Sal: An Uneventful Weekend.

I woke up a few minutes ago.

I’m still on the bed. The faded pink – you know I don’t know if the mattress is actually pink. Or if it was pink before the colour faded so much. It looks pinkish now though. It’s a dull dispirited pink that has definitely had better days.

I’m on the mattress, hearing the rusty springs inside it softly creak as my weight shifts.

Fucking Simon.

He said he was going to get me a better mattress.

Come to think of it, he said he was going to get me a lot of things. That was why he charged me a bit extra for the room.

For example, he also said he was going to install locks on the door.

At some point I realized all of that was never going to happen. And so I stopped bothering him. I have more prominent life quandaries to contemplate anyway.


I feel listless and unenthusiastic.

I’m wearing my camping jacket. The dark green one I bought at a thrift shop in San Francisco. I’m wearing it indoors now, I’m not quite sure why. I guess it helps me feel warm. Warm and protected somehow.

I head out the door of the studio apartment.

It’s a dull day. The sky is somber and grey. It’s almost like it’s echoing my mood.

Today’s sky is actually atypical. Sal island is usually sunny like all the time.

When I first got here, one of things I found extremely thrilling was how clear the sky was. Sometimes there would be practically no clouds. Just this sparkling hue of entrancing blue.

Today there’s no stimulating blue to lift my spirits.


I’m on the walkway, trudging by the row of neighbouring apartments.

I’m by the staircase. The wide staircase that leads to the apartments on the storey above.

There are a bunch of Cape Verdeans neighbours sitting down and having a chat.

To hell with it – I think I’ll join them.


I’m sitting amidst the group. Gleaning whatever I can of their conversation in Creole.

Nino is in the group.

Nino looks very different from the rest of them.

He is a Sambajud.

Sambajuds are generally first-generation mixed-race Cape Verdeans. They’re usually very light skinned, and usually you can tell just from looking at them. This is in contrast to the Badiu who are generally darker-skinned – way more Cape Verdean than they are Caucasian, although they might have some European streaks in their ancestry somewhere.

I feel like Cape Verdeans generally – even the most Badiu of them, are not entirely genetically African – whatever that means. In relative terms, the most Badiu Cape Verdeans will generally have some features different from what you’ll find in more mainland Africa.

For example their hair has larger curls. In like more inland West Africa people generally have hair with type 4C curls – tightly coiled strands of hair that generally give the impression of being one coherent mass.

Badiu Cape Verdeans will have more 3C sort of curls – wavy springy hair – what your hair strands would look like if you wrapped them around a pencil or a crayon. I think it’s because the Cape Verdean archipelago has historically been some sort of cultural confluence – a port for European cargo etc ships on their way back to Europe (I learnt this from Tony while I was having drinks with him and Peverto the other day) – with people of African descent generally accompanying them as underlings – as is usually the historical case.

Something I’ve never quite understood – why aren’t there any historical stories (or at least none that I know of) of colonial empires which grew out of the African continent? At that time there wasn’t such a widespread moral objection to colonization – it was just what people did. People rampaged whatever territories they could, and abducted its inhabitants as slaves- expanding their own empire and furthering their own fictive narrative of ethnic superiority.

My question then is, why was the colonizer-colonized dynamic so biased against the people from the African continent?

For a group of people to successfully, continually, and persistently overpower another group they need to have access to resources the other group does not. Somehow. They have to be at some sort of advantage – have some sort of an edge.

Technology? But these different groups of people had existed for about the same time. None had a significant temporal head start – if any, the people on the African continent did have the head start, because I believe there’s evidence suggesting that human life began in Africa – something like that.

Co-operation? Large-scale inter-tribal co-operation? E.g on say a national scale? Maybe. I think that’s an actual possibility. Maybe the absence of co-operation and a collective identity on a much larger scale than tribes or regional kingdoms – maybe that makes it more likely to be overpowered by a coherent group unified at say a national level. But then there are questions of relative size. Some Western European countries are relatively tiny. Size-wise, how would they compare to say a kingdom elsewhere with a larger geographical area/more people? I don’t know.

