It has always been on my wish list to go to a Bollywood award ceremony, sit right at the front and clap daintily and also act shocked when they call out my name to come on stage to pick up my award. I must say working with Radio Africa has massive benefits. A large percentage of the things in my wish list came true last week when I was asked to go to Macau to cover the International Indian Film Academy awards. This award is deemed the ‘Oscars’ of Bollywood and what an honour to represent East FM at such a huge event!
My colleague Naftali and I were chosen to cover the event. Accompanying us was Dharmesh Metha, the winner of the East FM on-air competition, who was treated to a holiday and chance of a lifetime to attend the IIFA in Macau. Our journey had a one hour stop in Dubai where we refuelled, picked more passengers and then went on our way to Hong Kong. From there we had to get the ferry that took us to Macau and we got our visas when we landed. It must have been 1am the following day when we finally got to the hotel after a very long flight.
The IIFA awards were held at the Venetian which was built to look like the city of Venice. It is so huge that even though we spent most of the three days there, we barely even saw a quarter of the entire place. It’s a huge, posh hotel with lots of designer shops at practically every floor and of course not forgetting the huge casino with thousands of machines and counters. Before you ask, no, I was not tempted to try my luck. I feel I work too hard to splurge my hard-earned money on gambling and thought I’d save it to buy handbags instead. Even that didn’t happen. Can you believe this? I didn’t find a single handbag that I liked?
The three days spent covering the event were very hectic yet so fulfilling. I feel so proud to tell you that East FM was the first to keep relaying news, launches, interviews and salaams from the stars in real time. Of course the benefits of being at Radio Africa are plenty. Naftali, Dharmesh and I were invited to several closed-door events that no other journalists were allowed into as the guests of Wizcraft. Even more exciting was the fact that we were sitting just behind the stars on the main event so there’s a huge chance we might be seen on TV when the awards are telecast! So exciting!
Macau is a beautiful place; very humid though and my hair has been a constant mess the whole trip. I am sorry to disappoint those who sent me with shopping lists thinking things are much cheaper in Macau. Comparatively things are cheaper in Kenya. I’m serious. Even a trip to the supermarket set us back a few hundred dollars which would have worked out to just a couple of thousand shillings had we bought these things at home.
We also did a quick trip to the market square and again I’ll say things are much cheaper back home. I tried my hand at haggling but I can neither gamble nor haggle so I just let it be. I bought my kids some things and a little present for nieces and nephews. We also indulged in junk food at McDonalds and enjoyed a pizza at Pizza Hut. I was a bit iffy about trying the local delicacies as I tend to fall ill very quickly. I was disappointed not to find any sushi near our hotel despite there being so many eateries near us.
All in all, it was a wonderful and memorable trip and I will forever cherish the memories of meeting my favourite stars and whole galaxy of others too. Honestly speaking, had I not been sent by East FM to Macau, I don’t think I’d ever have ventured on these seas on my own. It’s a lovely place to visit if you love to gamble!