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Leaving Lagos

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 permalink [Permalink]

Woke up at 5:30 this morning, perhaps couldn’t sleep because I’m leaving today. I’m all packed – documents in order and the only thing to worry about is breakfast and checkout.

Woke up at 5:30 this morning, perhaps couldn’t sleep because I’m leaving today.  I’m all packed – documents in order and the only thing to worry about is breakfast and checkout.  I had a light breakfast, this time skipping the chef made omelet.  After breakfast I went up to the room for a final check; nothing left under the bed, in the bathroom or safe.  Ok, I’m ready to go.

At reception things went relatively smoothly as I’ve now become used to the fact that it pays to be prepared for delays in Nigeria.  I dragged my bag over to the office and waited for 12 o’clock – at which time we’d arranged the MoPol to escort me to the airport.

I left my bag on the 1st floor of the office building – yet again the lifts weren’t working and I wasn’t going to drag my bag to the 7th floor – no matter how lightly I travel.

It turned out that a number of overnight processes finished and I was able to complete some things in the office before I left.  Biodun offered to come and escort me to the airport – which was a nice touch.  I’m going to miss him, Ezioma and Adenekan.  They had become my family while I was here and gave me the impression and feeling of belonging.  I might be back here sooner than I thought.

The drive out to the airport was smooth and quick – luckily the public holiday kept the cars off the road and the journey took only 25 minutes.  Before I knew it I was standing in line to check in my bag.  Biodun and Tunde stood behind the cordoned off area waiting for me to check in. 

I handed over my passport and waited for a while to get a reply from the guy on the other side of the counter.  “Where is your ticket?” he asked.  Here we go again – more problems.  I answered that I have an e-ticket and the only thing I need to supply is my passport from which they should get all the details they require.  I waited a while longer while he punched random keys on the keyboard and a blank expression on his face.   After 10 minutes of zero feedback I decided to enquire as to what the holdup was.  He kindly replied that I don’t have a reservation.  Don’t loose your cool – be calm and communicate to the illiterate idiot.  He waved over another lady; perhaps a supervisor.  They chatted for some time, waved my passport around as if it was a fly swatter and made puzzled faces.  I reiterated and told the lady that I have a reservation, which has been paid for and confirmed.  There are no buts about it. 

She decided to try her own luck at the keyboard and managed to uncover something which resembled my name.  I think I even saw her roll here eyes at the guy who was serving me.  10 more minutes passed, meanwhile the line behind me had grown to around 30 people, all waiting to get processed by the single open counter.  Finally they called the supervisor – said a few words and handed her my passport.  She said that she will need to check with the Emirates office – I was told to get out of the line and stand aside next to the customs desk.  15 minutes later she emerged out of the Emirates office with Tunde by her side – everything is sorted.  My bag got checked in and boarding passes issued.

Wasn’t too hard – I said my final goodbye to Biodun and gave him a hug, shook Tundes hand and went through to the immigration section.  No sooner did I hand over my passport that the immigration officer asked for my immigration card.  I don’t have one – he said that the check-in desk must give me the pass.  So round we go again, back into the line because for some reason no one, except the check-in staff are able to hand over the immigration slip – seems like these pointless exercises exist purely to create employment. 

Ok, got the slip, filled it out and cleared immigration.  Home free; now to find the Emirates lounge.  At the front desk I handed over my lounge pass and found myself a nice comfy chair.  No sooner did I slip the bag off my shoulder that the electricity got cut – something I’ve become quite used to.  At first I used to look around everywhere to make sure that’s its electricity not just the local light bulb, after a while you simply wait for it to get turned back on.  So as I waited in semi dusk conditions I fixed myself a nice glass of wine and some sandwiches.

The lounge had a layout and décor which reminded me of the communist style resorts dotted around the former soviet states, where politicians were sent as a reward for contributions party.  Still it’s a good place to sit and unwind before the flight.

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