Decompression time – the weekend

After a week of long hours and intense, mentally taxing work, I couldn’t wait for the weekend to roll around. Friday evening, we all troop to a restaurant / lounge, where my dinner of prawns with jollof rice gave me an idea of how spicy Nigerian food could be (very!). A DJ was cranking out dance music while we were eating, and there was a fair bit of good-natured trash-talking around the table on the topic of who had the best dance moves – so naturally, the action soon moved over to the makeshift dance-floor. The dancers grooved to a mix of hip-hop, pop chart toppers and Nigerian songs. The jury’s still out on who has the flyest (fliest?) moves.

Saturday morning, I am up at “cock’s crow” on my quest for punishment – namely, CrossFit at the US Embassy. Our informant had told Maria and I to be there at 8:30 AM – so we find our way there, only to be met by perplexed security guards. After a bit of back and forth, they hauled out someone from inside, who informed us that the action was starting at 9:30 AM – so we had an hour to kill. So on to the nearby Hilton for some coffee and pastries. When we got back at 9:30 AM, the place was packed with other punishment-seekers – about 30 or so – all looking to work off their Friday night excesses.

The instructor explained the workout for the day – a complicated torture routine that involved 20 burpees, 30 box jumps, 60 toe touches, 20 weighted squats, 20 kettle bell swings, 20 lunge-twists and 20 mountain climbers. If you survive one round of this, then you get the reward of rinsing and repeating the routine all over again. After 45 minutes of this, we are ready to drop dead. To commemorate our surviving this session, we took some pics with the brave boys from the US Armed Forces who led the session. Warning – sweaty pics ahead!

IMG_5819.jpgWith our boys from the US Armed Forces

Post-lunch, we head out to nearby River Plate Park for the weekly meet-up of the Abuja Chapter of the Hash House Harriers. From the park, we set off in a convoy to the Asokoro suburb to the designated hiking start point – it is an improvised trail through the brush. We set off with gusto, but said gusto declines dramatically when we hit the first steep hill. I stay behind to help Divine, and soon, we are bringing up the rear of the 60-person group.

  IMG_5827.jpgBefore setting out on the Abuja Hash hike – all smiles !

IMG_5841.jpgSmiles have disappeared by this point

Eventually, the whole group reaches the top of a mini-plateau, where we are rewarded with dramatic, sweeping views of Abuja – and cold, cold beer. Much beering and bawdy singing later, we set off on our hike back – ahead of the crowd. Our driver, Nasiru, mentions that he’s a Fulani –a pastoral ethnic group – and proceeds to lead us back with great panache. He doesn’t need trail markings – his instincts tell him which way to go over the scrub and brush. We finish the hike bone-tired – but Nasiru’s barely broken a sweat – and he hiked the 5 km distance wearing sandals! Next stop – a well-earned dinner, at an Indian restaurant. The food was meh – but I wasn’t going to let that stand in the way of righteous gluttony, even finding room in my tummy for the “gulab jamun” dessert. Sated, we head back to our hotel for some shut-eye.

IMG_5859.jpg We made it ! Remi’s climbed Mt Kilimanjaro twice, so this was a walk in the park for her

IMG_5865Views at the summit

Sunday morning, I take care of some long-pending tasks – like updating my blog – and then head out for a run. A team meeting to discuss our progress and plan for the coming week consumes most of the afternoon. Dinner is at a nearby mall restaurant – Argungu – that specializes in Nigerian seafood. I get a spicy and delicious seafood stew, washed down with some wine. All is well with the world.


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