Well, I should like to brag that for the past few weeks, since I got my sessional break of 8 weeks or thereabout at University of Ibadan, I’ve been travelling around the world. Somehow, Asia has been able to arrest my interest, hardly allowing me to settle properly for a few days in my father’s house in Ekiti state, Nigeria, before it calls me back again. Just few weeks ago, in the course of one of my many researches, I stumbled on a young Nepali of 14 years old online, who has a brilliant idea of how to use the kinetics and rotation of a soccer ball to generate electrical energy. I was so impressed by such innovation that I decided to fly to Nepal, a landlocked country in South Asia, to really see the country that has nurtured such a brilliant mind and, of course, get to meet the wizkid himself. It should be noted that I had a pleasant time in Nepal.
Of the ten tallest mountains in the world, Nepal possesses eight. Mountain Everest, the highest point on Earth, is in Nepal, and I visited it. God forbid that I should go to Nepal without stopping to feed my eyes at Everest (am I mad?)! Also, I did learn the rudiments of Buddhism — the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path — before I left the country, for history records that Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, hailed from Nepal.
Since Nepal is bordered to the north by China, I thought it right to seize the opportunity to visit China, the most populous country in the world. I didn’t stay long in China, but the highlights of my exceptionally brief stay in China were seeing the most integrated and best preserved sections of the Great Wall of China in Beijing and also entering the Forbidden City in same Beijing. The Forbidden City in Beijing is acclaimed to be one of the five most important palaces in the world, the other four important palaces being Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in the UK, the White House in the US, and the Kremlin in Russia.
Worthy of note is the fact that Pakistan is in the same South Asia as Nepal. You would recall that Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, is a Pakistani, although she resides in Birmingham, United Kingdom. By the way, I should like to clarify that while Malala was born on July 12, 1997, I was born on June 12, 1996. I am trying to make a point here, and that point being that Malala and I ‘no be mate’. That’s a fact! If you don’t agree, come and fight.
With Islamabad as her capital, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is bordered in the far northeast by China. Therefore, you would understand how relatively easy it was for me to leave China for Pakistan. The hardline Islamic Taliban movement had been what piqued my interest in Pakistan. However, by some serendipitous happenstance, the details of which would be too boring to foist on you now, I got to see Malala. Hey, close your mouth! I know you’re stunned; so was I. For about 30 minutes, Malala spoke to me, telling me her story, her father’s role in her success, how she survived a deadly attack, how far she had gone with her dream of helping every girl child get educated, and how she would not relent. It was a deeply emotional one. I must say I liked the way Malala was constantly adjusting her red hijab, and even more captivating was her accent. (Please don’t send me messages asking for her contact details. Go and meet her in Pakistan or Birmingham yourself to get them. Otherwise, you might be inviting thunder — the real Sango thunder o, not the ‘yeye’ ones you have these days — to pay you a visit. #TongueOut)
Lest I forget, another thing I learnt during my short trip to China is that China has the largest standing military force in the world, with about 2.3 million troops. Matter-of-factly, Chinese government said its military budget for 2014 was US$132 billion — well over 4 times Nigeria’s 2016 budget — constituting the world’s second-largest military budget. China, known to be a formidable nuclear weapons state, is a major regional military power and a potential military superpower. And that brings us to North Korea, a country in East Asia that shares a land border with China to the north and northwest, one that I had failed to visit in the course of my tour, despite her proximity to China.
Unless you’re hopelessly dumb, you must have observed that all the countries I have mentioned so far are anastomose, i.e joined or connected in some ways (em, ‘anastomose’ is from the medical term ‘anastomosis’, which means “the surgical creation of a connecting passage between blood vessels or other channels”. Lol. I must remind you that I’m a medical student na. *winks*).
Back to Nigeria. As usual, when I woke up this morning, messages were waiting for me on phone. Of them all, I found one fascinating. It was a message from a respected friend, with whom I had had one of the most engaging discourses for the year 2015. Sir O’gbe, as I fondly call him, is a graduate of Electrical Electronics Engineering from Federal University of Technology, Minna, where he finished as one of the best in his class. If you feel like clapping, please do. As I said last week, our religious leaders are yet to say clapping is a sin.
