Posts Tagged ‘British Airways’

Seasons greetings ladies and gentlemen, readers of the Fairy GodSister’s blog. Welcome! To the old-timers and the new readers, welcome! You are the reason I write; where would I be without your company?

So, what are your plans for Christmas? Mine? I’ll tell you in a minute.

Greetings from Texas, where I will be spending the holidays. Any bloggers in Texas? Say hello or something!

Now, how about how I got here? We’ll start from Friday, where I had a production meeting, did all sorts of running around, was frustrated by Guaranty Trust Bank (will update that story or do a follow up one in a bit), and lost my way close to midnight in the name of helping a friend.

Saturday, 7am we were on location to shoot my latest project, six short pieces on indigeneity, religious freedom, and belonging. I promise you can have a look when it’s ready! Lost an earring, somehow managed to spoil my HTC, but we had a lovely shoot and I’m really grateful to the cast and crew. Really grateful.

Got home about 9pm, entertained a guest till 11pm, then bedtime. Did I mention I’d been invited to Lagos for a meeting on Sunday? A meeting I couldn’t get out of. So it was off to the airport first thing in the morning. Drove to the airport, caught my Air Peace flight. It was alright I guess, nothing extra. Except for the silly man who wanted to pee just before we landed and started yelling at the hostesses when he was told he had to return to his seat. Silly, silly man, with all his “do you know who I am” foolishness. Yuck.

Insert GSD. Big smile.

Meeting was incredible – great minds, even greater ideas, and the outline of a lot of work that God wiling will lead to a greater, even more prosperous tomorrow for everyone. Amen.

Race back to the airport, big thank you to the gentleman who drove, and for pleasant company. Of course, my 5.35pm flight was delayed. Aero Contractors would have been renamed Chioma Contractors if they were on time! SMH. Finally boarded past 7pm, so I got in after 8pm. Thank God JT insisted I pack before the Lagos trip.

Monday morning. 22nd of December. Was up at 5.25am to put finishing touches to my packing. Packing? Yes. I’m off to London. I’d checked in, so I kinda took my time. Wrong move. Very wrong move.

We got to the airport area around 7.50am, and the queue stretched as long as it broke my heart. And there’s some refurbishment going on at the airport so what should have been a straight drive was windy, tenuous, and slow enough for me to come down, get someone to drag my box, and we raced to BA’s check-in counter.

There was only one lady left, and I was told there was no way I could get on the flight. I was directed to the manager on duty, and I was still telling her how I couldn’t miss the flight (if I had a pound for every time I’ve used that phrase, sigh) when she said, “I’ve already told them to check you in”. Oh!! Thank you God! So they accepted my first suitcase, don’t roll your eyes but my carryon was in the taxi. So I ran out, got it, and ran back. I must have looked like a really crazy lady, sigh. Anyway, boarded, slept. Woke up to eat, slept. Woke up, struggled through Rio 2 (yup, watched it again), Boyhood, and half of The Hundred Hour Journey, and it was sleep, a sandwich, and we’d landed!

Immigration sorted, and I got in a pod to head to my hotel. To be honest, I decided to stay in this hotel because I’d be able to take a pod there. It’s the only hotel accessible by the pod so why not? Plus it was waaaay cheaper than Sofitel and the Hilton which I’d considered, and for the price I paid, it was really lovely! A couple selfies, trip to Dartford and back, and the loveliest chicken tikka masala after, it was bed time!

2014-12-23 10.31.25

Morning! How did you sleep? Very well for me thank you… Shower, a bit of work, then it was breakfast (my usual omelettes, hashbrowns, beans, and sausages) and back to the airport in the pod. More selfies! And yup, another trip! Last one for at least two weeks.

Hello Austin!! Ten hours after. With their silly airport without free WIFI. We took a couple selfies, popped into Houston, where we had a lovely dinner with my aunt, uncle and cousins – so lovely to see everyone! We gisted, laughed, recounted stories, and now, we’re at another cousin’s house.

2014-12-23 18.54.34 2014-12-23 18.55.00-2

Thank you Lord for strength. For safe travels. For safety, especially on Friday night. Thank you for family, for love, for peace, for togetherness. Super grateful Lord! Thank you for a the beginning of a fabulous Christmas!

I’d promised Tolu Ogunlesi I would make his wedding slated for the 29th of November 2014 and because I am a child of God who keeps her promises, I got into Nigeria early in the morning of the 28th.

A bit about the flight – British Airways was super disappointing biko. The in-flight entertainment didn’t work (at all) the entire flight. After the initial apologies when we first boarded and talk about sorting it out, nothing o, till we touched down in Abuja. Very unlike British Airways.

On the other hand I had pesto pasta and a lovely, lovely pudding. British Airways, you’re forgiven – go and sin no more.