Differences in the collective priority attached to innovation? That’s another one.

The discovery of technology that dramatically catalysed technological progress? Eg writing?

For example if one society discovers writing before the other, you’d expect a positively nonlinear acceleration of progress in that society – because all of a sudden people can reliably share large amounts of information more quickly, more effectively, more efficiently. That’s one possibility that occurred to me a while ago. I should look through research papers in Sociology to see if it’s something people have already talked about.


One of the Cape Verdeans hands me a stick of marijuana. They’ve been passing it around as they engaged in their Creole conversation.

As the joint floats in my direction, I ask myself:

Hm, am I really in the mood for weed today?

Do I feel like today is that sort of day?

The joint gets closer.

Ah to hell with it. I’m in a weird-ass mood today anyway.

I accept the joint and take in some puffs.

I feel my headspace gradually begin to transition, as the THC perfuses my bloodstream.

oooooKAYYyy. Now I’m in a different place.

I’ll just chill here for a while longer. Hazy with drowsy and distant excitement while immersed in the gargle of excited Creole chattering around me.


Image:

Random night on Sal. I was trying to get into a casino- “Casino Royale” along Avenida dos Hoteis in Santa Maria. But I wasn’t granted entry because I wasn’t wearing actual shoes. My actual formal shoes were swept away by the ocean waves on a night I spent at the beach a few weeks prior. They were both frustrating nights.

A Story of a Hungry Gap-Year Student and some Untouched Hotel Food.

It is an afternoon on the island of Sal.

I am headed somewhere.

Maybe to find some electricity to charge my computer.

Maybe.

I am headed somewhere to do something.

My computer is in my backpack.


I am hungry. I am immensely hungry.

I have not had a decent meal in a good while.

Usually my sense of personal pride and agency is sustenance enough to withstand the discomfort of physical hunger.

But every now and then, even that gets depleted.

And then I resort to my tagline:

Hello, I’m a student on a gap year from college in the US. Do you think you could help me with some money?

Usually people are sympathetic. Cape Verdean natives are generally very generous. Not with money- not really, because they themselves might not have so much to spare. But with empathy, with goodwill, with food, with company, and with alcohol.

Usually the problem with generous Cape Verdean men playing board games at local bars, is that I end up with a hangover the next morning- From drinking ill-advised amounts of Grogue– their unfamiliar rum.

Tourists generally have more money to spare, but I’m even less inclined to ask them for money because usually they’re Europeans on vacation in the Cape Verdean islands. And so there’s a perspective from which it’s really just some disadvantaged Black guy- You know, just one of the innumerable disadvantaged Black people in the news, asking some White guy for money.

I think that’s an immensely horrible picture. And it’s just absolutely horrendous imagining myself as the disadvantaged Black guy happily receiving Aid.

I’d rather just stay hungry.

I don’t enjoy having to depend on people’s sympathy, and so I usually avoid employing that “Gap year student” tagline.

But every now and then, push comes to shove and I have to admit the reality of my current financial situation.


I am hungry. I am immensely hungry.

I am walking through a cobblestoned walkway in Odjo D’Agua hotel.

Odjo D’Agua is a four-star hotel on a rocky promontory of Praia D’Antonio Souza- Sal island’s southern beach.

I think it’s a really interesting hotel. It’s owned by a Cape Verdean native. I don’t know for certain that he owns the hotel, but it’s not unlikely. He definitely feels like someone with the means. Plus, he does not have the air of an employee. He moves with the air of someone who built something from scratch. Or maybe it’s just me.

I think Odjo D’Agua is really interesting, and I’m particularly fond of it because it’s the most prominent Cape Verdean hotel on the island. It’s the most prominent one which actually aims to promote Cape Verdean culture and tradition, in addition to providing a luxurious hotel experience.

Pretty much all of the other renowned hotels are foreign. They’re also really interesting, I’ve spent some time exploring a few. I just think it’s important for a good proportion of the most prominent hotels to be locally-owned, and designed to promote the native culture. Like, what’s the point of even spending time in a country if you aren’t going to soak in as much of the culture as you can.

