Discovering Sicily: Why You Need to Visit This Unique Island


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*Guest post by H. Johnson* A trip to the ancient Italian island of Sicily is an exhilarating experience for any traveler that enjoys the authentic flavor of the Mediterranean. The island has something to offer for everyone, whether it be … Continue reading

‘B’ is for Blunder

Blunder /blǝndǝr/ noun. a usually serious mistake typically caused by ignorance or confusion (the free dictionary). As usual, the Crazy Nigerian is able and willing to give you real-life examples to help you cherish/despise the word even better:

On a particularly hot, sunny day my colleague and I were making our way from the head office to the nearby car park;  a 3-minute walk. Just as I was beginning to doubt the effectiveness of my Right Guard ’24 hour’ antiperspirant, we finally got there only to be told that the company car was at the second car park, which to my annoyance was in the direction we had just come from; in fact, it was directly opposite the head office! After the heavy sighing we did a ‘180’ and set out for the other car park. But before I could breathe a sigh of relief as I approached it, my colleague got a phone call from one of the security guards to say that the car had been found in the first car park! Barely containing my frustration I decided to wait while my colleague went back and got the car; I thought I’d probably have to wait about 5 minutes before I would be basking in the coolness of leather-laced air conditioning. 15 minutes later however, sweat patches were forming under my T.M. Lewin whilst my shiny head was getting a free sauna treatment. Like Elton John I was ‘still standing’ by the side of ‘yellow brick road’ in front of the second car park waiting for my colleague and the driver to zoom by. Where in Oz was this elusive company car?

Suddenly a blue Toyota Corolla with slightly tinted windows was ‘trafficating’ in my direction until it came to a halt. I went round to the other side of the car to join my colleague in the back seat. I opened the door and jumped into the car with my eyes half-closed from heat exhaustion and expecting to hear something along the lines of “Sorry for keeping you so long. Another car was blocking our car and they had to go find the driver then…” But to my surprise the remark I got was, “Who is this man?”

Lo and behold I had gotten into the wrong car! The suited-up gentleman and his driver looked puzzled. I (and the expression on my face) couldn’t have seemed more lost than Alice in Wonderland. As a matter of fact, I was ‘Jollof in Blunderland’ and I was wishing a rabbit hole would swallow me up. I can vaguely remember trying to laugh it off and apologizing at the same time but it sure would have been a different story if I walked right into my own abduction. Witnesses would say they last saw Jollof entering a car to go see a client but he never came back (yikes!). I was one sun-tan away from Idi Amin’s complexion when the car came another 10 minutes later.

More recent blunders I’ve committed this week include uttering a potentially offensive comment in an appropriate scenario (allow me to elaborate). Over the weekend a pair of spectacles was left in my office section. After asking around the following Monday it was clear that a visitor or customer had forgotten them. A few days later a lady came to my section, left shortly after, and then she returned minutes later because she had forgotten an envelope. Her timid remark was, “Oh, I didn’t know I left this here” to which I retorted, “Do you use glasses?” Now, I realize how that may have come across but if you read between the lines I was innocently trying to find the owner of those abandoned spectacles…honest!

Equally worse was when my lady boss exclaimed just as she was leaving for the day, “You guys didn’t complement my new shoes like Mr. So-and-so did!” and then I retorted, “But ma, when I talk to you I’m looking at your face”. The whole team was in hysterics (except for Mr. So-and-so, whose fidelity was indirectly thrown into question – yep, he’s married).

But enough about me, what about your blunders? I dare you to share…I double-dare you as a matter of fact. Are you willing or are you chicken? 😀 

See also ‘A’ is for awkward

In Pursuit of Trouble

Say I were to lock you in an empty room with no windows, no pictures (and no idea why I would lock you up in the first place) but all you had in the middle of the room was a red button with the boldy written instruction, ‘DO NOT PRESS THE RED BUTTON’. Now, how long would it take (after all the crying, kicking and screaming) before you start considering doing the one thing which you’ve been instructed not to do? An hour goes by and maybe you start to think that the red button must be your only way out; that’s the optimist in you talking. But nah! you’ve watched way too many sci-fi movies so you’re going to stick with your gut instinct – pressing the red button must be a bad idea.  

While you contemplate what you would do in that situation, I want to share a few other bad ideas of my own…

About a fortnight ago I decided to get creative with my blog and add a few dodgy links which I was fooled into believing would send my blog traffic through the roof. I got the shock of my life less than 24hrs later when I got the following message on my Blackberry:

“What happened to your blog? It is no longer available” 

My heart must have stopped beating for a second as my field of vision narrowed down to those harrowing last 5 words. After trying to visit my blog I discovered the bitter truth (and it wasn’t easy holding back the tears) – all those crazy articles…gone, I thought. Apparently my site had been reported for contravening the ‘terms and conditions’. I proceeded to press the ‘Contact Support’ button and wrote a heart-wrenching plea to justify the reactivation of my blog or better yet, the resuscitation of the The Crazy Nigerian.  It was probably the best thing I ever wrote on WordPress because in less than 24hrs my blog had come back to life (woo-hoo!).

