Sniff sniff , snuffle snuffle and a good week to everyone out there. I just broke down with a cold from a combination of a typically rainy Calabar weather and the almost sleepless nights spent working. Thank God I didn’t have to pull any stunts on set this time around. I am desperately looking for anything loaded with vitamin C before my condition gets worse.
It did get worse because I write this section six days after I wrote the first paragraph. I’ve been like a middle aged woman going through the tumultuous hot flushes of menopause. One minute I’m baking hot, desperately reaching for the air conditioning knob and the next, snapping it off. Right now my concentration, as my flu abates, is to be very careful when clearing my throat or laughing out loud in public, lest a gob of phlegm rockets out of my throat unto someone’s face or mouth. I am in Port Harcourt now. This means that I have been in the South South region of the country for close to three weeks now. The longest I’ve spent in this part of the country. The rains here are unbelievable! If I were to compute the total sun hours there have been in the period I’ve been here I would come up with less than ten. The rest, night and day, rain! Rain, rain, rain. Oh and, the rain just increased fourfold as I type now. I’d love to say I hate it, especially with the cold it’s just given me, but I love it. It seems to give it a character of its own and its inhabitants are in perfect harmony with it. It has a sort of cleansing quality to it and seems to bring out the vibrancy in its people. I know I’m sounding rather like one narrating a documentary but it is true. I feel very reluctant to leave this city but a guy gorra work for im bread so… It is a nice place. Had to wear a fisherman’s hat most of the time though 'cause… ahem!
Right now I’m seated at my cousin’s desk, he’s self employed, ravishing a breakfast of bole( grilled plantain) and fish in palm oil tomato and pepper sauce. Hm! What can I say? For those who haven’t tried this simple yet sumptuous ‘poor man’s’ meal, chai! Please, try it, spoil yourself a little; you deserve it, honestly, you do. I tear open the plastic bags in which my feast is ensconced, letting out the trapped clouds of steam and dive straight for the shy succulent grilled yellow skewered plantain halves puckering up at me, desperately trying to hide in the dark recesses of the folded plastic. Deftly I catch one, looking longingly at all the other pieces I’ll be devouring in a few seconds, mop up as much sauce as I can, remembering to save some for the others, and cram it into my mouth closing my eyes and waiting for the searing heat of the crunchy red peppers and the steaming morsel, both fighting for supremacy over who will be the hotter. My eyes and nose smart in acknowledgement to the fiery delight below as they run down my cheeks in salty unison. The juicy tartness of the semi ripe plantain suddenly awakens me as my teeth mash the soft flesh asunder opening them up to more wanton ravishing… And I’m not onto the fish yet. Hmmm! Bole and fish. Try it Port Harcourt style.
I had agreed with Nkem to write a piece about my work in Calabar but I was afraid of losing the magic I’m experiencing in this city and decided to capture as much of it as I could. I will write about my time in Calabar next week so please bear with me. The dank weather of the South South region of the country with its incessant rains has exacted its toll on my body but it has given me much more than it has taken. It’s nice to appreciate a place for what it is, to seek to know why its people love it so much and then perhaps one can go away learning something different to take away with him and add a little more colour to his life. Have a great week everyone