Thursday, December 23, 2010

Life, Friendship and the Portland TrailBlazers.



Weeks 7 and 8, State 4: Oregon.


I missed a flight and had to wait two hours to catch the next. While waiting, a woman in her sixties with a strong Southern accent paid me a compliment for looking good and started a conversation. We were to board the same flight and chatted about random topics spanning the weather up North, the British Royal family, the name 'Goodluck Jonathan', the new TSA policies, Lady Antebellum, the similarities between men in uniforms and men in tuxedos. It went on for two hours over drinks and a snack until it was time to board and we exchanged business cards.


I arrived Beaverton, the western suburb of Portland, Oregon at ten minutes to midnight. My hosts would be close friends of my mum's, an Italian-American couple who were within the 55-65 age bracket and worked from home. I had a good share of fine dining at upscale restaurants but in terms of adventure seeking or city discovery, it was practically a hopeless case with a spontaneous visit to the mountains and coast. A singular moment I would relish would be coming into the majestic presence of Mount Hood. Even the song I was listening to at the moment (Enigma's Return to Innocence) as we drove past the mountains was beautifully weaved into the breath-taking scene. We drove to the Cannon beach, hand-picked some sand dollars off the shore and stopped over at the legendary Mo's Chowder for some good seafood. Clam chowder, oyster soup, halibut, shrimp in lettuce and fries with a good bottle of white Riesling wine. On our way back, the clouds greeted with a rainbow. I got the memo, "Everything's gonna be alright."


Meeting up with their daughter who was within my age bracket was a timely intervention. She lives downtown of Portland, attends college and works part-time. My meandering could finally kick off to enjoy simple activities like reading the Poetry in Motion on the inside of the Trimet, picking up a copy of the Oregonian from the newsstand while taking a walk or just getting beaten by the rain. It did rain everyday in Beaverton and Portland. I also met up with a friend's relative for acquaintance over a coffee in Starbucks at the Pioneer Courthouse Square. It was a week to Christmas and the whole place was brimming with frenzied activities as shoppers scurried to put finishing touches to their annual Santa roles. Two little girls dressed in red and white entertained a sitting crowd with a Scottish dance, while drummers sat on the corner with upturned buckets with silly inscriptions giving the square a 'living room' feel. My companion and I took a drive uptown from the Northeast to the Southwest division, where they was a clear difference in demography, lifestyle and residential architecture. In a bid to find African cuisine, Google virtually presented us with two options, a 'Horn of Africa' which was not open at the time we got there, and a 'Queen of Sheba' which had a sign post that said 'we've moved'. Fortunately for our groaning tummies, the Asians welcomed us with arms wide open, and I had a memorable time eating Pad Thai and Gang garee and being interviewed by a nice, funny, sucker for romance Thai waitress.


Beulah Land on NE 28th Avenue was another hangout spot I liked. With my new group of friends, we met up there to watch the Portland Trail Blazers vs Milwaukee Bucks basketball game in HD glory. It was happy hour and I ordered a plate of hot wings and celery, with a side of mashed potatoes. To rent words from the KFC slogan, it was finger-lickin' good! While my friends had their pints of beer and glasses of 'dirty martinis' tweaked with vodka, I took a glass of water and was in no way timid when we gave a toast to life, love, friendship and the Portland Blazers. Cheers! And then, cheese! We took picture strips with silliest facial expressions at a photo booth. If you know me, you'll know I jump at every opportunity to act like a Disc Jockey and a semi-vintage juke box sat in the corner waiting for me to live my dream. I popped in a dollar bill for my listening pleasure and had Sam Cooke's 'Everybody loves to Cha cha cha', Sugar Ray's 'Rapper's Delight' and Otis Redding's 'Respect'. The night ended for me on a good note with the Blazers winning the game, and me having a slight headache after much 'CHALUPA' chanting as the Blazers had eclipsed the 100 point mark. We parted at 11:40pm, while the others sought to find a spot to stick a thumbtack in with their presence on a Monday night/Tuesday morning, I chose an all-time favourite: My bed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Codename: Gulliver

Miles away from home, seeking to enjoy a good balance of business and pleasure while giving in to wanderlust and searching for true enlightenment, I get the privilege of making a string of trips after weeks of reading reviews, penciling notes, oogling, googling and placing thumbtacks on my maps. Sometime last year, I assumed the role of an amateur photojournalist, attempted photoblogging but this time around, my camera made other plans and slipped into a coma. So without pictures and further ado, I break the hiatus.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Say NO to scrubs, and well of course, drugs.

If you do read this, I need your heartfelt reactions and opinions. Kindly do me the honours of sharing your thoughts with me in the comment box, be you male or female.

A guy asks you out on a date. You're not exactly friends with him in the real sense of the word, neither are you strangers. You've pretty much known each other for a while but it's been nothing deep, just on a passing acquaintance level. Insisting he would like to treat you during this proposed date, he chooses the venue, you give your consent regarding the time and date. He offers to pick you up and shows up promptly. Conversation is brilliant, wit, chemistry, humour all hit the mark plus he's good looking too.

You arrive at the venue, it's an upscale restaurant. The waiter serves you both copies of the menu and Mr. Date reminds you that it's part of his treat to pick your meal and to this you don't decline and the order is made for you both. True to his word, the food is impeccable, worth every bit of the hype.

The waiter shows up at the end with the menu. Mr. Date picks it up, reads the bill note and puts an amount of money in the book, and hands it to you. You take and open it to discover he has put exactly half the amount that's stated on the bill. Yea, that's your cue; you are to pay for your food ...
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Humanity, Foreground, Big Picture, and Shape


 

"You perceive the world with particular attention to humanity. You focus on what's in front of you (the foreground) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on humanity, you tend to seek out other people and get energized by being around others. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can't control. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable."

