Sunday, September 7, 2014

On a Ferris wheel ride in Abuja

Sometimes you are so deeply immersed in your daily activities - in my case, spending a chunk of my waking hours at the office - that you don't have time for other things.  And the fact that it has been raining quite a lot in Abuja lately, plus the arrival of Ebola in Nigeria, not to mention the threat of terrorism all around us, it's just inevitable that you stay in your comfort zone and let the days turn into months. 

Indoors all the time
Thanks to internet, cable TV, smart phones, a few gossipy friends and colleagues here and there, it becomes easy not to go beyond the home-and-office routine, it becomes easy to know who dies, who gets kidnapped, who celebrates another birthday, who makes millions by the hour, who wins an award, who struggles to make ends meet, who gets promoted or sacked, who goes on vacation and where, who invents what and where, who invades which country and why, and on an on and on... And before you know it, it's time to rip off another page from the calendar and another Chinese is born. 

In Abuja, there is never a lack of information about the world (if that's all you want) even when all you do everyday is go to work in the morning and go back home in the evening. On weekends you either do a little shopping (to replenish the fridge and the store), dine in a little restaurant, meet with a few friends, or sleep all through till the following Monday morning. 

But what if you want to explore Abuja? What are your options? 
You may not have many options compared to many capital cities in the world, but this is not to say Abuja is a lackluster city. It's a baby city, yes, but that doesn't mean it's boring. Only babies have qualities that are.... well, baby-like or child-like. I mean once a baby grows, the charm, the simplicity, the innocence, the freshness are all gone. Therefore this is still the time to explore the FCT. Don't wait for it to become a megacity like New York or cosmopolitan like Paris.    

So now, if you have to venture outdoors today, here are 3 suggestions:

Visit the Abuja Arts Village for all types of handicrafts (Read more...)



Try one of the many restaurants near you. (Read more...)


Go on a Ferris wheel ride at Wonderland Amusement Park (Read more...)



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

4 Restaurants in Abuja you would like to go to asap

When it comes to dining out, Abuja has a lot to offer anyone who is willing to try, taste, and expect the unexpected.

 From local dishes (found only in Nigeria) to foreign dishes, you will surely find something that will satisfy your palate. From Indian to Lebanese, from Chinese to French to Ethiopian to Italian, and at different price ranges, Abuja restaurants are there to please you with starters, soups, main dishes, desserts, etc. Inside 5-star hotels, 3-star hotels, inside malls, or in a building of their own, and presenting you with different types of ambiance and services, these places are located all around Abuja.
  
If you are patient and determined enough, search the internet and you will surely stumble on one. Either that or ask for recommendations from your friends or colleagues. But if you just want a quick glance, here are four restaurants I would recommend:

The Bukka, Transcorp Hilton Hotel
Dine on traditional Nigerian cuisine at the Bukka Restaurant,Transcorp Hilton Abuja. Join business guests and locals as you feast on continental favorites from the buffet. African-style dark woods blend with light walls as natural light streams in at this Abuja restaurant, available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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The Papillon, Sheraton Abuja Hotel
The Papillon Restaurant is one of Abuja's finest buffet restaurants with stunning greenery and clear blue fountain water. Come together at the restaurant for buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Experience a fusion of African and international cuisines. Chinese Night, Indian Night, African Night, and Mexican Night are usually held at the Papillon. 


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Woks and Koi, Silverbird Entertainment Centre
Woks & Koi delivers a trendy and contemporary style on traditional Asian cuisine, with an elegant combination of incredible aromas an awesome ambience and hypnotic tastes. EVERY meal at Woks and Koi has been specially thought out & prepared with the finest spices and highest hygiene standards, ensuring we deliver on our five-star promise to you, every time. Conceived by the savvy entrepreneur, Tope Obadina, this opulent dining room conjures a combination of professionalism & panache in sultry oriental glamour; complete with dapper uniformed staff, chinoiserie, bespoke artworks and glitz.


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Straton Place Restaurant, Protea Hotel Asokoro
Open seven days a week, Straton Place Restaurant offers an a la carte and buffet menu and serves breakfast from 06:30 to 10:30, lunch from 12:00 to 15:00 and delectable dinner from 18:00 to 22:30 daily. The bar is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the coffee shop serves fresh beverages from 10:00 to 22:00 daily. - See more at: http://www.proteahotels.com/hotels/Pages/protea-hotel-asokoro.aspx#Facilities.



