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Travel

As I said before, my trip to Nigeria was one to reconnect with family. As I’m originally from Nigeria, this post won’t completely be from a tourists’ perspective but I will try my best to give clear instructions about navigating your way around if you do decide to visit. My family resides in Abuja which is the city where I was born and raised. With my last visit being circa six years ago, I decided it was to go back to the motherland. We thought Easter would be a great time to visit as most people would be on holidays which would also give us the chance to travel to our country home in Anambra State.

The Journey

With Abuja airport being closed down for renovations we had to fly through Lagos which was a first for me. If you’re like me who likes things to work as they should, then my advice to you would be to avoid going through Lagos. The system at the airport is designed to extort money from you. The whole experience reminded me a lot of some of the reasons why I left Nigeria. There were so many unnecessary checks and stops with each person asking at every chance “anything for me?” Another term for “do you have some money for me?” It is very disgusting how people paid to do a job get to behave in such an unprofessional manner. I made a point of it not to give them a penny. If you do, you’ll end up broke even before your holidays begin. The unnecessary checks means your flights will always be delayed and not to mention how poor the state of the airport is. Thank goodness we only spent a night there. The following day we flew to the East to head to my village in Anambra State. There we spent Easter with extended family members and captured static and motion pictures for my blog and vlog. We really enjoyed our time here as we were surrounded by nature and great food. If you’re looking to explore Nigeria as a foreigner, I’d advise you have a trusted Nigerian indigene to accompany on your travels as it’ll make navigating your way a lot easier. We visited Nkwo market, the Church and took long walks. We felt very much at home here.

Transportation

Sticking with one driver to take you around is always a good idea. Taxis seem to be the main mode of transportation in cities like Lagos and Abuja. Lagos has Uber which means you can download the app and get exploring. We were lucky to have my kid brother assume the role of our chauffeur in the city. You have the option to take public transportation like buses or shared mini yellow cabs. My brother told me about the existence of a train line which operates from Abuja to Kaduna where we initially planned on going to spend some time at Kajuru Castle but couldn’t make it in the end. We hope to hop on this train during our next visit.

Things To Do

Abuja was our next stop. A place where we would spend a lot of our time. Having arrived after a road trip lasting at least eight hours, we were in the company of immediate family. And for the first few days we were stuck at home babysitting my sister’s kids who were a handful to say the least. To avoid not exploring the city, we had to come up with a way of incorporating the kids into our movements. We took them swimming at Transcorp Hilton Hotel which has a lovely atmosphere. You’ll find a lot of tourists here and most likely pay at least five times the amount if you so decide to purchase anything. If you’re on a budget like myself then you’ll be better of eating and drinking before visiting the poolside or bringing some light snacks and drinks along with you. At night time you can enjoy good food, live music and drinks at the hotel bar. Just beware of how unprofessional the artists are as they’ll approach you for some money, lol. Another spot to hang out at night is Beer Ban where you can play pool as well as eat and drink. Something worth noting is that smoking is permitted indoors in Nigeria so you’ll be inhaling a lot of secondhand smoke while in bar type spots. Abuja is full beautiful of streets with big mansions but I wanted to capture the essence of it’s roots which is why my images showcase more of the culture. My brother took us to Life Camp where we found a Fulani settlement with beautiful hut houses. We also visited the Arts and Crafts Village where I purchased a lovely straw hat for the equivalent of £2. It is the best place to buy hand made cultural pieces. Be sure to always bargain as the prices aren’t set in stone. We also visited the Zoo. Although, I must say, the scenery was more exciting than the animals we encountered.

Food

We enjoyed a lot of good food. Lucky for us we had a Suya joint right next to our family home. Suya is basically roasted spicy meat accompanied with rich organic vegetables. Craig thought this to be the best meal ever. I also got him to try one of my personal favourite, Sharwama. It is a popular Lebanese delicacy made in Abuja. It’s a crunchy wrap made with well spiced meat, vegetables and mayonnaise sauce. The best place to get tasty Sharwama is Chicken Capitol. There are so many restaurants offering Nigerian delicacies which you come across while going about. If you prefer continental meals, then places like Chicken Republic might have you covered.

My Experience

All in all, going to Nigeria was a great experience for me. I got a chance to reconnect with family and show Craig my roots. I used to have a love hate relationship with the country but challenged myself to revisit the things I once used to hate to see where I stand. I’m happy to say I’ve made peace with it all. Find out more about my journey in my Nigerian vlog.

