Tuesday, 24 October 2017

No kissing in Kenya.

High light of my 21 hours in Nairobi

I landed Nairobi at 7pm Kenyan time and I could not (and still can't) believe the ease with which the immigration attended to my party.

I had applied for the visa online before I arrived and printed out the visa that was emailed to me.
Copy of my Visa.

Someone at the entrance checked our yellow cards and then stamped our passports.
I had people in my party who didn't do their visa's online and they just paid $20 at the stand with cash or with their cards and guess what?
The immigration staff had change.

I dare say the immigration staff in Nairobi are the most efficient I have come across in all my travels.

Got through security and while waiting for members of my party to get their shit together I looked up and boom. The prettiest art installation I have been- even prettier than the bean at terminal 5 in Heathrow airport.
The Prettiest art installation

 Finally got out of the airport and got a cab to take us to our airbnb, where we had planned to meet someone from our party who had come in earlier than the rest of us.

Surprisingly- our Airbnb looked better than the photos

Bedroom I slept in

Sitting room


 That did not quite work out, but it was fine, we settled in and decided to go to Beer Bistro & Lounge. This is a concept space with an in house distillery, i.e they make their own Craft beer.

Take off your jacket- Man's Not Hotttttt.


Pro tip: The beer was the nastiest thing I have ever tasted and for context- I attended QC boarding house for 6 years.

Anyway I had dinner here, the resturant has an out door terrace and the nicest Jameson bar.

The tapa's were soooo tasty.


Bar Top? Anyone

Obligatory Photo infront of the bar.


After dinner we went to the second Beer Bistro location and danced till our feet hurt
*but really till the Dj shut down the party at 2am*


Me. Natalie ( Kenyan with the most beautiful skin) and Arin

Half of the party, Ib, Les (not showing) Micheal Me(looking away), Nat and Arin.

For the culture we stopped at this outdoor grill *think Suya stand* but had beef patties and sausages and beef skewers. *cue running stomach*

And they were sooooo sweet.


Then we got a cab and stopped at a "Nakumart" which was 24 hours and bought some food.

The biggest downside of Airbnb-ing really is the fact that you have to cook your own food.
And we all know fewer things are more confunding than having to work other people's appliances especially microwaves. 

Anyway the night ends without event*. Significant event- No group fighting or the sort one would expect from living with 9 other people they never met till that day.

Next morning I woke up really late probably because I had been travelling whole day before and went out partying- But really because I love the opportunity to lie in and I take it everytime.

I had only 3 items on my agenda-
Buy coffee from somewhere called Petes - as an errand;
buy a Maasai blanket and go and
kiss the giraffe's at the "Giraffe center".

Got a car hire for the whole day and headed to Pete's.
Daniel- my cab driver and photographer


Got there and turns out there was no coffee because of the election unrest.

Pete's is like a Cafe Neo nestled in Yaba-con. or Maybe CC-hub. Pretty cool but shit wifi.

Before I came to Kenya I had been advised about how unsafe it might be because of election unrest but I had no idea the level at which it affected the economy. Daniel pointed out that the country had literally been on standstill and had just started picking up. Africa is really a country.

Headed out to find the Maasai blanket and I found it in a store at the mall

Mall lay out with Daniel in the cut.
Maasai scarf thats really a blanket

This store had all the trappings of a tourist heaven.


Because I am my mother's child I walked into this underwear store that had the word sale and bought something and paid with my Gt- Naira card.
Talk about own goal.
LOL
I'm still shocked till now at the exchange rate that they used but okay.




That was me when I got the alert notification


Finished from the mall and hit the road for the giraffes!
I was soooo excited to kiss the animals till I got there and actually saw them and realised I actually still do not like animals and the best I could do was feed the giraffes.

Center welcome

Can you see how far I'm standing? exactly.
 I had seen photos of white people kissing them on IG and my God. Iyama.

Giraffe fun fact: it's tongue is 43 centimeters long.