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where to go in Abuja - The Wonderland Amusement Park is worth a try



Not too far from the city centre, Wonderland Amusement Park and Resorts is a family-oriented park where one can have a relaxing few hours, especially during weekends and holidays. There are enough rides to keep children, as well as adults, busy and happy.

Located at No. B1 Kukbawa Road, and not to far from the National Stadium, this park was opened to the public in 2007.

For price of tickets and more information, you may contact Wonderland Amusement Park at the following numbers: +234-9-780-4000, +234-805-555-3512, +234-909-977-7881 (For Whatsapp).

Opening Hours:
Monday: Closed all day (Except on holidays, special events and parties)
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday: 2:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Saturday/Sunday: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm

Website:
http://www.wonderlandng.com

These photos were taken at the park over the years...





Monday, September 1, 2014

Abuja Art and Craft Village - for locally made decorations and gift items


The Abuja Art and Craft Village is definitely one of the top ten places to visit if you are new in Abuja, or even if you have been here for a long time but have never had the chance to go there and have a look. 

Composed of several thatch-roofed huts, each one selling different types of mostly African-made items such as painting, carvings, bags, bracelets and necklaces, leather products, and many other things, the Abuja Art and Craft Village is a stone's throw away from the Sheraton Abuja Hotel. 

Simply walking around the stalls and having a look at the products is a great experience in itself. If you are a foreigner and you are planning to buy an item or two, try not too get disappointed if the prices might sound a bit high. You are expected to bargain and can get what you want for half the first price the vendor tells you. If you are not sure about bargaining, ask someone, maybe a Nigerian to go with you to assist you. 

These photos taken at the Abuja Art and Craft Village...


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Exciting new things at the Sheraton Abuja Hotel


Early this year I got an email from someone I knew online years ago but never met personally, Lola A. Banjo, telling me she would be coming to Abuja soon as part of her job with Starwood Resorts and Hotels Worldwide, Inc., owners of a chain of hotels popularly known as Sheraton.

She wanted us to meet. I told her I would be happy to meet with her anytime she arrived in Abuja. Turned out she is the daughter of a friend's friend, Connie, a Filipino married to a Nigerian based in Ibadan.

Lola is the marketing manager of Sheraton hotels in the whole of Nigeria and is actually based in Dubai. She will be in Nigeria for some time.  Early this week she sent a message to let me know she's in town and would like to invite me for lunch at the Sheraton... and so we did have lunch on Saturday, the 19th of July.

The Papillon Restaurant, one of the several restaurants inside the Sheraton Abuja Hotel, is indeed one of the best in the whole of Abuja. I can say this, not just because they gave me free lunch (laugh out loud), but also because that's just the truth. I mean this is one place where you can truly satisfy your palate at the buffet table with a wide choice of  starters, soups, main courses (Nigerian and continental dishes) and desserts.

After the meal Lola took me on a tour of their suites and I couldn't help but notice the many changes that have taken place at the hotel since the last time I was there for one event or another. In short the hotel is getting a face lift and the new look is just fantastic.

While going round, Lola gave me a glimpse of the many plans she is working on to satisfy hotel clients and customers. She has plans for future brides, for writers, for everyone! And I think I am excited as she is!

Click here for more information about PAPILLON buffet rates, menus, and theme nights...




Sunday, June 29, 2014

August Strindberg's Dance of Death at the Embassy of Sweden


An invitation from the Ambassador of Sweden to Nigeria, His Excellency Svante Kilander, came through the mail early last week. It was for a chance to watch a play entitled The Dance of Death I. If you google The Dance of Death I, you will find out that it was written in 1900 by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, and is generally described as a play about an unhappy, crumbling marriage. 

Since it was going to be held on a Saturday (28th June 2014) and at a convenient time for me (there were two performances, at 3pm and 5.30pm – I went for the 3pm show), I readily accepted the invitation, and I am so glad I did for some reasons: for the unique experience; for the opportunity to learn and be entertained; and for the chance to feed my soul with something different after all the sad and horrible news that we have been getting in this our beautiful city lately. 

Put together by homegrown talents such as Jibrin Ahmed (director) and Om´oba Jerry Adesewo (producer), the play was performed by Aroja Royal Theatre, courtesy of the Embassy of Sweden in Abuja and Ericsson. It was supported by the Korean Cultural Centre Nigeria, AIT, NTA, and the National Institute for Cultural Orientation. 

