Archive for ‘Africa’

March 7, 2019

Real Madrid, the greatest club in football/soccer history!

I will be talking about something personal, it is my club since many years, and never updated since my first entry in 2011! until now in my blog. I think at this moment it would be very opportune to re tell you about it. I lived in Madrid for four years between 1970 to 1974, and played for the Real Madrid in baseball,volleyball ,and football/soccer in the alavin division. Once a Madridista, always a Madridista to the grave. There is no other team club alike in the history of the game of football/soccer. Hala Madrid!!!!

Madrid santiago bernabeu sta 07avr10

Madrid

A bit of my life’s story goes like this:  I was just a young kid that was introduced to the organisation by a baseball umpire to play for their junior baseball team (sponsored by the Real Madrid in league of 8 teams which included the old US air base at Torrejon de Ardoz) at the parque de la Elipa, from my home at Calle Alcala, Quintana neighborhood or barrio (district Ciudad Lineal) it was just a bus P13 to it (now EMT bus 113). While there, friends used to go to see the team different sports  played, Ciudad Deportiva (the old one by the paseo de la Castellana now has four skyrises call towers as torre Espacio, torre Repsol, torre de la Mutua and torre Sacyr).

While going to these games, some kids who were already on the different sports organisations and had played football with me in parks like parque Calero and Retiro ,asked me to come to the Ciudad Deportiva installations for a tryout that was open. With the help of my baseball contacts that included member “socios” of the Real Madrid football team I got my first tryouts. Before long, I too, was wearing the white shirt of the football team, and move up from benjamin to alavin status. Those were wonderful memories even if just what is left is memories. Never forget that day in 1972 when I first enter the Real Madrid CF .

Madrid

From then on it has been a love affair whenever I may be living, trying for all means to obtain news of the team, and enjoying every second of my visits to the city from 1977 on to today. I am active in several forums that talks about the team, and go to the stadium often in season to see football and basketball games from Vistalegre to Caja Magica ,Ciudad Deportiva, WiZink Center, Valdebebas to Santiago Bernabeu.

The team , a bit of history. The team was born out of educators who sat around and found a club in 1897 around the Vallecas barrio or neighborhood. Quickly it became more organised by several of the members of the team in 1901 and eventually  Julian Palacios as first President officially  registered the club in 1902 as the Madrid Foot-Ball Club in 1902. By 1920 the king Alfonso XIII give it the royal rank of Real or royal as he was a follower too ::) ,and honorary member =socio. From June 1920 it became the Real Madrid CF that we know today. The team participated in the first Spanish league organised in 1929 finishing in second place.  The first league came on this period in the 1931-32 season, the first title !

The greatest period came after the war when on September 15 , 1943 when ex player and ex coach ,Santiago Bernabeu was named President of the club. After organising an international tournament in Colombia in 1952, they saw what was in 1953 their greatest signing that of Alfredo Di Stefano( Argentina) , considered by many the world’s greatest player , as well as the Spanish Francisco “paco” Gento from Santander and the league championship came back to the Real Madrid in the 1953-54 season.  Also, little refugee Ferenc Puskas of Hungary having left his country after the Soviet invation and took refuge in Spain where he signed for the club. They were the start of an amazing run of Five European Cups in a row (record) .  With player like Amancio and Velazquez the club again wins the European Cup in 1966 while continuing to pile up Ligas and Cups at home, these were the Ye-Ye years . The sad news came in June 2nd 1978 with the passing of Don Santiago Bernabeu, the greatest president ever, and today the stadium bears his name as well as the metro stop to it on line 10.

The team follow with the 80’s “la Quinta del Buitre” nickname given to Emilio Butragueño as well as Mexican Hugo Sanchez (Hugol), and many more Ligas however no European Cup. The team from the farm system delighed many and remains one of the most popular periods in the club history even without winning an European championship.  The team continue to wins Ligas in the 90’s with the incorporation of perennial and crowd favorite Raul Gonzalez Blanco, probably the best player ever from the farm system. Finally in 1998  the team came back to win again its trophy , the European Cup now call Champions league. In 1999 the great coach and former player Vicente del Bosque arrive promoting to the first team the legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas ,and with it winning again the Champions league in 2000.

