Paradise is always there for those who would look for it, and most of the time you need not travel too far to get it. My idea of paradise probably isn't unique. It is the rustling of leaves. It is my feet in the sand, or in the grass, with a glass of something refreshing in my hand. It's a view that's unmarred by fences, with air that's free of diesel fumes. Sometimes, it's an hour at the beach, but increasingly so it's a weekend away at Whispering Palms.
Lagos isn't just an almost unbearably smelly city, it's also incredibly stressful. Between generator palavers, car trouble, unbearable heat and traffic, you'll be so stressed that a full night's sleep will seem like Christmas come early. So what do you do? Do you let the issues of Lagos life, and life in general turn you into a shadow of your former self, or do you take control of the situation and forcefully depress your stress? I suppose it would be easy to complain and cower, but this is not how good memories are made. And if you do not have good memories, then what is the point of life?
When I find that my creative juices have run out, and the things that once made me dance through March, and sing incredibly badly in the car have escaped me, I find myself thinking of a get away. The thing about most get aways, is that they're incredibly difficult to get away to. You start thinking about flight tickets, and whether or not Arik will cancel on you, or turn your imagined vacation into a session in Murutala Mohammed Airport. These thoughts aren't delightful so you probably delete the idea that you owe yourself a holiday and get on with things. That was where I was when I discovered Whispering Palms. It had always been there. I spent my childhood frolicking with ants, monkeys and donkeys there but I thought it'd fallen into disrepair. I thought that life had happened to it. I was wrong.
I lay there until the sun set and let the conversations between the wind and the palms lull me back to sleep. Before my mind wondered into the next dream, I remembered a line from the Great Gatsby, “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” I thought, "Maybe tomorrow, I'll do the same. Only that his blue garden would be the sand shrouded by the shadows of a palm frond, and the champagne would be some freshly squeezed orange juice."
On that day, there was no one alive who was me-er than me.