I was in a conversation with his younger brother- The hotel owner’s younger brother, at his own restaurant in Espargos earlier in the year: Caldera Preta.

Caldera Preta. Black Pot. That’s the name of the restaurant.

Odjo D’Agua means Sea View.

It was my first time meeting him. I picked up the menu, wondering what to order. A dark-skinned man in a light white beard turned to me and said “Sorry, we don’t have pizza today”. In case I was thinking of ordering pizza.

We began to engage in conversation. Interesting guy.

At some point he mentioned his older brother- who I didn’t know at the time, and some issues he was facing with directing tourist streams towards his hotel.

A lot of the foreign-owned hotel chains in Cape Verde have their visitors book all-inclusive stays. So you’ve got tourists coming in from Europe and the US, booking their stay at these foreign-owned hotels- complete with food, island tours, recreation, etc, before even stepping foot into the country. And so most of the money they’re ever going to spend while in Cape Verde, is going to be spent inside these foreign hotels.

Of course that’s a problem for locally-owned hotels who do not have as much of an established presence, both online and in the scene of international tourism. Or locally-owned restaurants who don’t experience as much patronage because the tourists have all their gastronomic needs met in their walled-in, all-inclusive hotels.

Impecunious gap year student that I am, I definitely empathise with the local business-owners.


I am walking through a cobblestoned walkway in Odjo D’Agua hotel.

I am walking by the dining area, which is separated by some palm trees and decorative plants.

The owner of the hotel is having a meal. He seems to be having a date with some woman.

She looks very young. Relative to him at least. She looks like she’s in her thirties. The Odjo D’Agua guy on the other hand, must be at least Seventy. Or sixty-something.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s not a date. Maybe they’re just having lunch. Maybe I’m just reading into things.

I keep walking.


Not so long ago, I was having a conversation with a tourist couple from the UK on the Santa Maria pier. The man was mentioning to his wife about the fibreglass job on one of the fishermen’s boats, and how it was similar to that on their own boat in the UK.

I was curious what fibreglass was, and they seemed like friendly people so I asked them a question.

We ended up talking for about thirty minutes on the pier.

We talked about the man’s profession and his career decisions, we talked about their recent Safari vacation in I think, Tanzania. When I mentioned I was studying Computer Science in the US, he told me the husband of one of his daughters worked in Tech, and was doing VERY WELL. Like, VERY WELL in Caps.

That’s one aspect of the entire conundrum I’m grappling with during this gap year. Everyone says Tech is a great professional domain to venture into. I’ve got the skillset for it, but I don’t feel like that’s the path for me. Usually people are primarily concerned about the financial prospects of a career path. That’s usually enough motivation to forge ahead. For some reason I’m not really like that.

How am I like? What am I like? I don’t know. That’s why I’m here on some island in Cape Verde with no money in the first place. To figure things out.

At some point our conversation touched on the Odjo D’Agua hotel. The man said they had been vacationing in Cape Verde for a number of decades. He said initially the entire southern beach of Sal island used to be empty. There was nothing there. No one. No businesses, no restaurants, no Windsurfing schools, nothing. Just the Odjo D’Agua hotel.

I found the span of his perspective immensely interesting. That was something a person my age would just like, never know. Just because they weren’t alive or usefully sentient back then. That was something I could really only learn from talking to someone much older than me.

Given that one piece of information, it was very possible to visualise the trend of business-population formation on the beach over time. Initially it was just the Odjo D’Agua guy. And then as both the tourist numbers and the awareness of tourism as a stream of national income increased, businesses gradually began to dot the beach.

In your head, you could practically visualise the beach populate over time.

I thought that was really interesting to think about.


I am heading back.

I am walking back through a cobblestoned walkway in Odjo D’Agua hotel.

The Odjo D’Agua guy and his “date” have left the table.

The hotel owner guy left his food practically untouched.

