Escape From Bamako by Ghandi

I still remember the day Ghandi said “I have something I want you to read.” That something turned out to be the first draft of his novel that completely blew my mind. The story held me spellbound from the beginning until the end and I doubt I have read anything that intriguing in a while. So because I am nice and I don’t sell fish, I am here to share the goodness that is Ghandi’s writing with you guys.

Escape from Bamako contains all the right amounts of adrenaline pumping action and plot twists to keep you glued to each page until the story ends. And best believe when it ends, you’ll be begging for more. Now this is the plot:

There’s a rebel uprising in Bamako, Mali and the international community gets really antsy and pressures the Nigerian President to intervene and settle both parties.
He gets there and after what everyone considers to be successful peace talks, he stays back for a state dinner organised in his honour.

The rebel leader is also invited but declines the invitation, citing fatigue. He drives out of the Malian presidential palace supposedly to go rest.

While the Nigerian President and his Malian counterpart are still at the state dinner, the rebel leader launches a full scale attack on the capital in a bid to take over the government.
News filters into the palace and back home in Nigeria and everyone is in a race to get the Nigerian President out of Bamako before the rebel leader takes over Mali.

This story really features some Hollywood action type stuff. Guns, aircrafts, espionage, fast and furious driving, explosions, the whole works.

Now that you have read the plot, I am fairly certain you are itching to read the book. It’s quite simple to make that happen, really. If you wish to purchase the ebook with your Nigerian account, you can visit the website https://ghandi.com.ng and click on the “buy from our store” button. It’s N1,100.

The book is also available on Amazon (Kindle) at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JBTQMV1 and on Kobo at https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/escape-from-bamako

Don’t hesitate to get your copy now.

You’re welcome!

Ps. I have been working on something interesting and I really can’t wait to share it with you guys. I am back to blogging now and I am so grateful to you guys for sticking around. But bear with me a little. It won’t be much longer now.

Love and Light,

@Oge_writes

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Healing Begins With Salsa

He found her in Nkemakolam’s room huddled over the baby’s cot clutching a stuffed bunny. He had no idea how long she had been there but he suspected it must have been hours.

“Honey?”

She looked up and her glazed eyes met his in silence. He stooped down and took her hands, looking into her eyes.

“Honey, what are you doing here?”

When she gave no response, he placed his arms firmly underneath her shoulders and gently lifted her up. She held tightly to the bunny as he dragged her into their bedroom and laid her on the bed. That was when he noticed the tears.

Feranmi was exhausted- completely spent. It had been a year since they returned from the hospital without Nkem. The baby that should have been their miracle child after 7 years of waiting and trying. The baby that should have ushered in perfection and joy and laughter. One year later, Ifeoma had still not recovered. She had steadily sunk into depression, refusing therapy and any other form of help.

There were days when it felt like living with a zombie. Because Ifeoma went through life as though she were in a trance. She moved out of their bedroom and into the guestroom. She began stress eating and it showed in all the folds and excess layers of fat in every part of her body. She quit her job by simply refusing to show up at the end of the 3 months maternity leave she had taken. She barely left the house even.

Feranmi had been patient, struggling with his own grief yet trying to be strong for her but she shut him out completely. He still remembered that day like it had only been a few minutes even though a full year had gone by. He had stayed by her side while she labored for hours to bring forth their son. He remembered his exultant excitement as the baby was pushed out and his echoing panic that gradually rose to a crescendo when the baby made no sound. He remembered his heart stopping momentarily when the doctor’s eyes told him what his mouth could not put in words- It was a still birth.

Now one year later, having tried everything within his means to help Ifeoma overcome their grief, he was fresh out of ideas and completely spent.  Nkem’s death at birth had taken the light out of her life and his by extension. Gone was the vibrant, energetic, passionate woman he had fallen in love with and married. This woman in his bed was a complete stranger.

Feranmi left her lying in bed, shedding silent tears and walked out of the room. He went into his study and slowly paced the length and breadth of the room. He was inches away from having a mental breakdown himself and he did not know what to do about it. He loved Ifeoma with his entire being and for a whole year, that loved had been tested and tried and he was really close to giving up on it. Was this love worth his own sanity? Was this part of the ‘for better for worse’ phrase in his wedding vows?