April 29, 2017
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I’m shedding my skin in Alor London. Yes, that’s right. Every year just after winter I tend to shed the dry skin that was brought about by the cold weather and it usually takes a couple of months to lose them all. This time this isn’t the case. Seeing as I’m in Nigeria at the moment, the tropic weather has been nothing but good to my skin. It’s been extra warm and humid. I’m currently in my hometown where my parents were born known as Alor aka Alor London (although I couldn’t tell you how this name came about) located in Anambra state. I thought it’ll be nice to show Craig my roots and what better to do it than to take him back to where it all began. We’re surrounded by a lot of nature. Standing outside our bedroom balcony we’re blessed with the view of beautiful orange trees and a big ole ditch. Being surrounded by nature means I have very limited access to the internet. I’m having to share my brother’s mobile phone data which he turns into a hot spot which in turn slows it down. So getting this blog post up might be quite the challenge but I’m very determined to stick to my schedule.

After taking in the view, I knew I had to start capturing the beauty of it all. I got dressed a vey summer appropriate Parisian Bardot top together with my mom jeans and loaned my brother’s straw hat which was gifted to him by a guest at least ten years ago. Our balcony was the starting point. It somehow reminds me of Italy even though I’ve never been. Something about the white pillars and the orange trees made me feel so at peace. When we were done, I asked my brother to drive us around so we could take in more of this wonderful place. We stumbled upon a gate with overflowing branches and I knew I had to take some shots there. The funny thing was that as I child we used to visit once a year for Christmas and I mostly dreaded it cause I thought it was dull and remote. Having grown up and taking up photography, I was longing to visit again cause I now know what I thought was dull and remote was in fact peaceful and bliss. I’m looking to enjoy the remaining days we have left here before we head to the city where I was born and raised, Abuja. Until next time, wishing you all a happy Easter!🍃☀️🍃Alor London 🍃☀️🍃

April 16, 2017
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Those of you who follow my blog and social media accounts know that I was in New York on holiday a couple of weeks ago and I’m super happy that the pictures are finally ready. The city was full of life and magnificent structures which I got plenty of chance to take in from the view of our hotel room. We decided from the get go that we would explore much of the city by spending as little money as possible.

On our first night, Craig was super excited that he didn’t even bother to rest from the jet lag and dived straight into the big apple, something which he paid the price for later on with a sore ankle. The next morning he was very keen to show me Time Square and Central Park which we captured in all it’s glory in our first New York vlog.

The air was beautiful and the streets full of carts selling the classic New York pretzel. It was the tastiest pretzel I had ever had. With a cuppa in hand, we explored Central Park on foot staying true to our routine by walking everywhere.

The next day, the sun was shining and the harbour was our destination. Our aim was to see her – Ms Liberty and the freedom she stands for. We took a free ferry a few blocks from Wall Street to Staten Island where we sailed past the Statue of Liberty. 

What a site to behold. The skyline lived up to all it’s expectation from the movies and all.

Since we visited in November, the spirit of Christmas was very much alive so we ventured into the New York Christmas market at Union Square.

There was one lazy day (not too lazy) which I reserved to do some thinking. You might have come across stories of great men and women finding inspiration from their travels. Well, this turned out to be a soul searching trip for me. I eluded to what might have inspired this in my previous blog post. It turned out to be a quest for spiritual growth and I’m delighted to say my journey has begun.

My new mantra, taken from the good book has become “be ye not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

On another cold beautiful day, we took to the streets of New York to discover its hidden gems and character. There was much to see and take in. We ended up at the Brooklyn Bridge, but being too scared of heights I left Craig to go all by himself. 

“Figure out what it is you want in life and go after it as if your life depends on it, because it does”. – Les Brown

It didn’t take long for us to end up at the American Museum of Natural History. You can pay any amount as a donation to gain entry. It was full of ancient artefacts and wild/sea life animals which all had 3D effects to it. It made for very interesting viewing.

Walking down the harbour is always a good idea as open waters bring clarity.

The details on some of the structures reminded me very much of London. I could feel nostalgia setting in in those instances.

Taking on the streets again, we headed to the Flat Iron Building. Opposite it were hammocks where you could lay to take in this magnificent structure.

On our final day, we took to the streets to capture some of the magnificent Christmas decorations. The night before, we went to watch the Christmas tree lighting at the Rockefeller Centre but couldn’t see a thing as the streets were packed with people and only ticket holders got a great view. We were smart enough to head back to our hotel to watch it live on TV.

We also took the opportunity to head to Grand Central Station which was the most beautiful station I’ve ever come across. 

Although we always had our camera on us, we took in more of New York with our eyes than we did with our lens because that’s how overwhelmingly magnificent it is. You’ll have to visit and see for yourself why it is what it is – New York New York.

New York New York – where dreams are made.

December 10, 2016
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