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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A date with myself

Today, I went to see 2 films. I haven't been to see a movie since October when my friend's mum was in town. And I don't even really count it because we saw a Nigerian film which I didn't like at all. It was all about cheating. Those of you who know me, know I detest and dislike anything related to cheating.

So! Today, my Pastor Wale and his beautiful wifey Uduak and moi went to see Mission Impossible 4. I loved MI, MI2 and never saw 3. I enjoyed this one even though the older I get the less in love with Tom Cruise I become. You can ask my dad and nephew Nick about my fetish when I was 11 years old. I wrote him letters and watched Top Gun so many times I know all the words. In fact, I once hand-wrote the lines to the entire film. No joke. I think it's worth it. If your into cars, it's a serious BMW advertisement all throughout. Also, my love, Apple is all over the place as well. (By the way, I still haven't been blessed with an iPad and am graciously accepting gifts!)

Then I decided to treat myself to dinner at Woks n Koi. I ordered some things that I don't normally. I ordered chicken with mushroom. But when it came it was mostly green peppers, which I kinda hate. So...the waiter felt back, took it back and they re-made my food minus the green peppers. This was a great surprise in customer service, especially after the Salamander mishap last week.

Now, I'm watching New Year's Eve. I loved Valentine's Day and I'm hoping it's similar!

Write more later!

My 2nd Abuja Christmas

This Christmas was my 2nd one in Abuja, Nigeria.

I must admit, this was much better than the last, except someone was missing.  :(  However, the reason this one was better than the last was because, this one, I remembered the reason for the season.  Everything I celebrated, I remembered the reason for the season...Jesus. 



I went and enjoyed food at people's homes.  I went to church and it was beautifully decorated.  In fact, the Christmas tree was the best I've seen this year.  The music was phenomenal as ever.  Afterwards, I went to a Chinese restaurant in Maitama called "Marco Polo" with  my Caregroup.  We had a lovely time. 


But I missed that special someone and I missed my mom.  Christmas will never be the same without  my mom in it...

However, I am so grateful for my church, Family Worship Centre and for my Caregroup.  Pastor Wale and his wife Uduak made me feel special this Christmas.  My Caregroup leader and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Dada gave me that extra little love to make me feel like I mattered.  I am so grateful for finding a home within Family Worship Centre. 

I am constantly reminded as to how very blessed I am... Thank you, Jesus!

Boycotting Salamander Cafe

So as most of you know, I love Salamander Cafe, or at least I did until last Thursday.  In fact, I've written a lot of blog posts while I was there.  However, this is no longer the case.  I'm not BOYCOTTING Salamander Cafe. 

Why?

Well, there were always some things I didn't like about Salamander.  For example, their coffee is way too expensive.  In Yola, at the University Club house you can get a pot of french press coffee for around 300 Naira which is about 4 cups of coffee.  I can buy a bag of instant espresso, cappuccino mix  at any of the supermarkets for about 300 naira for at least 6 cups of coffee here in Abuja, which is the same stuff they use for their coffee and for one cup is about N1300 when you include the VAT.  Plus, the food prices are quite high and often the service is slow. 

However, I always went back because I LOVE LOVE COFFEESHOPS!  It's part of who I am.  Anyways, in the end, something happened last week that will prevent me from going back unless I get an apology from Salamatu herself.

On Thursday, I was already having a rough morning and had been trying to get to Salamander all week to use the internet because mine was on the fritz.  And I wanted to go to Salamander for the ambiance, some time away from the house, and I was craving pancakes.  However, when I went, I had filled my belly with delicious food I made the night before and had even had a delightful Latte at home.  So I wasn't hungry.  Now, I go to Salamander often.  I often go and spend a lot of money on food I can prepare for myself for much cheaper but I go to get away.  And then there are times I go because I have no electricity in my house or the internet is not working.  And then there are the times I go because I want to eat and write and use my own MTN internet stick because the internet isn't fast enough there. 

So here's my story... 

