MARK'S (NOT SO) DAILY BLOG
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Quick Travel Blog - Nigeria

Nigeria. Until now my perception of the country has always just been dealing with club bouncers and receiving 419 scam emails, so I when I had to go to the country last week on a television shoot I went with a little trepidation. It was nothing like I expected.

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Sure, it was frenetic as there the population is about 170 million and about 40 million are in the capital city of Lagos (that's like the whole of South Africa living in Johannesburg).

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The capital is made up of a series of islands interconnected with bridges which bottlenecks traffic even more. It can take you 3 hours to go about 20km there. Surprisingly though, even though cars weave in and out of lanes, there is still a sense of order (unlike the DRC where I thought I was going to die every time we got into a car).

But what surprised me was that the majority of the white collar workforce are impeccably dressed, well spoken (English is their first language) and incredibly polite. Not once did my crew or I feel threatened in any way.

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Transport for the informal market is mainly with battered VW combis:

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Even though they are crappy rust buckets, we were told that when they eventually just about fall apart, they move on to South Sudan where they get even more usage. Locals also use little tuk-tuks:

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For the affluent and ex-pats working there, everyone has a driver and use big 4x4 vehicles. There are luxury 5 start hotels and we stayed in the Intercontinental which was very pleasant:

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Power is a big issue there and the electricity goes off about 12 times a day. Locals can spend up to 30% of their monthly salary on generator fuel. We thought we had it bad here in South Africa, but it's nothing compared to there.

The biggest downside though to visiting any African country is the airport. It's a pity your last experience as you leave is always a shit one. It can take you 3 hours to check in as their systems are so antiquated. You have to go to a counter for this and then another counter for that. And then stand in another holding area for something else.

So ignoring the last few hours in the country I had a pleasant experience. Thanks Nigeria for the hospitality!



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Father's Day... and my fear of feet

It's the best day of the year for dads.

I was so excited to get showered with hugs and kisses that I woke up at 5am and couldn't go back to sleep. Usually both my girls are up by 6.30am, but (of course) they slept in late yesterday and only woke up at 7.30am!

It was worth it though. Tayla-Jean had been working on her Father's Day card for about 2 weeks and she was bursting with pride as she came into the room and gave it to me. Alyssa had also done a card at school (even though the honesty of a 3 year old... she said she didn't actually do the card).

I haven't really told many people this, but I suffer from podophobia. Feet repulse me. I don't like touching other peoples feet and definitely don't like my feet or legs being touched. If the devil had contributed to designing any part of our body... it would be that part. So when my 3 year old said she wanted to give me a foot massage for Father's Day, I was in a quandary. This is is something special my baby girl wanted to do for me. So I sucked it up and stretched out my feet. I was dying inside, but she loved doing it!

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Breakfast in bed was my favourite egg on toast... and a(nother) Nespresso Machine!

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Well actually, the Nespresso machine will be for a new house we bought a few weeks ago. In fact, at this stage the Nespresso machine is the only appliance/furniture we have for it, so it will definitely be the centre of attention in the whole house, let alone the kitchen.

Father's Day was great. I can't wait for next year!!




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Best Father's Day gift ever

Over the years I've received various Father's Day gifts, from the stereotypical socks to USB memory sticks, and each year as my girls get older they become more and more aware of what Father's Day is all about. Yeah, presents are great and so is breakfast in bed. But the best present of all is just being showered with love from Tayla-Jean and Alyssa.

My 5 year old (with the help of her teacher), filled this form out yesterday:

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By the way, I'm flattered she only thinks I'm 35 years old.

Ultimately though, I think the last few lines in my upcoming book describes how I feel about Father's Day:
But when it comes to my legacy in life, there is only one thing that matters to me. It’s not money nor fame. When it does come the time to inscribe a message on my tombstone, my career means nothing to me. All I want it to say is:
Mark Pilgrim… the best dad ever.





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