Orlando, a city in central Florida is a fun, exciting and serene place yes, even with all the tourists to be, especially because of its numerous world-class themed parks. “The City Beautiful” is definitely one of my favourite places in the US.
Some years ago, I spent a December in Orlando and lodged in an international hotel, very close to the Orlando Bloom Trail; the hotel mall kept my stay interesting for a couple of days. One evening, I asked the hotel receptionist to help arrange for a cab to take me to the nearest Walmart. Few minutes later, the lady called my room to inform me that my cab was ready. I hurriedly dressed up, and literally ran through the exit door into the waiting cab.
As is my usual custom on my travels, I like to sit next to the driver and be the first to say “hello” whenever I take a cab. This time, I opened the door and made to sit. I caught sight of the driver’s face and literally froze. Whoa! Is that Snoop Dogg?! As I settled into the passenger’s seat, I took a glance at the driver again as I said hello and was willing to bet he was Snoop. My mind was running wild; I was sure I had a crazed look on my face. Wow, the universe must be playing tricks on me!
As we drove through the streets, I kept stealing glances at him, a part of me itched to ask him if he was Snoop; the other part of me dismissed the possibility as ridiculous; I guess a part of me really wanted him to be Snoop. Imagine what endless opportunities and possibilities that kind of relationship will bring.
[dropcap]Back[/dropcap] to reality, Snoop (let’s just retain the reference, shall we?) looked really tough and his voice was as thick as brick when he spoke; it was hard to see the possibly red eyes under the dark shades he wore. Snoop asked to know my name and where I came from. I told him about myself and the reason for my visit to Orlando. After several minutes, I summoned enough courage to ask Snoop about himself.
Although he definitely wasn’t the real Snoop Dogg (I just felt like reiterating that, ok!), his story sure was as fascinating as his looks. He told me about a buddy of his from Nigeria. He also told me about his son and wife from Jamaica; and how he had spent about 18 months apart from them in the rural part of Jamaica (the “Bush”). You should have seen him talk about “the Bush”; he had an excited smile and I could see his crow feet wrinkle.
“Everything was natural”, he said, “no electricity, no technology, no processed food, no television or phones, no social media… it was 13th century all over again”.
My ears were full as I struggled to imagine what I was hearing from Snoop. I suppressed a chuckle at the absurdity of going back to the 13th century but I had to admit I found his story quite fascinating. He continued his story, “I did not want to come back to the US; this place (Orlando) is 3rd world”, he said. “The real 1st worlds are places like the “Bush” where I stayed in Jamaica and the rural parts of Africa that are still natural. Most of the things in the US are artificial, the roads, bridges, houses, cars”. He told me that his wife had to persuade him to come back home (US), as he had started a job over there and did not even consider coming back. I pondered what he told me and wondered about the complexities of life. As an African proverb says, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. Snoop might be telling me exactly what he felt or as one of my friend said, Snoop may be “high”!
As I got off the cab, Snoop asked if he could come pick me up when I was done and I told him it wasn’t a problem; I would call him when I was ready. I did not. The whole encounter was too much for me to process. I did not even ask for Snoop’s real name.