I went in and found a seat.  The waiter came to ask what I wanted.  I said "I want an iced coffee and the internet password."  He said, "You will have to order more in order to get the password."  As I was holding the menu in my hands, I said, "You are joking, right?" He said, "No, it's the policy..."  I said, "since when?  Besides, it says on here, it's free-wifi and doesn't mention any minimum purchase."  He then said, "the policy is invisible and it's always been in place."  I asked, "how much am I to spend?"  He said, "2000 Naira."  At the that point, my eyes welled up with tears and I got frustrated and began to pack my bags and began leaving.  He then said, "BUT we can make an arrangement."  I said, "No thanks" and left. 

Just because there aren't a whole lot of establishments like Salamander in Abuja doesn't mean you can treat your loyal customers anyhow.  A lot of people go to Salamander after reading my blog.  I've never gotten anything out of my promotion from my blog, nor have I expected too, yet, this time they pushed me too far. 

Salamander employees, you lost a very good customer that day!  I hope you don't treat everyone as such...


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Joy in my heart

I have so much joy these days. My daily devotions, prayer sessions, praise and worship they bring me closer to Jesus. Everyday I feel like I am walking closer and closer to God.

My caregroup and church (Family Worship Centre) have really centered me.

I'm preparing my second Abuja Christmas. They have been decorating my neighbourhood more and more every day. It's more than we have in the states. I'm alone this Christmas. But my God has promised that it's my last one. I look forward to 2012.

Work is keeping me super busy. I'm doing well these days and am very healthy. I'm grateful for my friends here in Nigeria.

Today I am going to Wuse Market to do my Christmas shopping. I am also preparing food for the next days...

Merry Christmas! I hope all my readers are filled with joy in their hearts!


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Monday, December 12, 2011

Beignets

I've been watching Treme season one lately. In Nigeria a common treat at parties is "puff puffs" or otherwise known as with powdered sugar is beignets! So I want to learn how to make them... I found a recipe from Paula Deen at it requires a lot of things that I will have to run all over Abuja to get. So if anyone has a good recipe, please pass it to me!

I can't wait to make em! Yummy!

Good night!


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Sunday, December 11, 2011

New coffeeshop in Abuja

There's a new coffee shop in Abuja, Nigeria. It's called Bunna and it's inside Silverbird Mall and right next to where you buy film tickets.

The coffee and drinks range from 400-900 naira but they are good and they use Torani flavours.

It's noisy because it's beside the games but it's nice! :)


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My God is good...all the time! He is an awesome God!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

All I want for Christmas...

This year, all I want for Christmas is the same thing as last year.  My Santa knows what it is...  I've written my letter and sent it out already. 

This is the second year that I will be spending Christmas in Abuja, Nigeria.  I must admit, my life isn't exactly where I want it to be at the moment, but I see it going in the right direction.  I hope next year to have the Christmas I long for.  And if I don't seem to be making it in that direction, I will take some drastic steps to get it there.  I pray I don't have to take drastic measures.

Sometimes lately, I feel like maybe I should give up but I continue to chase pavement because I have hope and faith.  Even if this pavement leads nowhere, I continue to fight it and follow the path because I believe it is leading to my happiness. 

But I know one thing for certain, I know what I want for Christmas.  So please, Santa, grant my wish.

Do you know what you want for Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

Women of Hope

This weekend they will be selling at the Cassava Republic Bazaar at the Arts and Crafts Village near Silverbird.

www.womenofhopecreations.blogspot.com

I have been buying and supporting them for years. You should too!
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Mpape pic

This is an outskirt of Abuja.

Mpape Hash

So the hash was in Mpape on Saturday. For those of you interested in the hash, we meet in Durban/Riverplate Park off Ahmadu Bello Way in Abuja. It's N1000 for hash only and N3000 for hash n chop. If you want more info, email me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Choir Performance

Last night, my choir, the Abuja International Chorus performed at the Sheraton's tree lighting. We sounded quite beautiful actually. I was quite impressed after. Anyways, this is a picture of Agnes and myself afterwards.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Final Thanksgiving pic

I had a fantastic time at my Church Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Photo round two

Myself and Agnes at my church Thanksgiving 2011.

