Thursday, 28 June 2018

ZANZIBAR (HAKUNA MATATA)



Blue skies, turquoise-blue water with sun rays warming your skin…

I’ve long dreamed of savouring such scenery. I finally got the chance with @socialprefecttours
Zanzibar has been among my top travel destinations and it was fulfilling visiting.

Awesome Travel Buddies
Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous island of the United Republic of Tanzania. They have their own President, though they are still under the President of Tanzania. The language spoken is Swahili, though some locals speak English but not fluently. The currency is Tanzanian Shilling. Most of the locals are Muslims. There are just two churches in Zanzibar.


One of the two churches in Zanzibar

Our first stop was Stone Town. Here we got to see the House of wonder, it’s called so due to it being the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity, flowing water and elevator. The streets of Stone Town are very narrow with lots of winding lanes, carved doorways with almost all the houses having shops attached to them due to the historic trade center status of Stone Town. Driving here is right hand.


Stone Town
Sharwama Spot
Maru Maru Hotel

Taking in the Sunset
Dinner time

The second day we went for Safari Blue tour, where we went snorkeling. This is one activity I have long wanted to do. I got so hyped about this trip because of it and had to buy a go-pro camera to capture myself with the fishes. Totally worth it!

Prepping for snokerling

   
    I brought my own sand to the beach...
Third day was spent touring Prison Island and Spice farm. At Prison Island, we saw lots of tortoise ranging from very young to over a hundred and fifty years old. At the spice farm we saw various spice plants and shrubs and also the end products from them which were on sale. 

Prison Island


The Locals turned us to Wakanda Kings at the spice farm


Views...

We spent the fourth day at the Emerald Dream of Zanaibar resort. This was the perfect place to relax after all the touring the previous days. The scenery was top notch, the sumptuous buffet (I finally ate octopus) and beach side with its beautiful sandbar.




I walked into the ocean and was able to see the ocean floor clearly. I saw urchins (you don’t want to step on them) and I finally saw and held Star fishes. I also saw luminous fish. Exploring the sandbar/ocean was another highlight of the trip.

Hakuna Matata


Ocean floor
Sea Urchin

Oh did I forget to mention we had two night stopovers in Ethiopia? I never knew Ethiopia was a cold country. Like so damn cold, the hotels don’t even have Air conditioners installed. One weird thing though about Ethiopia is the old model of cars I saw being used (this one really surprised me and I can bet most millennia’s had not been born when those models were in vogue).


Old model car in the background


 

This trip was everything I hoped for and more…and I have to give full credit to the @socialprefecttours team for yet again, another wonderful travel experience.


Saturday, 26 May 2018

JINXED?

N.B – This post is majorly about me lamenting/letting stuff out as my head is literally about to explode!

I’m usually not the superstitious guy but damn…I’m fast beginning to think something is up with me. Following my last post where I expressed how overwhelming it began to feel as stuff kept going wrong and I had to keep spending money fixing them, I thought it had stopped and I could breathe again…but alas! not so…

Right now, at this very moment, it doesn’t feel any better. Heck, I am actually scared low key that I have probably been jinxed. I thought it was just April, but after the crap that just happened some hours ago, my mind did a little travel down memory lane and I realized this whole phase actually did start late February when one dude rammed into my car with full speed causing considerable damage to the vehicle.

I remembering not allowing it bother me and abandoning the car for a while. I took it as one of those things, you know, life happens et al. I refused to worry about it or obsess about where I’ll get funds to fix the car. This was me growing up and not allowing shit get to me anymore, but then it’s like life has decided to test my resolve. It’s been one damage after another…the pressure building up, like I’m being pushed till I eventually break.

I have lost count of the number of things I have had to fix in a few months but I sure do I know I have spent quite a lot. Is it the car that initially kept developing faults back to back? Or the time one of the fuse in my apartment blew? affecting the wiring and I end up almost burning my bed when the extension wire caught fire?  Or the day my rechargeable fan suddenly packed up or my electronic television stand that went off, or when the wine cellar fell twice and the parlour was filled with the strong stench of vodka for a week after losing three full bottles, or the television battery that zapped, or the aquarium lights that suddenly refused to light up again…

See ehn, at first I took all this as normal life happenings, part of adulthood where you keep getting those annoying expenses. But then, the rate at which they are happening in quick succession since February has got my head spinning 360 degrees right now. I remember the night I was talking with Okeo and I was like, I’m scared of touching my laptop before that one too would spoil…arrrrrrgh!!

