Uber Chronicles: Mth2Wk2

mth2wk2

I love the nightlife more these days.

I’m endeared to the dark starry skies a lot more than I ever envisaged prior. With me, taking in the scenery and appreciating nature in all its splendor happens by default, and if it were just the vast lands of uniform green areas, or the beautiful flowers adorning some sidewalks in the Federal Capital, it’d be easier to understand. Instead, I find even the littlest of details appealing.

The streetlights along the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Road, Abuja have even brought their quota to the mix.

You know what they say about intelligent minds and finding it hard falling asleep? Yh, that’s usually my story, though, this is one plague I would never pray to rid myself off especially with how much more King Solomon got by just asking for wisdom.

So to kill two birds with one stone, I take my mind and all that’s on it for a long ass drive while I get paid in the process, all thanks to Uber while at it.

We are encouraged to interact with our riders and hold the conversations however politely, for the duration of the ride. The prerogative, however, falls on me to determine the pace of said conversation; if I am not interested, I will leave you with the impression that I am a tad boring, yet competent Uber driver with whom you were fortunate or unfortunate to be paired.

Yh it could go both ways!
Some people hate it when you’re chatty, and others loathe you when you are not.

What interests me?
Matter-of-factly, I have always been a sucker for a beautiful face. I’m not drawn to a lady who feels entitled cos of her beauty, but rather, one that comes across as smart and opinionated in an instant; they can hold meaningful conversations and continually pique my interest for the duration of the trip.

I’m homophobic, but yea, smart looking guys probably living the life I’d love to own. They most likely left their sleek cars at home for some reasons, like shaking off a stalker, evading unnecessary attention or just for want of being chauffeur-driven for a change.

I also get to put my retentive memory to good use.
Considering these accounts are weekly, just like our pay slips, I look forward to recounting juicy details that might creep up somewhere within my week of pickups and countless networking possibilities.

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The Chronicles of a Traveling Publicist; Tanzania

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Visiting Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania was one of the highlights of March 2015 for me. It wasn’t expected, as is every great thing; I wasn’t part of the team initially meant to embark on that trip but as fate would have it, I was a last minute addition and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.

20150312_14584920150312_110217Prior to this moment, I had been thinking and planning for so long to spend two weeks of my leave in Zanzibar and suddenly I had been afforded the opportunity by a mere streak of luck. I worked assiduously two day before the intended date to get my visa; I spent a couple of hours at the Tanzanian High Commission and an almost equal amount of time at the UBA Bank where I went to pay the ‘Express Visa Fees’. It was a few thousands of Naira above the usual price but I didn’t mind for a bit, especially as I would be refunded by the company.

Going through immigrations at the ‘International Departure Lounge’ in the Nnamdi Azikiwe Intl Airport Abuja didn’t do much to deter me in any way; I was still excited, regardless of the fact that I was made to go through the scanning machine twice for having forgotten my belt on and secondly, for still wearing my silver Seiko wristwatch. (I’ve never really understood why I have to take of my shoes at our airport here; couldn’t they just scan that on me too like in the US?)

It was a five hour trip that didn’t quite feel that long. Maybe it can be attributed to the comfort the private jet afforded me; the flight attendants were absolutely pleasant too, and almost nice to a fault.

On landing, we were ushered to the VIP section of the Julius Nyerere International Airport so I didn’t quite get the chance to compare the whole airport with its counterpart in Abuja. The airport staff were quite friendly and their immigration officials meticulous; once we were done with the needful, we were ushered to the already waiting vehicles, but not before the stint with pressmen from two local Tanzanian TV stations.

20150312_171342We already had reservations at the Hyatt Regency – the Kilimanjaro, so it didn’t take long from arrival at the hotel till we successfully checked in; it was visibly a 5 star hotel, as the facilities present and the grounds were a picturesque testament to that.

On the day we were to visit the Bagamoyo Region where we would be performing the symbolic donation of 40ft container of books to 5 Secondary School, 1 Primary School and 1 University, we were chauffeur driven in a number of Toyota Prado SUVs arranged by the Hyatt Regency. The one I was in had a very jovial man driving and he didn’t hesitate in showing us places of note in Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam. As we drove past the ‘Masaaki’, he pointed out that it was the affluent part of Dar es Salaam where you could see the most beautifully built private residences, really tall condominiums and tourists moving about freely; the Protea Hotel Oyster Bay was one of such edifices that caught my attention.20150312_171346

In response to our curiosity about business opportunities in Tanzania, he mentioned that one of the most lucrative businesses to venture into was to set up a bottled water company; apparently, Tz had issues with their natural water and as such it had to be taken through a series of rigorous filtration and water treatment processes.  Also it turns out that agriculture also has a lot of potentials too; the richest man in the country was a big agriculturist, supplying food from the villages where they have ample land to cultivate, to the city.