His right foot kicked something as he paced and he bent down to pick a book lying oddly on the floor. As he looked around shelves trying to figure out where it fit, his eyes caught a portion of a particular shelf that held some albums. He dropped the book on the table and reached for the albums, carrying them carefully to the couch. As he flipped through the wedding album and their honeymoon album, he realized just how much he missed Ifeoma’s smile and the sound of her laughter.

Everything he had tried to do before now to bring her out of depression had failed. But now his eyes lit up with a sudden realisation. There was one thing he was yet to try and even though it seemed like a brilliant and yet stupid idea at the same time, he decided he would try it anyway. He would take Ifeoma on a trip. Somewhere nice where she could enjoy the sun and put her feet up. A brilliant idea because Ifeoma enjoyed travelling and had not done much of it after they got married, yet a stupid idea because Ifeoma had refused to leave the compound since they got back from the hospital one year ago. What was to say she would want to travel?

It took Feranmi another 4 weeks to put everything in place and as he walked into Nkem’s room yet again to find Ifeoma on the floor by the baby’s cot, his heart thumped wildly in his chest. If she turned this down, there would be nothing left for them. Their marriage would be over.

“Honey, I got you something.”

Ifeoma looked up blankly and Feranmi held up the passports with the tickets in between.

“We’re going to Barcelona.” he said with an uncertain smile.

Ifeoma gave no response.

“There’s a lot we can see and do there. We can go hiking, swimming, take long walks, enjoy great meals, go dancing…”

It was the dancing that earned him a vague semblance of a smile which disappeared as quickly as it came.

“I don’t want to go anywhere without Nkem. His spirit is in this room. If we travel, he’ll be lonely and afraid.”

Feranmi’s heart rate tripled as it became evident that Ifeoma was suffering a proper mental breakdown. He gave himself a few minutes to think before responding gently.

“Honey, his spirit can come with us too. We’ll pack a small bag with his clothes and you can bring the bunny too.”

Ifeoma sighed resignedly.

“If you say so.”

Packing was a hassle. Ifeoma had several crying fits over clothes that no longer fit and Feranmi soothed her kindly, promising to buy her new clothes and anything else she wanted but hours later, they were ready.

Barcelona turned out to be a brilliant idea. After checking, into their hotel on arrival, Feranmi arranged for a spa session for Ifeoma whilst he unpack their bags. She returned two hours later and her face held a familiar glow. They ate a late lunch in their room and Ifeoma promptly fell asleep. Feranmi watched her sleep and ached to cuddle her but she had laid out a tiny blanket and pillow in between them where according to Ifeoma, Nkem lay. He stayed staring at her until he fell asleep.

Hours later, they woke up and made their way into town, taking a long stroll down La Rambla, the longest tourist street in Barcelona. Ifeoma seemed to enjoy the sights. She marveled at the dexterity of the artists who sketched caricature images of interested tourists as well as actual portraits, some with pencils, others with charcoal. There was a wax image of a woman sitting pretty and for a few minutes, Ifeoma was convinced it was an actual person. When she realized it wasn’t, she smiled and Feranmi thought his heart would burst.

At the end of the street, Feranmi grabbed Ifeoma’s arm and pointed ahead.

“Honey, look!” Ifeoma followed his finger and saw the towering sculpture of the Columbus Monument and she gasped. “Wow! It’s so huge!”

They joined a teeming crowd of tourists to admire the structure and take pictures, especially of the huge lion sculptures that surrounded it at the bottom. Two little boys ran past with their mother chasing after them and Feranmi noticed Ifeoma’s face fall. He squeezed her hand and asked that they keep moving.

“I hear there’s a mall built on water. Let’s go check it out.”

To get to the mall, they walked over a long wooden bridge surrounded by a massive expanse of water littered with numerous yachts and smaller sailing boats. At the end of the bridge, they came face to face with the Maremagnum mall and Ifeoma gaped. It was huge. They walked in and explored the various shops on the different floors. The entire place was crowded with children and for a few minutes, Feranmi thought it was a bad idea, until a cute little girl walked past with her mother and smiled at Ifeoma. Ifeoma smiled back and the little girl came back and said to her “you’re so pretty!”