Trouble is like a sleeping lion – it’s just lying there minding its own business until someone crazy enough walks up to it and decides to tug at its tail. Which brings me back to the red button – would you press it? I would. What’s the worst that could happen? 😀 

The Nigerian Way 101

Are you thinking of travelling to a place where you can sunbathe in scorching temperatures close to 40 degrees centigrade this Christmas? Are you looking for a place where you can enjoy delicious African cuisine, ice-cold beer, and transportation for less than $1? Are you looking for a place with zero snow, zero earthquakes, zero hurricanes, zero volcanic eruptions and zero riots? Are you looking for a haven where everyone who serves calls you Chairman (or Madam, as the case may be) and treats you like royalty? Then look no further – Nigeria is your ideal travel destination!

Nigeria is a vibrant counrty which is located in West Africa close to the equator and boasts of a population of about 150 million people – but never fear, there’s plenty more room for tourists! One of the great things about my country is the warm reception you get when you arrive at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, literally. There is no air-conditioning. Whilst you wait for your luggage on the ‘sushi’ conveyor belt, the blistering heat helps you to burn a few calories and to prepare you adequately for the sunny outdoors.

When you exit the international airport don’t be alarmed by the eager unlicensed taxi-drivers who grab your luggage – they’re only trying to help ease your burden. They may want to test whether you’re familiar with the Nigerian way by charging you like they would an aristocrat. All you have to do is to start your negotiation at half his price and work from there. They may also want to engage you in some ‘small-talk’ because we’re generally very chatty people. Do take advantage and get to know the hotspots around town so you can plan the best way to enjoy your stay. There’s a whole range of hotels to choose from, depending on your taste and your budget.

After you’ve had a good night’s rest in your air-conditioned room and enjoyed a generous helping of yam and egg-stew at your affordable hotel, you will be ready to hit the road (or hit the bed again if you had too much yam). Make sure you carry along a bottle of cold water to hydrate yourself during the course of the hot day. Getting from A to B is easy. Go to the nearest bus stop and listen carefully to the destination being screamed out by the bus conductor – otherwise, your 3-minute journey into the next town could become a 3-hour journey into the next state.  Alternatively you can save a lot of money by just waiving your hand at the oncoming commercial motorcylists and shouting ‘Okada’. You’ll soon be whizzing through traffic jams whilst enjoying the humid breeze.

The first sensible place for you to go to would be one of our many hospitals. Why? You would need to get anti-malaria treatment so that you’re rest assured of not having a restless holiday. If your’re squeamish about taking injections then there’s tablets that the doctor can prescribe. Pre-treatment is far more recommended than buying a couple of Baygon or Raid sprays and fighting an uneven battle with the non-relenting population of mosquitoes. Wear long trousers at night when you’re outdoors if you want to keep those legs spotless and to avoid being mistaken for a former military officer with an involuntary reflex – ‘Attention!’.

There’s so much to see and to do, especially if you’re in Lagos. If you’re in its capital, Ikeja, there are many malls and eateries that could entice you. If you decide to go to Victoria Island you could tour The Third Mainland Bridge – the longest bridge in Africa. You could also see the magnificent toll gate structures at Lekki Phase 1 and these should be operational by the time you make your way over to Lagos so get your petty cash ready. The are so many shopping complexes and food markets boasting of unique bargains so I’m very confident you’ll find something worthwhile to buy (Remember the 100:50 pricing rule!).

There is a sense of security in Nigeria as you will notice the unprecedented number of checkpoints virtually every 5 miles of your journey by road. We even have a saying, ‘Police is your friend’. They may stop your vehicle but all you have to do is smile, stay calm, lock your doors and ignore any requests other than producing your driving licence and vehicle particulars. That said, some habits you may want to abstain from (but are by no means limited to) include: Walking in dark alleys late at night whilst talking on your mobile phone; Arguing with a gang of drunk Man U fans when you’re clearly a fan of the opposition and; urinating on walls that have ‘DO NOT URINATE HERE’ boldly printed on them.

You would be surprised to learn that our internet connectivity has gone from ‘good’ to ‘good grief!’ but recently the introduction of Wi-fi has elevated the browsing experience by a big notch. Just ask your hotel receptionist for the password and you’re wired in. And for those Blackberry users most of our telecom providers have made affordable BIS available to the pubilc. You don’t have to carry so much foreign currency since there are Mallams in the black market who could strike a good deal, although I would recommend dealing with banks as they do not exhibit normadic behaviour. Most of the retail outlets in the city have Point of Sale terminals which accept foreign credit cards…point of correction, foreign VISA and Mastercard credit cards. Sales assistants call the attention of supervisors and delay you when they see an American Express card. 

Do try any of our renowned beaches which include the critically-acclaimed Bar Beach, the breathtaking Tarkwa Bay, the mysterious Alpha Beach and the mesmerizing Eleko beach.  Nigerians know how to party too. You have a choice of painting the town red at any of the nightclubs on the island or mainland – yes, we uphold the ‘Happy hour’ tradition but not so much the ‘Dancing on the bar’ tradition. But if you’re more interested in souvenirs then you can find ethnic memorobilia in City Mall, Ikoyi if you want to leave Nigeria with a traditional caftan or blouse and wrapper. Our array of woven head gear is also a must if you are going for that regal look. By the time you’ve maxed out your credit cards, gained a tan and picked up a bit of the lingo, also known as ‘pidgeon english’, you’ll be sad that you had to leave.

This is the unique experience that awaits you. This is the life that so many expats enjoy but may be keeping from you.   

This is My Nigeria 😀