Sir O’gbe’s message was to inform me of the latest development in North Korea, a country about which we spoke extensively during our last meeting. As at the time of that meeting, I knew a few things about South Korea and literally nothing about North Korea or her leader. Sir O’gbe had advised me to read up on the country and her leader, which, regrettably, I failed to do. So, when his message came in today, informing me of a hydrogen bomb that North Korea announced to have tested on Tuesday (yesterday), I knew I needed to take yet another trip to Asia.
In case you don’t know, a hydrogen bomb is hundreds of times more dangerous than the atomic bomb that wrecked Hiroshima in 1945. A hydrogen bomb is a fusion weapon that combines small atoms like hydrogen to yield a tremendous amount of energy. Here, we’re talking of energy in the range of tens of millions of tons of TNT. To be more precise, a megaton (a million ton of TNT) can destroy 20% of the whole of Lagos state in seconds. Unimaginably explosive!
With the awareness of the magnitude and implications of such a news, should the veracity be ascertained, I rushed online to see what international news agencies had to say about it. My fears were confirmed; a seismic event had indeed occurred. However, foreign analysts are skeptical about it, maintaining that North Korea doesn’t have a H-bomb nuclear capability yet, and that North Korea might only be developing a boosted fission bomb, more powerful than the traditional nuclear weapons. But that’s not even my major concern for now.
You see, I am afraid I may not be done with my tour of Asia yet, and that gives me a lot of worry. Having got back home in Ekiti few days ago after a seemingly interminable 10-hour flight from Pakistan, I am not in a hurry to start another tour again. With the temperature of Rawalpindi, Islamabad’s twin city, whence I took a plane from Benazir Bhutto International Airport to Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, being 16 degrees Celsius as at the time of my departure, I think I will like to stay back in Nigeria to enjoy the double warmth (the one that pertains to temperature and the other that only family and friends can offer) for some time.
When next I visit Asia — and I loathe to realise it must be soon — I’ll do well to visit Singapore, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Oman, Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and, most definitely, North Korea. Yes, you saw Russia in my list. Any questions? Actually, Russia, being the largest country in the world, has so big a land mass that it traverses two continents: Europe and Asia. Have you heard of Eurasia? No? Geez! Are you sure you’re on planet Earth? Oya google ‘Eurasia’; I’m not telling you that one lailai. Tah!
In the meantime, you can join others in the 40-day fasting and prayer I have declared to ensure my safe journey back to Asia anytime soon. The witches from my village are strong; a three or seven-day fasting and prayer cannot do. Wish me well.
1. Omoya Simult has not for once stepped out of Nigeria in person, let alone crossing the Pacific/Atlantic ocean to visit some faraway continents.
2. However, every country or place he claims to have travelled to or visited in this travelogue is real and exists as depicted, for he has indeed travelled to or visited such countries or places in books and videos (*winks*).
3. After reading the travelogue, if you entertain the thought that Omoya has indeed been going to all these places physically, well, you might like to visit the nearest hospital to you. Come on, you need medical check-up.
4. Omoya said Malala spoke to him for 30 minutes. That is very true. For 30 minutes, Malala actually spoke to Omoya through her Nobel Peace Prize speech, which he downloaded on YouTube. If you feel like seeing Malala’s red hijab or hearing her accent, as mentioned above, go to YouTube. It will only cost you some data, savvy?
5. I enjoyed writing this exceptional travelogue. For me, it’s an innovative and cunning way to make Nigerian youths — maybe even African youths — learn about their world, without them even suspecting that they are learning. Readers should excuse the writer’s colloquial and purposefully pompous language; it’s to achieve the desired effect.
6. The picture, as you see it above or below, is real, and not the work of Photoshop. Omoya took it months ago after a local flight that took him to some other place in Nigeria, where there is an international airport. So, if you wanna know what it feels like to be in an airplane, contact him. #smh
7. Let’s hope Omoya will be having another travelogue reporting some other nice places soon. Meanwhile, you can join others to fast and pray on his behalf; he loves his food too much to participate.
Guess you learnt a thing or two.
Thanks for your time.