Thursday 18 February 2010

Show me your Fufu!!!

"Dear Bernard,
Following the selection day on 6 February, I am delighted to let you know that the team of assessors have recommended you to take part in the Warwick in Africa teaching project in 2009. "

WOOOOO Ghana here i come!!!!!   :-D

Thursday 11 February 2010

Italy, San Lorenzo - Summer 2008

Came home from St Lucia, spent one night in my own bed, and then headed back to the airport the next day... destination Italy.  Italy was yet another opportunity to take advantage of our foreign friends, as this time it was Elisa, a great girl I shared a house with when i was at university.  She came over to study for 6 month and when she left we promised to go see her.  Me, Chris, Johnny and Tom all from uni went over for a weeks holiday in the dry Italian sun.

Her parents own a lovely little summer apartment by the coast of north Italy, in a city called San Lorenzo, where her and her family go regularly on holiday.  This year they had 4 english visitors, 2 of which were exhausted from St Lucia.  Elisa really sorted us out with places to go, scenery to see and most importantly things to eat.  Her friends were more then accomodating (above with Elisa in the middle) and eager to treat us to the local tipples.  Nigroni was the name of the first italian drink that was bought for me and... well... it was possibly one of the worst tastes that I have ever had in my mouth!  A pitch black drink with a slice of orange in it looks deceivingly nice, but the extreme bitterness hits you on the first sip and i still had a full glass to get through.

We spent a lot of days on the rocks on the beach, basking in the sun and hanging out with Elisa's friends.  Every now and then we'd hire out a paddle boat with a diving board on it and go out to sea.  On some of our outings on the pedalos we came across some big ass bright Orange and Blue Jellyfish (had no intention in jumping in at this moment in time) and a big (not really that big) fish that was dead but looked fresh as anything (right).  We pretended we caught it out at sea with our bare hands as the Italians on the rocks stared in bemusement whilst we explained our eloborate method of fishing.

Elisa drove us to most places such as a great big waterpark, an uber expencive night club (25 euros to get in!?) and an italian food festival (below)! Our last night there was the night in the posh club on the beach.  Drinks came with a selection of fruits, sweets and sparklers and I believe I may have over did it just slightly and really was not cut out for the travel plans the next morning.  Throughout my stay I indulged in pasta, bruschetta, olives, various seafoods and cuts of meat and the good old Italian ice cream.  Most Italian food was covered, and as far as I am aware, a lot of their drink too.  :o)

Sunday 7 February 2010

St Lucia - Summer 2008

Back when i was in 6th form, a new guy arrived at our school from St Lucia called Osei.  Over time we got to know eachother pretty well as he lived in the same flat as my girlfriend at the time.  Tho it was sad to see him leave when it was time to head back to St Lucia, what a great opportunity came up to visit him.  3 years passed and we finaly got the chance to visit.  Just that my "girlfriend at the time" was now my ex, and we were going on holiday together... (along with one of her best mates and one of my best mates).  Despite the potential for disaster, it only became an issue a few times.  The holiday was truely brilliant.

So we arrive in St Lucia and get to Osei's house and he shows us where we will be staying, which turns out to be pretty much a whole house to ourselves with a garden and perfectly ripe mango tree (above)! And for how much? absolutely freeee! Turns out that Osei and his family are rather well to do, which we began to discover throughout our stay.

A typical day would be mangos for breakfast, walk to the beach, then do something at night.  Quite soon in, we were introduced to Osei's friends, which played out to be the key factor to our experience.  His friends pretty much were all loaded.  As Osei worked during the day, and well some of his friend would never have to work in their lifetime, often they would take us out on 'excursions' in the back of their big red truck. (above) Forget not having a seatbelt, we didnt have a seat! we travelled in the back of this truck everywhere and though i was sketchy at first, i wouldn't have chosen another way.  The friendliness of people there is seriously something else, from Osei's friends to completely random strangers.  Strangers would give us lifts to the beach for free (yes, my mum did tell me to never get in a car with a stranger, but we were told before hand from Osei's mum that its quite normal over there).

Having the connection with Osei meant we got to experience some great things.  His girlfriends 21st birthday which was a BIG event.  Her God Mother who gave a speech was the wife of the current president of Barbados!? We were truely hanging in the highest of circles of St Lucia.  The party invite said it started at 7, which was the time we were ready by and awaiting to be picked up by Osei (her boyfriend) to head over.  He didnt come till half 8... and we were some of the first to arrive!?!? I tell you, Caribbean timing is no myth... everything is so laxed, it actually runs at a 2 hour delay.  We went to two 21st birthday parties, both very posh, both started 2 hours after we arrived. Below is a great pic with all of us in it at one of the parties, including the main man Osei. :o)

Food in St Lucia is chicken, chicken and chicken... and fish.  Grilled, stewed, or barbequed.  Saltfish with Rice and Peas was probably my favourite (above).  Small cheap stalls on the street, as usual, were the best.  We travelled on the back of the red truck to the other end of the island to attend "Fish Friday" which was held in a small town where the fishermen and their wives cooked and sold their catch of the day on the streets, whilst playing carnival music.  Was my kinda street party!  I was like a kid in a toy shop rushing around having a taste of all kinds of wonderful things from black dolphin to octopus stew.  To my extraordinary dispointment however, everyone had sold out of turtle meat.  Drink in St Lucia largely consisted of Piton beer and Rum... lots of rum.  Chairman's Rum seemed to be the most popular.  Admittedly im a bit of a wuss when it comes to the consumption of strong spirits but I made the exception for smooth St Lucian rum, and damn it was good rum.  However they really dont do short measures in St Lucia and a typical Rum and Coke was pretty much one ice cube, a shot of coke, topped with rum.

Becuase of Osei's friends, we went on a rum cruise, swam in waterfalls, sat in eggy extremely hot springs, went to great parties and attended other big events, but most of all, we had the opportunity to join the Caribbean Carnival.  Osei's girlfriend played some role in organising part of it, and so she got us in on the action.  My friends were the only white people there, by that time (towards the end of our holiday) I was pretty much black and blended in fine.  Drinking, dancing and grinding for 7 hours straight, in the baking sun is an experience not to forget.  :o)

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Free lunch! :o)

"Dear Bernard,
We are delighted to let you know that you are invited to take part in the Student Selection Day on Saturday, 6 February which starts promptly at 10:15 and should finish at 3pm. The day will include a number of group exercises and include more information on the project from the Warwick in Africa team.  A sandwich lunch will be included and vending machines in the atrium are available to buy additional snacks and drinks..."

well thats pretty kool, just a 5 hour selection process to get through now!!  :o)