Thanksgiving Photo Round one

This is a photo of myself and Pastor Wale. He's been such a great friend, an advisor and Big Bro to me. Ose!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving

On Thursday, it was my 1 year Anniversary in Abuja.  It was also American Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow is my First Church Thanksgiving.  I feel like I am finally settling into Abuja life and too be honest, my adult life.  I know, this is a bit crazy to say as I am officially over thirty but yes, I feel like I am finally settling in and finding my way.  But I must admit, I am lonely.  Severely lonely.  Yes, I have friends but it's not the same.  Even though I now have like 200 and some children that I am responsible for, and it's not even a family or a child that I long for, I long and miss having someone to come home too.  I long to cook for a man.  But I am not scared because I know that 1. I am a good woman and 2.  There's a reason and a season for everything and I can feel mine coming. 

I have never done a church Thanksgiving before.  Tomorrow will be my first.  I had a lot of help getting my 'costume' ready.  I have to thank Mummy L for giving me a top/blouse to readjust to make it smaller for my size.  Truly, these days I am kind of 'small' on top.  I love it!  I have to thank Doctor Osom for getting me a new hair tie and judge material for my skirt and wrapper.  I have to thank my Madam for the shoes she bought me in Dubai which I will wear on my feet!  The only thing I've had to do for my Thanksgiving attire is to get my hair tie tied (which I will do later today in the market) and buy my beads!  I will post pictures tomorrow of my outfit or will try because I don't know who I will have take pictures. 

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday in the states other than Christmas.  I love the Thanksgiving meal.  This year I didn't do it properly by any means but next year I promise too.  But I will implement into my school. 

Right now, I know that my life isn't where I want it to be but I appreciate where it is going.  I am so thankful for my job, a great boss and friend, so many good people and friends around me, and the potential for love.  I am also thankful for my church.  Thanks to RoRo for introducing me to Family Worship Centre.  Thanks to Pastor Wale for taking me under his wing and being my big brother here in Abuja and teaching me take risks.  Thanks to Sister Lubica for introducing me to a new Caregroup.  And thanks to Brother Tunde for remembering my name. 

I had a lovely conversation with my dad on Thanksgiving.  It reminded me of all the good things in life. 

Have you shown your gratitude today?  Have you counted your blessings?

This picture below was in the living room of my house when I was growing up.  Too me it always represented someone who was showing gratitude...


Bless your soul!

Brunch at Salamander

UPDATES!!!

Hello Everyone out there in the internet world!

I've been a terrible blogger as of late, but I hope that should change soon.  I've had some serious set backs in recent months but I am still moving forward and to be honest, I am doing really well.  Anyways, even though I've been barely blogging, I've had so many people post comments recently and I want to address and answer all the questions in one post if possible.

First off, Salamander.  Salamander Cafe is in Wuse 2, in Abuja.  It's just off Aminu Kano, off Libreville st and on Bujumbura St just opposite the new First Bank.  If you take a cab, tell them it's near DSTV.  Salamander serves International Cuisine and has coffee.  In my humble opinion, it's the closest thing to a coffee shop in Abuja but the prices are on the high side.  The ambiance is very nice.


Next, the granola bars.  Nature Valley Granola bars are often available in Park n Shop, also in Wuse 2, on Aminu Kano (kind of).  They are usually around N1600 if my memory serves me correct.  But the ones I found in Wuse market were an entire big pack of 60 and I haggled to N3500 much to my amazement.  Don't think you will get this price easily.  I'm good at fighting a bargain fight..  Unless, maybe you are Nigerian...  lol.

Next, would I recommend Nigeria to an American Expat?  Well, as an American expat myself, I would say yes.  But only if you have an adventurous heart and are willing to accept that things are the way they are here in Nigeria.  I never came to Nigeria to change Nigeria, it's more like Nigeria changed me.  I'm so much more patient and easy going (and so much less anxious) since I moved here. 

If you want to know more or have any further questions.  Please feel free to e-mail me and I will try my best to respond. 

Shalom!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gotta have faith

So life for me has flipped turned upside down. I have a new house, car and job. I will begin blogging more on a regular basis soon.

