Monday, 21 January 2008

8 Weird Things About Me

I was tagged by 30+

1 - When i was young, two of my most favourite things to do were (1)popping other peoples pimples (black heads were the best), and (2)scraping people's dandruff. I used to beg people to let me squeeze their pimples!

2 - I hate making small talk. So much so that i never maintain the same hairdresser/salon, cornershop, butcher, baker, candlestick maker for longer than necessary. No matter how superior the service or product turns out to be, after about the 3rd or 4th visit, you know, when you become familiar and you walk in and they recognise you and the pressure is on to become pleasant and smile and make *spit, spit* small talk. That's when i know i have to bolt.

3 - I am very squeamish, which is not very weird. The weird thing is that when i come across a large glob of saliva on the ground or a patch of drunken vomit on a friday night (can't speak for other cities, but a regular sight on the streets of London), i shudder violently. It doesn't end there though, because i will keep on playing the sight over and over, again and again in my mind hours, and sometimes days, afterwards. Each time, shuddering violently some more. I cant seem to stop myself. Gross, i know.

4 - I am a creature of habit, in the sense that when i find something that works, i stick to it. This usually tends to be in the arena of food alone. In other areas, i'm actually very adventurous and love experiencing new things, places etc. So back to food, once i find a particular lunch time sandwich, i can stick to the same one day in, day out for months on end, then switch to something else and stick with that for ages.

5 - I enjoy watching teleshopping channels. Not just when there's nothing else on TV, but because i actually get pleasure from doing so. I can easily explain the science behind the Lateral Thigh Trainer, Leg Magic, Sheer Cover make up etc. I find infomercials fascinating...

6 - I am a little bit obsessive compulsive about lines and symmetry. I will therefore, go about adjusting people's clothing, public signs, pictures until they are perfectly aligned.

7 - I believe that every man/woman should be allowed to be an island if they want to.

8 - I pose a lot. When ever i have to stand still, i seem to automatically strike a pose without giving it any thought - or so i've been told. As far as i'm concerned, i'm just standing still.

Friday, 18 January 2008




Sleep problems: Usually desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake but, in some cases, disturbed sleep and early morning wakening (CHECK! AND YES I AM SHOUTING!!!)

Lethargy: Feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine (CHECK!)

Overeating: Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, usually resulting in weight gain (CHECK!!! I have been craving for and eating Amala (my okele of choice) at least 2-3 times each week! I even travelled all the way to Finsbury Park(way out of my way)to go and buy okro on monday this week after work!!!)

Depression: Feelings of misery, guilt and loss of self-esteem, sometimes hopelessness and despair, sometimes apathy and loss of feelings (CHECK!)

Social problems: Irritability and desire to avoid social contact (CHECK! I HAVE GONE AWOL FROM MY WEEKLY CHURCH AND CHOIR COMMITTMENTS FOR 2 WEEKS RUNNING. UNHEARD OF!!!)

Loss of libido : Decreased interest in sex and physical contact (NOT RELEVANT!!!)

The symptoms of SAD usually recur regularly each Winter, starting between September and November and continuing until March or April (AND YES,I'VE TRIED LIGHT THERAPY, ST JOHN'S WORT, WALKS AT LUNCTIME, AND ALL THE REST!!I HONESTLY THOUGHT I HAD ESCAPED IT THIS YEAR, BUT IT'S HERE NOW WITH A VENGEANCE! I WISH I WAS A BEAR!!!)


Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Les Dossiers des Marrakech - Day 4 (final day)

I really thought i wasn't going to do this, but it's been niggling at me and i've decided to give in to the need to complete my Marrackech Files series. It feels almost redundant doing this now because it's been...what?...3 months since i got back from the trip. Anyhoo, just for completeness, below is the account of my final day in Marrakech last year. (see here, here and here for accounts of days 1,2 and 3).

Goodnight, Marrakech

So, as i mentioned at the end of Day 3, my trip to the beach at Essaouira was cancelled because i was the only person wanting to take the trip. The hotel staff tried to flog me another day trip to Ouarzazate, which i declined. I asked for a refund because my whole body still ached from my mountain hike the previous day!

The day gets off to a slow start. After breakfast, i finally get the chance to lounge by the pool with book, which is nice because the previous days have been jam packed with activity.

Later on, i decide to give the Hammam another try (it was closed when i got there the previous day). The Hammam i choose is one of the oldest in the City. Strictly no frills. Just your basic service with an entry fee of 10 dirhams. I've only got big denominations of dirhams on me and they have no change, so i offer to go and get some change and come back.

I take the opportunity to take another stroll through the Souqs and as expected, i get called out to by the shop keepers. I decide to take a detour into one particular shop which appears to be a kind of antique type store. I get talking with the manager and when i mention i'm 'from' London, he drops his sales pitch like a hot potato. Apparently, it's only the Americans who are rich enough to purchase his wares. Nonsense! Anyway, i take a look round the store and he gives me a running commentary of the goods on display. He then invites me to come downstairs to the basement with him, and once again, like they have at so many different stages of this trip, alarm bells begin to go off in my head. I mean, i had an amazing time travelling on my own, and i intend to take several more trips solo, however, not before i become fluent in some martial art or the other, so i at least have the confidence that if anything happens, i will be able to defend myself nicely against anyone who might be tempted to try it on.

Sha, i go downstairs with him. I should also say that his colleagues are on the ground floor i.e. we are not entirely alone - hey, i'm not stupid, ok! So, he makes a show of pointing out items to me and finally plonks himself down on a sofa in the corner and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. He invites me to sit down, and i politely refuse. He offers me a cigarette, which i also politely refuse. He eventually confesses that he has lured me down there so that he can have a smoke. It's the middle of the month of Ramadan, you see. So everyone is meant to be fasting. He is not. I ask him why, and he confesses that he is not a practising Muslim, however, no one else knows this. The reason he has taken me down into the basement is so he can have a quick smoke and then blame it on me if any of his colleagues asks! Imagine!!!

