Monday, July 02, 2007

A whistlestop tour after a fashion

Where to begin- perhaps with an apology to the readers who have dropped by and left in disgust at my tardiness in updating. I must say that this blog business is hard work especially combined with a fulltime job and extracurricular activities. Maybe I should explore blogging as a fulltime job. Perhaps as a starting point it would be useful to know how many of you would pay to read the musings of a naijaman…..

The past few weeks have seen me in the English Riviera (I bet you didn’t know there was one) staying in a wedding cake-like seaside hotel, with a view of the sea and a promenade and elderly residents straight out of an Agatha Christie novel. At times it smelt and seemed like the last time the hotel had had a refurbish was way back in the days of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Unsurprisingly, there were few, how do I put this delicately, ahem, faces of colour along the seafront but I did not feel unwelcome at all….More challenging was the battle to find a cash machine that worked. In my haste fleeing London I had neglected to extract enough loose cash and found myself wandering the streets of an English seaside town searching for a functioning cash machine. In the end I had to get cash from the hotel reception, although thankfully I did not have to write a cheque- they did accept cards….

One afternoon, as we sit on the terrace of our hotel on the English Riviera, having lunch, my colleague realizes he needs some information from his office in Cambridge. Not having a Blackberry, he rings the office. He struggles to get through and when he finally does, there is no-one to give him the information. He knows that it is in his email box and so he rings his brother in India and in a few minutes, giving instructions over the phone, his brother accesses his email account and extracts the relevant information from his e mail box. Engrossed as I am in reading Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat at the time, I can’t help but marvel at the fact that it was easier to get information from India than from within the UK. The internet and the ubiquity of mobile phones have made this possible…. Friedman’s book was good reading except for the fact that his flat world seemed to exclude Africa most of the time and he did not really address this gap….

So while I was away, Tony Blair bid us farewell, leaving tears, sniffles and sniggers in his wake; Umaru Yaradua told us he owned 843 million naira, leaving Nigerians torn between applauding his transparency and querying where a former university lecturer, albeit one from a wealthy family had amassed such wealth….we in England saw the last of cigarettes in public places as the ban came into force yesterday, even as we battled the new threat of terror attacks in Britain…

On the smoking ban- a word of warning for the English. A Scottish colleague tells me how stinky pubs and bars in Scotland became after the ban on smoking in pubs came into effect there last year. Apparently, the stench of cigarette smoke was soon replaced by the stench of unwashed sofas and carpets and unwashed bodies. Most publicans apparently had to invest in air fresheners….

In other news Chimamanda Adichie was short listed for yet another award, the James Tait Black and the current edition of Eclectica features writing from two Nigerians Molara Wood of Wordsbody and Ike Anya of Nigeria Health Watch . Also of interest is this
http://www.african-writing.com/ and this

11 comments:

firsttimefather said...

I think Yar Adua has set an important precedent. After all, most of these fellows don't even pay their taxes, do they?

As for 'the world is flat' - Friedman works on the premise that his thesis is correct in all respects, and ignores everything that contradicts it. Thus little about Africa. Pity...

Marin said...

I was also very disappointed about the fact that "The world is flat" barely mentioned Africa. As difficult to justify as it is, I feel an optimism for Africa, and know somehow that one day, things will turn around. Maybe someone else will get to make a lot of money on a "the world is flat"-like about Africa.

I would really love to visit the English Riviera, Agatha Christie is one of my favourite writers. I am off to the English lake district in a few weeks though.

About Yaradua, I am torn between being happy about what he has done, and thoughts about him wanting to use that to buy favour.

Cheetarah said...

Got the southbank hookup from ur blog,tanx
asper Yaradua,well u acknowledged he came from a wealthy family..lets try and give him a chance he really worked for his state,minwhile did u hear about Duke?

Everchange said...

Thank you. That is exactly what I thought when I read that YarAdua was worth about $5 million dollars. Who dash Katsina governor that kind of money? How much are they paid? How did he acquire such a sum?

Omodudu said...

Yesterday it was easier for me to instruct a cousin who lives in Nigeria to make some edit on photoshop for me (dont have photshop at work). Isn't that book phenomenal. It has inspired over 20 entries on my blog and I am not even done yet.

Chxta said...

The Yar'Adua asset declaration is indeed generating so much controversy. Hmm...

Snuffleupagus said...

Yes well I have been expecting the horrible smell of stale smoke in the walls and furniture to be the main problem. I suspect pubs will have to hire some interior designers...

ababoypart2 said...

I am one of those torn between applauding Yar'adua's transparency and querying where a former university lecturer amassed such wealth.

uknaija said...

@Ftf- only civil servants pay tax in Nigeria
@marin- I feel optimistic too
@cheetarah- see you at South bank. No I did not hear about Duke. Give me jist a beg
@Everchange as my Naija bros would say "help me ask o!"
@omodudu- yes, gets you thinking no?
@chxta- and rightly so
@snuffy- I guess they will
@ababoypart2- wey your part one? More seriously so am I

Bitchy said...

Hello Yukay, long time no read. To continue the pub odour vein of discussion, I can confirm that the departure of the smoky cigarette cloud from London's venues has indeed given way to a horrid stench of unwashed bodies, in night-clubs at least. C'est tres 'stinky' maintenant! Xx

Inuke Omotola Davis said...

tekinologi
One day i called my dad's office in nigeria and got through to the secretary. Instead on walking a few steps to my dads office he gave me my dad's landline and told me to call it instead!!! Just a few years ago a letter from here would have taken 2months to get to nigeria.English reviera sounds nice. I used to love Agatha Christie's books, beats james hardley chase any day any time