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!

IMG_1271

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!

IMG_1257

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.

IMG_1261

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.

IMG_1266

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.

IMG_1268

I saw these horse sculptures while riding around in Scottsdale.

IMG_1269

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.

IMG_1284

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…

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:

IMG_1214IMG_1249

And here’s my ticket!

IMG_1246

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!

IMG_1226IMG_1230IMG_1235IMG_1240IMG_1243

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:

IMG_6400

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.

IMG_6401IMG_6402

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.

IMG_6415IMG_6416

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!

IMG_6430IMG_6420

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

IMG_1169IMG_1166IMG_1168

OUTDOOR SCULPTURES

IMG_1165IMG_1163

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

IMG_1181IMG_1186IMG_1185

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

IMG_1170

OTHER VIEWS OF THE BEAUTIFUL MUSEUM GROUNDS

IMG_1174IMG_1175IMG_1180IMG_1183IMG_1195

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!)

IMG_1191IMG_1197

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

IMG_1171IMG_1172

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

IMG_1189IMG_1190

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.

IMG_6363IMG_6366

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.

IMG_6338IMG_6339IMG_6345

 

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.

IMG_1162

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!

IMG_6385IMG_6384IMG_6386IMG_6387IMG_6395IMG_6391IMG_6390IMG_6389IMG_6388IMG_6392

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.

IMG_6396

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!

IMG_6380

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.

IMG_6398IMG_6399

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?

 

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…

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…

London: Lost Stories 

As I sit in the airport, about an hour before my plane departs to go back to Lagos, I am still reeling in the fun, exciting, and joyous time I have had in London, England.

Even though there’s a very cute, but crying, baby nearby attempting to drown out my happy thoughts with his calls for whatever the hell babies need, I am still so happy to be sitting here, at the tail end of my London adventure.

Of course there were many photos that I did not get to share throughout the week. Let’s take a look at some of them and learn the story behind them now.

We took the Tube, aka the public subway, to The O2 venue both times.

This cool sign was hanging out near the train, greeting the John Mayer fans. It’s so cool that whoever wrote it went to the trouble of incorporating his song titles into the notice.

This was another sign that I saw in the Tube. I can personally testify that the British are unfailingly polite. Even the biggest asshole I met (a guy working at a Tube station) was a downright gentleman compared to other asshole of other cultures I have encountered. 

So, with that being said, London is not messing around with you and your sass when it comes to verbally abusing public servants.

This is a photo of the giant fish head knockers that are on several walls in the aquarium.  I kind of want one for my door at home.

This is a very handsome bird that was basically posing for photos outside of the aquarium. 

This video shows the view from the Thames Clipped, a boat that I think is part of the public transportation system. The Thames Clipper sailed by this warship. I don’t know the name of the warship, though. It was a lot of fun riding the Thames Clipper.  The seats are comfortable and plush, even for a fat American like me.

This video shows a boat cruising under Tower Bridge. You may remember seeing Tower Bridge opening and closing in a previous post.

This is one of the buildings near The O2 venue. I didn’t go inside, but I think it houses other shops and restaurants. 

The O2 is on a peninsula and the area has that kind of new age feel, like it’s where the cool kids and low on cash but creative people live. It’s like a whole other London, less old buildings and lots of new buildings with exciting looking exteriors. But the area still has the same polite people as the rest of London. 


Ok, I will keep digging through the archives and see what else I failed to share. 

Until tomorrow my friends…

London Days 8 and 9 aka JOHN MAYER IS LIFE 

I have not written in two days for good reason. 

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, I got to check off one of my biggest bucket list items: I got to see the incomparable John Mayer in concert.

My life is now complete. Go ahead and throw me from Tower Bridge because the rest of life just HAS to be all downhill from here, right?

Let me share some photos and snippets. The concert was at The O2. Leave it to the Brits to design such a lovely and beautiful and well organized venue.

View of The O2 from afar.

I have loved John Mayer for over 12 years. His song, “Why Georgia” inspired me to move from Louisiana to Texas all alone. The quiet joy that he sang about in “leaving it all behind” is what I thought I would experience when leaving Louisiana.  I felt those feelings and so many more.

