About Me

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Chatty, mischievous and evolving over with time. I am trying to make sense of everything around me and having loads of fun along the way! Oh, I want to be a better person along the way.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trips & Happenings

How is everyone doing? Hope things are going good. I have been busy like crazy, had a presentation last week, another one on Thursday and another next Tuesday! I decided come whatever, I am blogging tonight, even if I cannot read posts.

I went to Amsterdam during the winter break and boy, was it an adventure! It started with the bus, the buses from my house to the train station stop working at 9.48pm on a week day. We were meeting at the station to take off at 2.00am. I didn’t want to walk alone at mid-night besides, it’s quite far, so I took the bus and beagn the waiting game. I killed time with an apple cider at a pub with like-minded individuals going on the trip.

We finally gathered everyone and set off to board the bus only to discover that it was running late. We were standing in the middle of the expressway in the middle of the night with no shield from the cold! It was 0 degrees! The bus showed up at 3.00am and we set off. I was dozing off after cornering 2 seats for myself in the from of the bus and getting used to the usual chatter among people bound together on a trip when the first wahala started.

I heard WTF? I woke and smelled smoke, and someone went ‘the bus is f****** and the driver is still driving?’ The smoke was so much we could smell it in the bus with all the windows shut against the cold! And the people at the back could see smoke coming from the bus. The driver finally stopped and we were ordered off the bus, it was 4.10am. We had to wait for the police to set up the emergency cones as we were between borders on the Highway and no one was allowed to get into the warmth of the bus. The temperature had further plummeted of course as I was shivering and everyone was complaining. People had to pee but the bus didn’t even have toilet facilities, it was locked, someone said ‘hit the bushes’ but it was ridiculous as we were on a highway, no shoulder on the road to even stay in clusters! We had to make a single file as it was a bridge and the little space on the side of the road was very narrow. I have never heard so many swear words in a single night before.

We got back on the bus around 5.00am when the emergency signs had been erected and proceeded to wait for the replacement bus. It came 3 hours later. Set off again at 8.00am, badly pressed and quite grumpy we were the motley crew . We found a rest stop after 2 hrs and everyone got about their business. Arrived Amsterdam at about 4.00pm. School trips, you gotta love them!

We got to the hotel/hostel only to discover the fool that organised the trip got two rooms only to be co-shared between both sexes! I promptly objected that the smaller room be taken by the girls and I could see the hesitation on the guy’s face, I ignored him, I am a full grown adult and no way would I share a room with over-grown kids still exhibiting traits of youthful exuberance. They are undergrads after all! Still have the boorishness and manners or lack thereof attached to males of that class.

We girls had our way but some unlucky girls had to share the other room with the guys. I told them they could bring their mattress and bunk with us. We rested a bit and met in the lobby for what they called a visit to the ‘coffee house’. Innocent enough until you have been to Amsterdam and discovered that coffee houses do not have the same meaning. These are cafes where marijuana is sold and smoked freely! Innocent me! I have never inhaled so much smoke. It’s everywhere. The laws are not like in the UK or France where smokers go outside, they can stay in the room and do it. I responded with having allergy attacks! So severe my eyes were almost swollen shut!

Another pet peeve of the trip was, the ‘leader’ kept giving information in French, it was so annoying considering that half the people on the trip do not speak it and he manages English quiet well in school environs. As eloquently pointed out by a friend, since the guy had been smoking weed, all his language capabilities had been disconnected, and he can only resort to his native language!

The guys were principally there for the smoke. We meet in the mornings and go to a museum after that everyone is left to their own devices. I like the city away from the smoke and red lights. It’s a bicycle city. There are thousands of them everywhere. My friend almost got hit by a tram too. Between them and cycles, it was all very crazy.

The food is great! I love their Vlaamse fries, so thick and long, just how I like my fries. And the waffles and huge street pizzas, doughnuts etc. The foods are available 24/7 on most of the streets. Even in the 'coffee shops' you have muffins (made with hash), brownie (made with weed) etc proudly displayed in neon signs! They also have fab restaurants. Even the silly hotel we stayed in, the beef of the burger was so huge the bread only covered half of it. Some of them had silly names, space cakes, space brownie, anyway I assume by the time you finish onhe, you will be in space! This aptly named.

I also saw girls (in minuscule undies) in live windows, calling men and the bars are open all days and hours of the week and the girls are there in the windows even during the day. It really is a bustling city. We went to the Marijuana museum, the torture museum and the sex museum. We also saw the floating flower market. I went on the boat round the city too. I have never had so many touristy activities in a single trip!

There were also quirky quotes everywhere such as, 'drink beer and save water, do your part to save the environment' and ' Don't drink and drive, instead, smoke and fly! It was a lesson!

