wish for some things to change about my home, and gives me a renewed appreciation for it as well.

I often think about how very, incredibly, outrageously fortunate I am to travel as much as I have. I know lots of folks have traveled more, but I am thankful for all that I have gotten to see so far in life.

The other great thing about travelling is getting to understand just how limited your own view of the world is. Unfortunately, if you don’t put yourself out there to be uncomfortable, your opinions, views, and life can become a little narrow. It takes some amount of courage, a willingness to get out of your comfort zone, to travel. I think it takes some amount of courage as well, to travel alone.

I am here, in Phoenix, alone. And I’m here to tell you…IT’S NOT SO BAD!

I can’t say that I prefer to travel alone, but I can say that sometimes, it’s quite nice to do things alone. I say that mainly because if you wait around for other people to have the inclination, time, money, or interest to go with you, you can be left waiting around for a long time.

I have a very small, but diverse, group of friends, but many of them have different lives, time commitments, and interests from my own. I am often left wishing for someone to go with me to do stuff, but it’s not always an option. And that’s ok; I am very thankful for the friends I have *and* also thankful that over time, I have grown a little courage to go do things alone, like travelling to Phoenix.

I will also say that once you fly back and forth to a VERY foreign country, like Nigeria, alone, well, flying to Phoenix alone feels like taking a shower alone…almost mundane and certainly not terribly frightening (unless you’re trapped in a shower in a Hitchcock movie, I suppose).

The LAST good thing I will say about doing things alone is you can be as strange and quirky as you’d like! There is no one there to judge you or disagree with what you want to do. When travelling alone, you can take the word “compromise” and throw it from your vocabulary!

With that said, here’s how I spent my first few hours in Phoenix, Arizona. Don’t get too excited because, SPOILER ALERT: I spent the day being kind of random.

After flying from Houston to Phoenix and enduring a PAINFUL two hour, eleven minute flight, filled with the sounds of screaming children of various ages, I picked up my sad little rental car and decided to just start driving.

After I left the airport, I started driving towards some, errm, mountains in the distance. I am not sure if they’re actually considered mountains and I do not know the name of them yet. But, I tried really hard to photograph them.

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It took several, several tries to get the photos shown above. Most of the photos I took will trying to capture the mountains in the distance were of highway signs. Many of those turned out pretty good, though. Good for me to see the good in the mistakes.

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The first thing I found was a Panera Bread.  I had a large salad and two bottles of hydration because, you know, it’s Arizona.

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During the lunch, I found that there was a mall (somewhat) nearby that had a Legoland. I did not want to go inside of the Legoland place (children + summer = no thanks), but I did want to go visit the large, red octopus outside of the Legoland place. When I got there, I discovered that the octopus was made of LEGOS! OMG! I was excited. I shamelessly took these photos, trying to crop out the admiring children that also huddled around the creation. Damn kids, always ruining things! Ha!

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I tried to take lots of photos of the red, Lego octopus because he was SO COOL and so beautifully detailed. Eventually, the shame over took me, and I returned to my car and continued to drive around the mall.

I ended up stopping at the Neiman Marcus Last Call, which is like the place where Neiman Marcus goods go to be picked up by the higher middle class. I say higher middle class because most of the things I picked up still cost $100 or more, but that is still quite affordable, when compared to regular Neiman Marcus prices.

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I did not buy anything at the Last Call store because 1) I did not see anything that I love, 2) I am still affected by the minimalism Netflix documentary that I watched a few days ago, which is why I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t LOVE anything I saw and 3) see above explanation about lots of stuff costing over $100.

It was nice to look around, though! I eventually wandered into the rest of the mall and continued to browse. I left after I developed a head ache (air travel almost always leaves me with some kind of minor ailment).

After that, I drove to the nearest Starbucks. I do not have a photo of my experience there, but I do have a short story to share. The young woman in the car in front of me just SAT THERE when it was her turn to advance into the drive-thru lane. I waited, and waited, and waited, seemingly forever, but probably only about 30 seconds. I figured she was just a flakey, teenage driver, so I pulled around her. I looked at her when I drove around, and yes, she was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. When I pulled in front of her, she began to blow her horn! I realized that the poor, ditzy, and slow moving young lady thought I had intentionally cut her off. Since I am the most wonderful person ever, I actually backed up, pulled out of line, allowed her to go first, and got behind her. I wanted to punch her and flush her phone down a public toilet, but I think someone somewhere would be proud of how I tried to fix my own faux pas, even though I think my actions were justified.

