Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Of Lagos, George Carlin and Short Vacations

I spent last week in the city of Lagos, meeting old acquaintances, and attending a book reading, but mostly attending a pre-departure orientation programme for us Fulbright grantees going to the United States on various Fulbright Programmes this summer. It was held within the US Consulate at Lagos Island.

We were told about racism, homosexuality, loneliness, cold, money, food, jetlag and many other issues we'd have to deal with in the United States. I liked that, although it was a little scary to listen to the co-ordinator Atim George describe the experience of cold in the USA. Someone who has never lived in very cold weather before might be petrified, and I'd say that I still am although we were given a few tips on how to survive the American cold. I still remain in reverent dread of the Midwestern American cold where I hope to spend the winter this year. The event ended with a press conference where journalists were invited to see, listen, and ask questions. Up until now, I've trawling the web trying in vain to find one report from the event. None so far.

Earlier in the week, I had the pleasure of a boat ride across the Ikoyi River in company of two friends from the Fulbright pre-Orientation Programme who had been lodged into the same hotel as me at Ikoyi. We had strolled out into the breezy Lagos night, hoping initially just to enjoy the evening, until we stumbled on the idea of a boat ride just for the fun. Actually it was his crazy idea. We dared the night and speeding speedboats and crossed the river giggling like school children. In a few minutes, it was over. It was however an enchanting experience.

In Lagos last week also, I also managed to re-unite with George Carlin, whose irreverent rants I've missed all my life, except for the cameo snippet in the movie, Dogma. It was a great pleasure to gain possession of most of his spoken word albums and a few video performances. He's surely one of America's greats. The weekend wrapped up with a visit to the cinema to watch the Terminator Salvation. Not bad for an action movie although many fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been disappointed with the little role given to the man. Oh, was that even a man in the movie playing him?

That was it. I'm back to base, sipping water and complaining about a parched throat, general lassitude, and slow internet connections. I've written a short commissioned article on the new writings from Nigeria for Nigerianstalk.org. Check it when you can, and leave comments. I'm now off to listen to more politically incorrect irreverantings of George Carlin, one of the most famous stand-up comedians of our time, and to rest. I need that.

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