With the election of 2000, a new president came into being the entrepreneur Florentino Perez, (those who follow me know he is not of my liking possibly guilty of the lack of titles of the club in the last few years) ;this was the so call Galactic era, where millionaires dotting shorts and representing the Real Madrid razzle dazzle the world without any title in Europe but huge paychecks from uncle Florentino. Ligas were won but not sufficient due to the expenditures made and another Champions league was won in 2002 with player like Figo, Zidane,Ronaldo, and Beckham. The chosen succesor made it look like an election was Ramon Calderon who created many administrative problems for the club,and was made to resigned in 2009. Ironically , it was Florentino Perez who replaced him single handily without opposition due to no changes in the club by laws where the rich wins, and the second Galactic era began with signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, the signing from England of Spaniard Xabi Alonso and from France Karim Benzema all very expensive contracts and no titles as I write. Me think, time for president Florentino Perez to open elections and retire, too many years there is beginning to look like a dictatorship!

The story continues with the coming of Cristiano Ronaldo already the club all time goal scorer with 451 goals. Also, the signing of former player Zinedine Zidane was awesome. The French coach and the Portuguese player team up to bring us the amazing record of 3 Champions league in a row, never before seen or done!!!  And we are en route to name again the Greatest Club of the 21C having won more league and champions title than any, regardless of the crybabies out there; we won FIFA Best Club of the 20C and the IFHHS European Best club of the 20C as well!!!

Nevertheless, the club is the most winning club in the history of the sport in Spain and abroad regardless of the so call media frenzy of popular teams with a lot less history due to ever increasing publicity and media manipulation.  The Santiago Bernabeu stadium was built in 1947, with a capacity of  80 354 spectators today. The new sport city or  Ciudad Deportiva is today at Valdebebas just outside Madrid and the basketball arena  is now at the WiZink Center in Madrid.

The club has participated in all seasons of Spanish first division football, and has won 33 Ligas, by far the most. The player who has obtained the most titles with the club are Francisco Gento and Manuel Sanchis with 21 titles, and the player with most games is Raul Gonzalez Blanco with 741 games.

Madrid

These are the domestic club titles:

Spanish Liga (33): 1931/32, 1932/33, 1953/54, 1954/55,1956/57, 1957/58, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1962/63, 1963/64, 1964/65, 1966/67, 1967/68, 1968/69, 1971/72, 1974/75, 1975/76, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1994/95, 1996/97, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2011-2012, and 2016-2017.

Copa del Rey or Kings Cup  (19): 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1917, 1934, 1936, 1946, 1947, 1962, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1989, 1993, 2010-2011, and 2013-2014

Super Cup of Spain (10): 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2017. League Cup (1): 1985. Eva Duarte Cup (1):1947. Regional Championships and Community trophies (28) 1904/05, 1905/06, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1909/10, 1912/13, 1915/16, 1916/17, 1917/18, 1919/20, 1921/22,1922/23,1923/24, 1926/26, 1927/28 ,1929/30,1930/31, 1932/33, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36, and 1943. vice Champion of the Liga  (23): 1928/29, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36, 1941/42, 1944/45, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1965/66, 1980/81, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1998/99, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2012-2013, 2014-2015, 2015-2016.  vice Champions of the Kings Cup (20): 1903, 1916, 1918, 1924, 1929,1930,1933,1940,1943,1958, 1959/60, 1960/61,1967/68,1978/79 ,1982/83,1989/90, 1991/92,2001/02,2003/04.2012/13. vice Champion Super Cup of Spain (3): 1982, 1995, 2007. vice Champion League Cup  (1): 1983

International done just the same as good thank you;

Champions League  (13): 1955-56, 1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1965-66, 1997-98, 1999-00, 2001-02. 2013-2014, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-18.

madrid

UEFA Cup (2): 1984/85, 1985/86.

Super Cup of Europe (4): 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017.

Intercontinental Cup , later World Club Cup (7): 1960,1998,2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018.

Ibero American Cup  (1): 1994. Latin Cup(2): 1955, 1957. Club Small World Cup  (2): 1952, 1956.  vice Champion Champions league UEFA  (3): 1961-62, 1963-64, 1980-81. vice Champion European Cup of Cups  (2): 1971,1983. vice Champion Intercontinental Cup  (2): 1966,2000. vice Champion Super Cup of Europe  (2): 1998, 2000.

Madrid

The team has an inmense farm system or Cantera, that allows to maintain teams in many divisions and with excellent championship records as well such as Real Madrid-Castilla, and Real Madrid C team. It ,also has an excellent basketball section with 9 times champions of Europe.

some links of interest below:

The official club webpage  Real Madrid CF

if you want to be part of the family, then become a Madridista here  : Real Madrid fan Club Madridistas

if you want to shop online or find the store in Madrid webpage :  Real Madrid boutiques , for on site stores there is the stadium store on avenida Concha Espina puerta or door 55 or the calle Carmen 3 near Sol in city center,metro sol.