I must admit I'm thankful to my faith because it's made my life what it is today. Life has been good, although I am having issues but I have so much faith that all will be fine.

Just when I needed it...he has raised me up.

Shalom!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rugs

So a friend of mine found these ladies who make rugs out of scraps of leftover fabric. If you are interested in supporting their cooperative and help their project contact Christine @ 08023294404. Buy a rug and help a Nigerian woman's life.

:)
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

a new project

So I'm now working on a collaborative project. Please check it out: www.debateandreview.com and please 'like' us on facebook!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Salamander Cafe

Salamander is a favorite place of mine in Abuja. They offer free wifi, good food and drinks, Sundays at 6pm they have the film club as well.

It's in Wuse II on the corner of Bujumbura and Libreville off Aminu Kano.


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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Music of the Day

I am going to start posting a song of the day.  Basically, whatever I am obsessed with that day, I will post it as my song of that day.

Today's song is "chocolate high" by India Arie.

What are you listening to?


Book Clubs in Abuja

So a friend asked me of book clubs in Abuja.  I got the down low, so if you wanna know, drop me an e-mail @ yusufiyah@gmail.com

 I'm looking for a good place to do Yoga.  Anyone have any clues for me?  Preferably in the evenings after 6pm.  


Monday, August 29, 2011

Rain Rain, go away!

I must admit, I am so sick and tired of this rain.  Don't get me wrong, generally, I love the rain but this rain is preventing me from doing the things I love, like swim and see the sun!  But the real reason I hate the rain is because it's too hard and fast and I HAVE NO RAINCOAT!  I wouldn't mind it so much if I had my red rain coat but my friend who has my things, I have no way of reaching!  All attempts at contacting Rinku have failed.  So if you know Rinku and can get in touch with her, please tell her I want my rain coat!  :'( 
And this rain is ruining my favorite foods like leeks and other wonderful vegetables.  So yeah, I am tired of this rain.  It's so different than Yola rain.  Yola rain is at night and sunshine during the day.  It's lovely.  And Alaska and Minnesota rain is generally lighter and not so forceful.  So you can manage to walk around in it without becoming so incredibly soaking wet that it looks like you took a shower with your clothes on or jumped in a pool! 

I am ready for the hot and dry season!  BRING IT ON! 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Eclairs

So! Eclairs in Nigeria! The joys of Berger. These were my mom's favorite.



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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sawadee Thai Restaurant

So today I tried the new Thai restaurant at 45 Kumasi crescent. It's called Sawadee (spelling is wrong...supposed to be Sawatdee). Sawatdee in Thai mean hello or goodbye.

I ordered the pad thai (N2500) and it came with tiny shrimps. It was pretty good but was missing shredded carrots that is typical in one of my all-time favorite dishes.

I also ordered the shrimp and mayo roll. It was teeny tiny and costs 400 naira!!!! Don't order this. It's a waste of money.

They are brand new and just opening. I met one of the chefs and he's nigerian and used to work with Berger. He was very friendly. The food wasn't bad but it is on the high side price wise. Hopefully they will reduce the prices soon.

For now they are the only Thai place in town other than my kitchen ;)

Feel free to leave your own comment below.



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Ramadan

This post is probably going to get me into trouble but...here goes anyway.

This whole fasting during the month of Ramadan has me surrounded by a bunch of zombies. My driver and the secretary in my office are constantly dozing off. I am talking about at least 10 times a day. They are so not mentally there at all. I understand giving something up to understand the meaning of sacrifice but honestly for the working class it's dangerous and renders them utterly useless at their workplaces.

What do you think? Is fasting over the top?


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Volunteers Needed!

Volunteers are needed for this Sunday august 28th for the Abuja Half Marathon dedicated to Jason Campbell

If you are interested in volunteering at a water stop or helping with registering runners, walkers or bikers please contact Chris @ cp.henderson@naosupport.org


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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jealousy

'There is no greater glory than love, nor any greater punishment than jealousy' –Lope de Vega 

So one thing I have learned in my lifetime is that relationships are hard.  And I am not just talking about romantic ones, friendships can be very hard too.  Now one of the issues I have had many problems with in my relationship is with jealousy.  I despise, loathe and downright hate jealousy, yet it catches me every now and again and stings and burns like crazy!  However, these days, we seem to both have it under control on both ends.  Something that isn't easy to do but is a must, especially in long distance relationships.  