I need to get back to the—

—-

WAAAAAIIIITTTTTTTT

The hotel owner guy left his food practically untouched.

There is Food on that table. Food- There is Food on that table. Practically untouched Food.

What is going to be done with the Food???

Yeh! What is going to happen to the food??!!

In this very moment, my body ceases to be my own. My legs begin to march around the palm trees and decorative plants, towards the hotel dining area.

What Rubbish.

Because he owns a 4-star hotel he thinks he can waste food however he wants.

What Nonsense.

I find myself seated at the table. My backpack is on the ground, resting against one of the table legs.

The rice in the plate ahead of me begins to rapidly disappear.

As I sit there, munching and fuming, face practically buried in the plate of rice, I vaguely perceive a uniformed being hovering over me.

I am completely incapable of processing what is happening. All of the currently ensuing events are far outside the circumference of my shrunken consciousness.

My sole concern in life right now, is effectively seeing to the plate of rice before me.


I am about to finish the rice. Hunger somewhat assuaged, my sense of environmental-awareness gradually begins to expand to its usual extent.

Now I have the cognitive resources to process the visual signals I was receiving earlier.

The hovering uniformed being was a waiter at the hotel.

The waiter carted away the bowl of chicken on the table.

Ah that’s true, there was chicken.

A pang of grief stings me. I find myself grieving the departed chicken.

Why did the waiter take the bowl of chicken away? Couldn’t they see I had plans for it?

I finish up with the rice.

At some point my ears begin to function, and I can hear the ocean waves crashing against the beach a number of metres to my left.

I couldn’t hear all of that before.

I drink some water and prepare to leave, fuming sub-vocally at the overzealous waiter.

I pick up my backpack and sling it across my shoulder, as I find my way out of the hotel dining area.

Today has not been such a bad day.

Not so bad. Not so bad at all.


Image: Random day at the Santa Maria Pier, with the Odjo D’Agua Hotel in the background.

Circumventing Sunday Service/ Meeting with the IMF.

I just escaped the building.

Sunday Service will begin very soon. Everyone finds it very weird and disrespectful whenever I walk right through an ongoing gathering like they’re not there.

Their church gatherings are where they congregate to commune with God. Walking right through an ongoing gathering is perceived as a flagrant disrespect- both to them and to their almighty God.

Well it’s not completely my fault. The space within which they hold these meetings is right between the entrance and the rest of the building. And so sometimes when I need to get into the building and upstairs to the room where I’m arguably being lodged as a guest, I have to walk briskly through their gatherings so I can be on my way.

They don’t like it. They don’t like it at all.

And so this morning I’m exiting the building before their Sunday service even starts.


I am at Hotel VIP Praia.

Hotel VIP Praia is a 4-Star hotel erected on the expansive black rocks lining the southeastern coast of Santiago- the capital island of the Cape Verdean archipelago.

I was recently here to make inquiries about the hotel facilities.

At this point in time, I am aware there is a penthouse bar overlooking the awe-inspiring crystal blue ocean water. I exchange pleasantries with the receptionists and head into the elevator.

I am yet to come to a convincing understanding of why the beaches in Cape Verde have such crystal blue water.

I raised this question with a Dutch engineer I met on Sal island. He brought up an interesting idea, and we hypothesized along the lines of sand particle weight.

Maybe the sand particles here were somehow heavier than in other places, and consequently always settled to the ocean floor very quickly- leaving the water crystal blue.

I think it makes sense, but I’m not too convinced that’s the answer.


I am at the penthouse bar.

I walk past the bar, and past the rooftop swimming pool on my left, as I head up a staircase.

There is an elevated platform right above. I ascend the stairs up to this platform and take a seat.

I take a few minutes to marvel at the impressive woodwork in my immediate surroundings, while breathing in the refreshing ocean air and thoroughly enjoying the engrossing view of the entrancingly blue ocean water.

I open up my computer and attempt to connect to the WiFi.

My time at a college in the USA whose program was structured around online classes and distributed learning, has given me considerable experience with shamelessly striding into the most upscale of locations primarily intending to make use of their WiFi network.