Over the years, he has remained my favorite artist and I own all of his recordings except the last album, which I didn’t buy because I thought it’d be nice to hear those songs first while he played them live. I was right. It was such an amazing experience to hear so much of his new music live.

Here are a few snippets from the concert.

Here, he’s playing one of my favorite songs, “Gravity.”

More clips!

The phone audio and video cannot do him justice. His guitar skills are absolutely masterful.

Once I told a colleague at work that I wanted to learn to play the guitar like John Mayer and he laughed and said “Uhhh well you would have to become REALLY GOOD.  Do you think you could get that good?”

At the time, I took offense to his low belief in my abilities but both then and now I knew he was right. John Mayer is one of the best guitarists and song writers of my generation. 

We returned to the O2 on Friday. I bought more concert merchandise and saw the “Fast and Furious 8” movie. I think I have found my new favorite place in London.

Yesterday, I noticed this gorgeous, metal obelisk thing outside.

Here is the “cream tea” that I ordered at a place called Square Pie. I went there thinking they served square shaped, sweet pies, but I was wrong. They did serve savory pies, like kidney and onions pie, and cream Tea, which was black tea with milk and sugar served with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Clotted cream is like if lightly whipped cream and butter had a baby.

Today, Saturday, is my last day in London. 

I am so thankful to have had the chance to stay here for so long. I have learned that I’m tough enough to survive in a big city, ride public transportation , and survive on poorly seasoned food.

But even with the cardboard food, London is still made sweet by its history and absolutely lovely inhabitants. 

I love London and Londoners!

See you soon, London…

It’s back to Lagos for a bit.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

London Day 7

Another exhausting but gorgeous day in London!

Since I’m tired again, I will write a post similar to the one from yesterday.

Today’s itinerary:

1) Took a black taxi to the tour bus pickup.  We had to be there for 7:45 am.

2) Rode the tour bus to Windsor Castle. The Queen was in, but if course we didn’t get to meet her. All of the exhibits we saw did not allow any photography inside, but believe me that Windsor is worth a visit. I’ve never been in a more grand place.



2a) We had a disgusting lunch on the bus. The sandwich was wheat bread, something like flavorless BBQ sauce with tiny onions, cheese, and cucumber.  Served with water, raisins, and cookies. They might as well just given us the cardboard box it came in and told us to eat it. 

Also, by chips, I mean potato crisps, for all the British people who may be reading this.

3) Rode the bus to Stonehenge. I wish we had more time there, but I enjoyed the 90 minutes or so.


4) Rode the tour bus to Bath.  What a lovely, English city. 



5) Rode the tour bus to Lacock, another lovely, English city.


6) Arrived back in central London at approximately 8:00 pm and ate at a terrible restaurant called Taste of China. It was the worst food and service I’ve experienced here in London. BLAND and uninspired good and an absent minded waitress.

One of the highlights of the trip was when a group of 5 people were 20 minures late getting back to the bus after one of the stops.

The tour director, Pete, directed us to clap for them as they entered because they had finally made it.

Although that would have been a cheeky and passive aggressive way to acknowledge their tardiness, I decided to be a full on American asshole. So when the men entered the bus, having walked a full minute ahead if the women and children, I BOOED. And got damn I BOOED loudly and with eyes on them and drew a second breath to continue my booing. 

I should be ashamed at the pleasure that gave me, but I am not and to hell with tbem. Let’s just say that the rest of the tour was timely and I’m still unashamed of my booing. I think I did a great service to the rest of the bus. 

The tour guide must have agreed because be gave me a fist bump at the end of my booing.

Needless to say, I didn’t make any friends today.

Until tomorrow, my (maybe?) Friends…

London Day 6

Whew! It was a tiring day and tomorrow will be a very long day.

I’m exhausted so I’ll just write the activities and then share more details later.