He finishes his cigarette and we go back up. I say my goodbyes and am on my way back to the Hammam (which is nowhere near as tush as the picture above) where i pay my 10 dirham entry fee. None of the attendants speak English, so i kind of have to play it by ear. And ok folks, warning, look away now if semi-nudity offends you! Basically, you go in and you strip to your knickers, you pay, you leave your bag with the attendant, and a bucket is thrust into your hands. You are then pointed in the direction of the steam room. So far, so good. I step into the outer steam room and navigate through the other women in various stages of undress, squating or sitting on the floor, and i fill my bucket up with hot water. The attendant had muttered something at me and pointed to a spot beside two onyinbo girls (the only non-indigenes in the place). Oh yeah, as i paid, i was also offered the choice of a gommage (which is basically an exfoliating scrub with a really, really rough sponge) and a massage, and I had declined these, as i wasn't really too sure how i felt about having complete strangers touch me like that!

It soon becomes clear to me, as i squat in the corner, that without either the gommage and massage, the whole experience will be akin to having a wash in a communual space and going home. So i siddle back up to the oyinbo girls whom i had move away from and basically squeak 'help!'. They turn out to be Belgian, and one of them speaks a bit of English. She explains to me what i need to do, and offers me some of her oshe dudu which i have to rub on my body and wait for one of the attendants to come and gommage the hell out of me. Okay, so i wait until she is done with the Belgian chicks, and this woman now turns her attention to me...and i'm like,'okay!'. She (the woman, who looks like she should be a black woman named Bertha)grabs me, spreads her thighs and lays me across one of them...i kid you not! She seizes her gommage sponge and then begins to scrub the crap out of me. All i can say is 'mega-ouch'. One side finished, she flips me over and scrubs the crap out of my other side, then front, then back. In my mind, i'm reciting the alphabet, counting sheep, just doing anything to distract me from this completely surreal experience. I basically go to my happy place, so to speak.

When i made the top up payment for the gommage, i stated explicity that i didn't want a massage, but they choose to ignore this and i am passed over to another attendant who proceeds to knead me all over, like a lump of dough. Not a minute too soon, it's all over and i'm sent into the inner chamber which is the actual steam room/sauna. I chill (if you can say that in a steam room) for about 15 minutes, douse myself with warm water and then come out. Unfortunately, cameras are not allowed in the Hamman, so folks, i gat nothing for ya...As i step out and towelling myself off, i'm handed my bag and i get dressed. It's been a gruelling, unfamiliar experience, but heck, as i walk away, i have a big smile across my face, and feel like i am floating! Would i do it again? Oh, hell yeah!

Okay, i go into the square, and get somthing to eat at one of the roof top terrace cafes, while watching the sun set. Beautiful.Then it's back to the hotel. And home the next day.

In summary, i don't think i'll ever forget this trip. It was liberating on so many levels. I've always enjoyed pushing myself to see just how much i can achieve, and this was almost the ultimate test of this. I put myself out there, and i survived. I think that was the main thing i learnt (or maybe confirmed). I can do anything i want to...on my own! Goodnight, Marrakech. And you better believe i'll be back...

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Russian Winter Festival - Trafalgar Square, London (13th Jan)

Good atmosphere, big crowd(too big for such a small space, in my opinion), bad Russian pop act (again, in my opinion).

The quality of the pictures i got was crap. In fact, i had to stay much longer than i intended to in order to get close enough to get these terrible shots! Plus, i also didn't get to sample the food from the food stalls because there were just too many people!!!

Monday, 7 January 2008

What is wrong with a little nip 'n' tuck?

A friend revealed to me a while back that she was seriously considering plastic surgery. In fact she was beyond 'considering'. The only thing stopping her was that at that particular point in time, she couldn't afford it. My initial reaction to this revealation was horror. But then i took a step back and actually looked beyond my pre-programmed response and i found that i actually had no logical reason not to support her in her decision.

Some plastic surgery is unavoidable e.g reconstructive surgery after an accident, severe burns etc. My friend was considering liposuction. I wish i could give more details, but as readers of my earlier posts might remember, i have a severe phobia of getting caught out i.e. having my true identity revealed and paranoia is not something i deal with very well (See Psst, they're on to me). I won't, therefore, be going into too much detail, lest the person concerned somehow gets to read this and recognises themself.

As i examined my feelings on the matter, i thought, who am i to judge or even try to talk a person out of wanting bigger breasts. Or smaller breasts. Or a flatter stomach, but not the sit ups? I know all surgery is inherently risky and that was the only valid argument i could muster, especially since my friend was considering jetting off to some obscure Eastern European country to get the work done on the cheap, and that was where i drew the line and told her to stop being stupid (in the nicest way possible, of course).

There are extremes, of course Jocelyn Wildenstein (above) for one, and that poster child for excessive plastic surgery gone wrong - Michael Jackson. Demi Moore apparently had a total body overhaul for her role in the second Charlies Angels movie, in order not to be shown up by her younger co-stars. Also, perhaps to keep the interest of her much younger husband. Perhaps. And Kanye West's mother tragically lost her life last year as a result of a cosmetic procedure.

On a personal level, if i had the money, i would have surgery to remove my hereditary undereye bags - the kind that cannot be shifted by creams and lotions, no matter how expensive or what promises the manufacturers make! Trust me, i've tried. For now, i hide them behind my glasses and wait for the day i can justify shelling out £4000+ for the procedure.

What are your thoughts on plastic surgery? Are you for it or against? And if you're for and money was no object, what would you get done?

Thursday, 3 January 2008