In the US no one seemed to care if I spent hours in a cafe or restaurant, making pretty heavy use of their WiFi while buying just a few cups of coffee and some light snacks.

In Germany things were also similar, although some places could be problematic.

In Cape Verde, the smaller restaurants and cafes made me feel guilty. Past a certain point I would begin to literally feel the owner/manager’s gaze drilling into my skin. Or maybe that was just me feeling self-conscious.

But this right here is Hotel VIP Praia- a 4 star hotel. This sublime edifice is definitely more than capable of handling my meager WiFi consumption. I prepare myself for a good time.


There is a problem with the WiFi. The computer is not connecting to it.

Maybe it’s the location.

I walk about the roof of the bar, and eventually head down the stairs to the rest of the penthouse.

There is a guy working on a computer. He has multi-colored tattoos all over his body. Arms. Legs. He also has a fluffy white square beard. I think he looks really interesting.

I mention something about the Wifi. He empathizes, and says a WiFi extender would be a useful installation. To extend the network to the area above the bar. I agree with him.

I take a seat opposite, and we begin to engage in conversation while I connect. At some point I learn that he’s a consultant with the International Monetary Fund.

Hmmm!! The IMF!!! Hmmm!!

I am very very surprised. I had no idea the IMF hired people who were like covered from head to toe in multicolored tattoos.

My classmates at the US college during my last semester there, were beginning to experience this existential anxiety involving charting out some sort of professional path for oneself. Frantic internship applications were the principal community-wide activity.

Students who had secured shiny-sounding internship positions were being quietly envied by others. The college itself was featuring these shiny professional engagements on their website.

The school hired some Professional Development Managers or something like that. They periodically organized Career Development meetings where they gave guidelines on how to craft the most effective CVs.

I never went for their meetings. One of them kept sending me emails. Jesse or something like that. He was probably a nice person, but the context of his employment in the university and what he represented, made me find him and his emails very annoying. I never replied.

I even began to hate the word “career”, because to me it represented this very ascetic concept that required one to completely shed every strand of individuality and personal idiosyncrasy, to facilitate direly needed absorption into the cold, phlegmatic and completely unfeeling machine of the world of work.

And so sitting here right now at a 4-star hotel penthouse bar, across the table from this white-bearded biker guy covered in multicolored tattoos- the very exemplar of individuality and personal ideosyncracy- who is currently on a professional assignment with the International Monetary Fund, I feel like there is hope for me. Me with my complete disregard for somber career development meetings and lifeless CVs.

I casually give an exposition on some mathematical nuance I’m engaging with, in the course of some of my work involving Artificial Intelligence and Endangered Languages.

He seems very interested. I provide some more detail over which we discuss.

The mentioned research endeavor was one I crafted myself as a conceptual spear head with which I intended to transpierce and forge a path through the nebulous terrain of life professions. It did not exist prior.

It was a number of things to me:

It was an emboldening intersection of passions, skills and expertise which I wished to structure my life around.

It was also an endeavor to procure solutions to what I believed to be a pressing world problem.

In addition however, I think it also sounds very cool and important. You know, something you can casually bring up in conversation with a consultant from the IMF.


We’ve been chatting for over an hour, all the while sipping on beers and working on our Macs.

We’ve talked about his motorbikes, about his family and mine, about his children’s disapproval of his tattoos, and about my mother’s sudden visit to Cape Verde to understand why in the name of God I took a gap year from college in the US.

We’ve talked about his frequent travels on the job, and his divorce which was largely a consequence of that. We’ve talked about financial worries and anxieties about the future.

Now we’re talking about his current relationship. With a woman he met in Albania. She recently created a photography page on Facebook, where she posts pictures he takes during his travels. She sounds sweet.

At some point the excited bartender offers to bring up some Cape Verdean girls for entertainment.

The IMF guy turns to him:

Sorry I’m not here for that kind of fun, thank you.

We keep talking.

At some point his supervisor joins us at the table.

First I am very taken aback by the very idea that this person has a supervisor.