Although members of the Aroja Royal Theatre have been performing at different times and venues in Abuja for some time now, this was my first time to actually watch them perform. I like the fact that the cast came fully prepared with their lines, and the transition from one scene to the next was fast and never boring. The addition of contemporary humor (the play was written in 1900) was definitely a plus as it elicited laughter from the audience.

Dance of Death I cast: Oluwaseun Odukoya in the role of Alice; Oluwatoba Oyewale in the role of Captain Edgar; and Promise Ebichi Chinonyerem in the role of Curt. 



Here are interesting facts about THE DANCE OF DEATH from Wikipedia:
The Dance of Death (Dödsdansen) refers to two plays, The Dance of Death I, and the Dance of Death II, both written by August Strindberg in 1900. Part one was written in September, and then, after receiving response to the play, part two was written in November. The two plays have much in common, and each is a full evening in the theatre. If they are joined together as one theatre-going experience between the two plays present difficulties. For example in part one the Captain is desperately poor, and in part two he is well-to-do. Read more at www.wikipedia.com.
Johan August Strindberg (22 January 1849 – 14 May 1912) was a Swedish playright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg´s career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography, history, history, cultural analysis, and politics.
In Sweden Strindberg is known as an essayist, painter, poet, and especially as a novelist and playwright, but in other countries his renown is mostly as a playwright.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Call for a residency program in Berlin, Germany



Culled from the GOETHE-INSTITUT NIGERIA Newsletter of  June 2014:
RESIDENCY in BERLIN
ZK/U OPEN CALL - Deadline 27th of July 2014.
In the context of its research and residency program, ZK/U offers a ‘living & work’ space for artists, scholars and practitioners working in the fields of urban research, geography, anthropology, urbanism, architecture and the humanities. 
The residency consists of furnished studio-apartments (mostly with private bathrooms), communal facilities, shared production areas, a open platform for public events, lectures, discussions, screenings, performance and presentations. For individual fellows, depending on the studio-apartment and length of stay, the resident’s costs are between 500 and 800 euro a month. 
KEYWORDS:  URBAN TRANSFORMATION, TRANS-DISCIPLINARY, SOCIALLY AND POLITICALLY ENGAGED PRACTICES
ZK/U Founding concept: http://www.zku-berlin.org/concept/
ZK/U Residency frame: http://www.zku-berlin.org/residency/ 
Application process: http://www.zku-berlin.org/apply/
ZKU - Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik
KUNSTrePUBLIK e.V.
Siemensstrasse, 27
10551 Berlin
For more details: http://www.zku-berlin.org
         Email: sk@zku-berlin.org

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Vacancy for a Project Assistant at the Goethe Institute Lagos



Culled from the newsletter of GOETHE INSTITUTE NIGERIA

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT for Project Assistant for the “MOKOLO-Project”

The Mokolo platform was created in 2012 with the aims to promote and support film and audiovisual sectors in Africa and its Diaspora by:
  • Connecting, promoting and supporting film and audiovisual professionals from or related to Africa and its diaspora; 
  • Promoting film and audiovisual content made by Africans, about Africa or related to Africa and its diaspora;
  • Improving the accessibility and visibility of such content; - Facilitating and promoting the use of existing and future web technologies by professionals and audiences through research, development and education;
  • Providing one single viable and reliable access point for all of the above, which links existing initiatives, services and resources. Mokolo is run by the Mokolo-Foundation which has its main office in Lagos/Nigeria. 
Goethe-Institut Nigeria is founding member of the Mokolo-Foundation and has secured funding from the European Union (Program ACP Cultures+) for the period of two years, starting from April 1, 2014. T
In order to implement the foundations goal, Goethe-Institut Nigeria is looking for applications for the strategic position of a Project Assistant for the “MOKOLO-Project” Part-time (50%) as from 01.08.2014 (limited until 31.03.2016) in Lagos, Nigeria on local contract.

The Mokolo-Project requires a suitably skilled and experienced person with the following responsibilities: 
  • providing administrative support to the project manager in the implementation of the Mokolo project, 
  • assistance in financial management of the project (planning and accounting) 
  • assistance in electronic resource management as well as partner coordination in the regions (Goethe-Institut Nigeria, Villa ACT Senegal, ActivSpaces Cameroon, Awali Entertainment Limited Kenia, xm:lab Germany, Underdog Productions South Africa)
The successful applicant will have:
  • excellent organizational and administrative expertise - proven records in financial management
  • above average knowledge of audiovisual policies on the African continent - good international networks
  • sound knowledge of working in an international environment - ability to speak and write fluently in English and French
  • working permit for Nigeria. S/he will be based at the foundation head quarter in Lagos, Nigeria, under the direct control of Goethe-Institut Nigeria who will remain financially responsible of the project until the end of EU co-financing phase (31/3/2016). 
Interested applicants should submit a letter of application motivating her/his suitability for the position, a Curriculum Vitae detailing experience and skills and three contactable referees, of which at least one should be a member of one of the partner countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Kenia).
These should be sent to Marc-André Schmachtel at il@lagos.goethe.org by 1 July 2014. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews.