Madrid

if you want to buy ticket onlines ahead of games and pick up yours at the stadium, very easy then see this  : Ticketmaster

madrid

if you want to discuss in Spanish the latest trends in Spanish football and especially the Real Madrid join me in this forum Foro Real Madrid at webpage: Foro del Real Madrid fans forum

For the best sport journal ,in Spain in my opinion, and extensive coverage of football see AS at  Sport journal AS in English with various language and country version , I have it in English.

As the song says, nobody does it better!! Of course, we are human we lose too but overall we are simply the best! We will be back!! Always do always will. Just stay tune! Real Madrid CF forever Hala Madrid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Madrid

And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

September 3, 2018

Back to South Africa!

Well it has been a while on South Africa. Many times we hear of far away places that we would like to visit one day; South Africa was one of them for me. I did not go into the famous safaris but did mostly city dwelling trips and even took public transportation; that is fine with me as cities are it with a beach even better.

I had the opportunity to visit the country twice lately, once in 2012 and then again in 2015, and both times proved to be an experience ,even catching up with friends from my previous life in travel forum VT. The memories will be kept until next time.

Sandton

My previous blog posts on South Africa are here for reference

Sandton and East London

A revisit to South AFrica

I like for my sake and your interests to recall a bit of the places I have been not including those on far away from these cities for which I have no pictures.

East London is a city on the southeast coast of South Africa in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province. Still as far as tourism it is known as Buffalo City. The city lies on the Indian Ocean coast, largely between the Buffalo River and the Nahoon River , and hosts the country’s only river port.

East London

John Bailie, one of the 1820 settlers , surveyed the Buffalo river mouth and founded the town in 1836, a memorial is on Signal Hill commemorating the event. The city formed around the only river port in South Africa and was originally known as Port Rex. This settlement on the West Bank was the nucleus of the town of East London, which was elevated to city status in 1914. The existing port, in the mouth of the Buffalo River, adjoining the Indian Ocean, began operating in 1870. The unusual double-decker bridge over the Buffalo River was completed in 1935 and to this day, is the only bridge of its type in South Africa.

East London

Things to do here with time which I did not see

The East London Zoo; East London Museum, Inkwenkzezi Private Game Reserve, and the Mpongo Private Game Reserve.

The tourist office for this area of Buffalo City (East London) is here: Tourist office of Buffalo city

Moving on to Sandton, this is basically a chic suburb of Johannesburg. Sandton is an affluent area situated in the Johannesburg Municipality, Gauteng province. The name comes from the combination of two of its suburbs , Sandown and Bryanston.

Sandton

I am told that Zandfontein, Driefontein  is the name in Afrikaans and Dutch for Three Springs/Fountains and Rietfontein is Afrikaans and Dutch for Reed Spring or Fountain of Reeds; both encumbered what was to become Sandton. After the demise of Apartheid, Sandton initially formed part of the interim Eastern Metropolitan Substructure, and in 1996 came to be included, along with the former towns of Randburg and Roodepoort as part of the newly demarcated  City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality thus losing its separate municipal government and town status. Despite this, Sandton is still unofficially earmarked as a distinct region of the city and operates as a macro-suburb.

Sandton is home to the Sandton Convention Center , one of the largest convention centers  in Africa. The Sandton Central commercial node, centred on the suburbs of Sandown and Sandhurst has some of the best and most expensive commercial properties and offices in South Africa.

Sandtoncity, ranks among the largest shopping centers in Africa with all to do for a day, more on it here: Sandton city shopping center

Sandton houses the flagship station of the Gautrain (taken and easy nice convenient) rapid rail link. The station is located on the corner of West Street and Rivonia Road. The system has direct connections to OR Tambo International Airport and an inter-city commuter service from Pretoria through Rosebank to Park Station Johannesburg. More on the transit network here:  Gautrain rapid transist network

Sandton

A webpage with a bit more information on chic Sandton is here: Sandton Central

The South African tourist board : Tourist office of South Africa

There you go a nice experience in exotic South Africa. A wonderful experience and new friends, looking forward for a repeat.

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!

 

April 28, 2018

A bit of Uganda for you!

Ok, so I am back, the blog keeps me going thru these days, it is a way to keep up with the past and tell of the future. So on my last journey ,and my 80th country visited, I came to Uganda. A wonderful place of many friendly people all eager to improve themselves.

My journey as usual took me from Nantes Atlantique airport after getting there with my car. From Nantes I flew again to Paris CDG T2F and then change to Terminal 1 for a fly with Qatar Airways to first Doha and then Entebbe, Uganda. The return was easier on KLM from Entebbe to Amsterdam Schiphol airport and then again on KLM to Nantes Atlantique airport where my car was waiting for the return home. All done well except needed to change from AF to Qatar Airways which made me arrive five hours later to Entebbe.