The young man working at Starbucks was so delightful, he made my goof up with the young lady go away, at least until I tasted my iced tea and noticed he put lemonade in it. I did not want lemonade. But, it was cold and cost $5, so I drank it.

Here are a few other photos from the highway, taken while in transit to the hotel.

 

I love all of the desert plants that dot the highways here. It is the desert, but they have done a really lovely job of planting greenery to look at as one meanders down the freeways.

Also, did you know that there are Waffle Houses and Whataburgers in Arizona? I didn’t know that!

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Lastly, I drove past these little houses that were so delightful to me. They’re kind of short and flat, and they remind me of a little house I lived in when I was an undergraduate in Louisiana.

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All right, that is it for today. I still have a couple more days here and I am looking forward to what other random fun I will have here in Phoenix.

Have you ever visited Phoenix? What was your favorite thing about this place?

 

Going Home for a While 

Well, friends, over 50 blog posts later and it may be close to an end for this blog and the beginning of a new one.

This blog is called “Life in Lagos” and in a few hours, I will leave Lagos for a while. I’m not sure for how long, but at least over the summer months.

So, what should I do? Keep posting about my life elsewhere? Change the name of the blog to “My Life”? I’m still mulling it over.

I am currently sitting in the Lagos airport, wanting for my flight that leaves in about three hours. I am sitting in a lounge, gorging myself on finger sandwiches, small diced fruit, Coca-Cola, water, free air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, plantain chips, and cashews.  God how I love cashews. 

I’m drinking all the water that I can while I am only a few feet away from a bathroom. Flying dries me out like a 200 lb bag of sand. It’s awful. So I’m trying to stay hydrated. 

I took a company sponsored bus to get here today. We went into an estate, which is like a gated neighborhood, that I have never been to before. The houses were like mini mansions, but it was odd because many of them were boarded up. But it was still very nice.

Several of the houses were pastel colors and one was pepto bismol pink. Can you imagine a mansion sized, concrete house the color of pepto? I wish I had gotten a photo of it because it’s almost unbelievable. 

This is a photo of one of the huge houses.  

The guy that we picked up from this estate was a seemingly important business man. He listened to videos aloud on the bus and even tried to  take a conference call while on the bus but eventually gave up (THANK GOD) when he couldn’t hear his co-workers over all the loud honking.  It took over an hour to get to the airport, but that’s about normal.

Believe it or not, I dozed off on the bus. It was a cramped bus, and even as a short person, my knees were hitting the back of the chair in front of me. But I have been feeling very anxious and I think my body just gave me a big F U and decided it needed a nap before entering the chaos of the Lagos airport.

I hate the airport. I never know exactly which line to stand in, or what “procedures” will be in place. I have had a different experience every time I have flown into or out of Lagos and the uncertainty is awful to me.

But, today was a relatively smooth venture, aside from my shoes taking a curiously long time for them to come out of the X Ray machine.

The bags are searched three times. Upon entering, they go through an unmonitored x-ray machine. Don’t ask, I have no idea. Then, they’re searched BY HAND, by an official. Depending on the person, day, your luck, and / or the lunar cycle, your panties end up disheveled and your stripper heels are ridiculed  (not kidding , I have seen both of these things happen) OR the official casually thumbs through your belongings.  Lucky for me, today I had the casual thumb through but I have experienced the panty unpacking search before as well. Lastly, they are put through a monitored x-ray machine before you’re allowed to go to your gate. This security check is where I once had a mug taken from me by a woman who informed me that she was going to use it. The mug was for a friend and I was sad for her to take it, but I was headed  home and just wanted to be allowed to board the plane. I would have given her the drawers off my own ass to be allowed to board the plane and get the hell outta here.

This is kind of a rambling blog post today, but it’s kind of just me writing about my day, in a tired and anxious state of mind, sitting here enjoying the free tea sandwiches.

The main photo was taken before these other losers showed up and started making noise in the lounge.

Perhaps I will write at least a few more posts over the summer. Would you be interested in reading about my life OUTSIDE of Lagos?

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Visit to IMAX, Part 2

Ah, Saturday in Lagos!

Saturdays are my favorite days because I get to go out with R and we usually have a little adventure.  I think he enjoys going out on Saturdays, too.