The successful applicant will be expected to start on 1 September 2014 or as soon as possible before the said date.

For more information on the Mokolo project see www.mokolo.net. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Four-day Annual World Music Celebration at the French Institute starts June 18


Abuja ! be ready for a great and unique Annual World Music Celebration at the French Institute!
The event which is being put together by the French Institute in collaboration with Diamond Music Entertainment is aimed at providing a platform for the appreciation of music in all its ramifications in a four-day celebration. 
This year's version of the remarkable day will begin with a Talent Hunt (singing & rap) on 18th and 19th, a Symposium on 20th and 21st and a musical concert featuring great artists and performances never seen before on the 21st. 
''La Fête de la Musique'' started in France to mark the beginning of the summer solstice in 1882, is above all a free popular music celebration that allows the expression of the styles of music in a cheerful atmosphere!
Check out the programme:
♪ Wednesday 18th - 10am to 5pm - Talent Hunt Auditions
Singing & Rapping Competition!
To register please call +234 803 314 0550
Or come and pick up a form at the French Institute or at Diamond Lounge (Hotel de Bentley)
♫ Thursday 19th - 7pm to 9pm - Talent Hunt Show
If you win, you will get a chance to perform at the World Music Day Concert 2014 and get a record deal! 
♪ Friday 20th & Saturday 21st - from 10am to 5pm - Symposium / Workshops / Forum for the Artists
2014 Theme : Urban Music
To be part of the lecturers, please call +234 803 314 0550
♫ Saturday 21st - 6:30pm - Live Music Show with Top Class Abuja Artists

Sunday, June 8, 2014

National Day of the Italian Republic


On the occasion of the National Day of the Italian Republic, the Ambassador of Italy to Nigeria, His Excellency Fulvio Rustico, hosted a reception at the Europe House in Abuja on June 5, 2014.

Ambassador Rustico also took this opportunity to promote the forthcoming Universal Exhibition tagged EXPO MILANO 2015 that will take place in the city of Milan from the 1st of May to 31st October next year.

It will be "the largest worldwide event organised on the theme of FOOD: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, with over 140 countries confirming their participation and more than 20 million expected visitors."

More info at: www.expo2015.org.

The photos below were taken at the reception.

Top photo: Ambassador Rustico with guests and embassy staff.
Middle photo: Ambassador Rustico talking about Milano 2015; National Day cake; Milano 2015 banner; Italian guard; and guests.
Bottom photo: Guests at the National Day reception on June 5 which took place at Europe House, Abuja.




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

THEY ARE BACK! Grease - The Naija Mix, on December 7 and 8, at the NUC Auditorium, Maitama, Abuja


If you missed the first edition of this great show put together last August by a group of creative, highly motivated, energetic young artists (they sing, they dance with gusto!), then you have another chance this weekend. 

GREASE: THE NAIJA MIX is happening here in Abuja on December 7 and 8, 2013. Tickets at 1000 for children, 3000 regular, and 5000 VIP.

GREASE THE NAIJA MIX IS PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY: Insidetrack Abuja (which provide free publicity for the show) Cool Fm, Wazobia Fm, Nigeria Info, Mama Cass, DrumSticks, Goldfish Entertainment, Iblog and Cognito Studios.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fall Bazaar at the American International School of Abuja - on December 7


The Parents and Teachers Association of the American International School of Abuja invites you to their annual Fall Bazaar on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Time is from 11am to 4pm. Venue is at the American International School of Abuja, Durumi. Contact pta@aisabuja.com or call Julia at 08032950607 for more details...


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shop till you drop at Fusion Lifestyle Shopping Event and Food Fair, on December 1


Here's good news for those who love shopping!

A quarterly shopping event called Fusion Lifestyle takes places in Abuja on December 1, 2013.