Ifeoma swallowed hard and tried to stop the tears but failed. The mother quickly came back and apologised then took her little girl away. Feranmi hugged her tight, littering her forehead with a thousand kisses, all the while muttering “I’m really sorry honey.”

When she looked up at him eventually, she was smiling through her tears. “She said I was pretty.”

They spent another hour walking around the mall, catching a small rock concert that had been set up somewhere in the back. It was not Ifeoma’s cup of tea but she stayed beside Feranmi for the few minutes that he stopped to observe it before moving on.

At night, after dinner, Feranmi mentioned a club he had found online. Ifeoma was reluctant at first until he specified that it was a salsa club. Dancing salsa was Ifeoma’s absolute favourite thing to do and Feranmi was hoping she would enjoy it.

Her healing began with the salsa dance. They walked into the club in time to catch Marc Anthony’s Vivir mi vida and while they stood at the bar to order drinks, Feranmi observed her tapping her feet and swaying gently.

“Maybe we should leave the drinks first. Do you want to dance?”

“You can barely move your feet and you always say salsa isn’t your thing.” Ifeoma said.

Feranmi smiled. He took her hand and led her to the dance floor. With his right hand circled around her waist and her left hand firmly in his left hand, he began to dance, counting the steps in his head like he remembered. He had spent 4 weeks practicing because he had meant for this trip to be worth it and the surprised smile on her face as he led her in a cross body lead was fully rewarding.

He faltered a little bit and her soft giggle was even more rewarding. They danced together to the next song but his moves were basic and he could tell she was warming up for more. The moment Elvis Crespo’s Suavemente came on, he nodded to some Latino guy he had observed checking them out and the guy came and took Ifeoma’s hands. They moved so fluidly and were a delight to behold. Feranmi returned to the bar and observed them from there. The light had begun its return to Ifeoma’s eyes and he was grateful.

Just as the song ended and Ifeoma began to walk back to him with the biggest smile on her face, Don Omar’s Danza kuduro came on and everyone began cheering. Before Feranmi could figure out what was happening, the entire club lined up on the dance floor and began moving harmoniously in line with steps being proffered by a leader.

What happened next felt like magic. One minute, Ifeoma was in the second row, digging in the moves with a great deal of enthusiasm and the next minute, she was front and center leading the pack and throwing in random Nigerian dance moves with a huge smile on her face and a great deal of laughter. First there was the shoki then some shakiti bobo and finally some shaku shaku which the dancers managed to imitate fairly well. Feranmi fought back tears of gratitude. This was the woman he married. This was the woman he had loved for 10 years. She was finally back and the constellation of stars that shone brightly in her eyes were full proof of her return.

Later that night, after a warm shower back at the hotel, Feranmi cuddled his wife in bed for the first time in over a year.

“I really missed you honey,” he whispered into her ear, with her head buried in his chest. Her response came minutes later in form of soft gentle kisses that trailed from his neck to his ears and eventually to his lips. Their lovemaking was slow and passionate and that night in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Taiwo Nwachinemelu and Kehinde Kaosisochukwu were conceived.

#TravelThursday; The Vatican City

When I decided to take on the challenge of visiting 30 countries before I turned 30, I began counting off the number of countries I had already visited just so I would know how many I had left. I had not been to Italy at the time and when I did visit Italy and subsequently the Vatican City, I counted them both as one country. LOL.

The Vatican City is actually one of the smallest countries in the world with a population of about 1,000 people and the Pope as the Head of Government. It is the Head Quarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

If you’re looking for a treasure trove of art in Europe, you have absolutely got to check out the Vatican City. There are a total of 54 museums located within the Vatican with the Sistine Chapel sitting proudly at the peak. The museums rank among the top 10 museums and galleries in the world.

On the day of my visit, I walked around for over 4 hours and still did not get to see all of the museums. But those were the most beautiful 4 hours of my life. From sculptures to paintings and tapestries and Egyptian Mummies, I saw sights for days.

