Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Rat Race

I am sitting in my hotel room at five in the morning trying to meet the deadline of this morning’s post. I’m still shivering from the experience of my last scene which was spent in a swimming pool frolicking with a buxom lass. Loads of fun you might think, and yes it may have been so if one were to take away the fact that the gorgeous lady in the picture had been at work all day long, trundled through the rush hour traffic, take away the fact that mosquitoes armed with straws were stocking up their blood reserves from our unprotected bodies and that I was dreading Nkem’s wrath if I failed to make the deadline for this morning’s post. It was fun in the end for the short while it lasted though. We romped about and I had gleeful fun throwing her in the air and dunking Sylvia in the water getting her wig soaked much to her giggling indignation – it was hers and not the costumier’s. I drove back to the hotel clad in just my wet trunks with Sylvia beside me hoping to be pulled over at the ubiquitous police checkpoints. We both mused over what explanation we’d give them. No she was clothed, anything otherwise would have been stretching it a bit far. Sadly there was none. And now to this week’s topic, which is where I’ll crave your infinite patience. Patience because I want to apologize for my sporadic posting of late because of the work load I have at present. I want to let you know however that this blog and you my readers are foremost on my mind. Chiefly so because I get to air all my views, silly and serious, and also have an audience to share them with, making you invaluable to me. Please indulge my shortcomings. Thanks..

Okay, this one’s on the brighter side of life and not to be taken seriously but then again, who knows? I’d just finished a grueling day’s shoot and was hanging out with my colleagues in camp quite late into the night, past midnight. We were too tired to eat, I hadn’t eaten for the best part of the day. I decided to sit out with them and wind down slowly with idle chat when suddenly a huge rat emerged from a nearby gutter and scurried across the yard.. One of my colleagues, Lizzy, screamed and jumped out of her chair. Everyone began complaining animatedly about the menace of rats in the area and how difficult they were to eradicate; and then it occurred to me in a flash! Grinning mischievously I turned to them and told them I had the perfect solution to end the scourge.

The one thing that brings about scarcity, raises the value of a commodity is good old demand. I asked to them to paint a picture in their minds where there was absolute famine in the land and there was nothing to eat let alone meat. I asked them to then imagine having our little, sorry, huge furry well fed rodents skewered on a spit over an open fire roast, three at a time, all garnished with garlands of red peppers and onion rings and glistening with sizzling dripping oil. Would they be so vile then? Not only would these vermin’s status be raised to desirable, they would disappear in an instant! Why are diamonds so far out of our reach? Because they are desirable. Therefore it follows that the only way a problem, in this case the form of a creature, can be eliminated is by desiring it. Quad erat demonstratum. I probably will be pooh poohed over this unique school of thought but hey, no knowledge is wasted! If nothing else, it is already on record that Kalu has an opinion about something. Ha!

It’s 9am now and my shutters are getting the better of me. I’m going to catch a little nap before I dive into that mad traffic heading home. What to do when I get there: see if there’s anything to eat in the fridge, go to the mechanic’s, fix Betty’s brakes, post this piece, er, what else? Pack my stuff for Wednesday, no, call the cleaning lady, then… I don’t know, I’m going to bed so erm, I guess it’s goodnigh sorry good morning everyone. Have a great week ahead. God, I love it when it gets to this part! Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On a Rainy Day...

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