We don’t get to go out during the week very often because the driver works 9-4 unless it’s a special request and the company states that we should not stay out alone, unescorted, after 7:00 pm.

So, today, we decided to go eat pizza at Pizza Riah and see “The Guardians of the Galaxy ” at the IMAX theater. 

It’s the rainy season, so today was very wet! Lots of rain, thundering, lightning, and even worse than usual drivers, if that’s somehow possible. 

Today, our car was actually bumped from the guy behind us but it wasn’t enough to jolt us around so no one got out to say anything.  Our driver yelled “this idiot, this idiot” twice and we continued on our way. 

Lunch at Pizza Riah was good, but we got there when a big group of expat brats were sitting at a large table behind us. They were screaming for some reason until one of the workers hushed them, in absence of their parents doing so.

One of the workers even called them “complaining little shits ” under his breath.  I couldn’t have agreed more. I have heard lots of horror stories about how absolutely awful expat children are, at least the ones who grow up with maids and drivers and hands off parents.

I wouldn’t be so judgemental if they had been a little quieter. Ha!

One of the workers admired my peace sign shaped earrings and said, “You have a taste for expensive things.” Then, he smiled. I asked him to repeat himself twice and then never understanding, I just smiled and nodded. R informed me of what he had actually said and I informed R of the actual coat of the earrings, which was about $4.99 at Wal-Mart.

After eating, we went to the IMAX theater.  We were in time to see the 2D version of “The Guardians of the Galaxy ” . Man, the 2D screen was very disappointing.  It was like the size of a large home theatre screen.  It was a big screen but not as big as a regular movie screen in the States. The theater was intimate which is fancy talk for I could hear people around me eating their popcorn.

Also, we were close enough to see people’s phones. So, when there was a pop culture reference to David Hasselhoff during the movie, R noticed that the Nigerians in front of us had taken out their phone and Googled him. That was quite funny to us.

Before we saw the movie, we sat in the lobby for an hour and ate gelato.  There was a worker who walked by no less than six times, dragging the dust pan along the floor very loudly.  I made a face and when he passed by the second time, I said to R: “he’s dragging the damn thing like we have to HEAR him cleaning! And look at that big ass kernel he left on the floor even after all that damn noise be made!” R said: “He’s dragging it along the floor like it’s a vacuum cleaner!” We were both amused and annoyed. 

I cannot say I was impressed with the young man’s cleaning abilities. 

The movie was great; I won’t ruin it for anyone but I highly recommend you go see it.

But, don’t go see it in Lagos because I guess the folks here don’t know about after credit scenes, which are especially prevalent in the newer Marvel movies. The movie had FIVE after credit scenes, which we had to watch in the light and with the workers cleaning around us because we were very close to being rushed out! I would have been damned to leave without watching the after credit scenes, damn it!

All in all, it was an interesting and good day. 

Until tomorrow my friends…

51st Post and My 5 Minute Gratitude List

Tonight I tried to brainstorm lots of things to write about, but I came up empty handed.

The truth is, like I wrote before, every day isn’t an amazing, crazy adventure, whether you’re living in the town you grew up in or in a very foreign place. Life is what you make of it, but I don’t think we should obligate ourselves to make every day amazing or crazy.

The past year or so has thrown me for a loop; there have been lots of good news and bad news, change, stress, and adjustment for me. To be honest, nowadays, I quite enjoy simple, low stress, no excitement kind of days. Life has given me enough excitement and stress to last me a good long while.

Perhaps, I’m also just getting older. Even though I almost constantly obsess about what I should be doing, my mind and body have grown into a kind of peaceful tiredness. I am rejecting some of the worry that I used to embrace with open arms. I thought worrying was a part of doing. I now understand that it isn’t.

So on days like today, when the most interesting thing I did was iron three shirts (which is totally out of character for me, which is why it was quite interesting), I have learned to be deeply thankful for the nothingness.

But, no one wants to read about nothingness, so I struggled to know what to write about today, until I came across a writing exercise. The writing exercise was to write a list of the things for which you are thankful for 5 minutes. The instructions said to just write and don’t worry about putting the things in an order, or getting to a number. The purpose is simply to be mindful of your gratitude for 5 whole minutes.

So, for today’s post, I will share my 5 Minute Gratitude List and some photos, taken this year, as I peacefully strolled down a street in the Museum District of Houston, Texas. Enjoy!