Another Giraffe fun fact: It head butts you if pellets finish while feeding it

Pellets used to feed the giraffes


 The Giraffe center was really well maintained and after my failed kiss attempt ( I actually have a video on my instagram that is so shameful), the center asked us to come for a class and it was so informative.
femur of the giraffe

Lower jaw bone of giraffe

Yet another Giraffe fun fact: It's tongue is antiseptic.

Finished disgracing myself here then headed to the airport.

But first, I had to stop at somewhere called Java house for some coffee- kenya AA- which smelt so so good I'm not a coffee drinker but Yes to Kenya AA coffee.
Java house is located in the galleria - another mall, but i respected my self and did not buy anything.
What silverbird could have been if a senator had common sense.

Smelled like heaven.

Then I headed to the Airport to catch my flight.

I had heard lots of crazy things about the Nairobi traffic but I have to let you know that Lagos still wears the crown when it comes to traffic in Africa as far as I'm concerned.
There was no way the rush hour traffic I met there was enough to make anyone miss their flight.


Nairobi Fun Fact: The airport security is so serious, they make everyone asides the car driver to come down and walk thorough metal detectors before they let you into the airport. not at the terminal o, at the gate of the airport.

I guess security is still a big issue in Africa.


Me at Jomo Kenyatta, post security wahala.


Strange how no one harrasses you when you try to take a photo at every other airport asides the Nigerian one.

This visit put Kenya on my travel plans for 2018 ( or maybe 2019)and I will definately be back to spend more time and visit other cities asides Nairobi. I have heard lovely things about the beaches in Mobassa.

Have you been to Kenya?

Did you enjoy it?

Ps: I'm open to correction about the photo at the aiport thing












Thursday, 12 October 2017

Money Talk for Kenya & Kigali

So I'm back from my mini mini mini break. There was a long weekend in Nigeria to celebrate our independence, a few people and I decided to visit Niarobi and Kigali. ( these cities are in Kenya and Rwanda respectively if your geography is dodgy- You are welcome).


A few things to note this trip, it was pretty budget not by design but it just so happened that there isn't a lot of buy from Kenya asides coffee ( In my opinion) and I also had economies of scale on my side.
Also Nairobi doesn't have a lot to do if you remain in the city. But this might be as a result of being resident in Lagos. And the fact that I arrived on a Wednesday night and left on Thursday evening.

Money talk:

My ticket cost N135,000 approx round trip for  Lagos- Nairobi- Kigali- Nairobi- Lagos.
Visa: $20 transit for Kenya and $30 for Rwanda both obtainable on arrival with a Nigerian passport.
My accomodation cost $87 for all the nights I spent with my group.
However I like to take some time out after travelling with people to recharge so I spent an extra night in Kigali and that cost me $30 and I also spent the night at the Aspire airport lounge at the Nairobi airport for $35.
Taxi rides and tourist attractions cost me approximately $50.
I spent approximately $10/meal
The exchange rate is 100KSH ( Kenyan shillings) to 1 USD.

Itineary:
My layover in Kenya was 21 hours long so I got to spend a night and go shopping the next day as well as visit the Giraffe center with the aim of kissing feeding the animals.

Rwanda
I had planned to arrive on thursday night go out, friday take a Yoga class - someone in my travel party was teaching said class, visit the Kigali Genocide center ( let this be the first/last thing you do if you decide to go, it was very emotionally stressful for me, I couldn't finish viewing because I'm a crier and I couldn't risk breaking down too badly), have lunch, visit the Belgian soldier center and friday night go out again. Saturday morning lie in and then take a 3 hour bus ride ( that really turned out being 5 but who is counting) to Gisenyi spend the night at an eco lodge and then come on sunday. Spend monday relaxing getting my life together at a spa and then heading to the airport to return to Lagos.


Top marks for whoever can guess how much of my itineary I stuck to and what I cancelled.

I think in total plus souvenirs I spent maybe $250 shopping inclusive in both countries plus incidentals.

