Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nigeria 2012 - Day 8 (1/28-1/29)

There was an issue with the water again this morning.  I noticed that the water pressure was low while brushing my teeth, and then there was a knock at the door.  Thinking it was my parents, I continued brushing while I went to answer it.  Instead, it was a hotel worker who had come to fill up the big bucket in my tub with (room temperature) water.  By the time I started washing up the water was not running, so I used the big bucket and little pail to wash up.

I went to my parents' room at 8:30 as planned, and we were down in the lobby around 9 to leave.  Our regular driver, Safari, took us to the Enugu airport.  Each time I went through a security check at the airport (twice), the female official subtly asked for some money (each referencing something about a "happy weekend" before asking more directly if I had something for them).  I feigned ignorance each time before stating that I had nothing (which was partially true since I had only American currency).  We were checked in (with hand-written boarding passes) and through security before 10, and so had a couple of hours to kill before our 11:50 flight to Lagos.  While we were waiting my dad bought some suya (a cross between beef jerky and a kabob on a stick), of which I partook.

The short flight to Lagos was pretty uneventful.  After arriving at the domestic airport and gathering our bags, we took a taxi (read: regular car with a driver who charges arbitrary fares) to the international airport, where we had to wait several hours (in a musty, unconditioned departure hall) before we could check in.  We arrived there around 2 PM, and our flights to Dubai and Houston were not to depart until 9 and 11, respectively. A noteworthy point: the electricity is unreliable even at international airports in Nigeria - there were brief power outages at the airports in both Enugu and Lagos (though in Lagos the airlines seemed to have a separate power supply to back up their individual systems).

Check-in for Continental finally started at 4:30, and we were done by 5.  Even though Pa's flight was earlier, he was not done checking in until 5:40.  We all went through security together then we said goodbye to Pa.  Ma and I waited for "boarding" to begin at 8, which is about when the Nwaobasis (family friends from St. Louis that were headed back on the same flight as us) showed up.  We all then went through the extra screening that the USA does for incoming flights, but then had to wait in another hot intermediary area for 1.5 hours until real boarding started a little after 10 (note to self: show up as late as possible for flights in Nigeria).  Despite pretty much everyone being on board 30 minutes early, we departed about 20 minutes late - it looked to me like they didn't want to let some guy bring a bag on board (but I couldn't really tell what was going on from where I was sitting).  The first half of the flight didn't go so well - first the entertainment system wasn't working properly, and then later we hit a really rough patch of turbulence that resulted in a cacophony of audible prayers from many of the strongly religious Nigerians on board (I could almost take comfort in the fact that if I was wrong about the existence of a Christian God then He was unlikely to crash the flight, as He would be taking down some of his devout followers along with me).  The second half of the flight went better, as I was able to catch a few uncomfortable winks of sleep and a movie before we arrived in Houston around 5:45.

The 4-hour transfer/layover in Houston was unremarkable, and I was able to make it back to St. Louis around noon, after 1.5 days of traveling.
Some pictures from the trip:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the trip report, I love it when people post detailed day by day trip reports, I should try that sometime.


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