 

My Gratitude List

Being alive

Being mostly healthy

My hair is growing back

Electricity

Internet access

Medical insurance

Food

Opportunity to learn how to cook different kinds of food over time

Resources to buy tools that make cooking easier, more fun

Sharing my knowledge of cooking and baking with other people

Tea

Soy milk

Air conditioning

Socks for my cold feet at night

Clean drinking water

Always having had access to glasses and/or contact lenses to correct my poor vision

My own computer

The ability to read and write

Cell phones / blogs / ability to communicate easily with friends and family while traveling or at home

A place to go in the States / a home

Friends

Family

My education

My mother and other family members teaching me the value of education

All of my senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, speaking

The opportunity to work with / teach young children

The opportunity to work with / teach young adults and older students

Courage to go against the grain / go against things my peers do or did that do not align with my values

My own mind and set of values

My book collection

My cats

 

 

And…photos from a nice walk in the Museum District.

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Also, this is my fifty first post! WHOO HOOO!

Until tomorrow, my friends…

My First Apple Pie

I’m not a pie kind of person.

There! I said it! The world knows my truth now. 

But, I am a budding baker. And bakers have to know how to make pies and cakes and breads.

So, today, in the spirit of stretching my baking abilities and using up some soft apples, I made my very first apple pie. 

I am so proud of this pie because it’s a mismatched bastard of a pie. I used one recipe to make the pie dough and I had to make a substitution in that recipe and then I used another recipe for the filling.

My cornstarch (used as thickener) clumped and I had to strain the liquid before adding the apples. I forgot to cover the pie with foil so it browned too quickly. I also had the oven at the wrong temperature for part of the time. Hey, don’t judge me. Constantly converting American recipes to use elsewhere in the world, you know, Fahrenheit to Celsius, is a pain in the ass.

Let’s see? What else went wrong with this damn pie? I think that might be it.

Oh, I also had to fight ants to use the cutting board. There may have been one or two rogue ants that made it into the pie, but I don’t know because it turned out DELICIOUS!

Oh, also, I forgot to take a photo of the pie when it came out of the oven, so here she is in her pre-baked and pale, naked glory.

The pie turned out to be so tasty! I was proud and I almost understood why people like pie so much. Personally, give me cake or give me some more cake.

And as a bonus, look at this video I shot during traffic today. Can you see anything interesting happening? AH, Lagos!

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Not a Very Interesting Day

Today was not very interesting, but I am going to write about it anyway because not every day is an interesting one, no matter where you are in the world.

If I had to guess, I would think that even the most exciting people in the world still lead lives that are at least 85% mundane and boring. I bet Elon Musk is sitting around bored out of his mind right now, and he’s one of the most interesting people on the planet, at least in my opinion. 

My day was so mundane that I’ve spent a paragraph talking about boredom in a blog that I write to describe my days. How’s that for irony?

This morning, another set of guys came to check the light bulbs all through the house.  I had recently asked them to come out, so this time, there were only two lightbulbs out. Both of the bulbs that were replaced today must have come from the reject batch to have blown out so quickly. 

R came home for lunch. He had said he would be happy eating grilled cheese sandwiches, but there are two things that prevented us from eating grilled cheese sandwiches today:

1) I cut the not pre sliced bread in a crooked way and I am not ready to look at that mistake again just to make a sandwich made of bread and cheese and,

2) I like to save my sandwich consumption for sandwiches that matter, like hamburgers and chicken biscuits from Whataburger (a fast food restaurant in the southern United States). R does make good grilled cheese sandwiches, however, in his defense.

So, we ate chicken and red pepper stir fry over boiled rice. I got over zealous with the pepper, so it was a little spicy. R approved.

Then, I went out to the store. I went to one of the expat stores on Victoria Island. I saw this broccoli crown, which I photographed to write about. This ONE head of broccoli is about the equivalent of $10USD. I didn’t buy it, but I sure wanted to. I can’t wait to eat reasonably priced broccoli, ideally some that is cooked by some body damn else that is not me.

When I exited the store, a beggar came up and was trying to talk me into giving him some money.  I have been warned about doing that, so I just smiled and said “God bless you.” I came very close to saying “May the force be with you ” as an accident because I have been binge watching all of the “Star Wars” movies. I’m sure the beggar would have thought I was weird if I had said that . 