Amsterdam Amsterdam Paris Paris Paris

Once there, had a friendly transportation ride as it was a business trip ,to Kampala the capital even if has no airport.  Here I stayed first at the bit expensive but just to impressed me Le Petit Village actually of Belgian style and the price to match Europe. It is actually a village with accommodations ,pool, an inside bank, souvenir store, bar and light restaurant as well as a fancy one call le Chateau with again prices to match for visiting businesspeople like me. The overall place is very nice of course, worth it of its name. The webpage is here; Le Petit Village

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

Doha airport is very nice as usual in this part of the world, the airport is the highlight … huge super modern place with all the trimmings and easy to connect flights. The formal name of the airport is Hamad International,and the webpage is here: Doha Hamad International airport

Qatar Qatar Qatar Qatar

From Doha I continue to Entebbe and here you are worlds apart; small, a bit rundown, and dirty and you need to get out of your car so they check on it , walk by and the driver will pick you up on the other side after you going thru a security check point. Once at the airport no sense in getting earlier as they put you on the side waiting room until your flight is call for departure; then you outside again and come back thru the security check point to get back into the terminal… At least the people are very friendly. The webpage is here: Entebbe airport from official gov source

A better more information place for the airport is found here: Unofficial Entebbe airport

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

While passing by Entebbe saw a bit of the local street scene, and several malls such as Imperial Mall and Victoria Mall, very interesting and some crowded traffic jams as well as rain. The imperial Mall is a recent development for Uganda standards and they have a Facebook page for it here: Facebook Imperial Mall Entebbe

Uganda

The Victoria Mall is the largest in the country and very nice. IT is in Facebook but has its own webpage here: Victoria Mall Entebbe

Uganda

There is a nice multiple store with a shopping mall call Oasis in Kampala. It has several stores and even saw a KFC restaurant here: More from this webpage: https://theeye.co.ug/nakumatt-oasis-mall/

Uganda

I  continue from Kampala and doing some street scenes rides and tasting the local Nile Special beer, just yummy! I went on to Jinja another important city in Uganda,and right by the mouth of the mighty Nile river.

Uganda

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

In Jinja , I stayed at the nice and friendly Two Friends guest house, worth it good value location and services. Here we had dinner at the next door All Friends Restaurant. The webpage is here; 2 Friends guest house Jinya

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

IT is on a street bordered with tourist accommodation as Jinja is a popular place for tours of the Nile river which starts here around Lake Victoria.  A bit more info on the Nile river mouth and cruises here: Nile river safaris

And of course , a bit more on Lake Victoria, simply amazing. Lake Victoria Uganda

While in Jinja, I did my baptism on the Nile river , a bit lake but I was here!!! Well having a jet ski waverunner and driver helps a lot but the views were spectacular and of course on the way back to harbor I fell in the water trying to go from the jet ski to a fishing boat; no big deal it was shallow and had floating jacket on, quickly out, just my clothes were soaked. An experience to remember for life. Wonderful place thought.

Uganda

As my time there covered a week and traveling back and forth from Kampala to Jinya I got me a different hotel for the last day and a half in Kampala, this was the MacKinnon Suites, very centrally located, rather nice building, impressive courtyad only the bedding was a bit well yellow.  The rest was fine with good friendly service and excellent facilities. webpage: Mackinnon Suites hotel Kampala

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Coming back landing at CDG Terminal 1 been there but is my worse terminal, been the oldest nothing like T2. The pdf map for Terminal 1 is here: CDG Terminal 1 map  You walk into the CDGVAL train connection to get you to Terminal 2 and the connections to Paris.

Coming thru Schiphol Amsterdam allow me for a quicker return and to do some shopping for Gouda cheese, and pepermint candies. The airport is an usual one for me with just one big boulevard Holland to walk by and shop and eat and drink.  I spent most of my time there at the Internet Centre and eating at the Oven pizzeria upper level.  You have the maps here: Schiphol airport maps

Nantes Atlantique is booming with growth and facilities every where already very much in use, it will grow for sure. It is my favorite airport as it is so easy to use and very convenienent covered attach parking garage. The hotels are just across the street for a stayover about 300 meters. Webpage: Nantes Atlantique map

Overall, a very pleasant trip and a new dot in my world map. Uganda know from many years before doing business there but never visit until now, as the saying goes better late than never. And I will be back….

I took many pictures of all things moving, will put a sampler here just to get you to try it go there ,the beer is good the coffee is great, and the people very friendly and safe place to be. Enjoy  the street scenes.

Uganda Uganda Uganda Uganda

Happy long weekend with our Labor Day coming May 1, and other personal duties going to Paris for my wife illness,and then before see the semifinal second game of the Champions league…; Happy travels, good health and many cheers!