 
 

That's the result I got from taking The Perception Personality Image Test. Try it if you're THIS bored. However, it's somewhat fascinating that the picture that describes my personality on the test site is somewhat like my present Facebook profile picture of myself. And for some reason, Blogger has refused to let me upload either. It's (still) a Goodnight post.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

1001 things to do in Orlando

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Harry P. Leu Gardens, Disney's Hollywood Studios, The Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s Sir Harry’s Lounge, Disney's Magic Kingdom, Aquatica– SeaWorld’s Waterpark, Main Street, Surf at Daytona Beach, Lake Eola in downtown Orlando, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, nightlife in downtown Orlando, go-karts at Fun Spot Action Park, Epcot, Port Canaveral, Hard Rock Café at Universal CityWalk, Roy's Restaurant, The Mall at Millenia, Discovery Cove, antiquing on Orange Avenue and in Mount Dora, WordSpring Discovery Center or The Holy Land Experience, rousing night of singing and live entertainment at Capone’s Dinner & Show, Jam at Bob Marley's open-air house at Universal CityWalk, dance at an Orlando Ballet production, wine sampling at the high-tech Wine Room in Winter Park, specialty martinis at Blue Martini, local wines at Lakeridge Winery, attend the Orlando International Fringe Festival and see theater, art and music performances from mild to wild, sophisticated fine dining along Orlando’s famous “Restaurant Row”, live music in Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando’s nightly show, Musica della Note, The Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando Museum of Art, carillon concert at Bok Tower Gardens, exotic Thai, North and South Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and Japanese markets in ViMi District, Disney’s Hollywood Studios™, Universal Studios Florida, Kennedy Space CenterSM Visitor Complex, Prime Outlets Orlando, Orlando Premium Outlets and Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, The Oceanaire Seafood Room at Pointe Orlando, Fun 2 Dive SCUBA and Manatee Snorkeling Tours, sky dive indoors at I Fly Orlando, The Moroccan Palace Theater at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Titanic – The Exhibition, Vans Skatepark, House of Blues® Orlando at Downtown Disney® Area and stay for a hot concert, hula dance at SeaWorld Orlando’s Makahiki Luau or the Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando Resort, Universal CityWalk®’s NBA City, ICEBAR Orlando, Gloria Estefan's restaurant: Bongos Cuban Café®, in the Downtown Disney® Area, Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour, Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, gospel brunch at House of Blues, specialty shops, exceptional cuisine and live entertainment at Pointe Orlando entertainment complex, The Spa at Shingle Creek, serenade by a singing waiter at Bergamo's Italian Restaurant, fresh produce at weekend farmer's markets in Winter Park and downtown Orlando, discover the lost city of Atlantis at SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando Harley-Davidson, Enjoy the professional philharmonic orchestra.See the newest independent films at the Enzian Theater, Farris and Forster’s Famous Chocolate Factory, Listen to rock 'n roll music under water at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, Orange County Regional History Center.Fly through the air on the sky coaster at Old Town Shopping, Dining & Entertainment Attraction, the Wells' Built Museum, the Bright House Networks Festival Calle Orange, Fiesta Medina, Viva La Musica at SeaWorld Orlando, Fiesta in the Park and the Latin Food and Wine Festival, dueling piano bar at Howl at the Moon Orlando, Dinosaur World, Café Tu Tu Tango, Sesame Street Safari of Fun at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant, Nickelodeon Family Suites, Orlando Magic.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Random: Sharing Playlists

Some songs I've got on repeat:

  1.  She got legs- Zz Top
  2.  Three times a lady - The Commodores
  3. If you're going to San Francisco - Scott McKenzie

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Travel Writing: 210 things to do in Orlando in 2010