The supervisor is a cool guy. He brings some very interesting perspective to the conversation. Sheds light on some illicit activities foreign hotel chains are engaging in:

Leveraging subsidized import duties to sell imported construction materials at a profit on the black market. IMF is here to keep such behavior in check.

Mmm!! Interesting!!!

I nod my head in excited understanding.

We keep talking.

At some point in our conversation, the tattooed guy mentions that I’ve had a very accomplished day. I laugh out loud and express my complete agreement with him:

Escaping Sunday Service to end up having a super interesting chat with IMF officials at the penthouse bar of a 4-star hotel overlooking the Cape Verdean Atlantic. Excellent day.

We talk some more. Later the supervisor gets up to leave. It’s his birthday today. I think it’s his seventieth birthday. He’s probably going in to prepare for some sort of celebration later in the evening.


Image: View from the Santa Maria pier at Ilha do Sal.

A Figmental Passport, and an Expense Paid Microsoft Conference.

Microsoft has just notified me.

I have been approved to attend their AI For Earth conference at the headquarters in Redmond, Washington USA.

Apparently theyre interested in some of the work Im doing with Artificial Intelligence and Endangered Languages.

They have offered to cover the costs of my flight ticket and hotel accommodation.

Great. This is great news. I have been entertaining thoughts involving a motorbike road trip across the USA. I think this opportunity will prove highly amenable to the effectuation of that intention.

I dont even know how to ride a motorbike. Not yet. All of those variables will fall into place dont worry. Let things come together first.

—————

Ah, I need a new passport. This one is expired.

Google.

National Immigration Service Website.

32 page passport? 64 page passport?

64. Lets get the 64 this time.

Its time to pay the processing fee.

There are a number of different financial service providers to make use of:


First one.

Hm, theres a strange error.

Lets try again.

The same error.

Ugh.

Second provider.

No wonder there are so many ways of paying the processing fee. Because their failure rates are so high.

Ugh.

Error again.

Oh my God.

But I believe this people like money a lot. If that is the case, then why is making a payment so difficult on their website?

Ah!

Third provider.

I keep bumbling about until the money is paid.

——————

Hm. This interview date is too far away. I havent even booked a date for the US visa interview. This is just the passport. And the wait time for US visa interviews have been so long recently. I was invited for another all expense paid conference in Virginia a number of months ago. The wait time for the US visa interview was too long to make an attendance possible.

The discomfiting wait times are a consequence of some modifications the Trump administration recently made to the visa renewal process. Trump to me, is usually just this person who is in the news every once in a while. I dont really watch the news, so I dont see his face too frequently. Maybe when Im in a restaurant or at a cafe. This is the first time any of his actions are having an actual effect on my life.

The amount of people who seem to viscerally detest him, makes me wonder how he became president in the first place. But what do I know about US politics.

I think Ill need to visit the Immigration Service office in a few days. To see if the passport procurement process can be expedited.

—————

Nigerian Immigration Service Office, Alausa Ikeja.

I just walked in through the gate. I am already feeling somewhat ecstatic. I can taste my passport already. That Microsoft money has to be spent. I wonder what the hotel room is going to look like.

I am talking with someone at the Helpdesk. She directs me to an office upstairs.

I head up the stairs, to the mentioned office.

—————

I have been in this office for about three minutes. I think I am invisible. I have to be. These people cannot see me. That has to be why they are still engrossed in conversation, entirely oblivious my presence. It is like Im not even here.

I am going to have to interrupt their conversation. If I keep waiting for these guys to acknowledge my existence Ill be here till next tomorrow.

Excuse me Sir.

No response.

Oh God. I am going to be here for a very long time.

Eventually an officer pays attention.

Theres a woman beside me. I was here before her, but she snuck around me to get closer to the officials in the room. Maybe she was here before. I dont know. Or maybe shes just jumping the queue.

I dont understand these Nigerian people. Queues and general chronological order mean absolutely nothing to them. If the world used a Nigerian number system, 99 would be the first number. Followed by 32. Number 1 would be in like position 1004.