To get into the Vatican Museums, there is usually a ridiculously long queue and you can stand in that queue for hours (or less than an hour if you’re lucky) before you’re finally able to purchase a ticket and get in. The alternative would be to purchase a ticket online and skip the queue. But here’s what I realised on getting there that morning with my cousins- there’s also a queue for those who have got tickets to skip the queue! LOL. It’s a much shorter queue actually so I guess it could be worth it. Of course as you expect, the online tickets are a lot more expensive than the offline ones.

The Vatican itself is a marvellous piece of architecture. You’ve got to give it to Europe though. When it comes to architectural structures, they will give you a good run for your money.

From the ground floor, there are collections from all over the world and walking through all the floors, your eyes will be blissfully entertained with paintings from the walls to the ceilings.

The paintings on the ceilings fascinated me the most. Like how on earth did the artists get them done? Michelangelo and Raphael have my eternal respects for real.

The tapestries stole my heart! They were woven so delicately, they could pass for paintings. Each one depicted either a Bible story or something from ancient Roman History. For instance, there was a tapestry on the murder of Julius Caesar, another of Jesus rising from the dead, the killing of all male children at Herod’s instance and lots more.

In the Sistine Chapel, the entire ceiling is covered by Michelangelo’s paintings which took him about 4 years to complete. Cameras were not allowed in there so I have no pictures but it literally felt like being in art heaven and I still cannot wrap my head around how he was able to get it done. Some of the paintings in there were familiar however. For instance, the one in which Eve plucked a fruit from the forbidden tree.

As earlier mentioned, there were collections from all over the world. One of the most exciting things for me was seeing an actual Egyptian Mummy and reading about the funeral rites and rituals observed in Egypt at the time. It was fascinating to learn that internal organs were usually separated from the corpse and stored in canopic jars while the embalming process took place. Burying bodies whole? For what? Hehe

There were also tons of sculptures. All the famous Greek gods and legends were represented- Hercules, Artemis, the river god Arno amongst others. Some of the sculptures were familiar, others weren’t. But if you have ever read or watched anything on Greek mythology, you’d be sure to see a familiar face or two.

After the museums, we checked out St. Peter’s Basilica where I turned a few cartwheels because… LOL. I mean, we were in this massive open space with an unending queue to get in so we didn’t bother. St. Peter’s Basilica is reportedly the largest church in the world and is believed to be the burial site of Saint Peter. The church is the Pope’s principal church and a great number of masses and liturgies are celebrated there throughout the year.

So yeah, the Vatican City was a wonderful experience. Honestly, it wasn’t even just for the art alone. It did feel like being on a mini pilgrimage at some points. I am Christian (not Catholic) so there were moments of personal reflection for my faith. But whether you go there for the art or for religious purposes, the Vatican Museums are definitely a must see if you can afford it.

Ps. Kindly let me know in the comments whether or not you knew the Vatican City was a country before now. Let me know I am not alone abeg. LOL.

Love and Light,

@Oge_writes

#TravelThursday: Rome, Italy

Of all the (few) cities I have been to on my travels, Rome remains my absolute favourite. I love, love, love Rome for the ruins and all the history. There was something almost electric about walking down the various streets of Rome and imagining what it must have felt like to live in those times of chariots and horses and gladiators and shields. Rome feels like it was suspended in time. I mean save for the trains and electricity and tarred roads, I may well have been back in 6th century ancient Rome, under the governorship of a Roman emperor given how the ruins have been preserved. Fantastic stuff, I tell you.

I remember stepping out of the Colosseo train station and catching the first glimpse of the Colosseum and my goodness! Boy, was it breathtaking! The Colosseum is such an overwhelming, magnificent, gorgeous structure that takes your breath away upon first sight. Remember all those gladiator movies where men would fight to death in a large amphitheater made of stone walls with different ledges? That’s exactly what the Colosseum is. You’d spend hours walking around it and feel like you did a bit of time travel.

The Colosseum is not even the only ancient structure standing in that axis. There were so many others, names of which I cannot recall but they do a number on your heart, that’s for sure. So if you’re ever in Rome, be sure to check it out. Although it goes without saying that it is the primary tourist attraction of the city.