I'm preparing for a trip to Orlando in a few months and I'm scouting the Internet for tips and recommendations to have a great time while out there. Found this list and thought to reshare. I'll check the ones I can and can what I can't :)
  1. Stroll through Diagon Alley in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, now open at Universal Orlando® Resort.
  2. Ride the Manta® rollercoaster at SeaWorld® Orlando.
  3. Experience the serenity of nature as you stroll through the lush, vibrant gardens at Harry P. Leu Gardens.
  4. Sing live on stage at the American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios™.
  5. Create your own rollercoaster ride at Universal Orlando Resort®’s Hollywood Rip, Ride, RockitSM.
  6. Explore the headwaters of the Florida Everglades on an Orlando airboat adventure.
  7. Slip into the water with a beluga whale at SeaWorld® Orlando.
  8. Shake hands with the most famous mouse in the world — Mickey!
  9. Sip a perfectly mixed Manhattan at The Waldorf Astoria® Orlando’s Sir Harry’s Lounge, the first Waldorf Astoria to be built outside New York City.
  10. Touch a stingray at SeaWorld® Orlando.
  11. Dine in Cinderella's castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom®.
  12. Feel the sensation of weightlessness as you ride Omaka Rocka, the new ride at Aquatica™ – SeaWorld’s Waterpark.
  13. Sit on the back of a real alligator at Gatorland®.
  14. Watch magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A. during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom® Park.
  15. Learn to surf at Daytona Beach.
  16. Paddle a swan boat on beautiful Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.
  17. Cast a line for bass fishing with a knowledgeable guide from BASS Online Fishing Outfitter or Grande Lakes Outfitters.
  18. Marvel at Tiffany glass at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park.
  19. Experience the vibrant nightlife in downtown Orlando.
  20. Count the manatees at Blue Spring State Park.
  21. Race your friends on go-karts at Fun Spot Action Park.
  22. Drive a stock car at 125 mph at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World® Speedway or the Daytona International Speedway.
  23. Tour the world in under a mile at Epcot®.
  24. Go whale watching at Port Canaveral.
  25. Dine at the world's largest Hard Rock Café at Universal CityWalk®.
  26. View the stars from the largest refractor telescope in Florida at the Orlando Science Center.
  27. Get a taste of Hawaiian fusion at Roy's Restaurant.
  28. Take a paddlewheel boat ride aboard the Indian River Queen.
  29. Treat yourself to "a little something" at Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Jimmy Choo or Coach at The Mall at Millenia.
  30. Swim with the dolphins at Discovery Cove.
  31. Tee off on one of more than 176 golf courses in Orlando, voted the “North American Golf Destination of the Year 2010” by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).
  32. Design and ride your own roller coaster at WonderWorks and DisneyQuest®.
  33. Or zip along the treetops on an exciting zipline tour at Forever Florida.
  34. Rock out to the sounds of hot new bands at the Florida Music Festival in April.
  35. See the weird and wild at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium.
  36. Play glow-in-the-dark mini golf at Putting Edge in the Festival Bay Mall™ at International Drive.
  37. Learn to water-ski at the Orlando Watersports Complex or Lake Buena Vista Water Sports.
  38. Go antiquing on Orange Avenue and in Mount Dora.
  39. Body surf at Wet 'n Wild® Orlando or Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.
  40. See the Bible come to life at WordSpring Discovery Center or The Holy Land Experience.
  41. Experience the adrenaline rush of a lifetime as you roll over a challenging obstacle course on an ATV at Revolution The Off Road Experience.
  42. Step into a 1920s-style speakeasy for a rousing night of singing and live entertainment at Capone’s Dinner Show.
  43. Jam at Bob Marley's open-air house at Universal CityWalk®.
  44. Capture the grace of dance at an Orlando Ballet production.
  45. Be a pirate for an evening aboard a giant, indoor galleon at Pirate's Dinner Adventure.
  46. Take an art class at Crealdé School of Art or Maitland Art Center.
  47. Sample some of the nearly 150 wines at the high-tech Wine Room in Winter Park.
  48. Recapture the history of the Seminole Indian War at Fort Christmas.
  49. See all of your favorite balloons and floats at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® at Universal Studios Florida®.
  50. Visit Winter Park's “Rodeo Drive” — the eclectic Park Avenue shopping district.
  51. Pick fresh oranges from a tree at Showcase of Citrus.
  52. Glide gently back to solid ground after your first hang gliding experience at Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park.
  53. Battle comic villains with Spider-Man at Universal Orlando® Resort.
  54. Sip one of 25 specialty martinis at Blue Martini.
  55. Taste local wines at Lakeridge Winery.
  56. Test new toys at Disney's Once Upon a Toy.
  57. Escape the Yeti on Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom®.
  58. Visit Universal CityWalk® and cause a margarita volcano to erupt at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville®.
  59. Enjoy the clowns during Cirque du Soleil®’s La Nouba™ in Downtown Disney®.
  60. Dine with characters at your favorite theme park.
  61. Swim in 72°F water year-round at Wekiwa Springs.
  62. Attend the Orlando International Fringe Festival and see theater, art and music performances from mild to wild.
  63. Enjoy a wide array of sophisticated fine dining along Orlando’s famous “Restaurant Row”.
  64. Hear the hottest live music in an intimate setting at Orlando’s longest-standing independent music venue, The Social.
  65. Catch Atlanta Braves' spring baseball training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports® Complex.
  66. Stroll through the harbor and experience live opera at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando®’s nightly show, Musica della Note.
  67. Survive a psychological thrill on the Revenge of The Mummy® roller coaster at Universal Studios Florida®.
  68. Pose for a photo with a four-story Big Wheel bike at Disney's Pop Century Resort.
  69. View the vibrant, Technicolor artwork of Earl Cunningham housed at The Mennello Museum of American Art.