We went to the Anne Frank museum and it was a very sad experience for me because I could not imagine the persecution such a young girl must have faced during the Hitler era. She was just 15 and forced to hide in an upstairs room with her sister and the people in the office downstairs were not even aware of their existence! They were eventually betrayed and sent to the camps where they were killed. The only good moment was seeing a live Oscar won by one of the actresses in the Film based on her life. We were not allowed to take pictures though.

On getting back to school, a lecturer asked what we did for the winter break, I sat in front so I had to respond and told him I went to Amsterdam, his response? Ha you went there to smoke!

So there goes my trip, many more memories but this post is long enough already and I can’t even include the gist about the stalker I have managed to acquire.

The temperature is going up yipeeeeeeeeeee! It will be 15 degrees tomorrow, I will brave it and wear open toed flats, about time. Enjoy the rest of the week. Will be back after heavy school schedule.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tales from a Party

Hi guys, how is everyone doing? Hope all the overzealous natural forces at work is not hampering your daily life. France is being battered by a horrible storm with winds that can lift a human body off the streets! I couldn't sleep through the storm, the howls of the wind was too terrifying and the temperatures magically dipped so it was very cold as well. It's been horrible but mercifully over. I hope the people in Chile are coping well though.

Went for a party last Saturday and I must say I have attended better parties. It was supposed to be a house party by a classmate who moved to Paris away from the school environs. You are thinking fun yeah? Maybe a little.

So I went with another classmate since I can't find my own tail with a compass. We got to the apartment. It was a very nice one complete with marble elevators and English speaking neighbours! We met a few of them 'cos they let us into the foyer. And it's very close to the Metro. Fab!

We met the hostess in sweats and she grabbed me the Nigerian to come make the Jollof rice! Did I mention the party was supposed to start at 9pm? Oh I got there at 9.30 or so. The hostess is a fly African who grew up American. She rarely attends lectures too. I have seen her all of twice since we started classes here, we mostly see on FB!

She was dishing out orders like we were her servants, oh you get the chicken, LusciousRon slice the onions, don't add too much pepper in the sauce for the jollof rice. Oh you go get the paper plates, the store is down the road. etc

On a regular day, I don't mind doing some work to get a party started and ready but sheeeet I did not leave my cosy flat, brave the cold weather, and travel into Paris in heels and flowing hair to come cut onions and ish! When I start reeking of maggi and other condiments at the party what am I supposed to tell other guests? That I had an accident with a curry shop? Puhleeeeeese.

I swallowed my annoyance and made the jollof, lighted the candles and did other minor stuff that kept the party going. It was the kind of party that people come in groups and leave after 2hrs to go to another party or club. And the hostess (we will call her H) kept making disappearing acts for lenthy chunks of time to attend to her stud-wearing-jeans-sagging boyfriend.

I was chatting with some of my classmates when H brought a dude over that he is Nigerian and I should talk to him. Behold a Nigerian that pronounced his name till I got a mild headache. He is supposedly 'Femi' but the way he said it, I asked him to repeat it so many times it sounded like a song! Get this, he speaks the kind of English a 2yr old would speak- very limited and I don't speak much French past what would get me items in a store. His parents are Nigerian but he grew up here. Having a conversation with loud blaring music is terrible at the best of times but having one with someone you cannot communicate with is crazy, besides he ain't that cute so I am not missing anything! I tilted him towards a Norwegian that speaks French and escaped!

I thought I had escaped most of the horrors of the night until a batch of French people came in. They were very drunk from another party. of course they had to do the French air kissing thing. Imagine the stale alcoholic breath coming into your nostrils, its utterly disgusting and 'cos they were drunk the kiss lingered and I had to endure that from about 8 people! I thought I would throw up. They were actually waiting in line to meet a delightful looking lady- their words not mine.

Some time after that, the Naija guy slipped beside me and from what I could decipher, he asked me to walk up to his friend and ask him to dance for me that he can really move. (Do you guys remember those silly games we played in secondary school and early Uni days? Where a guy's friend will tell you to go up to him and ask him to do something? Yes that one) I turned calmly and told him I was tired and the last thing I would do, is walk across the room to ask someone to dance for me! He gave me that incredulous look like, I want to miss the offer of the century. I simply turned to another person and struck up conversation.

I was stuck at the party 'cos the trains stop working at around 1am, so I couldn't go home. We left around 4 after we discovered we could get a bus to our place instead of waiting for the trains to start working. I was so glad. We walked to St. Lazare ran to catch the bus 'cos it was already leaving. Unlike the UK, the buses wait to pick you when they see you running. They even wait at bus-stops close to malls for shoppers.

We got to the Gare and I walked home. It's Sunday the regular buses don't start work until 7.30am. You gotta love France!

So it's winter break this week and I have signed up for a trip to Amsterdam on Wednesday. I have back-to-back presentations immediately after the break so I will be quite busy. I am looking forward to the trip though.
So thats how the past week has been. Have a fab week guys!