1) Breakfast at McDonald’s 

2) Travelled to Westminster area

3) Ground photos of Big Ben (it’s closed for repairs until 2020)

4) Rode the London Eye

5) Ate terrible and BLAND food at restaurant near the London Eye 

6) Visited the London Aquarium 

7) Rose the bus back to the hotel; ate dinner, watched uncensored Hell’s Kitchen  ( lots of cuss words)

Oh! I forgot that I dropped off laundry this morning!

I only brought a carry on sized suit case of clothes, so I had almost ran out of ckirges. Thanks to Google, I was able to find a laundromat that was less than a mile away!

They told me to come back at the end of the day and when I picked up my clothes, to my utter delight, they’d been washed and meticulously folded and put in little bags.

All for only  £14.95 which is about $19.33!

Got to get up early tomorrow to go to

S T O N E H E N G E

I’M EXCITED 

Until tomorrow my friends…

London Day 5

Today was all about the Tower of London! Which, I learned, is different from London Bridge, which is a whole other thing that’s also not Tower Bridge.

The taxi driver from the airport said that the first London Bridge was dismantled and sold to a guy in Arizona, USA. The famous bridge in London, the one on the post cards and such, is the Tower Bridge, which crosses the Thames River. On one side of the Thames River is the Tower of London, which is a collection of buildings that were used as a fortresses, homes, places of execution, etc.

Let’s start with Tower Bridge. Look at the bright, lovely, turquoise blue that parts of the bridge are painted.

20170508_160848

20170508_16015920170508_155849

What do you think of my t-shirt? I bought it yesterday at the Primark. Is it too touristy looking? It was quite chilly today, but I had to take off my coat once and take a photo showcasing my awesome and touristy t-shirt.

I also had the chance to watch them raise and lower the Tower Bridge! It was so quiet and smooth, you could place a baby on the thing and he’d still be asleep when it’s over.

RAISING TOWER BRIDGE

 

LOWERING TOWER BRIDGE

 

There was also a visit to the Tower of London, which is where the Crown Jewels are kept. I do not have photographs of the Crown Jewels because there was a strict no photography rule. But, I will just say that yes, they’re gorgeous. You’ll have to just Google what they look like, I suppose.

I could, however, take photos of the other structures and things on display. There are several towers at the Tower of London site; there’s lots of English history assocaited with the site. Many people were beheaded and tortured there. The buildings are very old, some of them dating back to the 1000s. I know, that’s not a typo; that is really over 1,000 years ago.

This is the building where the Crown Jewels are housed.

20170508_151326

Here are other photos of the structures on the site. I don’t know what they’re all called. The houses with the bright, turquoise blue doors captured my attention and imagination. I love how the bright little doors contrasted against the dreary London sky.

20170508_15253420170508_151722

There were also these mesh animal structures around the site.

20170508_15553120170508_14374620170508_143811

Since the buildings are so old, many of them were used during times of war. And a long time ago, war meant bows and arrows and close, hand to hand combat. I took this photo of a window in one of the towers. The window is cross shaped but also functional and wide enough to shoot someone out of it.

20170508_152737

Here are a few last photos. I was so lost in all the beauty and oldness of the buildings that I didn’t write down exactly what these things were, but I suppose I can call them “Medieval Related Stuff.” Ha!

20170508_15562520170508_15255820170508_144020

In the last photo, you can see the cross shaped windows from the outside of the building.

According to my FitBit, I walked almost 6 miles today and about 20 flights of stairs. I predict that I will weight 45 lbs less by the time I go back to Lagos, between the walking and exercise and low, unsatisfying food consumption. Ha!

My feet are killing me. I am off to bed, after a heavy dose of Advil.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

London Day 4

I have decided to write as I go along, so that I don’t forget anything along the way.

This is such a great opportunity to spend a lot of time in this beautiful city and I am thankful in so many ways.

My first stop was Holborn Underground Station, where I caught the tube to the Notting Hill  station. I wanted to walk around Notting Hill, which is a lovely little neighborhood.  Some of the buildings are pastel in color. I haven’t walked past any yet, but I hope to see some while I continue walking.

I decided to come here to visit a place for brunch called Granger & Company for something called an Aussie breakfast.