 

March 5, 2018

An experience, take a look at Lagos,Nigeria!!

A few years back, I had the opportunity to try a job experience that have been wonderful and several friends later and a blog post, would like to update.

While working for a French Oil support outfit, I was asked to trained the personnel on the Oracle accounting system set you there,and reports back to home office in France. I needed to move to Lagos, Nigeria for about 3 months.

Lagos Lagos

Let me give you my blog post and photos on the experience here:  https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/26/lagosnigeria-an-adventure/

The security was tight, I had a driver/car 24 hrs 7/7 and lived in a secure compound Somerset Court. More here:  http://www.somersetct.com/

We had great shopping at Mega Plaza, and Palms Spring shopping center, and could go out a lot to restaurants and bars, especially the Federal Palace , Sofitel, and Eko hotel complexes.
The favorite links are here: Sofitel hotel
http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-2770-hotel-moorhouse-ikoyi-lagos-mgallery-by-sofitel/index.shtml

Federal Palace Hotel and Casino
https://www.suninternational.com/federal-palace/

Eko Hotel
https://www.ekohotels.com/

Shoprite supermarket
https://www.shoprite.com.ng/

Palms Shopping Mall, home of Shoprite
https://www.myguidenigeria.com/things-to-do/the-palms-shopping-mall

Lagoon Indian cuisine restaurant
https://ofadaa.com/lagos/restaurants/lagoon

golden gate Chinese cuisine restaurant
https://hotels.ng/places/restaurant/193-golden-gate-restaurant
Orchid House local cuisine
https://hotels.ng/places/restaurant/1175-orchid-house

Another fine Indian cuisine restaurant
https://hotels.ng/places/restaurant/3123-sherlaton-indian-restaurant

Local Cuisine and very friendly one of my favorites there was Manuela
http://www.manuelaresidence.net/

The experience was fulfilling and several friends still in touch, and the feeling that I trained them right and are still on post. On these spots in our world, it is not recommended to go with a family but for short periods I recommend the experience to anyone. The company has a revolving visa system where those on the dock work 12 weeks and get 4 weeks off on rotation.

Now let me tell you a bit about the history of Lagos ,and Nigeria just a bit that I like.

Lagos or Èkó in the local language of Yoruba, the biggest city of Nigeria and Africa. Lagos is located in a group of several islands in a large lagoon protected from the Atlantic ocean and on the Gulf of Benin. The Portuguese were here in the 15C and named the city in reference to the Port of Lagos from which expeditions to Africa were done back in southern Portugal. It was conquered by the kingdom of Benin in the 15-16C and governed by kings and become a major center of the slave trade during the 18C. An anecdote ,here, the slaves brought to Cuba by Spain were from this area and the Yoruba language was carried with them there, now there are some traces of this and the few words I could remember served me well while in Lagos to the surprise of the locals. In 1861, the British founded a colony and name it Capital of the Protectorate of South Nigeria established in 1914. Lagos stayed as Capital at the moment of Independence of Nigeria in 1960. By 1967, it became a Federal State equal standing with the other 11 States of Nigeria.

The best areas are east of city center at Ikoyi (where I lived), and Victoria Island. The district of Lagos Island is the business area with an artificial island named Eko Atlantic City.

The Lagos island is on a huge lagoon that goes into the Ogunau river by the Gulf of Benin. Several of these islands have been linked or attached to the continent as peninsula like Iddo Island or Victoria Island. The lagoon opens up to the Atlantic Ocean by a coastal line that extends to 100 km to the east and west of the mouth located near the city. The government decided to transfer the Capital to a new city call Abuja in 1976; this to slow down the growth of Lagos and for the most part to have a divided country without privileging the three main ethnic groups in the country.

There are several ferry lines between Lagos island and the continent managed by the Lagos State Ferry Services Corporation. More on it here:  http://ferryservices.lagosstate.gov.ng/

Lagos is served by the international airport Murtala Muhammed,one of the biggest in Africa and located in the suburbs of Ikeja. Webpage here:  http://lagosairport.net/

The city of Lagos has one of the largest and most extensive road networks in West Africa with the notables Lagos–Ibadan Expressway and the Lagos–Abeokuta Expressway ,also serving as inter-state roads to Oyo and Ogun States. On the west you have the Lagos–Badagry Expressway serves outlying towns such as Festival Town. There is ,also, the Trans–West African Coastal Highway leaving the city as the Badagry Expressway to Benin and beyond as far as Dakar and Nouakchott, also, the Trans-Sahara Highway to Algers, Algeria leaving the city as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The Lagos State has a bus rapid transit (BRT) system and Lagos Rail Mass Transit currently under construction. More on these projects here:  http://lamata-ng.com/who-we-are/#  Several intercity and commuter trains serve Lagos through the Lagos Terminus railway station. More of it and photos here:  https://hotels.ng/places/terminal/2122-lagos-terminus-iddo

Three major bridges join the island to the mainland. They are the Carter Bridge which starts from Iddo, the Eko Bridge, and the Third Mainland Bridge, which passes through densely populated mainland suburbs to the Lagos Lagoon.