The exchange rate stood at 1840 shillings to $1, so I wasn’t exactly scared to get anything I wanted. In comparison to the Naira, we just had to take off one zero from the price in shillings; paying 5000 shillings for a taxi ride from my hotel to somewhere downtown, translated to N500. Not bad at all.

Unlike in Nigeria, I noticed that some of their private security guards carried guns; apparently they are licensed to. I noticed this while I was passing through an area where they had a chain of Bureau de Changes.

Some international brands like the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) which is a stone throw from the United States Embassy, Dstv of South Africa, Hyatt Group, Best Western Hotels, Standard Chartered Bank, Goodyear tyre company, were not absent in this rather blossoming city of Dar Es Salaam.

I almost had the wrong impression of the city and people by just strolling from my hotel to the fish market nearby and back. Why? All I got to see were fishermen and labourers returning from work but when I got a chance to go into town proper, I got to see a whole different picture. My first point of call was ‘Akemi’ Tanzania’s Revolving Restaurant on the 21st floor of the Golden Jubilee Towers, where I got to see really pretty girls and well-groomed men working in corporate firms like Deloitte amongst others. I got to visit the Saamaki Saamaki, a restaurant and bar with a rather impressive African theme offering culinary tourist attraction seeing as they are a coastal city; the tables were modelled after canoes and the whole place exuded this retro African feel to it.  Their own version of an English pub and a lounge obtainable here in Nigeria is the ‘News Café’ and I was visibly impressed; having the maasai tribesmen, in their signature sticks and knives guarding and coordinating parking of cars was the icing on my cake.

Recounting details of my visit wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Mr. Adebowale Atobatele, a very pleasant Nigerian whom we met at the roof top bar of the Hyatt Regency. Once we identified ourselves as fellow Nigerians, he was more than happy to show us around, and contributed a whole lot to the view of Tanzania I got to see. He is the General Manager at Dun and Bradstreet Credit Bureau Tanzania Limited, and he has been living in the capital for a little over two years. Obviously a man of eclectic tastes and interests, we got to talk about a number of issues ranging from viable investment opportunities in Tz, to politics and the way forward for Nigeria, and even to more trivial matters; it was my pleasure getting to meet him, to say the least and I’m sure my colleague would attest to same.

I also got to meet a very brilliant lawyer who changed my view about East Africa as a whole; it became clear that even though we counted ourselves as giants of Africa, these other countries had a lot to offer. She was well versed in matters pertaining to Nigeria and world economic issues and right there and then I made a mental note to step up my game.  Her best channel is CNN, and this she says stems from the need to always be kept abreast with happenings around the world; things like the English Premier League also interested her and she was an ardent supporter of the Manchester United Football Club.

20150315_104623I have a list of places for my next trip to Tz; The Serengeti is one. I would like the chance to visit the natural habitat for animals where I hear they sometimes cross through three countries to come to, starting from Namibia but eventually migrate back later. Zanzibar tops my ‘Must Visit’ list, for anyone who has ever googled the island and seen wonderful photos of cottages on clear blue water would readily appreciate my bias on this. Places like Arusha, located below the Mount Meru with their wonderful temperate climate are also on my ‘Must Visit’ list. I also hear they have the International Court where they try people for war crimes, just like the Hague, but the details is something I would like to find out personally and not with the aid of google; Arusha is also the de facto capital of the East African Community.

Photo Credit: My Samsung Note 3 Camera

The Death In ‘Till Death’

Let’s talk about death in relationships.

 

When the man-of-God who’s joining the couple says ‘till death do you part’ I’m sure he means death as in ‘Grim Reaper’ and related subjects. Death; as in the end of physical life.

 

But as we’ve come to learn, physical death is the least responsible for ending so many marriages marriages nowadays, no?

 

Let’s consider death in other forms – death of other things. Things that were once exciting – and suddenly are not as exciting as they used to be.  When the sight of her body no longer sends you into the mindless frenzy it used to – when his snore and one-pack become the two most annoying things you know.