Asides, the Colosseum, another structure that stole my heart was the Trevi fountain. I love water and I strongly believe I will have a fountain and a pool in my house someday but that is besides the point. LOL. The Trevi fountain is beautiful. It was crowded with dozens of tourists and the water was so clear and refreshing. No, I didn’t take a dive in. LOL. Interestingly, the fountain is built from Travertine stone, same material used in the reconstruction of the Colosseum.

At the Trevi Fountain, lots of tourists throw in coins because it is believed that if you do so, you’ll be guaranteed to come back to Rome. Yours truly in typical Alaroro fashion did not throw in anything but best believe I’ll be back to Rome again sometime in the no distant future. Lol. I did learn recently however that the coins that are thrown in are gathered at the end of each day and given to an Italian charity. So I guess next time I’m there I’ll toss in a coin or two.

Of course there were a bunch of cathedrals to be seen. Goes without saying. Rome is like the heart of the Catholic Church and it’s about an hour or so away from the Vatican City which I will write about in another post.

If you ever visit Rome, I very highly recommend the Camping Village Roma for accommodation. Rooms are decent, there’s an outdoor pool open in the summer and it’s right in front of a bus stop so transportation is easy and accessible. For food, buffet lunches work wonders. You eat a lot of food for really cheap and you’re good to go.

I noticed a lot of graffiti around Rome as well. I guess the most shocking was the one I caught on the walls of a train and that’s because I am more used to seeing it on streets and walls of buildings but certainly not on something so ‘official’. Still feels weird.

And of course there were street guys pulling off amazing optical illusion stunts on tourists. People are creative sha. But the picture below is the most interesting one.

Here’s your genie, you’ve got 3 wishes!

Hehe. Have a fab weekend.

#TravelThursday: Cape Coast, Ghana

Cape Coast is the most beautiful African city I have visited so far. Then again I am partial to blue skies and beach sand and castles so I guess that explains a lot. The city is so rich in African history that merely walking the streets fills you with a great deal of it.

Cape Coast is home to two castles that hold sordid tales of the slave trade era which will leave you pondering the callousness of the human race. Having been to both Badagry (Nigeria) and Ouidah (Benin Republic), I am no stranger to slave trade history but the stories I heard at Cape Coast Castle were no less heart-wrenching.

Cape Coast Castle

On our tour of Cape Coast castle, we were shown tiny chambers where hundreds of slaves stood pressed against each other day and night. The rooms had only one source of light and ventilation; a tiny window high up on the wall. There was no possible means of escape. In one of the chambers reserved for women, there was an imprint on the wall of a pregnant woman believed to have been caused by the constant leaning on the wall. Tons of people died in there while waiting to be shipped abroad, others who made it out suffered partial or even total blindness because there was next to no light at all coming into the room.

The horror stories are best left to your imagination but the tour guide left precious little to the imagination. With each room, he painted a vivid picture of the dehumanizing treatments slaves were subjected to at the time. And interestingly, when we took a tour to the top floor which was the governor’s quarters, the difference was remarkable. One room, reserved for one man had sixteen windows whereas a chamber holding hundreds of slaves just below had only one crack of a window. If you’re not careful, you’d leave those castles feeling extremely angry and bitter.

View from the governor’s quarters

The cannons outside the castle were reminiscent of those stationed outside the Montjuic Castle in Barcelona (a trip which I will write about some other time) and the view from there was breathtaking. The ocean stretched out in endless splendor but at the same time, I strongly believe that the beauty of the view was lost on inmates of the castle. I can’t imagine that they went through the door of no return and saw the ocean and thought “Oh hey, this is a stunning body of water and the sun is so nice and warm.”

Again, I must mention that if you ever visit those castles (and I think that you should,) you must brace yourself emotionally so you’re not completely overwhelmed by emotions that you’re unable to handle. It is that intense.

After touring the Cape Coast Castle, we took a quick ride to Elmina Castle just to have a view of it from the outside and the views on the road were simply a sight for sore eyes. The coastline, beach sand and palm trees brought a great deal of inner peace.