There are popular markets such as Idumota and Balogun Markets. The Bar and Lekki beaches and on the Atlantic side Elegushi and Alpha Beaches, and the museum of Black Heritage with a site here:  http://www.cometonigeria.com/wheretogo/badagry-black-heritage-museum/

Other sites that can be visited are the Central Mosque, Glover Memorial Hall, Christ’s Church Cathedral and the Oba’s Palace (Iga Idunganran). Lagos Island’s Tinubu Square is a site of historical importance; it was here that the Amalgamation Ceremony that unified the North and South protectorate to form Nigeria took place in 1914. Ikoyi is connected to Victoria Island by the Falomo bridge, which carries a main road over Five Cowrie creek. Ikoyi, also has a number of hotels, night clubs, a recreational park and one of Africa’s largest golf courses. Victoria Island with its annexe is situated to the south of Lagos Island, and it has expensive real estate properties and for that reason, many new luxury condos and apartments. Lagos,also has a number of private beach resorts including Inagbe Grand Beach Resort.

The hightlight of any night out is to have the local Suya (spicy shish kebab or spiced roasted beef) which is consumed in local clubs and bars with a bottle of cold pint beer, Star!!

Enjoy the momento and the pictures in the blog post and  see above for more. An exotic experience that turns out a very nice memorable passing by Lagos,Nigeria. Enjoy your week! Cheers!!!

September 20, 2015

South Africa revisited!!!

Well en route but just back from South Africa. Another nice trip and was able to touch with old friends again. These are the quick visits as always but very nice memories. And I am on my way to Paris,London next…….

I went out by car from home with a bit extra time as it was raining on the N165 road, and to my surprise there was an accident and work construction on the road that was creating one lane only. Big slow down almost standstill. I thought would miss my plane at Nantes Atlantique airport:http://www.nantes.aeroport.fr/  . Hopefully, it cleared up but needed to do 150 KPH ::) ( about 93 MPH) , and got there just as the plane was been board! After this event flew well on AF to Paris CDG T2F, and easily went over to T2E for the flight to South Africa on AF as wellhttp://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/en/passengers/access/paris-charles-de-gaulle/terminals-map

The flight is long and this time it seems and was longer as usually go to Fourways, J’Burg first, but this time change at OR Tambo airport :http://www.airports.co.za/home.asp?pid=228 ;  there on a domestic SAA flight to East London. http://www.airports.co.za/home.asp?pid=352.  Once at East London I was picked up by car and taken to my hotel, the Riverbend B&B, which locals put me there, it was very nice like been at home and friendly service,http://www.riverbendguesthouse.co.za/   .  We did have dinner at a pricier property like a spa hotel resto,but only have the front in the photo and can’t remember the name lol!!! just been me I guess.

The next day we went to Abbotsford Arms pub, http://showme.co.za/east-london/events-entertainment/east-londons-pubs-and-bars/ ; where in addition to some real fine Carling Black Label beers we had this special menu 500g T-Bone smothered in our herb butter sauce, served with freshly cut chips and 2 veg. ONLY R99.00 .

A bit of driven in town to practice my right side wheel and it was off to the East London airport again this time to J’Burg. I was to land at 21h10 at OR Tambo airport and my shuttle to wait for me. However, I came domestic this time on terminal B and my shuttle was in internationals Terminal A!!!! So with little wifi:internet could not find his phone number, and were some trying moments until finally found his phone number to start a funny exchange. Noo I am at the information desk with a plaque holding your name, noo I do not see anybody in the ID, finally I said I am in terminal B oh oh I am in terminal A thinking you were coming international, noo the folks here knew I was coming domestic. Finally we hook up for the ride to my hotel.

The hotel was the nice City Lodge Fourways near the montecasino complex. https://clhg.com/hotels/120/City-Lodge-Hotel-Fourways ; this is a nice hotel first time in it and love it. Great restaurant area, with pool overlooking the city road at Witkoppen road.  Locals took me for lunch at the nice le Soufflé in Fourways a French style restaurant where I had my duck confit and more of that Black Label beers. http://www.lesouffle.co.za/

In the evening, I met a new friend and as had a car, we rode looking for this place I have heard call the Beer House, and after some trying as the friend was from Pretoria, we finally found the place ::) This is a pub with live music, 99 different beers and great menu in a resto laden road off the Witkoppen road as well but need to come by the Fourways Crossing mall side to get here. http://www.beerhouse.co.za/fourways/

We had a great time until very late; and a wonderful house burger and t bone steak with different beers but I stuck with the new found nice one Carling  Black Label. Just great company, happy lively place, good music and the place is loaded with likes establishements on the same side.

