Tex has been travelling again. This time, I went to Dubai with a large group of family and friends, to celebrate my sister-in-law’s wedding. I know Segun Adeniyi has railed against destination weddings but, usually, what the couple wants, the couple gets. Here, hopefully for your reading pleasure, are my bits and bobs from the trip.
Curses for Horses
My mum was there to represent the Texano familia, together with my aunt and a few of their friends. It was the first trip any of them would make to Dubai and, two of them being Waffi Girls, I was not surprised at their exclamations as we walked into the airport terminal.
“Shuo!?! Na de same oil wen we get na hin dese people take build airport?”
“Ewooo!!! See as e big, fine!”
“God must punish all our leaders! Everybody wen don rule us before!!”
It didn’t get better after we cleared customs and drove into town, or later during the trip when we gathered for the wedding festivities. I then made the grave error of trying to play devil’s advocate, or Sanusi’s per-capita-oilwealth-gambit (he was on the flight to Dubai, coincidentally). “Well, there’s more of us in Nigeria, than in the emirates, and…”
“Go joo! Ogbokodo lawyer. Have they even sincerely tried to build anything?”
Another guest at the wedding concluded that the difference was leaders with(out) vision; no idea of anything really worth achieving or of leaving their office better than they met it. I think I agree.
The Heights are the Window to the Soul
I’ve heard many seasoned business travellers describe Dubai as “a city without a soul”. I have no idea what this actually means but I suppose it’s because of the contrived, rapid development. There’s very little history by way of organic growth and it’s mostly huge skyscrapers punctuating what used to be a blank desert canvas. Perhaps the Emiratis themselves, as a people, are not the most friendly, and immigrants making up the majority of the workforce also has something to do with this worldview.
In contrast, these travellers love Nigeria, with its crinkum-crankum, yanpanyanrin, jagajaga, and all the other things we Nigerians love to complain about. Our bad roads, our lack of stable or regular electricity, our acute leadership deficit, our endemic corruption, our suya, the way we drink and drive – the things that make Nigeria what it is.
I say SOD THAT!!! If it was within my power, I would gladly sell Nigeria’s soul to the devil, if it would make us as soulless yet as efficient as the UAE. My first visit to Dubai was in 2006 and I know how much has changed infrastructurally since then. I’ve lived in Nigeria all my life and, well…to hell with the soul.
Compare the Comperes
I made my debut as a wedding reception compere and I think, with the experience, I have new-found respect for those who make a living keeping the tempo upbeat at wedding receptions. I suspect it was my sister-in-law’s way of keeping the reception nice, intimate and family-ish, asking me to compere with her Uncle. It was by no means a disaster but we didn’t really get the audience to engage with us, at least not at first.
Things came to a head when, in order to fill the dead air caused by the bestman and the DJ searching for the music for the former’s speech, I was forced to resort to a collection of sayings and quotes on marriage. You know, of the “By all means marry. If you find a good wife you’ll be happy, if not you’ll be a philosopher” variety.
I unleashed the first one. Crickets. Except for my darling Mrs Tex who laughed. I unleashed the second and still, dead air, apart from a few sarcastic guffaws.
Deliverance was sent to me from on high through my Texinas, who’d been running around nearby and demanded to have a go on the “micra phone”. I was struggling, so I readily agreed, placing the mic under the 4-year old’s mouth.
“HELLOOOOOO!!!” I couldn’t believe it – the crowd responded.
“Ehm…if you want to have a baby, first of all you need to get married.”
Then it was the 6-year old’s turn.
“My name is [Texina One] and I’m very excited!”
“AWWW…. WE’RE EXCITED TOO!” More laughter.
“Shall I continue with my boring jokes?”, I asked.
“NOOOOOO!!!!” But now there was laughter.
Luckily for me, the bestman was ready.
The Middle-Eastern World Cup
On the last morning of the trip, I had to take a walk to a pharmacy to get some meds. It was 10am and, while I had no idea of the temperature at the time, I swear I was close to fainting, after an extremely leisurely 10-minute walk. I’ve read about air-conditioned training centres and match venues as we prepare for Qatar 2022 but unless, they’re planning to air-condition the entire country for the duration of the tournament, I have to ask, WHAT THE [CENSORED] WERE THEY THINKING!!??