It may seem I’m being dramatic but seriously it’s getting freaky and annoying all at the same time and also quite devastating on my pocket especially now that I have a lot of funds loaned out and it seems my ‘trusted’ friends have all held a meeting to not repay my monies as promised.

I’m going to digress and trash out this thing that has been bugging me for a while now. One thing I have come to realize for real is that one of the major problems of adult friendship is money. I’m almost reaching the resolve that before I lend someone money I would have to weigh what’s more important to me – the friendship or the money?
See it’s not even about the money, it could be 5 naira or it could as well be a million naira, but that breach of trust, the disappointing realization that the person was not worth it, that feeling when someone you trusted enough to loan your hard end funds refuses to pay back or they carry on like they never gave you a committed time frame to pay back or they wait for you to ask first and then they start posting you endlessly. It becomes so annoying, you begin to regret why you even helped them out in the first place.

Some things I can overlook, but being that guy who is very big on trust, this is one fast way to burn the bridge with me. It sucks when money becomes the reason why you can no longer trust a friend and they leave a bitter experience with you that it erodes whatever good memory of friendship you guys once shared.

I work with that principle of not lending out money I know I can’t dash out but then again, I have realised that it doesn’t help change the feeling of being betrayed or prevent me from changing the poor perception I develop about the person. Even when I write off the debt, mostly for my peace of mind, that friendship never remains the same. Once the trust is gone, everything is lost. Integrity is almost everything…
Even if you don’t have the money to repay, courtesy demands the least you can do is inform the person from time to time and apologise for the delay. And most importantly actually show effort and will that you are working towards repaying the loan genuinely. I really don’t get how certain people sleep well at night being awful to people who cared enough to be nice to them. Really sad.

Anyway back to my woes. I stepped out of the house this morning about to go to the office. I opened my car door from the passenger side only to see the window on the driver’s side scattered all over the car seats. How did this happen? No one knows. Even the person operating the mower said he didn’t know as he was far from where the car was parked. That’s the only thing I can figure out as the explanation cus that glass wasn’t cracked. The supposed stone that most have blasted from beneath the fans of the mower is nowhere to be found inside the car or outside it. This just reminds me of last December when we woke up to see the same car's windshield smashed by a bullet. How that happened, no one knows till date.

When I saw the pieces of glass on the seats, my spirit went weak. When would all this end? This is happening barely two weeks after my less than five months phone got damaged without explanation. This is the first time my phone won’t last more than two years. I have tried everything to fix it but because the phone model came out last year, the parts are currently not in the market. I’m still dealing with how to get cash to replace the phone only to incur another shitty expense I am so not ready for!

It’s like I’m currently stuck in my own special Friday the 13th where everything that could go wrong has been going wrong. Only this Friday 13th seems to be lasting over several months. I stared at the mess and mehn, I realised I am beyond tired. I’ve practically given up. I just stared and all I could say was thank you God for this, it could have been worse.
What’s next? My laptop? My camera? *sigh

I felt weak and spiritless…this is me saying Jesus take the wheel. God knows I have had enough with the back to back unexpected expenses and I’m confused as to why it’s happening in quick successions. It’s been quite inconveniencing and annoying to say the least. I’m here praying this ends already ‘cus I could use a break.
Feels like I should just pack a few stuff, escape to somewhere safe…somewhere nothing can go wrong and be at peace.

I need to go rest my head now ‘cus I think I have a headache…

Monday, 30 April 2018

SURVIVOR

April...this month almost had me but God’s Mercies kept me.

I sank low, I got to my breaking point and almost lost it.

The month started well though I sensed the first few weeks would be tough but I never expected it to be as horrible as it turned out to be. I had a professional exam coming up second week of the month and I wasn't fully prepared. I had pending issues I was yet to sort out at work also. One or two more issues came up to add to my already filled hands. Slowly it began to feel like each day came with its own trouble. I told two of my friends about it and how it seemed I was living one week one trouble and asked they prayed for me. I may have sounded hysterical to them but I knew where I was headed wasn’t a good place.