However, the current issue of jealousy in my life is not with my man, it's with my girl friend.  She has caught the jealousy bug and it has made her behave in ways that I have never seen her act like before.  I've never really experience jealousy from a friend like this before so I don't really know how to handle it.  And it's a lot more difficult for me to deal with than the jealousy in my love life because when it comes to my love life, I am a jealous and protective woman.  I want my man all to myself.  I will admit it.  I am an extremely jealous woman.  But I haven't the foggiest idea of how to deal with it with my girl friend because I have never personally been jealous of my friend's being friends with someone else.  If a friend was becoming close with another friend I would generally just let it be.  If the friendship was strong enough, I knew that we'd always be friends and the newness of the other friend would eventually wear off or maybe it wouldn't but c'est la vie.  

So now I am left with the quandary.  Am I the bigger person and discuss the jealousy with her?  Or do I say, no, I will not tolerate this childish behaviour and start a fight?  In the meantime, I've been giving silent treatment.  (by the way, not an easy thing for me to do!).  So in the meantime, I wait it out.  However, I am especially surprised at her lack of awareness of her behaviour and her jealousy.  

I do believe that feeling jealousy is in itself showing affection and love for that person but what you do with that jealousy is how you show that person that 'hey, I love you and I just don't want to lose you.'  I don't think have jealous feelings means you don't really love the person, or that you are weak and scared.  Nothing is set in stone.  Most things are not forever.  No one wants to be left behind or broken up with.  Jealousy to me is natural but to me it's the worse of the seven deadly sins because I feel like it's the one we have the least amount of control over.  It takes us over with a wild passion and in most cases all reason and logic is abandon and we turn into crazy people.  

What are your thoughts on jealousy? 

'There is never jealousy where there is not strong regard.' –Washington Irving



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Feedback por favor!

So I've been having a lot of emails lately from my blog. It seems like I have far more readers than I'm really aware of.

So! I want your thoughts, please. So please either post your comment here or drop me a mail at yusufiyah@gmail.com

I really want to hear what you think and what you'd like to hear or see more of.


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Eat local

So I'm trying to cook more at home and eat more fruits and veggies.

I've already improved my water intake to at least two bottles a day which is a major improvement for me. Also, I'm taking a minimum of one yogurt a day as well. However, I'm not so good at cutting my carb intake and increasing my veggies. I love veggies but my schedule is so tight and I'm doing an awful job at finding the time for cooking. :(

So I have begun ordering from Zamani farms in Jos. I'm excited to have fresh produce delivered to my door. I reminds me of going to my CSA pick ups back in the day in Minneapolis.

I will post pictures of the produce and what I make. If you live in Abuja and want their contact information just e-mail me at yusufiyah@gmail.com

And don't forget to eat local. It's better for you, the economy and the people in your community.


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Half Marathon in Abuja this Sunday

Half Marathon this Sunday August 28th, 2011 in Abuja (beginning near the Dome).

7k laps x 3 (you can choose to do 1, 2 or all 3)

E-mail katehallet@gmail.com for more information.


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Monday, August 22, 2011

Positive/No complaints

This week focus on the things you do right.

Focus on the things other's do right.

If we do this, I believe maybe we will be a little happier!

Just my two cents for the today!!!


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Rain or Shine Hash

The hash this weekend was quite special. Miss Stephanie is no longer a virgin. I had my naming ceremony. I will forever be known as "Secret Spanxxx" at every hash I go to. Plus, in my humble opinion it was the best hash I've been on. I really enjoyed it.

By the way, we no longer meet at the hilton parking lot. We now meet at Durban Park.

On on!


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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Alligator at Zimbabwe Market

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Flora

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Not even that close and I'm soaked!