We made a quick stop at the beach to chase the waves and bask in the sheer wonder of nature. Sitting there and watching the waves come and go, I felt deep gratitude for freedom. And not just freedom from colonial masters because while that form of slavery seems way behind us, there’s a great deal of other things that enslave us.

My gratitude was for my freedom to live my life authentically and unapologetically. Freedom to be myself and continually strive to attain a better version of myself. And that’s the sort of liberty only you can give yourself. Determine to live life on your terms and not on the terms others have set for you because at the end of the day, if you require people’s permission to be happy, you’ll never get it.

“So tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Namaste

@Oge_writes

#TravelThursday: Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Monsieur, Monsieur, la bathroom s’il vous plait…

It is one thing to decide to explore West Africa by road. It is another thing entirely to choose to visit a francophone country when your French is bare minimum. My trip to Abidjan, can best be described as an exercise in hilarity and I am here to share it all with you.

So I set out with a couple of friends from Accra on a fine Saturday morning. My trip to Accra from Lagos is story for another day. We drove down to Takoradi and got in around 1pm. We were going to take a bus from Takoradi to Abidjan but there was only one bus for the day and we missed it. Next option was to take a smaller car to the border and another vehicle from the border into Abidjan. Seemed simple enough.

We were told we would have to pay to get our passports stamped at the border. Stamping at the Ghana side was fine, but at Cote d’Ivoire, everything changed. First, we had to do the yellow card check. Mine was checked and returned to me but the officer held on to the cards of my two friends. We were confused for a few minutes until we were ushered into an office where a lady explained in rapid fire French that the others needed to take the Meningitis vaccination because it was not on their card.

It was a funny conversation with me trying to explain in my halting French that they had taken the vaccine in recent time but before they got their yellow cards which explained why they didn’t have it on their cards. The lady kept insisting, her words spoken in French moving at the speed of light, that if the vaccine was not on the card, they would have to take the shots. Finally, after about 20 minutes, we gave in and they paid some money to take the shots. (Side note, the injection didn’t hurt even hours later which is unusual for a meningitis vaccine but ok.)

Next, we had to deal with the immigration guys who insisted we should pay 10,000 CFA per person in order to get our passports stamped. Might I just state for the record here that it is possible to travel across these borders without an international passport. An Identity Card would suffice and you wouldn’t have to pay a dime. But we had already offered our passports to be stamped and there was no going back. The driver had told us it was possible to bargain with them since we did not know the price before then and did not change enough money at the border.

At the first point, we met this man who looked smiled at us politely and said he wanted to marry one of us. We had nice banter until we were told the price and we said we didn’t have enough money with us. We tried to bargain with him but he referred us to another officer. The second officer haggled and haggled, at some point insisting that me and one of my friends must pay the full price since we both had US and Schengen visas on our passports. The ridiculousness of his logic was really amusing. After we managed to agree to 10,000 CFA for all three of us and were about to pay, the first man showed up suddenly like something out of a nightmare and insisted that the money was too little. The smiling, joking face was gone and was replaced with this firm, mean look that was just frustrating. He took our passports and had to follow him and massage his ego for almost another 30 minutes before we finally ended up paying 15,000 CFA in total. The naira equivalent of that sum is approximately N9,300.

So you know this thing some drivers do in Nigeria where they carry an extra passenger but tell you the person will be dropping off shortly? LOL. Apparently, it’s not peculiar to Nigeria alone. We got back to the car we had chartered on the other side of the road and the driver had picked up 3 women who he said were just going somewhere in front. That somewhere in front turned out to be inside Abidjan, almost 4 hours from the border. Why are people like this?

Oh, so while we journeyed, bestie became pressed and needed to ease herself. She kept telling me in English so I could communicate to the driver in French as the official translator for the trip. Brethren, I was already tired and stressed from the entire journey and even the small French I was speaking was tired. Next thing that came out of your WCW’s mouth was, “Monsieur, monsieur, la bathroom s’il vous plait, la bathroom!” Till date, each time we recall that, we all explode in laughter. It took a few minutes but the driver eventually understood what I was trying to say and pulled over. Ps, I should have simply said toilet. But mans was tired and the posh English speaking part of my brain had been activated.