The funny thing about the guy was how he talked. He was talking like he was throwing his voice or making a funny, Smurf like sound with his voice, like doing it on purpose. 

Do Nigerians watch “The Smurfs”?

I have no idea, but now I’m curious.

Perhaps tomorrow will be more exciting.  For dinner, we had stale taco shells and taco meat. R seasoned the ground meat and although the meat was salty and the shells were very stale and our icecream tasted more like ice than cream, I guess I was happy to have those things to eat.

Hopefully tomorrow our food will be better. Maybe I’ll go back and buy that  $10 broccoli.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Unacceptable Doors

One of my favorite morning past times is to get up and read news on the internet.

I like to read about everything from what a Kardashian wore to eat kale salad to what the leader of the free world said about Russia, or what he did NOT say about Russia.

It’s my morning ritual; I do it while drinking tea and honey, usually with a light snack since I am not big on eating breakfast.

This morning, my news reading was interrupted when my paltry doorbell rang. The poor door bell sounds like a dying bat. I almost did not get up to answer it; some part of me knew that foolishness was awaiting on the other side.

One of the things I dislike about living on this camp is the ridiculous maintenance schedule. While I appreciate that someone is assigned to come lube the door hinges, I dislike that the chap shows up whenever he feels like it.

I mean, REALLY? Perhaps I’m bored or a little stir crazy or both, but a guy that comes to spray WD40 on all of the doors and cabinets  (yes, he inspected every single one) seems both absurd and hilarious at the same time.

When the guy was attempting to check the upper kitchen cabinets, he required a step stool, which I do not have. He proceeded to move my dish rack out of the way and scoot his little dirty butt all over the countertop in an attempt to reach all the cabinets.

The humorous part in this is that several MONTHS ago, I put in a work order request for someone to actually come and fix a damaged kitchen cabinet door. Someone came and rigged it up (if you can call it that) and left. I suppose I should have just waited until today, when the official door and hinge inspection happened.  Foolishness!

Here he is, carefully using his screw driver to move my bowls out of the way for some reason.

 

And here he is, inspecting other doors:

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Perhaps tomorrow they will send someone to inspect my sanity. I will tell them that it’s all gone, unfortunately.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Moving Day in Camp

Living abroad is a strange experience.

I may be having a very particular kind of expat experience because of my location, but I imagine that for any expat, anywhere, living away from home, where things are familiar and easily understood, some of the most mundane things can become quite entertaining.

So, when I heard lots of beeping and backing up and shouting a couple of weeks ago, I rushed over to the window to see what was happening. Turns out, the folks across the street was getting their shipment delivered.

I was not in the country when our shipment was delivered; R was here and he managed to both wrangle the workers and make sure things were in place.

Lots of people have asked me how my stuff was moved here from Houston. Here’s a short version of what happened, ommitting the details associated with immigration and the weeks long process of mentally telling yourself that yes, it’s ok to ship many of your belongings to a VERY foreign country.

PROCESS

  1. Go insane and decide to move to Lagos.
  2. Assure friends and family that you are in fact NOT insane. Repeat as necessary.
  3. Go through your things and decide on the things that won’t go to the new country. For me, I left antique furniture, childhood memorabilia, and my most beloved “possessions”, my cats, at home in America, where I felt they were most safe.
  4. Schedule a time for professional movers and packers to come pack up your belongings.
  5. Watch as they pack up your extensive collection of cast iron and wooden letter stamps faster than you bought them at the store.
  6. Wrangle cats to ensure none of the actually end up in a box or escape the apartment.
  7. Waive bye to your stuff and sleep on an air mattress after ordering Thai delivery because now all your sh*t is gone.
  8. Wait 3-6 months.
  9. Greet Nigerian Santa Claus when he arrives with your shipment.

 

As I previously mentioned, I was not here when the shipment arrived, but I was here to record this video when the folks across the street received their shipment. It was quite entertaining to watch. This video shows the guys loading the container back onto the flat bed truck after it has been emptied.

Enjoy the video!

Oh, and I want to say thank you to everyone who has subscribed to the blog or if you have read it once or every day. Thank you so much.

A special thank you to my mom, who reads this blog EVERY SINGLE DAY.  MOM: Your encouragement and knowing that you read my blog has renewed my love for writing and given me new found confidence in my abilities to tell a story. ❤

Here’s the video:

 

Arriving Back in Lagos

Arriving back in Lagos at 5:15 am was both a blessing and a curse.