Also like a learner I used my Gt bank Naira card to pay for a bra that was 2,000 KSH and when I got the alert in Naira I almost fainted.

So pro tip never use your Naira card to pay for anything except you want to almost have an aneurysm when your debit alert pops in.

Re group travel it's not so bad but I do not think it's something I am really a fan of because I like doing things on my own time and I really like to take my time.








Monday, 25 September 2017

New Trip- PSA X SOS

Two posts in one day.

Lets not call it a come back. It's not.

I leave for my vacation during the week and I am so so so excited.

Slightly stressed because I am doing two things I have never done before.

1- I'm traveling with only hand luggage ( I'm still packing sha) and if you read this blog by now you will have gleaned that my extra-ness filters into my packing. AKA I am that person at the airport flirting with the staff at the check in counter to waive my excess luggage.
I mean I fly from Lagos to Abuja for 48 hours and I check in luggage.

Always.



But change is here I hope.

2- I am traveling with a group of people that I do not know.
I mean, I know the person that invited me, someone from Yoga class but yeah I don't know anyone else. I'm equal parts a people person and a me person aka an ambivert, but when I asked the organizer about sleeping arrangements ( it's a group of 10), he said " Oh I'd rather that be organic"...






That was legit my reaction.

Like, huh???

Anyway this post is about packing light suggestions and dealing with a large group of travel people especially when you'd rather sleep alone.

So tips, suggestions are welcome and actively solicited.
Let me know what you think I should or shouldn't do.

Now the PSA is that I found this pretty cool checklist website that is about to become my best friend.

Here

Go on, you know you want to click on the link. :)


Yoga at Vizcaya - Miami

 My hat and my mat on which a fat cat (me) sat.


I love Miami.

Miami is one of my favorite cities in America and it's probably my best in the world.

It's sensual and chill and has beaches for miles and miles and miles and it is literally what Lagos could have been but Eko Atlantic and poor planning.

But I'm still holding out hope for the water front on the Elegushi axis. *fingers crossed*

Back to Miami.

After Cuba, I spent a week there further steeping myself in enjoyment. So the usual Liv & Story visits, and I discovered this really sweet spot called Bodega and ate taco's at 3am.

But the highlight of Miami for me was a Yoga class I took at Vizcaya.

I stumbled upon this while looking for events in Miami and I happened to be there over a bank holiday so I didn't want to do the beach or a boat trip that would mean me having to wear white and mingling with the whole world in the water and all that.

Anyway I found this and fell in love.

Vizcaya is the dream house.
 It was built as a summer home in the early 1916 by a certain James Deering and has the most delicious gardens fashioned after the Versailles gardens.

If Versailles and Lake Garda had a child and a really rich man with beautiful taste looked after the child it would be the Vizcaya mansions. It is so lovingly maintained .
The mansion was restored so perfectly and has been converted to a museum and event space.

Up the stairs to my class

Directions



Anyway enough about the space.
I'm pretty new to Yoga as a sport/ practice but I realized that I needed relaxation and calm and meditation in my life and I have flirted around with the possibility a lot. So the class seemed like the perfect union.

Class was hosted by Trio Yoga and the teacher was pretty flexible & perfect.

Showed up late and joined in and as usual class kicked my ass but I loved it.



Shiny new mat for the class



Totally wiped after the class


After the class I took the opportunity to walk around and just take in everything.

The garden is so stunning in person and the mansion now museum has bits of art installations everywhere. 

Garden

Aclove in the garden

Statue in the mansion

Hostest with the mostest my friend who joined me looking like Lady of the Mansion

Me and these light mirror frames that are pretty cool

More garden views

Walk way and garden views.

If you are in Miami you should totally spend some time at Vizcaya, it is like an oasis in the madness that is Miami- and I love the madness, but we all need to rest sometimes.

Resting
The class cost $18, if you are a Vizcaya member/ Trio Yoga member and $50 if you are a walk in.

Since I was visiting from Lagos, I called the organizers and asked if I could attend the class and pay $18 as I didn't live in Miami and couldn't be a member of either.