Because we were scheduled to leave town the next day, we decided to explore the nightlife in Abidjan. Mind you, we made it to our hotel around 10pm after spending the entire day on the road. On the plus side, the roads were pretty good so we didn’t feel it so much. After checking in, showering and changing, we took a taxi from the front of the hotel and the driver was really gracious, dropping us off and picking us up at intervals before finally bringing us back to the hotel. He didn’t speak English but thankfully, my French was enough to get us through the night.

What I love about Abidjan nightlife first off was that you could find food at any time of the night. Google maps was quite useful in showing us restaurants that were close by and there seemed to be a lot of them concentrated in one area. It was like a 5-7 minute drive from the hotel and even at midnight, the restaurants were full of people and they still had good food. We managed to find a waiter who spoke a little English and we ordered.

The driver had dropped us off and agreed to return for us in an hour. He refused to take a down payment as well and I was grateful first, for his trust and second, for the assurance that he would indeed return. And when he did, he took us to a club where we danced our tired feet off for another hour before returning to the hotel. I was really excited to hear a lot of Whiz Kid and Davido blasting through the speakers. Nigerian music really making the waves. Next to the Nigerian songs, there were a lot of Makossa type songs that had the girls there going wild. Unsurprising anyways because we were in a Francophone country.

The following day, since we didn’t have much time to spare, we went to visit the zoo. The zoo was fair in terms of maintenance and I loved that it was really cheap to get in- 300 CFA per person (approx. N190). I guess I would say we more than got value for our money. There were snakes, lions, crocodiles, monkeys, chimps, birds, a zebra and my personal favourite, an elephant.

Abidjan is an interesting place. In contrast to other capital cities I have visited, it does not have a grand allure to it. I would not describe Abidjan as a mega city. But I guess that would be asking for too much. The highlight of my trip was the visit to the zoo. When visiting a new country, I try to check out museums, zoos and old historical buildings. Those are my default go to places, unless something else is suggested.

When you visit a new place, where do you like to go? Plus have you ever visited Abidjan? How did you find it?

Updates and a New Category

Hi guys! It’s been quite a while since I was consistent on the blog and I have thoroughly missed it. But in between the madness that was Law School, I have had so many random thoughts and ideas that I penned down, waiting for the right time to flesh them all out and I am so glad that I finally have a moment.

If you know me, you would know I have a lot of interests and the last few years of my life have been about me zoning in on one of those interests and nurturing it passionately to a point where I can confidently balance it with other interests and not feel like I am drowning. I think I have come to that point but time will tell.

Err, what’s new? A Blog series is underway. I started writing it sometime in 2014 and it started coming together nicely between 2017 and 2018. I have a few episodes down and I already love the characters. Fingers crossed you’ll love them too. I would start sharing immediately but my laptop gave up the ghost last week and pending its resurrection and my putting down a few more episodes, I will be unable to share. So pray for a miracle guys! Something new is coming your way and I’m positive you’ll enjoy it.

I’ve got some short stories coming anyways. The beautiful thing about short stories is I don’t necessarily need my old laptop for inspiration. The notes on my phone plus random things around me will be inspiration enough, so I’ve got you guys covered. Stay tuned!

What else is new? Travel Thursday! Yay!! Again, if you know me, you’ll know I am a travel enthusiast. I love visiting new places but I hardly ever share about them. Actually, one of the items on my bucket list is to visit 30 countries before I turn 30. I have 10 under my belt so far and I have decided to start sharing stories from my travels in a new category on my blog that I have titled Travel Diaries. I have been meaning to write travel stories for the longest time but I have always held back for a multitude of reasons. But in the ever famous words of my cousin, “no more!”

Thanks to encouragement and support from my soul sisters Chidimma and Queen (they’ve earned this shoutout), I have resolved to share my travel stories; the good, the weird and the downright hilarious. The stories will be shared every Thursday and I really do hope you enjoy them and find a bit of inspiration as well.

That’s about it I guess. Summary, Oge_writes is back to telling stories and is assuring you of at least one new post every week. So help me God. Enjoy the rest of your week folks and see you Thursday with our first travel post. Who can hazard a guess of the city or country?