Blessing: Plane didn’t crash; safe arrival.

Curse: Plane arrived in Lagos.

Coming back to Lagos after over a week in one of my favorite places in the world was no easy task. It took all of my strength and mental fortitude to board the plane. But, I knew that Lagos would have some of her well known craziness just waiting to welcome me back.

Let me regale you with some stories of foolishness, Back in Lagos, Day 1:

Getting off the Plane:

The woman sitting in the row in front of me asked for my assistance in retrieving her oversized, over stuffed, knock off Louis Vitton bag from the overhead compartment. She’d put the big, stupid bag in the compartment two seats behind her for some reason.

“Your bag is really too small for the stuff that’s in it. It’s way over full,” I said as I struggled to get it. She reached up to try to help me. I nastily said, “I will do it or you wait and do it yourself.”

^ I am not usually such a short tempered person, but you know, when in Lagos. It also annoyed me that her bag was knock off Louis Vitton; just buy your bags at Wal-Mart (or whatever the equivalent is here) like a decent person. Don’t support counterfeiters, but whatever, I will get off my moral high horse.

Her next bag was a blue, hard sized roller bag. I laughed when she asked for assistance with that one. I impolitely informed her: “You will have to wait on that one.”

Her jackass of a companion, who had listened to several videos OUT LOUD on his phone during the flight, eventually came along and retrieved the blue bag.

When it was time to go, I snipped at R: “Come on R! You’re back in Nigeria and you’ve got to fight! Did you forget?”

Yes, I said that, out loud, on land in Lagos, in a plane full of Nigerians. I’m sure most of them agreed with me in their heads and hearts. R quickly remembered that we’re not in London anymore and it was time to get aggressive in order to get through the line to get to immigration.

Since the plane was full of Nigerians, the line for the non-Nigerian passport holders was blissfully short. It only took about 10 minutes to get through the line. Every other time I have traveled here, it has taken a minimum of 30 minutes to get through immigration. That time can be compounded as the guards allow Nigerians to cut the line to be serviced first, even though there are two lines devoted to Nigerian passport holders.

After making it through immigration with no fanfare, we waited on our bags. I went to the toilet and two women inside who were the attendants asked me for a blessing (that’s Nigerian slang for a “tip”).

I told them I had nothing, and they both began to tell me about how they have not been paid for 2 months and how they had nothing to eat last night.

One of the ladies was wearing heavy eyeliner and lots of decent looking makeup and a wig. The other lady was wearing decent looking weave. I thought, “No money for food but better hair and makeup than me?” I asked, “Why do you continue to come back here if they do no pay you?” They told me they had no where else to go. I thought that was an odd answer, so I just excused myself.

Later, I wondered if they were just making up the story about not being paid in 2 months. I wondered if I was being judgmental about them. So, I decided to do a Google search for news stories about workers not being paid. I actually found several, but this is one of the latest ones I found, in case you’d like to read about this in more detail, and from a more reputable source than an American reciting what I was told by 2 bathroom attendants.

Nigerian Has a Culture of Not Paying Its Workers and Its Not Going to Change Anytime Soon

After the bathroom fiasco, we got our bags and attempted to make it through the security search. The bags are searched for “security purposes” (emphasis on the quotation marks).

Let’s be frank here: White people or any other non-Nigerian looking people are searched; Nigerians are not.

Now, it’s ok to be a nationalist and take care of your own and show preference to your own people. BUT, being on the other side of the unfair treatment REALLY SUCKS.

So, today, when I was asked what was in my bags, I answered in circular logic until the customs official got annoyed and waved me out, angrily telling me to “Just leave.” Thanks, dude.

My brown skin helped; my accent probably did not. I am not a rule breaker; I never bring un-allowed things into any country. But, I openly hate being treated like a lesser than person because I am not Nigerian. I also openly hate to see R treated like an even lesser person because he is not a Black person.

The rest of the day was uneventful and thankfully, I was able to catch up on a lot of sleep and drink a gallon of water.

Here are two videos that I took on the bus ride home. Leaving the airport so early in the morning allowed the bus driver to drive like a bat out of hell. Or should I say a bat out of Lagos. Ha!

Enjoy the videos and until tomorrow, my friends…

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