  70. Shop for surf gear 24-hours-a-day at the world-famous Ron Jon's Surf Shop® in Cocoa Beach.
  71. See Dale Chihuly’s delicate blown-glass at the Orlando Museum of Art.
  72. Enjoy a carillon concert at Bok Tower Gardens.
  73. Ride in an open-cockpit vintage bi-plane at art deco aviation museum Fantasy of Flight.
  74. Explore exotic Thai, North and South Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and Japanese markets in Orlando’s diverse ViMi District.
  75. Meet your favorite Disney/Pixar characters like Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Mike and Sully at Disney’s Hollywood Studios™.
  76. See the movies come to life at Universal Studios® Florida.
  77. Train like an astronaut at the Kennedy Space CenterSM Visitor Complex.
  78. Find the hottest brand names at great prices at top outlet centers such as Prime Outlets Orlando, Orlando Premium Outlets® and Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores.
  79. Savor real key lime pie — it's yellow — at The Oceanaire® Seafood Room at Pointe Orlando.
  80. SCUBA dive in a sparkling spring with Fun 2 Dive SCUBA and Manatee Snorkeling Tours.
  81. Learn to sky dive indoors at I Fly Orlando.
  82. See Pirates 4-D at the 4D Timbuktu Theater at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay.
  83. Select a stogie from the 1.5 million cigars at Corona Cigar Company.
  84. Journey to the heart of Africa at KaTonga: Musical Tales from the Jungle at The Moroccan Palace Theater at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay.
  85. Touch an iceberg at Titanic – The Exhibition.
  86. Test your BMX skills at Vans Skatepark.
  87. View American folk art at House of Blues® Orlando at Downtown Disney® Area and stay for a hot concert.
  88. Learn to hula dance at SeaWorld® Orlando’s Makahiki Luau or the Wantilan Luau at Universal Orlando® Resort.
  89. Shoot hoops at Universal CityWalk®’s NBA City.
  90. Milk a cow at Green Meadows Petting Farm.
  91. Heat things up in a bar carved from ice at the trendy ICEBAR Orlando.
  92. Come face-to-face with Jaws at Universal Studios Florida®.
  93. Enjoy a sumptuous brunch at Dexter’s in downtown Orlando’s Thornton Park neighborhood.
  94. Attend The Stellar Awards Mother's Day Gospel Music Festival in May at the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel.
  95. Build an animal, car or anything else at LEGO Imagination Center at Downtown Disney® Area.
  96. Ride the exciting Cheetah Chase roller coaster at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay.
  97. Feel the "conga beat" at Gloria Estefan's restaurant, Bongos Cuban Café®, in the Downtown Disney® Area.
  98. Parasail above Central Florida's chain of lakes.
  99. Head under the sea in a “clamobile” with Nemo and his friends at Epcot®.
  100. Marvel at mansions as you boat through lakes and canals in Winter Park on the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour.
  101. Grill your own pancakes in an old sugar mill at De Leon Springs.
  102. Get a Theme Park Leg Relief treatment at Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa.
  103. "Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits" at the gospel brunch at House of Blues®.
  104. Savor made-to-order hash browns with applewood-smoked bacon and a perfectly cooked signature steak at Hawk’s Landing Steak House.
  105. Get married with Mickey as your best man or Minnie as your maid of honor.
  106. Hop aboard a wild jeep tour at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay’s Rhino Rally.
  107. Perform as a duck master during the Duck March at The Peabody Orlando.
  108. Putt-putt through wild animals, pirates and a four-story fire blasting volcano at Tiki Island Volcano Golf.
  109. Spend an afternoon discovering the specialty shops, exceptional cuisine and live entertainment at Pointe Orlando entertainment complex.
  110. Float 400 feet above the Downtown Disney® Area in a giant tethered balloon at the Characters in Flight attraction.
  111. Be a marine life trainer for a day at SeaWorld® Orlando.
  112. Visit the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame® at Kennedy Space CenterSM Visitor Complex.
  113. Unwind with an Orange Blossom Facial with Native Tea Peel treatment at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel’s refreshing retreat, The Spa at Shingle Creek.
  114. Be serenaded by a singing waiter at Bergamo's Italian Restaurant.
  115. Get shrunk at Disney’s Hollywood Studios™.
  116. Take in a moo-ving play at the Mad Cow Theatre.
  117. Rev your engines at a NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway.
  118. Take an aerial tour of the theme parks from a helicopter with International HeliTours.
  119. Taste gator bites and gator ribs at Gatorland®.
  120. Purchase discount tickets at Orlando's Official Visitor Center.
  121. Shop at one of nine regional shopping malls.
  122. Buy fresh produce at weekend farmer's markets in Winter Park and downtown Orlando.
  123. Discover the lost city of Atlantis at SeaWorld® Orlando.
  124. Go hog wild and rent a motorcycle at Orlando Harley-Davidson®.
  125. Work on your swing with Annika Sorenstam's coach at the Annika Academy at Ginn Reunion Resort.
  126. Watch Walter Farley's Black Stallion at Arabian Nights.
  127. Get chased by a chain saw gang during Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights®.
  128. Sip a locally-made, organic beer at Orlando Brewing Company.
  129. Solve a mystery at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows.
  130. Try to find a straight line at Seuss Landing™ at Univeral's Islands of Adventure®.
  131. Plummet 125 feet on a water slide into a zero-entry pool at Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.
  132. Team up to protect your home base during laser tag at Hard Knocks Orlando.
  133. Share the spotlight at SAK Comedy Lab.
  134. Rock out to an impromptu concert by The Blues Brothers at Universal Studios® Florida.
  135. Design and experience your own ride at Epcot®’s interactive new attraction, The Sum of All Thrills.
  136. Walk down New York Avenue at Universal Studios® Florida.
  137. Launch into space on Mission: SPACE at Disney's Epcot®.
  138. Zoom through a six-story maze of twists and turns on a raft on the Walhalla Wave & HooRoo Run ride at Aquatica™ – SeaWorld’s Waterpark.
  139. Improve your game with tennis lessons at The Orlando Tennis Center.
  140. Enjoy fireworks every night.
  141. Float through exotic landscapes deep into the peaceful heart of a tropical hideaway at Discovery Cove’s Wind-away River.