I could feel the pressure building. I worked on my mind, trying to be brave and not worry but slowly life began to get overwhelming. I shut social media accounts down partially so I could concentrate on my exams. In between dealing with the stress of exam preparation there was an issue at work I desperately needed to sort out, heck two major ones. One really would have rocked my world and changed a whole lot of things for me.

I shoved everything aside. I pseudo-secluded myself from people. After four days of professional exams, I was drained. Exams were over and I was back to reality. I had to face the issues one by one. I reactivated my instagram account, the chats started coming and I felt like a stranger even to myself. I couldn’t bring myself to handle conversations. I felt distant from everyone and like, I was lost even to myself.

More issues kept coming up, both work related and domestic issues. Things were going wrong left, right, center and the bills started piling. I felt suffocated and wanted to scream out, tear out of the web of woes that seemed to overwhelm me. It was like, as I’m tackling one, another is coming up.

When it all got too much for me, after trying to carry on and be brave, I grew weary and headed towards self-destruction.

I was trying to get back to myself, trying to reignite conversations with good friends, trying to feel normal but my relationship was worst hit and I almost threw away seven good months of my life! We basically broke up actually, but then I knew I didn't want that even if I was pretending I was fine. I wanted to start a fire, something to make me feel real pain, to break me even further and get me vexed…I was a host of confused feeling and emotions. I needed a distraction and sabotaging my relationship was the distraction. Luckily I back tracked before the damage became permanent.

Things got better third week. I felt the worst was over and I could breathe again. But April really wasn't done with me. I fell ill and had to be off work for two days. There was one of the nights I felt so sick, I thought that was it, death had come for me. I was so ill, by 3am I had to call my H.M.O for a hospital…

I survived the illness. I recovered.

In all of this madness, I contemplated closing this blog, shutting down my instagram account, deleting my Facebook profile. I wanted seclusion. I felt I couldn't breathe but then I told myself I’m stronger than this. I saw a tweet where one guy was like deleting your social media accounts doesn't help. I was pleased to see people’s reply to him educating him that it's a start to recovery.

Some of us like to vent, or rant about how we feel. We do it on social media without necessarily having to bother anyone. But in as much we do this, it's critical not to put your private life out there because people are mean and just want to use your issues to distract themselves from their own misery. They start hurting you with their ignorant opinions and lack of empathy. They twists your words, undermine your pain and throw silly advice your way and this even drowns you more and works up your nerves. See, there are lots of damaged people out there looking for entertainment, so in as much as you need to let things out you have to protect yourself.

I removed all my pictures on instagram and I felt better a bit. Can’t explain it but it sure did me good and I could breathe. I tweeted less, I chatted less on Whatsapp, Facebook has been practically dead to me kinda. Just one day I got caught up in my feelings, I was silent at work and my colleague noticed. Normally I don't let it show at work, infact I still go about looking for trouble and teasing everyone, smiling and joking without anyone noticing.

Oh, then Saturday 28th happened. I was either going to come out alive or April was going to consume me. But I’m here today and I’m thankful.
How everything went south I still can't understand.  I panicked yea, I was tired and wanted an instant solution and ended up aggravating the whole thing. My God! I almost lost it finally. We focus so much on the person who is ill that we forget about the toll it takes on the caregivers. Years of watching a loved one go in and out of the hospital on a regular can wear one out just as much.

I went so low and my mind drifted to the dark side.I got so weak mentally, it affected me physically as well. I couldn’t even stand properly ‘cus it felt like my soul was leaving me. 

My world was spinning and my mind kept thinking if I wasn't born wouldn't it have been better? If I died would that not be the sweetest relief? The world was on me and I knew I needed help so I called Dr. Uyi, and I appreciate him so much for being there. Even though he just got home from playing tennis, he still drove down to meet me. I poured it all out and I found peace. We were in a quiet garden talking, then I slept off.
Just the few minutes I was asleep, all was right with the world. To think few minutes ago while taking a turn into the express way, I thought just how peaceful it would be if the oncoming vehicle would smash into my car and end it all.

I woke up. Few seconds later I was back to reality and I remembered my troubles. We talked for more hours, tried to distract myself and I got better. I couldn't and still can't thank him enough for helping to save me. I went home feeling lighter and better. I even forgot I was supposed to be at work that day.

