|A Roundabout near the University of Calabar|
Day 1 - Driving, blood pressure, bad music and getting lost
The trip didn't start with a bang. We got to the faculty by 7 a.m but didn't leave till noon, and I got there on an empty stomach since we were supposed to leave really early. You should have seen the Subdean's face when he had to leave his own car and get in the bus with us. He almost hugged the thing. We spent the entire day on the road and it would have been boring if not for Blood Pressure, a U.I comedian (a student, of course) that happened to go on the trip with us). He sat in front of the bus every day of the trip and turned each bus ride into a stand-up comedy session. Whenever he wasn't making us laugh, I would read a novel or play a game on my iPhone, or play my 3DS, or talk to someone, so after 8 hours in the bus, I wasn't bored, but I was dead tired of the music. A DJ went on the trip with us (he's not a student) and had entertained us with such a terrible medley of Nigerian songs that the most patriotic of us still couldn't enjoy them.
|Blood Pressure keeping our spirits high|
|My Home is in Lagos, my school in Ibadan and the place labelled 4 is Akwa Ibom|
Day 2 - Tinapa Resort
The fun began on the second day. We visited three main places, but let me start by saying we lodged at a house called Camp David right beside the gate of the University of Calabar. We got there by 7 a.m, left by 10 for some breakfast (just rice, nothing unique to the locale yet) then went to see Mary Slessor's tomb. Mary Slessor was a Scottish missionary to Nigeria. She successfully fought against the practice of killing twins at birth in that area and was a driving force behind the establishment of the Hope Wadell Training Institute in Calabar. Nothing exciting here, but I noticed the sign boards in the area were very British in design. Also, every round-about on the roads in Calabar had a unique design. I'll post a few below, but the very first picture I posted above is one of them.
|Mary Slessor's Tomb|
|The Grave Masquerade. That's our bus behind him|
|Those aren't even Nigerian names. That's a river in the background. The grave is at the river bank|
Here are a few of the Round-abouts we drove by
|I wonder if the lantern lights up this round-about at night?|
|Right behind this building is the Calabar River, where we later went on boat rides|
|Dunno what this is, but it sure beautifies the place!|
|A Panorama of the game house|
|Motorcycle game.....not as exciting as the games I hadn't seen before|
|My Brother, Disun, and I in front of the Tinapa logo|
|Behind that big building, this is where we took the boat rides from|
|On the Calabar River|
There isn't much to say about the rest of the day. We got back to Camp David by 4 p.m, napped, then in the evening, strolled through the University of Calabar with a student guide to see what it looked like. We ate swallow (generic name for Nigerian meals that are dipped in soup, and can be eaten without chewing) and Afang, a Calabar soup. It was really fun seeing everyone play at the game house like little children and laughing at Blood Pressure's phobia for water (we later discovered he was just joking when he got to the swimming pool). I will update this post with the remaining three days of our trip. It took me over an hour to post thus far, and I have classes to attend tomorrow. Oh, it's 12:01 a.m, I have classes this morning!
|You can get a glimpse of the Calabar River in this picture|
Day 3 - Agbokim Waterfalls, Okada town and the trip to Obudu
The romantic parts of the trip started on the third day. We left Camp David early and headed for Agbokim waterfalls near a town called Ikom. We stopped at Ikom to eat before going to the waterfalls, and man, was that place amusing! Everyone and their mum owned a bike in that town. In Nigeria, we refer to commercial motorcycles as "Okada" so I nicknamed the place "Okada town". You would literally dodge speeding bikes while trying to cross the road. I saw an old man, draped in a suit and tie, riding a bike. Another old man had shades on while riding. One sight that I failed to catch on camera was when two ladies crossed paths, each riding a bike, and greeted each other. Don't believe me? Take a look at these!
|Notice all the spare tires in the top right of this picture|
|I guess this guy and Blood Pressure are birds of a feather|
|You can't tell, but we're under a huge, leaking rock in this picture|
|That's me under the rock to the left of where we stood in the previous picture|
|Anything that goes down......|
|That's not a blur, it's the cloud touching the hill|
|The stains on the wind shield make this picture a little poor.....|
|...so I risked letting someone stick my phone out her window to take this pic. I was scared for my phone!|
We eventually got to the foot of the Mountain Resort at almost 6:00 p.m. While we were identifying ourselves to the security men at the entrance, I took this panorama of the foot of the resort.
Before I start talking about the fourth day, I almost forgot to mention the classic joke that Blood Pressure made while we had our dinner. Only Nigerians will understand this one. You know the way Nigerian home video adverts go, yeah? Well, BP was all like "Calabar! Calabar! Come see when cloud dey touch ground! Come see mad man dey wave! See Okada everywhere! Don't miss this one! Starring, Blood Pressure! PSCHEW! Sly! PSCHEW! C.Y! PSCHEW! C.Y! PSCHEW! C.Y! PSCHEW!" then someone asked "Na only C.Y dey act the film?", BP finished with "...remain one. Subdean! PSCHEW! Grab your copy, NOW!!!". As I said, only a Nigerian would understand this joke and if you had been there to see him do it, you would have laughed hard.