  142. Be part of the pit crew at Daytona USA.
  143. Watch the sun rise in a dramatic hot air balloon ride at Bob’s Balloon Charters.
  144. Enjoy the professional philharmonic orchestra.
  145. See the newest independent films at the Enzian Theater.
  146. View the latest visual art created by local artists at Bold Hype Art Gallery.
  147. Watch more than 160 cutting-edge movies at the Florida Film Festival.
  148. Become a chocolatier — make your own candy at Farris and Forster’s Famous Chocolate Factory.
  149. Drink a pint and eat fish and chips at Cricketers Arms Pub and Eatery or Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant.
  150. Swim in a canopy-draped, rooftop pool with chandeliers positioned overhead at The Grand Bohemian Hotel.
  151. Experience SeaWorld® Orlando’s own slice of the Antarctic at the Penguin Encounter exhibit.
  152. Navigate a three-story rope bridge at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay’s Jungala.
  153. Watch top recording artists perform at House of Blues®, Hard Rock® Live or Amway Arena.
  154. Play Frisbee golf at Barnett Park.
  155. Brave the white waters of Congo River Rapids at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay.
  156. Shop with a stylist at Orlando Premium Outlets®.
  157. Ride the largest, fastest, tallest roller coaster in Orlando at SeaWorld® Orlando.
  158. Come face-to-face with wild animals at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay.
  159. Get up-close to a predator of the deep at Sharks Underwater Grill at SeaWorld.
  160. Witness a live rocket launch at Kennedy Space Center.
  161. Hang out with Shrek at Universal Studios®.
  162. See International Drive upside down from a window at WonderWorks.
  163. Dine with an astronaut at Kennedy Space CenterSM Visitor Complex.
  164. Relax on a sparkling, white-sand beach at Aquatica™ – SeaWorld’s Waterpark.
  165. Learn how to draw a cartoon at The Magic of Disney Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios™.
  166. Become a particle of food at the Orlando Science Center.
  167. Keep the beat with the incomparable Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando® Resort.
  168. Gaze out on an African savannah at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
  169. Listen to rock 'n roll music under water at the Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando® Resort.
  170. Take a Haunted Orlando Ghost Tour at the Orange County Regional History Center.
  171. Fly through the air on the sky coaster at Old Town Shopping, Dining & Entertainment Attraction.
  172. Cheer on your knight at Medieval Times.
  173. Let a tropical bird eat from your hand in the Explorer’s Aviary at Discovery Cove® Orlando.
  174. Spot bald eagles and blue herons on Orlando's lakes.
  175. Hear the tales of great African-American musicians at the Wells' Built Museum.
  176. Learn about Hispanic culture at events like the Bright House Networks Festival Calle Orange, Fiesta Medina, Viva La Musica at SeaWorld® Orlando, Fiesta in the Park and the Latin Food and Wine Festival.
  177. Experience Central Florida's natural beauty on horseback.
  178. Sleep in a castle-themed hotel at Doubletree® Castle Hotel Orlando.
  179. Dine with Elmo at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay.
  180. Take a Tuscan cooking class at Truffles and Trifles.
  181. Watch Commerson’s dolphins play at Aquatica™ – SeaWorld’s Waterpark.
  182. Celebrate your heritage, whether Irish, Native American or Polish at local festivals.
  183. Visit the iconic Orlando Public Library, designed by John M. Johansen and Duane Stark, and inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  184. Careen through the streets of Hollywood on Rock 'n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios™.
  185. Eat lunch or dinner at a drive-in theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios™.
  186. Enjoy a luxurious, citrus-themed spa treatment at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Grande Lakes.
  187. Laugh along with the top names in comedy at the Orlando Improv at Pointe Orlando.
  188. Sample cuisine from more than 50 casual and sophisticated restaurants at exceptional values during Orlando Magical Dining™ Month in September.
  189. Visit Eatonville, the oldest incorporated African American community and home to renowned literary figure, Zora Neale Hurston.
  190. Sing along with the crowd at a dueling piano bar at Howl at the Moon Orlando.
  191. Explore idyllic Rollins College, museums, gardens and magnificent mansions on a Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour.
  192. Search for authentic fossils at a paleontological dig at Dinosaur World.
  193. Buy art off the walls while eating tapas at Café Tu Tu Tango.
  194. Meet Bert, Ernie and other characters at Sesame Street® Safari of Fun at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay.
  195. Share the "kitchen sink" at Disney's Beaches & Cream Soda Shop.
  196. Defend the world against aliens at MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack at Universal Studios®.
  197. Dine in a private "snug" at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant.
  198. Watch sea turtles hatch on the East coast of Florida.
  199. Eat fresh, local strawberries in the middle of winter.
  200. Learn about Orlando’s past with a Downtown Orlando Historic Walking Tour.
  201. Catch a glimpse of new dolphin mothers and their calves at SeaWorld® Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery.
  202. See the caricatures of celebrities and famous Orlando residents at The Palm Orlando at The Hard Rock® Hotel Orlando.
  203. Eat breakfast with Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants at Nickelodeon Family Suites.
  204. See PGA champions like Mike Weir, Charlie Wi and Tim Herron compete at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard®.
  205. Catch a touring Broadway show with Broadway Across America – Orlando.
  206. Hang glide above California's redwood forests at Epcot®'s Soarin'.
  207. Spot sneetches on the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure®.
  208. Watch NBA stars play as you cheer on the Orlando Magic.
  209. Go on an African safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom®.
  210. Make memories of a lifetime and share a smile with the ones you love.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To Nwabundo Onyeabo, with Love.