I thought of resigning from my job, canceling all my travel plans for the year, secluding myself and run away to wherever and just be at peace. Then the word dropped which I have been repeating to myself- the trial of your faith worketh patience. Even if I lose it all right now, I know I’ll be fine and I know God is in control.

All my issues may not have been sorted yet, but there’s been great progress and I know in due time, the lines would all fall in pleasant places. Life may be hard and difficult but then the trial of our faith worketh patience!

I’m thankful for the hard times, I’m also thankful for the happy times. It's all a learning process and mostly I’m thankful for all my friends who’ve been there for me and not letting me go even when I seclude myself…

I lay on my bed last night and then I remembered this 1981 song by Tim Sheppard – He will carry you. My dad used to play it on those old phonograph record player.

He will carry you, He will carry you, Shine His love on you
When you've given up He will lift you up,
Wrap His arms around you
When you can't go on He will make you strong
Never let you go
He will carry you no matter how heavy your load
And even though He loves you so
You gotta take a lotta heartache if you ever wanna grow
So don't give in to the fears within
You gotta He'll be there to catch you when you're falling
He'll never turn away when He hears you calling
He will carry you – Tim Sheppard

Saturday, 31 March 2018

WEEKEND GETAWAY: INAGBE GRAND RESORTS


I was scheduled for a two weeks training starting first Monday of the month. I thought to myself, this was a chance to put to action the advice I read on a travel blog last year about how you can keep your 9 – 5 job and still travel the world. I agreed with the Travel & Protocol officer in the office to book my flight for Friday evening instead of Sunday as most persons did. The trick here was, I got my flight fare for the weekend getaway (to and fro) paid by the office :D

That’s the beauty of planning tours around work trips. You don’t necessarily have to wait for your annual leave or a public holiday. There are so many ways to have a flexible travel plan and also keep that your 9-5 job.
At the habour before take-off 
I’ve always wanted to visit Inagbe Grand Resorts. I think mostly due to the floating restaurant which always look cool in pictures. I have seen a couple of pictures on Instagram. The pictures taken on the wooden pathway to the restaurant speaks to me every time, the serenity and calmness….

View on arrival
Fortunately for me, one of my favourite tour companies - Socialprefect tours had a planned trip to Inagbe Grand Resort that weekend. Once I got my travel ticket confirmed, I called to book my slot. I could have arranged it myself, yea, but mehn, logistics isn’t my favourite thing. I agree planning trips yourself is cheaper but then if you can afford it, nothing hurts paying a little extra cost to transfer the headache of planning to a reputable firm. And trust me, when it comes to Socialprefects, the value they provide during their trips is priceless.


We did a boat ride from the take-off point to the resort. The ride took about 20 minutes tops. At first I was seated inside the boat, but later I found my way outside to the front of the boat to enjoy the air. That ride was so needed by me. Watching the sea waves part as we rode through, seeing ships fade away as we went further…My mind probably voyaged several galaxy of dreams during the ride as I took it all in.  


On arrival, we disembarked from the boat, got welcomed at the reception by the staff of the resort where they gave us a rundown of the history of the resort and services they offer. We then moved to the floating restaurant which was our main base point. 


We had the traditional socialprefects introduction after which the games/activities started. There was the chair game, the balloon game after which we took a ride to the beach where we had horse riding, swimming, quad biking (finally off my bucket list!!), sack race, walks on the beach and oh, there was a marriage proposal! (not me tho)
                       

 
Wakanda forever
After the activities on the beach we rode back to the floating restaurant. Some continued with the games, mostly a digital dance game and karaoke (what’s a Socialprefect tour without karaoke?), while the rest of us went for kayaking. I took the opportunity to catch the sunset and also try out some landscape photography.
  

 










      
I highly recommend the resort to anyone looking for a getaway from the city. Inagbe Grand Resort has rooms for stay over or you could make it a day visit as well. The boat ride to the place is something to look forward to.


This is a perfect escape spot from the noise and bustle of the city. Long walks on the beach, or just chilling in one of the chalets watching the sea or taking in the beauty of resort. You can catch the sunset or go kayaking in the cool evening breeze. Perfect place to clear your head and rejuvenate.


Going on this trip turned out to be one of the best decision I have made this year, because the next two weeks following was stress filled beyond words can describe…