Day 4 - Obudu Mountain Resort
Ah, the mountain resort! Nice place to visit (I advice anyone having their honeymoon in Nigeria to come here), but I won't like to live/work somewhere like this place. Since you're literally standing in the clouds, you're perpetually cold and a bit wet. There are all these little water droplets randomly floating around. We started the day early with our guide leading us in aerobics to loosen our bones for the treks and climbing we would soon be doing. I accidentally deleted this funny video I took of the guide chanting "Do as I do" while we responded "I do". He started with aerobics, but soon, our "I do" meant we were doing whatever silly dance he did! We headed for a grotto to play around in a mini waterfall. This was a real ice-breaker between guys and girls. They needed our muscular selves to protect them from the elements of nature. Walking uphill? Pull her along. Wading through water? Hold her hand. Blistering cold? Put your arms around her!
|See why they needed us?|
|First stop, grotto mini falls|
|On our way there|
|I didn't feel like getting into a cold waterfall so early in the morning. I'm the only one standing|
|Water from the fall collected into this little pool a few meters away|
|Peter, A.K.A "Figures", our official cameraman for the trip. I was the unofficial cameraman|
|So much everywhere, so little time!|
|Dalmatian cow. Looks like the ones in the Cowbell ads|
Oh, someone fell in the water but she wasn't really hurt much. The boys got her out quickly. We eventually left the place, had our baths and then received a history lesson before breakfast. Apparently, Obudu Cattle Ranch was developed in 1952 by Mr. McCauley, Mr. Hugh Jones and Dr. Crawfeild. This work was later continued by a governor of Cross River state (can't remember his name) and the Protea South African Hotel Chain. Obudu also has the longest stretch of cable cars, wait for it........in the world! There's also a helipad for Presidents and other suits to use when coming for a retreat. And being 1,500 km above sea level, we were at the maximum height helicopters could fly. With that said, we toured a lot of the mountain resort. As much as we could in one day.
|First we headed for the "African village"|
|It had regular residential buildings...|
|Totally bullet-proof buildings for the president and suits....|
|Then we went to the side with British buildings. All wood everything|
|Everybody except Figures, the man behind the camera|
|I can't shout|
|A panorama of the England-like area. There's a lot of space between buildings though|
|The Sky isn't blue in Obudu. It's all white!|
There was also a tennis court, a basketball court, and some roads leading off into special places like the Monkey Face Views, where we didn't go since the monkeys aren't caged (it's meant for wildlife research), the Fern Tree Groove, and the Leventis Tree Platform. We took a detour to see some of them, and walked on this shaky rope bridge they called a "canopy walkway".
|Don't look down! On the way back, I slowly managed to cross without using my hands at all!|
|The tree house thing they used in the Gulder Ultimate Search in 2005|
|It should have read "Leventis tree house. The one you saw on TV"|
|We finally went to the reception|
|This would have been written on the right if they intended for us to drive on the right|
|The reception had lots of Nigerian artwork and embelishments...|
|.....Including the Masquerade we saw at Mary Slessor's tomb on Day 2|
|I think Blood Pressure had beef with this goat|
The water-park was at the foot of the resort, right at the entrance before the 11km road that took us up here the previous day. We took the cable cars down to the water park. It's a fourteen minute ride by cable car, whether you're going up or down. One could feel the air pressure block his ears in the cable car, just like in a plane. When we got to the bottom, we could see (and more importantly, feel) the sun again!
|A view of the hills from inside the cable car|
|Another view from inside the cable car. This is almost at ground level|
|The U-bends of the 11km road as seen from the cable car|
|At the bottom of the cable car chain thingy|
|This is the only picture that my face isn't hidden by water. Unfortunately, I was wiping my eyes when it was taken! The water-slides were so much fun!|
|Saw these guys on our way to the Holy Mountain|
|People praying. As I said, the sky isn't blue here. It's white.|
|I couldn't even tell how much farther that cliff went before I'd reach the edge|
|Not that I pray like that normally, but given the environment, I couldn't resist getting my Moses on!|
Day 5 - Journey Back Home
We spent the whole of Friday driving back to school. We left the mountains at 7:00 a.m and it took us 30 minutes just to drive down the 11km road and get back to the foot of the resort. We didn't eat any proper food all day. We would stop sometimes to ask for directions, or for gas, or for people to ease themselves or to buy food. I mean bread and snacks. We took pictures of each other sleeping in the bus, which I won't upload here so as not to embarrass anybody. Since it became a sin to fall asleep during this journey, I didn't sleep until past 7 p.m, when no one cared anymore.
|I think I can upload this one since you can't see her face. I got one of a couple sleeping too!|
|I think this is how we got back. Shorter, and we didn't get lost|
|Approaching the Niger bridge|
|See the river on the left...|
|...and on the right.|
|Can't remember which state I bought this huge loaf of bread at. Probably Benin or Edo|
|One more time, the Niger bridge|
|So, when are YOU going?|