 

When we just want to say ‘you know what? This is no longer working for me’.

 

In recent times we’ve witnessed more weddings than university students around here have attended lectures. We also know of the tales of woe that abound – tales that make marriage sound like a badly written Stephen King novel. And little by little, slowly but steadily, a happy marriage is starting to look and sound like a myth.

 

We all know there are happy marriages – just as we know there are still virgins (word to Chidinma) but the thing is – these things hardly; if ever get celebrated. No one made the cover of The Daily Sun for being a faithful husband or wife! We’re more likely to read about ‘Pastor Impregnates Wife’s Younger Sister’ than ‘Couple Celebrate Twenty Years Of Marital Bliss’.

 

And even if we did read that, most of us will probably ‘yimu’ and go ‘na lie jo’.

 

Now, what happened to make us so disillusioned about getting married?

 

I think we happened.

 

WE. YOU and ME.

 

We simply stopped taking each other seriously.

 

Someone said something somewhere ‘If we took our romantic lives as seriously as we took our professional lives, we would be lots happier’.

 

Whoa.

 

husband

Death Is A Woman…At Times. Courtesy Google

 

Pause.

Consider the picture.

 

Remember that Pacesetter novel ‘Death Is a Woman’?

But then, let’s keep moving.

 

The vow says ‘till death do you part’. The picture depicts one way death can come into marriage, right?

Now let’s consider the thought that ‘anything not growing is dead’.

 

Ever flipped through your CV and noticed that for a while, nothing new has been added to it? And then you thought about getting a new job, a new degree, a new experience – something to make the CV fuller and richer?

 

Can we think about our relationships in those terms?

 

Relationships in which both partners are individually and collectively thinking of new ways to grow; individually and together.

 

I won’t lie. I used to think the hardest part was ‘getting the girl’.

But then, as I grew older that part of it became progressively easier until – and then I had a reality check.

The hardest part is making her stay.

I mean really. I had to ask myself; why should she stay with you?

 

Do you know anyone on any planet or in any reality who likes stale food?

Men want to talk about how men are natural breeders and how men get bored with just one woman. Hello bro. Wake up and smell the coffee  – you’re not the only one stuck with her; she’s also stuck with you!

Make it worth her while.

 

A friend of mine is taking belly-dancing classes. And when I asked her why, she said ‘you never know with men. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it’.

 

Okay. Maybe belly dancing is kind of awkward if you’re a guy (or maybe not); you can learn how to wash her hair. Learn how to make new dishes regularly. Take her to Dubai (these things are not as expensive as we think!).  Be interested in her career – things that matter to her. Come home one day and say ‘I was browsing and saw this online course I think you would be interested in. I already subscribed for the brochure; but if you don’t like we can cancel’.

 

It’s far beyond ‘dinner and a movie’ these days o. Real.

 

 

It’s beyond lying-back-and-letting-the-partner-do-all-the-work. There’s as much competition for men’s attention as there is for women now. We’ve all heard the ‘sleeping-with-his-wife’s-best-friend’ story. Maybe the man was greedy and so on – but where was the wife in the midst of all that?

 

There’s more to infidelity than sleeping around. And sometimes, the sex is just a by-product; the visible results of some other things. We see the sex, so we just think it was lust. And in some cases it was/is just that. Lust.

 

But in some other cases…

 

If we spent more time enriching each other – our partners, friends, spouses – whatever people we have around us, don’t we think things would be easier for all concerned? Don’t we think we would have less of short-term marriages and actually have more people committed to improving themselves and each other?

 

In Social Studies we learnt the smallest unit of society is the family (or something close). Don’t we think that’s another place a better Nigeria can start from?

I’m just saying.

But I do know this – it’s impossible to do something nice for someone else and not be touched ourselves.

 

Let’s blow the dust off that record, folks. Let’s get to know each other all over again.

 

I’m Seun Odukoya. It is a pleasure having you here.

Thank you.

 

What do you think? What other ways do you think death come into relationships? Looking forward to reading your opinion!

 

Have a blessed week.

 

This wonderful piece was written by Seun Odukoya (  http://seunodukoya.wordpress.com/  ). He is one of the most brilliant and articulate writer i have ever encountered. His blog is somewhere i look forward to going to everyday. I’m an ardent follower of his and just thought to bless you all with this piece. Big Thanks to him too for letting me Re-Blog this. Find the Original PostHEre: http://seunodukoya.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/the-death-in-till-death/