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Na wa o

It was so misty. It was so serene.
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So majestic

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The river at Farin Ruwa

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Muhammad

This is my driver, Muhammad.
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Kate @ farin ruwa

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Farin Ruwa

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Farewell to my boys

So...my boys leave today. They are finished serving their term here in Nigeria.
Today, I say, "well done o!" to both Hannes and Nico. I'm happy to have met you, spent holidays with you and traveled together and I wish you both all the best.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye! (Sai an jima and Odaro!)



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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My tortelloni

At Da Maria.


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Da Maria dessert again

Nico enjoying his dessert.


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Da Maria

Hannes enjoying his dessert.


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Dessert @ Da Maria

This was my fig dessert at Da Maria. I really wish it had been pistachio like she said. :(



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City View Restaurant

I've been to City View many times to eat and for the chop after the hash. I know the owner Ali as well. I highly recommend there shawarma, cheese rolls and this is the chicken burger. It was delicious.

It's a great Lebanese restaurant and the prices are very reasonable.

The also have a bakery attached where they sell bread, doughnuts, meatpies and the like.


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REVIEW: Da Maria Restaurant

Located on Aminu Kano Crescent is Wuse II.

We ate at Da Maria a couple weekends ago. The decor is fantastic but the food is lacking a bit, in my humble opinion. I love Italian food. In fact, I even cheated and ate some very glutinous things while we were there (and I regretted this severely later).

The food does seem to be quite authentic, although I am not exactly sure which region of Italy they seem to be choosing their cuisine from. Most of us who don't live in Italy have a very different idea of what Italian food is. It's usually quite basic and most dishes do not have a whole lot of ingredients in them. So I would say that there style is authentic but again, as to which region, I am not sure of.

I had the tortelloni (as did Nico) and it was good but was lacking in flavor or spice. I know it was definitely lacking in those things for Nico as he's become a yaji addict since living in Nigeria, but even for me it was lacking at least nutmeg and maybe some garlic or red pepper flakes. The prices are a bit too high in my opinion, even though making a restaurant in Abuja work and with the cost of importation, but in my opinion the cost isn't really worth it. You can make really good Italian food without importing EVERYTHING and it doesn't have to cost a lot per dish either.

We had two appetizers and there was no balsamic vinegar on the caprese salad (which I don't like anyway but that was strange as it is a basic ingredient and the boys tried the balsamic on the table and said it was either sour or to wine-like tasting, so it's probably for the best anyway).

We all had desserts. The desserts are definitely imported, possibly from Italy. The hostess (possibly owner or one of them) is not very good at translating the desserts from the book and I took the pistachio dessert, as she described it, but it turned out to be fig and I do think it was a bit old because it almost tasted slightly fermented. Nico's too also tasted fermented or slightly sour. The desserts were all at least 1000 plus naira in cost. It would be nice if they would make them locally instead of importing them and charging people ludicrous amounts and having fresh desserts.

They change their menu daily, which is something I do like. But over all, it was just an okay dining experience, that was over-priced (but that is typical here in Nigeria and especially in Abuja). They serve a lot of steak on the menu but I still recommend going to Obudu over Da Maria because the price is less and you get so much for what you pay for at Obudu in the Sheraton.

I have yet to go to Ciao or La Dolce Vita (but I think they might have closed down). Risotto remains to be one of my favorite dishes and they did not have it while we were there and I make it so well anyways, there isn't much need for me to eat it while I am out anyway. I will post some pictures later in different posts.


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Never giving up hope

No matter what...I won't give up hope. I will stay strong, vigilant and patient.


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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Farin Ruwa

This picture is of Farin Ruwa in Nasarawa state in Nigeria. It's a few hours drive from Abuja. There are several river crossing and serious bush so you must use a hilux like we did (in my humble opinion). According to several sources, Farin Ruwa is the highest waterfall in West Africa. Farin Ruwa in Hausa means white water. If you can go while you are in Nigeria I highly recommend it. It's truly a jungle surrounding it. I really enjoyed coming here. And to think...I almost didn't come.


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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Espresso @ Da Maria

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Friday, August 5, 2011

World domination!!!

We played RISK tonight and the Brits dominated and conquered!!!!


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RISK night

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Giraffe

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Giraffe

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Mom and baby monkey

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Monkey

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Tortoise

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