Nwando, I'm curious. What is it you think you have done with this book?
I was in the middle of a poem when I realised I was hearing my voice and
reading my lines, my thoughts, my language, my mentors and my soul in
your poetry. I mean, I could almost sue you for plagiarism.

You must know that my entire core dances with pride as if I have
published my own, my excitement as genuine as if 'Out of Curiousity'
is my baby.

You must know how much I cherish our friendship-cum-sisterhood-cum-'ejimatives'.
In your book, you've shown me that my ideas conceived during Christmas
hols in my hometown are ready to break free and be sold off
bookshelves in Lekki, Lome or Louisiana. That someone out there will
identify with my mind, however timid.

At this point, I will put this pen down and return to reading 'Between
Lovers', which is written in a language that I so love to mimic.
God bless you, Ejima m.

You are Greatness!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

(Un)Happy feet

It's Friday and I'm sitting in the banking hall of a popular Nigerian bank. It is cold in here, the ambience is lethargic, and every other person's talking with a voice that makes them sound like they are sleep-talking. As I wait for the successful negotiation of my transaction, there are not many pastime options and I am left with staring at the shoes of the bankers. Mentally, I begin to collect and analyse numerical data.

The men's shoes are black, polished, shiny, lace ups with upturned mouths. The heels range from 1-3cm thick: 2.54cm/1 inch. A third of the shoes are worn-out. A penny for your thoughts, what are you thinking when you wear worn-out shoes out? It is the intention of the writer of this article to alliterate as she digresses.

It must be bad shoe day. Or maybe Bad shoe Friday.

However, the socks are not so bad. There are no cartoon prints or riots or non-identical pairs, only monochrome shades of sock fabric.

I look to the women for aesthetic salvation. Where the Louboutins at? The Isaac Mizrahis, Steve Maddens, Manolo Blahniks ...? They must be firm believers in egalitarian principles: the situation of the women footwear is equally as calamitous. I really wonder if it being a Friday has got anything to do with it. It must be this bank. Or maybe this branch. It must be Ugly shoe day. Another guy saunters around wearing a pair of drivers, asks if I would like some tea or wine. DRIVERS! In the era of the dot com boom? That must be like twittering from a Nokia 3310 mobile phone.

I notice there's a generational gap between the bankers. I can clearly identify the interns from the old hands by their fashion (accessories, style, colours etc ) and the general TGIF approach.

Maybe the bankers start the week in their Manolo's, Mauri's, Moscoloni's and what have you (I'm really not up to date with men's corporate shoes, I'm relying on childhood memories of my dad wearing Mauri's and in more recent times, I spotted a pair of Stacy Adams in my brother's room) and as the weekdays roll out, their choice of footwear deteriorates and finally breaks down on Fridays.

What an unhappy bank :(
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Random: What would you do if ...

... Some day you woke up, picked up your bb/mobile device/phone and tried to log on to twitter.com (or ÜberTwitter, Dabr, DestroyTwitter, TweetDeck, SnapTu, Tweet60, Digsby, SocialOomph, TweeteXtreme, Mobile tweete, TwitterFox, Twitter for Blackberry etc for some of u(s) addicts) and it just stared back at you? You think 'Whale Fail for the umpteenth time' and after a while you tried logging in via a PC and there it was, a different kind of Blue Screen of Death: 'This service no longer exists.'

What would you do?
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

Monday, May 31, 2010

"Animal Attraction"

The last time I checked, a certain word defined a mountain lion. In more recent times, the word has metamorphosed to accommodate another definition.
cou·gar [kgər, k gaar]
(plural cou·gars or cou·gar)
noun
"a woman over forty who likes younger men because she doesn't like older men. Usually a cougar doesn't sexually pursue younger men but is attracted to these younger men, typically more than eight years her junior." [1]
It's an unfortunate fact of life that society views men very differently from women of the same vintage. It has been a societal pre-determination that men must be older in a dating relationship, for whatever reason it is. This means that if a woman turns the tables and dates a younger man, she is christened after an animal in the zoo whereas her male counterpart dates a younger lady, society regards this as normal and if she were born when he was already an adult, he may even get celebrated for it.
The idea that women should look for a man that is more educated, has a better job and makes more money to take care of her seems like a fairy tale now. Relationship taboos and conventions have clearly been loosened if not totally flouted, with regards to age, religion, race, economic status in recent times. Feminism has adopted even more suffragettes and enthusiasts, seeing more women becoming as ruthless and as successful as their bosses and even occupying laudable positions at the top of the corporate ladder. Women have learnt business secrets and the game rules for success from their male counterparts and many have gone further to run self-financed businesses, boosting their self-image and becoming self-sufficient. This empowered state and status has left a small pool of compatible men those two to three years older, of similar background and higher levels of education and income and may result in women having delayed marriage whereas men still have a tendency to date and marry younger women. Clearly, self-pollination and self-pity are not options for some. Cougars are fearless predators and are admired for their hunting skills. However, a cougar-cub alliance suggests that not all relationships spin around the axis of reproduction. Sometimes, sex is just about sex – even, heck, especially for women over 40. Some are content with having fun and others seek more in the relationship.

However the burgeoning question is why would younger men, knowing that they have quite a large selection of eager younger women to choose from, opt to date a cougar woman? Older mates are perceived to have greater resources, wisdom, and/or sexual knowledge.
Some say age is only a number when it comes to the heart. Where the women liked the vitality the younger man brought into their lives, men liked the confidence and maturity in the women, in spite of the sometimes uncomfortable generational differences and huge potential for infidelity.
Despite the fact that many cougars have undeniably earned major criticism for dating guys that can be young enough to be their own sons, cougar dating is already accepted and has even become the latest dating trend within the dating scene. It's a fairly well excepted theory that women mature ahead of men, so dating an older man makes a lot of sense for some couples. While the age difference may be obvious, the mental connection is often on the level. However when an older woman is dating a young beau, isn't she dumbing down to his level? (My thoughts in a most sincere question, please).
Would you date someone younger? If so, how many years younger?

[1] Wikipedia - "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_disparity_in_sexual_relationships"
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

Friday, May 7, 2010

Woman nature

The Seven Wonders of the World were known to be works of art and architecture regarded by ancient Greek and Roman observers as the most extraordinary structures of antiquity. History has it that there has been no small squabble over having more additions to this list, and from all indications the eighth entry would have to be an object of mystery and a well-guarded secret. This object would be no other than the woman's handbag.