It was time for me to say goodbye to the springboks once again, and another nice visit of many more memories to last. On my way back got the airport early so went for my airport lunch this time at a new place too. The Keg and Aviator pub where I had another of those big juicy burgers and more of the wonderful Carling Black Label beers.  The place general page is here http://atthekeg.co.za/  ,and the one at the airport I try is this one http://www.saairports.com/or-tambo-international-airport/shop/36788-keg-aviator; they are in the public area of the airport to your end right.

The flight back was flawless, to Paris CDG T2E and then change easy to T2F for the last leg back to Nantes where my car was waiting for the trip back home. It was a very nice trip personal and business wise. Until the next time hopefully less than a year away. Cheers.

East london East London East London East London East London East London East London East London Fourways Fourways Fourways Fourways Fourways Fourways Johannesbourg Johannesbourg Johannesbourg Johannesbourg Johannesbourg

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May 26, 2012

Amazing South Africa, Sandton and East London

Ok so just back from another exotic trip, this time it was South Africa. Have not been back since 1998, so this opportunity was great for the update. The East London area is working class but also, has some nice neighborhood,then the Sandton area as Fourways are just superb it seems very nice architecture and lively.

The country has gone thru a metamorphosis and its looking very bright with growth potential even if as every where else there are economic problems. I was there on business so not much touristic side trips. The car was the main mode as I was driven around, so it look easy, and as I am a road warrior this was heavens.

I did spent a wonderful week, and many new friends who treated me as if known for years. I was able to go into the country to meet customers right in their homes out in the country, very good roads, and gorgeous scenery. My photos were taken with my blackberry so not uptimum but ease of use when on business.

I arrive and was pick up by the transport folks of the hotel where I was staying, the Sitatunga Transfers folks were always very dependable, and the lodging was done at their property near Sandton at Sitatunga Guest Lodge, webpage http://www.sitatungatransfers.co.za/index.php?nav=accommodation You will be in an oasis and well treated. When I needed to move to East London,  I stayed at Thrity Six on Bonza ,another nice   boutique lodge ,gorgeously done, and great friendly service; webpage http://www.36onbonza.co.za/AboutUs.aspx

When we did go out we had fun at Fornos Bakery in Fourways near Sandton, great burgers, sausages, and drinks while looking out in the terrace over a shopping mall and passerbyers, webpage http://www.fournos.co.za/  We had dinner on request at Thirty Six on Bonza as per above, and also a great seafood and cheap 10 euros for prawns plate at Vasilis Mediterranean,Sandton, here is the description in a South AFrican dining guide, http://www.eatout.co.za/Restaurants/6208/Johannesburg/Seafood-Sushi-Mediterranean-Portuguese/Vasilis

I ,also was able to try the Gautrain underground station in Sandton, and direct to OR Tambo international airport, very easy magnetic card depends on your usage you buy from machine using bank cards or cash, very easy indeed,and modern, clean, fast and on time. webpage http://www.gautrain.co.za/  The airport at Johannesbourg  OR Tambo is very nice with all conveniences and had easy in and out there all the time. http://www.acsa.co.za/home.asp?pid=228  ,the nice terrace bar here is Mandys  The airport at East London is smaller but then easy to manouver and I was told the most expensive place to visit by plane as not too many connections available, http://www.acsa.co.za/home.asp?pid=232 it has an interesting zuly type shape roof,and great bar at Mile High Bar.

I was even close to a beach at East London, very nice beaches in the area, and sure a promise to come back and visited them by the locals.  It sure was a surprise to visit, last time anywhere in Africa was in 2009,and this time it was a very good impression. I shall be back.

February 26, 2011

Lagos,Nigeria, an adventure

Well lots of writings on the wall when we speak of Nigeria. I can only said that in my business travels done a lot of business with Nigerians very well. I was able to visit their country, mostly Lagos but into Port Harcourt as well. It is not your typical tourist attraction yet, but if in town be good and have fun.