I do not understand these people.

—————

The officers face is alight with excitement. I did not know this initially very stern looking officer was capable being this excited.

Dubai! Germany! USA! Kenya! This woman! You have travelled to all these countries!! Ahhh! You are enjoying o!! What work do you do?

I am a housewife. My husband is the one who makes the travel happen.

Ahhhhh!!! Your husband is the one doing all this???

Ahhhhhh!!!! That your husband deserves be worshipped!! Yehh!!!

His face is aglow, as he rubs his palms against each other, like a person in supplication.

I am only mildly excited by his theatrics.

Where is my passport please. Microsoft is waiting for me.

—————————

He is looking through my application form.

Where is your NIMC?

My what?

Your NIMC Your NIMC!! There is no NIMC!

Ah. Oh you mean the NIN! The National Identification Number? Well on the website there was no red asterisk on the NIN field. And so I took that to mean the field was optional.

Apparently whether or not there is a red asterisk on some obscure webpage is absolutely none of his business.

You need your NIMC!! Without the NIMC you cannot submit the form!!

The last time I tried getting the NIN was like last year. I got to the NIMC office in the afternoon. The queue there was severely dispiriting. I was told that even if you get to the office at 5am, youll meet about a hundred and ten people already on the queue.

That is the number this officer  says I need to obtain, for my passport to be processed.

Oh God.

Oh Jeremiah.

Oh Jabez.

I am in trouble. I am in serious trouble.

—————

NIS Office. Second Visit.

I have obtained the NIN.

I got the office at 12am. I still met some people already on the queue.  It was an annoying morning. I lay outside the office in a sleeping bag my mother gave me. I initially did not feel like I needed the sleeping bag- I didnt even want to take it from her. But lying out there in the cold, I was thankful I had it.

I assuaged my discomfort by making displeased tweets and watching Youtube videos of Goth music and Jeff Bezos.

I am back at the office of Mister Your-Husband-Needs-To-Be-Worshipped.

I am directed to another office.

And another.

And another.

And another.

I feel like a six foot plus tennis ball with arms and legs.

What sort of existence is this.

—————

I am in yet another office.

A young lady is trying to sort out an issue.

Ahhhhh this one is not possible o! You will have to go back to Abuja to rectify this issue o!!  Ahhhh!!

Apparently she is faced with a very formidable problem. She has to travel to the countrys capital to get it resolved. I feel bad for her.

Another official walks by. She quickly runs up to him. They head outside, and I think she whispers some things in his ear.

All of a sudden, this new official re-enters the room with a newfound sense of purpose and clarity.

Officer, put her documents in the corner. We will handle it, dont worry.

I am entirely stupefied. Are we not talking about the severely formidable obstacle of a few minutes ago??

I dont understand. How did the incontrovertibly impossible suddenly become a light breeze???

What in the name of God did this lady whisper in this guys ear????

Jesus Christ!!

I have been here since morning. Bouncing about like a bouncing baby boy. Look at how quickly this lady got her problem solved! Ahh!!!

What in the name of Obadiah is going on???

Can someone please let me in on this secret???

Please!!!!

Apparently there is a Nigerian Open Sesameyou can whisper in the ear of an Immigration Officer, which will automatically render the impossible possible.

Technical difficulties. Organisational bureaucracy. The invariance of the speed of light relative to the reference frame of an arbitrary observer. All of these phenomena completely disappear once you utter these magic words.

Ah!! There is a lot I do not know in  life. There is a lot I do not know.

I have a lot to learn, Jesus. I have a lot to learn.

——————

Microsoft has just notified me.

The conference has been converted to an online conference due to the pandemic.

Oh God.

There goes my motorbike road trip across the USA. East coast to West coast.

There goes the expense-paid flight tickets.

There goes the hotel room.

Oh Solomon.

I have still not been able to extricate my new passport from the NIS. Even getting a US visa a few years ago, was not this difficult. How can getting a new Nigerian passport be more frustrating  than getting a US visa? I dont understand.

I do not understand at all.