I’m not sure where the folks here learned to season food, but everything I have tried, aside from the hotel restaurant which has delicious food, has been BLAND city!

This was my Aussie breakfast. I feel full and have energy but it wasn’t the most enjoyable food. Perhaps the food and the walking is how the Londoners stay so fit and happy.  I walked about a mile total to reach Granger & Company and this is the food I had when I got there. Ha! I feel kind of sad about how much I paid for this food. It was £21, which is about $27. All that money and still no flavor.

Oh, and I forgot to take a photo of the outside of the place but I actually sat outside, in an effort to avoid waiting for a table inside, which was about a 45 minute wait. I hate waiting for tables at restaurants and some part of me knew the food wouldn’t be good enough to wait that long anyway. Ha!

So, I enjoyed this food in about 50F weather, with a creepy dark haired girl standing directly behind me most of the time. It was kind of an exercise in self torture. Being American, I am quite self conscious about how I eat (we have the stereotype of being hoggish eaters), so sitting outside, in front of a long line of foreigners watching me eat was essentially a level of hell for me.

But YAY  for courage and new experiences and continuing to push my discomfort levels during this trio.

Another thing that makes me a little uncomfortable travelling around alone is using the public transportation.

Yesterday, I was on the wrong bus for about 30 minutes before I realized it. But at least I realized it and found my way back to the hotel. And I figured out what I had done wrong without asking for help.

Big red buses of London, we will be friends before I leave, got damn it!

20170507_113350

After the filling, yet tasteless meal, I walked around Notting Hill. WOW! What a gorgeous and safe feeling place. I know that every big place has crime, but it is a little comforting, oh, who am I kidding, it is very comforting to know that everyone walking and driving by is not possibly carrying a gun. That’s one of my favorite things about doing things in countries that are not America. I love you America, but I am not a fan of the liberal gun laws.

I’ll probably be deported just for writing that, but YOLO. I don’t own a gun.

Anyway, back to the beautiful houses of Notting Hill. It is close to Kensington Gardens, too! My favorite photo that I took today is at the top of the blog post. Simply gorgeous!

I also photographed this super happy, Pepto Bismol pink little car and this beautiful street sign.

20170507_11300120170507_131755

I also saw these Mexican food signs. I took photos of them to show my friends back home that Mexican food is loved all around the world. There’s no place in the world better to eat Mexican food though than 1) ACTUALLY IN MEXICO or 2) Houston, Texas. I am partial, but I am usually disappointed when eating Mexican food outside of Houston. I did not dare go into either of these establishments because eating bland Mexican food would send me into another dimension, because bland Mexican food should not exist.

20170507_12210620170507_113158

I know that London is a beautiful place and I love it for all its’ history and charm. But did you know that this lovely city also has a FANTASTIC store called Primark?

I don’t know what the hell PRIMARK is, but to describe it to my American friends: Have you ever wished that Forever 21, Target, and Marshalls had a bastard love child? If so, then you would LOVE Primark!

I discovered the awesomeness of Primark when I got off the bus that the Marble Arch bus stop, near (or on? I was confused and using the hell out of Google Maps to navigate) Oxford Street.

When I got off one bus to change to another bus, I noticed that Primark was busy like people were getting free dollar bills just for standing outside of it. So, I crossed the street (I am happy to report that I now have the confidence to jay walk if a local person does it) hurriedly and checked out the Primark. But, I feel like this place should rightfully be called PRIMARK! It deserves all caps and at least ONE exclamation mark.

20170507_14375920170507_14401920170507_14330920170507_14321520170507_143211

I bought several things from Primark that I will share in another post, but the several things I bought ended up being only about $64.92.

Ah, this post is getting long, but I can’t bear to leave without sharing this video that I took from the bus when I left Primark, on the way back to the hotel. THIS GIRL WAS JAMMING!

 

I am going to try to return to Oxford street before leaving London. If I lived here, I would pretty much just hang out on Oxford Street and wait for street performers. It was so awesome just to see from the bus.

Today was such an AMAZING day. I feel like London loves me almost as much as I love it.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

 

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