Overwhelmed! Is the closest word I can find for the comments and following I have received on the previous blog posts. For a starter, getting 288 hits the first day on an article is simply awesome and I just want to say a huge thank you to all. I hope you will continue to find this blog relevant. I really do appreciate you.
Back on the series: ‘What I Miss About London and What I Love About Aberdeen’…
Apart from the ‘funny threats’ I have received from my family/friends/contacts in London that they will not allow me to come down south for their ‘snails’ because I ‘dissed’ their city, I am ‘aiight’ (LAUGH). It was really fun back-chatting on the post.
In the latest ‘ Bond 007’ series – ‘SKYFALL’ there was a conversation between James Bond and M on their escape route from danger:
M: Where exactly do you think you are taking me?
007:’Back in time. Somewhere where we have an advantage’
Guess where? Bond’s childhood home in …..SCOTLAND!!!
I cannot recall how many times Hubby has watched that ‘SKYFALL’. He has a ‘method’ to watching his favourite films. If he loves a film, it gets a nomination into his ‘classics’ where the likes of ‘Godfather, The Don, The Green Mile, Master of the Game and recently ‘DJango’ belongs. Anytime I find him watching one of these, I shake my head and ask – ‘how many times do you plan to watch this film’? After a while I stopped asking. Don’t ask me – he has his methods 🙂
Anyways, I hope to write ‘my love’ for Aberdeen in two parts. Starting with a few facts about Aberdeen and then on to the fun bit. Here is the first:
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT ABERDEEN:
I really like Aberdeen. I supposed that means I like Scotland too.
My first trip with Hubby to Aberdeen from London was by road. Skipping all the ‘interesting’ bits travelling up to 10 hours, the most unforgettable reality that hit me was when I saw the ‘Welcome to SCOTLAND’ sign. Then I saw some ‘amazing’ sights – the expanse of land!!! Wow! From the motorway entry via the M74/A74 into Glasgow, to the unending fields with the odd hundreds of sheep, I was ‘taken’. Coming from London where we hardly get any space to walk but at the parks, I just couldn’t get enough of the ‘space’. I brought out my iPad taking photographs of the scenery. And when I found that ‘sorry about the shite..’ signage I couldn’t help but laugh!
So apart from the beautiful landscapes (p.s – some of these landscape pictures are not mine) that ‘hit’ me when I entered Scotland, here are the things are really love about Aberdeen:
ABERDEEN – A COSMOPOLITAN CITY:
According to Aberdeen City Council, ‘‘Aberdeen is a lively, Cosmopolitan City’. Indeed that is true if you do not mind living in a small ‘GRAY’ city. History has it that Aberdeen houses were built with the free/abundance of granite so the entire Old Aberdeen area in the City looks all gray! (Not kidding! See bird’s view picture below)
The size of the city will be a shock to the typical Londoner’s system. I remember the first time I went to the ‘City Centre’ and I asked my hubby who has been to the city before me if ‘that was it?’ Honestly – you can walk the Union Street (Aberdeen’s version on London’s West End) at a stretch in 20 minutes and that is leisurely walking o!
I really loved seeing the popular Piper at the Union Square Gardens (sadly he passed) who; come rain or shine is always playing his beloved pipe as people walk, cycle or drive pass. May God bless his cheerful soul.
The Union street has the mall, property businesses, food/restaurants, fashion stores, banks, phone shops, one pounders e.t.c.
All around the Union Street and 5 to 10 kilometre radius, one can find cinemas, another mall (much bigger than the Union Street’s), theatres, oil and gas businesses, smaller service companies, the Beach Boulevard Park stretch, hotels etc.
Sorry, there is no Nigerian/African restaurant or club or events/party centre. However, a few alternatives exist (more on these some blogpost soon)
|BIRD’S VIEW OF ABERDEEN|
|Beach Boulevard Park|
|Beach Boulevard Park|
|UNION STREET, ABERDEEN (most houses in the city area are typically ‘GRAY’ looking – for real!)|
|Willie The Aberdeen Piper (RIP)|
LOW UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
One of the USP Aberdeen has for us as a couple coming up north is the availability of jobs (of course!) I would not want to jinx it but almost everyone I have met here in Aberdeen has a job or a business (or both). Not necessarily in Oil and Gas as a lot of people assumed but majority of Nigerians I have met are in work.
According to Aberdeen City Council, ‘the level of unemployment is low compared with the other main cities and the overall Scottish average. Another facts and figures online says ‘The unemployment rate in Aberdeen is presently 2.2% compared to 8.5% in Scotland and 8.3% in the UK. I also read an article on Yahoo that supports my basic research on the employment rate in Aberdeen.
Overall, I would say Aberdeen scores ace in my assessment for employment/career.
I found the home-work-home travel in Aberdeen not as ‘life-threatening’ as it was in London. If you are driving, a typical journey to work is around 30-40minutes (MAX!). And if you live close to the City centre, less.
Similar to the operations in London, the Bus Operator ‘First’ operates a high frequency network of services across Aberdeen and offers a range of unlimited daily travel and season tickets to suit passengers of all requirements. There are also frequent Train services from Aberdeen to Inverness stopping at major towns like Dyce, Inverurie, Insch and Huntly. If the Ferry floats your boat (pardon the pun), you also have the choice to travel that route too. 🙂
Aberdeen encourages tourism and if you are one like me that is very inquisitive, you can check out VISIT ABERDEEN for all the goodies Aberdeen City can offer you as a tourist.
The strangest thing I found shocking is that Nigerians in Aberdeen are so spoilt for choice that if the travel between point A and B is up to 30minutes, their complaint is ‘Ha, its too far’….WHAT??? Thats a walk in the park in London!
LOW CRIME RATE
I guess the fact that unemployment is low, the crime rate is also low. I have not read/heard of a gun and knife crime on TV or local news yet (thankfully)!
Well there is the typical drunken behaviour and theft but generally. I think the biggest sin in the city is the drunkenness. Aberdonians loveeee their beer/alcohol. Aberdeen has been voted in several polls as the happiest place to live in Britain and its lowest crime rates makes it one of the safest places to live and work in Britain.
Now we are done with the some ‘formal’ bits, I want to write on the ‘fun’ stuff. And I want to start with….
I could not wait to get to the beach! I read about it before we left London and promised myself to go ‘every-day’ (yeah right!) Eventually, Hubby and I visited Balmedie beach on our own just to take in the environment, take some photos and a few video clips. A few weeks alter, we went down with a group of friends for a few hours and it was one of the the most beautiful short visits I have taken.
Just this 2014 summer, we had the ‘African Summerfest’ at the same beach. (More on that in a blog post soon).
My London folks can ‘jealous’ or ‘diss’ me all they like but they don’t have a beach to ‘shakara’ (boast) for me!!! We have to travel all the way about 3 hours to Bournemouth in England to get close to a beach! #Notcool.
I will continue the fun bits in the next post. To my Aberdonian friends + family, do let me know your thoughts on what I should capture here. (if I have indeed missed any lol)
I love the film SKYFALL for a few reasons (apart from seeing darling ‘M’ dies! Who does that???? I have known ‘M’ all my life in the Bond 007 series nah!), I specifically love it that SCOTLAND was given a global platform for its scenery and it’s no ‘nonsense’ ideology (Who can forget the scene in the film when Kincade welcomed Silva’s opposition with some blasts from his shotgun and said ‘Welcome to Scotland’ Thank God that wasn’t typical at Scottish airports!)