Try this: Ask a man and a woman to borrow some change and watch the reactions. Once you are able to get him to agree, the man probably will produce his wallet from a very practical pocket located in his jacket or trousers without much ado. Contrarily, you will likely experience a panic attack by the woman as she will delve into her handbag and start a frenzied search for her purse amid the sea of objects. The man's pocket which simply serves the purpose of storage is therefore no match for the woman’s handbag.
With the increasing size of this artefact, women cram even more into their handbags. It appears there is a trend for heavy burdens in more recent times and this brings us to the billion dollar question:
What really is inside the bag?
Survey says the basics are: a mobile phone, a purse with filled compartments for bank cards, business cards, vouchers and receipts as well as cash and keys.
Sometimes other items found in the departments of this treasured abyss may include a compact umbrella, sunglasses, a camera, feminine hygiene products, painkillers, hand lotion, a bottle of water, a key holder cum bottle opener, sometimes a laptop and even auxiliary footwear! Believe me; this list is in no way exhaustive as I have personally seen a puppy peek out of a lady's Jimmy Choo handbag and it wasn't Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. It was my sister.

With these contents come reasons. The iPods and novels fit into the pastime category, notebooks and a handful of pens for to-do and shopping lists; a make-up bag containing emergency touch-up essentials; perfume; a hairbrush; cookies etc. You ask why the need to carry around so much. Security- knowing their most treasured things are with them at all times. Others believe that they are ready and equipped for any situation or event ranging from unexpected work meetings to spontaneous after-work drink invitations. The content of a woman's handbag may very well be a reflection of her personality.
Whatever the reason, a woman's handbag clearly is an essential part of their lives and has evolved into a mobile apartment with straps: a home away from home.

p.s. So I admit I bagged an extra pair of shoes to work today. Bite me, I'm only woman ;)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mic check

Just wanna see how/if this works.
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

Friday, April 9, 2010

Well, it's an update.

I heard y’all wanted to know what it was that Close Male Friend told me on Val’s day. LOL! I wasn’t teasing or pulling any thriller stunts. I thought it was appropriate that the blog post ended when it did and that’s why I wrapped it up where I did. Well, nothing has changed; I still don’t have a boyfriend. Not like I even took the advice. Don’t get worried though. It’s not a big deal. Yet.

This should be the/my most Random blog post ever. Here goes:

Right now, I’m home, listening to Meat Loaf and I have Erykah Badu, John Legend, Timbaland, Donell Jones, Diana Ross, Barry White, Common , Blackstreet queued on my playlist. I spent the earlier part of today with one of my mentors who first protected my interest and reinforced my passion for telecommunications.

Does anyone of you know I’m an NYSC corps member? Signify in the comments box please. All this while, I had been in some remote village and just recently got redeployed to Lagos, my hometown. Don’t even blame this Ibo girl for claiming Lagos as her hometown, after all it is the city of my birth. I had some crazy experiences during the two months I spent in rurality and it took a while to clear the fog it left on my mind. As time goes on, I will upload the chronicles I pencilled to keep myself from going crackers.

I saw the Clash of the Titans movie yesterday and I must say I loved every bit of it while the picture was in motion. It’s only normal that you have an opinion after an event has occurred. Having said this, the aftertaste didn’t leave me impressed once the movie was over. I remember watching the 1981 version on TNT classic movies years ago and I must say that Letterier’s effort paled in comparison, not in terms of the graphics but in his inability to (re)produce a storyline of equal strength.
I don’t know what you did last April Fools’ Day but I had Nkwobi for the first time in all my three and two decades of existence. I mean, I almost ate my fingers. Same day I also met a blogger for the first time since we started talking in the summer of 2008, and had technically and technologically become good friends from Blogville, to Facebook, to Yahoo messenger, to phone conversations, to BBM and then we finally met on April Fools day. The lady is simply a bundle of blessings. (I choose to ignore your reaction.)

I’m in the habit of influencing the people around me with my favourite music. Not like I do it intentionally, as a matter of fact I was told. It’s so bad that the other day, my mum was heard singing YQ’s I like girls. Inasmuch as I might have (mis)interpreted most of the music churned out by this generation as cacophony, I have found delightful melody in a chosen few. The stars of this post are no other than Ese Peters and Bez Idakula. Small wonder, they both play the guitar and sing so beautifully. Well, I do those too but the former’s limited to the walls of my bedroom and the latter, my bathroom and both activities could collide on the balcony. The only thing that’s stopping me from asking my Igwe grandfather to rewrite tradition in my favour and make it the woman’s place to seek a man’s hand in marriage is that in my case, I would be aiming for polyandry. You can get more info on Ese here on his Facebook link as well as his MySpace page here.

And finally, you can catch both Ese and Bez in Technicolor performing live at Taruwa.


I toyed with the idea of enhancing one of my favourite body parts. You guessed wrong. It was cutting my hair really short and putting red highlights in it. So i took a trip to the salon, and sat in the stylist’s chair. The dyeing procedure was to precede the cutting and we got started. And so he dyed it, blow dried it and straightened and flat tonged it. He kept combing my hair and I kept staring into the mirror admiring the silkiness, body and length of the hair and how well it had done since my last hair cut in September 2007. And then just when he reached for his scissors, I just shook my head, “Don’t!” I’m still a streaked redhead, nevertheless.

I just realised I have legs and I’m on a short dress frenzy. I must admit it took a while to get to this phase as I have only admired such on mannequins and warm blooded women alike but would never wear them without tights until my sister took to hiding the said tights from me. Err, for lack of a more apt quote, what does not kill you, would make you stronger right? She has long invested two sexy dresses in my wardrobe. Yours truly may also be spotted on the beach sporting a pair of shorts, and I mean SHORTS not Capri pants as I did in the past.