The security precautions are evident, the ones you hear in the news is because some folks gets loose when in unknown territory and trouble comes their way. I have never encounter a problem not even an attempt of a problem there. You must be coach into the areas to go by an expert security person, the times to go best, etc. You are wise to hire a trusted local driver to get you around, and dont do it yourself. Photos are hard to come by as cameras are not seen in public, credit cards better keep them at home or just for an ultimate emergency, this is a cash country and the currency the Naira is only good in-country. If you must use cash take the ATM machines of Zenith bank, one of the largest in Africa, and well first in Nigeria. webpage http://www.zenithbank.com/

There are plenty to see during the daytime, such as the Bar beach harbor area (not to swim just for the ambiance), there is a beach further north along the Lekki peninsula,Lekki Beach , most expats come here.  There is a soccer/football stadium, while I was there last the under 17 World Cup was being played. Saw the Nigeria vs Spain match the locals won. You need to get ticket from a trusted person such as from the company you are in there,and go with the locals friends.

I stayed in a very nice compound, Osborne Foreshore Estates, call Somerset Court ,very well protected as it is the home of many armed forces personnel. The place is at  Ikoji, one of the nicest districts of Lagos, very nice with all amenities including a pool, billiard room,bar, restaurant, sports TV all over, exercise room, and very friendly staff.

The shopping was done at Palms shopping center, with a big supermarket, call Shop Rite (locals describe the shopping center as shop rite) and Cinema, plus restos, the webpage is here http://www.thepalmsshopping.com/ . Some of the best restos here are the Caffe Vergnano, and News Cafe   . The Mega Plaza also has a grocery store, with a courtyard full of restos selling local food ,pizzerias, and Indian foods,Lebanese foods, etc. The webpage is http://www.megaplazamall.com/ . Another nice shopping center is Silverbird galleria shopping at  267A Etim Inyang Crescent , Victoria Island , Lagos;no web

The properties of the Sofitel Hotel was my lunch venue, and of course the hotel is from the French chain ACCOR so its very nice, its webpage is at , http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-2770-sofitel-lagos-moorhouse-ikoyi/index.shtml

The EKO Hotel and Suites  is another nice property,with webpage at  http://www.ekohotels.com/ as well as the Sheraton by the airport  . However, my best is the Federal Palace Hotel, great bar sports bar area, and wonderful restaurant buffet downstairs, while there it was in the process of opening a Casino; webpage http://www.suninternational.com/Destinations/Hotels/FederalPalace/Pages/default.aspx

A nice place to be if have a local influential friend like me is to go to the old British country club, now the country club and golf complex at Ikoyi , you need to be with a member but the company can arrange maybe;;webpage http://www.ikoyiclubgolf.com/. Another interesting place is the Lekki Conservation area, a wildlife reserve for free and just as natural as you can get to wild animals; webpage ,http://www.ncfnigeria.org/ . For other interesting sites see the National Theater, and the National Museum at Awolowo Rd, Lagos Island, this last has artifacts and sculptures of local origins.

For eating out, my favorites were the Churrasco Brazilian resto located at 1C Ozumba Mbadiwe Ave, Victoria Island, Lagos, Golden Gate China resto located at 25B Glover Road , Ikoyi , Lagos  , Manuela Italian resto and residency with webpage at  http://www.manuelaresidence.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=2 ;  and of course the resto at the Federal Palace Hotel. The Bangkok, thai food located at  244A Muri Okunola St, Victoria Island, Lagos; Marco Polo, for seafood located at Marco Polo seafood, 9 Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; and the Chocolate Royal, French bakery and resto popular with many expats located at 267A Etim Inyang Crescent , Victoria Island, Lagos.

I needed a visa which was handle by the company, and the transportation hotel to airport and back also. The airport is the International Airport Murtala Muhammed, two terminals ,one for international flights and the other domestic, very easy to navigage.  You need to take precautions for sickness so vaccination is a must, check with your embassy for requirement of your Nationality to get to Nigeria, for the French the Air France center in Paris is this one, webpage  http://centredevaccination-airfrance-paris.com/ . The French Consulate in Lagos which it is recommended you register is at 1, Oyinkan Abayomi Drive, Ikoyi Lagos Nigeria Phone: + 234-1-26934227 +234-1-26934230. For families with small children there is a French school which many other expats and locals take advantage , the school is at Lycée Français Louis Pasteur, 16 Younis Bashorun street, Victoria Island Annex P.O. Box 72172, Lagos ; Tél. (234) 1 270 05 45/46 Fax. (234) 1  270 05 44.

If you need to go to Port Harcourt, more precautions needed here, the best property is the Novotel hotel part of the French ACCOR chain, the details are here, , http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-5465-novotel-port-harcourt/index.shtml

Some webpages for help, first the official Nigeria tourism webpage at http://www.tourism.gov.ng/ , and this site that is very useful too, http://www.nigeria-vacation.com/index.php

Some of the pictures I took to follow. If ever at this part of the world hope you have a wonderful stay and enjoy the adventure.

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