The curved roofed caught my attention the first time I passed through the Airport, I loved the wooden ceiling laminates and the red carpet. It’s a long walk through the concourse as you look for your boarding gate. The flight to Paris, went well as expected, with the change in time zone, you think you were one hour earlier. Time to quickly get on board and settle down and ready for the flight home. Home is home. Can’t wait to be there.
After locating my seat, we waited for others too to settle down and all other security checks and advice to be given before we fly, we waited for a while until the Captain announced that we might be having a delayed flight because the Engineers are trying to sort out a technical problem with the plane.
Technical problem? With the memories of Dana crash still fresh in our mind, you can see panic in the face of most of the passengers. Those who are not Nigerian have heard about it too. What sort of technical problem will this be and hope they can fix it while on the Tarmac? We all asked; waiting for more information from the Captain who later announced that air conditioning system in a part of the plane is not working. There was a sigh of relief that it was not something related with the Engine.
After about thirty minutes, the captain announced that we cannot use this plane to fly because the technical problem cannot be fixed, so we had to alight from the plane. There were confusions in the air, after settling down and ready to fly, tired from transit flight and even bored; we were all going back to the boarding hall. They offered to give us sandwich and drink while we wait for two hours to get another plane.
We all saw this as a better alternative than risking it to fly with no air conditioning. You don’t have to be selfish, thinking those in that part of the plane can manage since the cold air will circulate or suggest opening the window. We concluded that it was better to be late, for three hours than to be a late.
Clusters began to form as we discuss life issues, experiences and what we do while waiting for our sandwich, it’s nice to know that Nigerians will surely survive wherever we go, in no small time, we have all become friends and chatting, children who never knew themselves before playing while adults were enjoying themselves too.
No doubt, my schedule has being affected and the effects were cascaded down to every other bits of my action plans, I need to make phone calls or at least send an email. I need to use my phone but my battery was flat, it wanted to charge it but the socket in Paris (Europe) was different so I had to go look for an adaptor.
I wanted to buy the adaptor but had no Euro, so I knew the adaptor plan was out of it, More so I don’t see myself buying an adaptor for €15 when I will just use it for less than two hours. Lesson learnt: When travelling, make sure you know the socket you need to use in that country. I should have bought it in UK; it will even had been cheaper. So I had to carry my dead phone with me.
Another attempt was to go use public phone, I had no euro coins to use so I had to go sort myself out somehow, I don’t know the mobile phone numbers to call, just my house landline to inform them of my location but hopefully someone will bother enough to pick it. Lesson learnt: keep memorizing those numbers or have then written in pen somewhere. It could be useful.
Next stop was the internet cafe; I needed to get the log in pass from the computer which only collects dollars and euro. They actually crossed out pounds. I don’t know why. However, since I don’t have coins yet, I must do something.
I went to Travelex to find out if I can get some Euros for the pounds I had with me, I was told the minimum is fifty pounds so I had to go use the cash machine to get Euro but on a second though, I don’t know if this will incur a charge, I know it will most certainly do, using your card to get euro outside UK…so I tried it and it was willing to pop out minimum of €20. I was not comfortable with that so I stopped…Lesson Leant. Find out from your bank about charges of you use your card while you travel.
Finally, I had to pop into a shop to ask if they accept pounds, gladly the shop attendant told me they do but he will give me change back in Euro, I can’t be bothered anyway because it’s the Euro I needed. So I bought Snickers, my favourite chocolate because I needed Euro.
Thankfully, I had my coins now so I had to go use the internet, I reminds me those days while I go to cybercafé, when you do overnight browsing and you watch your hours go by, from 60 minutes to less than a minute. I bought 30 minutes credit for €3 and I was able to send an email, send text message, using fishtext, I tweeted about my experience and I checked into the Airport on Foursquare. I did all these within my 30 minutes and I even had time to read news on Yahoo. Lesson learnt. You won’t appreciate what you have until you lose it, with 30mins internet access; I appreciated my unlimited access even more.
Job done! They know my whereabouts so I can relax and enjoy the companies of other Nigerians as we waited to board. I went around taking pictures and exploring the Airport. Our fight was later delayed till about 6pm and we hoped they will lodge us in hotel and fly tomorrow but alas we boarded and ready to fly.
It was still the same type of aircraft, A330, still same seat, same crew and captain but a different aircraft so some doubting Nigerians don’t want to believe it’s a different plane, because they still sat in same place they don’t feel it’s another plane. Someone said I should not blame them that such can happen in Nigeria, they can still being same as call it another one. Lesson Learnt:Learn to trust and help people trust you. Throughout the flight there was no problem at all, it was smooth and no cause for alarm, we were late no doubt but we arrived safely, Thank God the Engineers did not jeopardize our safety. Welcome Home.
Got to Lagos at about 12 midnight and I was almost stranded, I had no phone to call but I knew I could ask someone to allow me use their phone, however, I saw a charging point at the Airport where I was able to use my phone. I could not use it to make call however because it was on roaming and I will be well charged.
Fortunately, I found a free Wi-Fi hotspot available at the Airport, I was able to connect and I used Skype on my phone to make a call to my brother who was waiting (since 7pm) and he told me he was outside. Lesson Learnt: Think Positive. Nigeria is not that bad, there was electricity, I got access to a free Wi-Fi and to my appreciation, my brother was still waiting for me despite the delay. It was nice experience I will cherish.