They agreed.

Also this was a super deal because entry to the museum is $18.

Killed all the birds with this $18 payment.

Also they offered me the option to use this same $18 as credit towards obtaining a life time membership of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.- Which I declined because, wetin concern agbero with overload.

When I say all the birds, I mean it.

Important to note, I was the only black person at this class and in the mansion till my friend came to join me. No racist vibes or anything just something to note if you get around to visiting Vizcaya.


My friend took this photo and I understand why everyone kept asking if I was a model. LOL
 


 Ps: I can't wait for Nigerians to discover this space and start hosting evening weddings here.
The optics will bang so hard.

Have you been to Miami?
If yes what stood out for you?
If not yet- what are you looking forward to about it?

Monday, 11 September 2017

Fight Club Friday






My last day in Havana I dragged myself out of bed and decided to do ONE fitness related thing.

I took a class at the world famous Rafael Tejo Boxing Gym aka "Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael Tejo"

I know, I know.
If you do not have a general idea of the sort of person I am, I am the one person who believes vacations are for full enjoyment and indulgence.

Anything that might possibly be stressful issa big fat NO.

So you have to realize that taking this class was really for the culture, as opposed to the love for the sport.

I mean I love boxing  *waves at Anthony Joshua*  and I've practiced on and off for the past 6 months but in Havana this class was purely for the culture.

And it was perfect.

Walked from my casa to the Gimnasio and encountered an Santeria Church.



Santeria religion is like juju and the catholic church having a baby and that your extra aunt in your family is the one raising the child.

Imagine the extraness.

Yes.

I did not bother to explore it greatly because - I'm Nigerian.

Service was about to start and everyone was wearing while and had yellow flowers.

I just smiled and continued on my merry way.

Finally got to the gym 5 minutes later and

Mini photo shoot while waiting for the coach.

Boxing Ring


Now the boxing ring might not look like much but trust me it has so much more soul and character than a Nigerian Politician ever will.

All the Cuban greats trained and train here so you know it is ( like everything else in Cuba) very very community oriented/centered.
I mean my trainers mum showed up and suggested I move to Cuba and get a boyfriend.

 Eventually he showed up, chatted for a bit and got down to business.

Did the cardio drills, ran around in circles, did the lateral runs anti lateral runs- The whole works.

My stance is actually so much better, I was hung over from Tropicana

Also Leg definition- hellloooooo :)

Josbel - Coach
 Half way through the training in Spanish ( which I do not speak),
coach stopped me to ask " Cocaina"?
Me: huh?
He gesticulates the sniffing and back of palm rubbing gesture.
Me: Oh cocaine? No thanks
Him: Did you take cocaine?
Me: *realizing that I must have been giggling like a goat the whole time* Oh no, no cocaina for me.
He looks at me with disbelief but lets it slide

Coach's momma, trying to get me to stay in cuba.
 Also tourists kept popping in and asking to take photos, so if anyone of you see's your girl on anyone else's travel blog- Hola!


My face when my coach asked me out to drinks later that night. 


And when we tried to take a photo together, he lifts all 72kg of me- In one attempt.

I loved loved loved loved boxing in Cuba. It was so much more light hearted than the seriousness of what I have to do in Lagos (whenever I go)

The class cost CUC20.
The walk to the arena was 20 minutes
The walk back, LOL I did not walk back,
 I hopped on a bicitaxi and screamed "Mas Rapido*"

*turns out mas rapido is faster in spanish but it's not the faster you say when you want someone to hurry up, 
it's the faster you say when you are having sex. 
the driver was kind enough to explain this to me in broken spanglish and I'm like oh, my bad.

If anyone is interested I was in a hurry because the place I had breakfast was going to close in 20 minutes and I really liked eating there.

Breakfast spot and favorite waiter.


Ps: Please take a minute to pray for the people of Havana
as hurricane Irma ravages their coast line and floods their streets.
As of today, there are no reports of deaths.
 Join me in prayer that it stays that way.