It’s almost that time of the year when Wanderlust torments us and this time, it seems the needle of the compass on my list of lifetime must-visits is swinging towards 51° 31’ 0 N, Longitude: 0° -6’ 0 E.

Roses are red, violets are blue. My hair is red and my toenails blue.

The clock just struck 12 (midnight) and I'm giving a birthday shout out to fellow blogger and friend, Funkola. May God bless you mightily and make your coming years more meaningful and fulfilling than the past.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dialogues

Close male friend: “Are you bothered that you don’t have a boyfriend?”

Me: “Honestly? Not really and that bothers my mum.”

Close male friend: “So remind me why you don’t have a boyfriend.”
...

Close male friend: “If I didn’t know you and I saw you, I wouldn’t approach you.”

Me: *Blank Stare* "Seriously?!"

Close male friend: "Yea, I’m serious."

Me: Why?

Close male friend: "You’re nice and friendly. See you’re a classy babe but you look like a snob. You give that look like ..." (Pauses.)

Me: "Tell me about it."

Close male friend: "Don’t get me wrong but you need to ... you need to ... whats the word now ... you need to be more open. You’re friendly and nice but you need to flex. Even back in school, you were cool and nice like that but you still didn’t let people get too close to you. You keep people at an arm’s length."

Me: "So how do we go about it?"

Close male friend: "Hmmm ... Tell you what ..."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Perfume personae: A personality review

Although I haven’t been around long enough when it started in Egypt with esters and oils centuries ago, and I still wasn’t on the scene to witness the handing down of the trade secrets to Guerlain's Mitsouko (1925), Jean Patou’s Joy (1926), Marc Jacob’s Daisy or even Caron's Yatagan (1976), yet in my day I have come to love and appreciate fragrances particularly perfumes. I simply love fragrances and to me, there are only a few things in this world with deeper intimacy. With perfume, you could travel backward or forward in time, find or create personalities, and give you the opportunity of being an existing self, or a new one altogether. At different seasons, places and phases, I get different bottles and over the years I’ve had my share of flankers of Hugo Boss, Avon, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, JLo, Estee Lauder and Christian Dior.

This present season has united six bottles on my table which I use according to my mood or to create one. Scarlett Johansson’s lips, Vivica Fox’s face, Queen Latifah’s spunkiness, Dita Von Teese’s sass ... Plastic surgery aint got nothing on perfume!

Tiare Mimosa Acqua Allegoria by Guerlain
A dual personality in a bottle, Mimosa is gentle and confident which exudes sexiness in a most subtle way. Unassuming and composed, this simple lady has an eye for quality, style and has a certain presence about her that garners respect. Her favourite time of the day is evening, when she takes a walk and feels the gentle breeze caress her hair. She likes order and abhors noise. You’ll find this soulful soft-spoken lady at art exhibitions and galleries, poetry recitals like Taruwa listening to poetry, jazz and soulful ballads. Just when you turn your head wondering where she is, she whispers, “I never left.” Neither a weakling nor a trouble maker, she does have naughty motives and strategies to win her wars.
In a colour: Beige


Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel
My rapport with this mademoiselle is one filled with deep respects and as such not very often as I do not want to take her friendship for granted. It’s not like I don’t value the others, don't get me wrong but this lady, she’s a femme fatale. This female goes to black-tie events dressed in an LBD. She’s a fox on the red carpet.
In a colour: Purple


212 Sexy by Carolina Herrera
The boss. She won’t take no for an answer. She knows what she wants and works hard strategies to get it. She does not neglect her emotions and still communes with her inner child. One moment she’s sipping fine wine from foreign flutes, the next she’s working out on a treadmill. Full of ambition bridled with unparalleled zeal. You never met anyone like her. Neyo sang about her. He called her “Miss Independent.”
In a colour: Rouge


Live (Luxe) by Jennifer Lopez
The effervescent Sanguine: Agile, youthful and undeterred, living, loving and giving. Neither rain nor heartbreak could dowse her fire. Doing what she does best at every social function she attends, chatting to some cute lad. F-L-I-R-T alert! She’s the label freak – Choos, JBL, LDA, you name ‘em. She’s glamorous’ - I bet Fergie had her in mind. She’s the insomniac that never gets camera-shy. She’s loyal though, she loves her friends and family. Incurable romantic, this girl. She’s like the female version of Peter Pan.
In a colour: Yellow


Reserve by Perry Ellis
I’ll tell a little story right here. I didn’t pick this classic fougere, it was a gift. I had mixed feelings about this one, but allowed it to grow on me. One evening, I wore this for a walk and got quite a number of compliments and that has been the story ever since. Pure chemistry, it always works – the guys love it on me.
Reserve is fresh and clean and reminds you of a room window opened over a morning fresh dew-kissed garden. No fruits, no games, it’s a serious maturity with this one. Now the trip is that as time passes and the undertones are roused, Reserve switches from work to play mode – and gets all playful on you. Just when you start to take off your work overalls, there’s a new persona. She asks you to put Wande Coal on replay and delves into a bowl of Haagen Daz and Oreos. Child at heart.
In a person: Believer in Classical music, yoghurts, salads, no snacking between meals but indulges occasionally. Gets a regular pedicure but no artificial nails.
In a colour: Olive


Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana
Has a semblance with Reserve but with a distinct personality. Similar because it is fresh and clean, distinct because its freshness is Ocean Fresh! This hydrophiliac loves to have summer flings and takes delight in sun-kissed tanned skin. Having a happy-go-lucky personality, she’s unafraid to flout convention and lives without regard to what convention dictates or what others expect.
In a colour: Aquamarine.

What are you loving? What are you wearing? Fragrance wise.