To mark the 4th year anniversary of the event, the organizers are planning to make it truly special. Four lucky participants will win free stands at all the company’s events in 2014 and 4 lucky guests will win N20,000 worth of shopping vouchers. There will be free gifts for the first 50 people to walk in the door and other great prizes such as clothes, accessories, food and dessert vouchers and more!

The event will feature over 80 vendors retailing fashion and accessories, homeware, health and beauty products/services, kids stuff and other specialized lifestyle services. Popular Lagos-based designer, Nikki Khiran of Nukki Khiran Couture will be showcasing her latest designs for the first time in at the Abuja fair. This is all to say a big thank you for all the support over the years.

Venue: BMO Events Arena, River Plate Park, Ahmadu Bello Way, Wuse 2, Abuja from 12PM – 7PM.


International Day Celebrations at ICS - on Saturday, November 30


The International Community School in Abuja is celebrating International Day on Saturday, November 30, at 11 to 2pm. You are invited to have a taste of foods from different continents at their new site at Plot 75, Off Citec Road, Dakibiyu, Abuja, Nigeria


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Study in France for free! TOTAL EPNG/French Embassy in Nigeria Scholarship Program - call for application


TOTAL EPNG/French Embassy in Nigeria Scholarship program
CALL FOR APPLICATION 2014/2015
(culled from Institut Francais Nigeria https://www.facebook.com/institutfrancais.nigeria)

In 2012, the French Embassy in Nigeria and the TOTAL E&P Nigeria Limited Group decided to create a scholarship programme for high-level Nigerian students to study in France.

For the 2014/2015 academic year, 5 full scholarships will be awarded.

AREAS OF STUDY
- Political Science
- Economics
- Management
- Finance
- Taxation
- International Law

You must send your scholarship application to studyinginfrance@hotmail.fr by 09/12/2013

Week-long documentary film festival at Institut Francais Nigeria

CLICK TO ENLARGE
A week-long documentary film festival commenced yesterday, November 25, at the Institut Francaise (French Institute), located at No.52 Libreville Street, off Aminu Kano Street, Wuse 2, Abuja. Daily showing at 7pm.

GATE FREE!

You may click on the pic above to get a clearer view of the schedule and synopsis of the films to be shown, or you may visit http://www.institutfr-nigeria.org for all information (summaries, trailers, etc.).



IN LAGOS: Afropolitan Vibes at Freedom Park on Friday, November 29


All details at https://www.facebook.com/afropolitanvibes

Monday, November 25, 2013

IN ABUJA: Christmas Carols and Bazaar by LISCOA on 8th December 2013


The Ladies' International Social Club of Abuja is organising a Bazaar with Christmas Carols on Sunday, 8th of December 2013, at 4pm, at BluCabana Restaurant and Cafe, Mabushi District, Abuja.

You can get tickets at the the BluCabana reception at 1000 naira for adults and 500 naira for children.

All proceeds will go to charity.

Interested vendors of Christmas items at the bazaar may contact them at liscoabuja@gmail.com.

The Ladies’ International Social Club of Abuja is a non-political, non-religious, non-profitable organization established for women from the International community residing in and around Abuja.







Saturday, November 23, 2013

TODAY NOV 24 IN ABUJA: Charity Bazaar and Food Fair at the Embassy of the Philippines in Maitama


The Abuja Chapter of the Department of Foreign Affairs Ladies Foundation (DFALF) of the Philippines is organising a Charity Bazaar and Food Fair on Sunday, 24th November 2013, at the Embassy of the Philippines in Abuja.

Time is from 10am onwards.

Everyone is welcome.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

IN ABUJA: Alderwood Land Bazaar


Alderwood Land Daycare and Preschool is having a bazaar on 1st December 2013 at 7B Port Novo Street, Off Aminu Kano Street, Wuse II, Abuja. From 11am to 5pm. Free entrance. For more details, please call 0807 1829991. (Source: Abuja Expats)

Monday, November 18, 2013

IN ABUJA: An Exhibition by Contemporary Nigerian Artists on 24th November 2013


You are invited to the ART IN THE HOUSE, AN EXHIBITION BY CONTEMPORARY NIGERIA ARTISTS on Sunday, 24th November 2013, at Blucabana Restaurant, Mabushi. Time: 2pm.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

IN ABUJA: Czech Evening at the Institut Francais, on 20th November 2013


The Embassy of Czech Republic in Abuja and the French Institute of the Embassy of France in Nigeria are organising a cultural event on Wednesday 20th of November at 6PM.

Free entry.


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