Anyway, so we touched down and one of my bags was damaged. Lord have mercy! One hour, some yelling (I’m sorry), and some sarcasm (not sorry for that), and a filled out damages form after, it was home time. Of course Boo Boo had gone off to school and I missed seeing him.

Rushed out almost immediately with my cabbie, first to the bank, then to run some errands, see my sister, then we sped off back to the airport so I could catch a 4pm flight to Ibadan.

3.30pm. All checked in and waiting to be called to board. 4pm. 4.30pm. 5pm. Flight was finally announced, and we queued up. Next thing I heard some commotion at the front of the line. Apparently, Overland Airways/Airlines (whatever they’re called) said the ‘plane was full’ so we would have to wait for another one that had taken off to Ilorin to come back for us. What!!!!!!!! As in, who does that!?!!!  How did they not know the capacity of the plane and sold tickets accordingly?

I was exhausted, and angry! Sweet baby Jesus I was angry! Everyone was furious, and they almost moved from being physical with the station manager to full-scale violence.

We finally boarded at 7.30pm and of course I dozed even before we took off; I was beat. Touched down an hour later (thank you Lord) and just as I was getting off, power at the airport went out; didn’t come back on for at least 10 minutes. Do you know what the Bible calls ‘gross darkness’? Hian! All I could think of was what would have happened if the power had gone out while we were landing. God forbid. By the way, there were no buildings at the said airport, just canopies. Jesu!

Caught a cab to the hotel, a bit of drama with the cabbie and his car (I ended up changing taxis and paying 700 naira instead of 4000 naira) and as soon as I showered, had dinner, and checked in with my friends and loved ones, it was bedtime!

WEddINg dAY

Woke up feeling really rested and excited – whoop! Took my time with my shower, got ready, and had a cup of tea. Almost had a wardrobe malfunction (that only Mercy and JT know about because God will not allow my enemies to laugh at me) and then it was time to go!

Egghead picked me up, we got Mercy and then it was off to church – but first a selfie!!!

2014-11-29 11.51.57

Duck mouth!

2014-11-29 12.52.37

Selfie in church – don’t worry, service had ended!

Wedding ceremony was great, funny how people just assume they know what a couple want. The Pastor said, “in a few months from now, Kemi will be pregnant”. Yes o, instruction from the Lord ke nan!

Wedding over, it was off to the reception – beautiful, gorgeously decorated hall, sufficient stewards, and really tasty food! I learned something I think I’ll have done at mine – guests were fed as soon as they sat down. There were menu cards, and as soon we sat down our orders were taken and delivered. After we ate, the couple came in and the reception proper started – much better than starving your guests and leaving their eyes alternating between the clock and the order cos they’re anxious for ‘item 7’.

High point of the reception? The daddy/daughter dance – it was everything! Loved it! Kemi was crying though, I can imagine my dad is going to cry too.

2014-11-29 15.57.17

With the one and only Gbenga Sesan!

2014-11-29 12.54.59

With Eggie!!

Courtesy Omojuwa, who defines the word 'LOYAL'!!

Courtesy Omojuwa, who defines the word ‘LOYAL’!!

Loads of dancing, small chops chowing, selfies and co after, it was back to the hotel for a bit more rest. Here’s a bit about my room, told in photos.

2014-11-29 18.29.24

So. This is the name of my room. It was really the Queen’s room, as in Mama Charlie!

2014-11-29 18.30.17

Not bad at all to be honest! Really spacious, loved that I had a bath and a shower in the bathroom, and two air conditioners (ended up turning both off in the night when they threatened to freeze my lungs!) Notice the portrait hanging over the bed? Queen.

2014-11-30 07.24.57

Everything is a decoration. These two coaster sets were on the table. Queen.

2014-11-30 07.23.14

Another wall, another Queen portrait.

2014-11-30 07.23.00

Yet another portrait. Queen.

2014-11-30 07.22.51

Is it me, or the owner of this hotel deserves to be knighted? More Queen!

Still on the hotel, in the morning I rang the reception and asked for a taxi. They didn’t have any so I asked if they could find one for me. Guess the reply I got when I got a call back?

Receptionist: Mr Ojo’s mother is ill so he has gone to Ilesha to see her.

Me: I’m sorry, who is Mr Ojo?

Receptionist: That’s the taxi we wanted to call for you.

They couldn’t just tell me he wasn’t available?

Later that evening, we went out for drinks and a laugh (or two or three depending on what the subject was). I ordered a small chops platter which took forty minutes but came with ‘microwaved-from-frozen’ items.

2014-11-30 00.46.27Sigh.

Ah!! Did I mention there were ladies in the lounge wearing lace? Even saw a couple with gele! Not kidding!

Back in the land of the queen (also known as my room) it was bedtime, with prayers that I’d be up early enough to catch my ride to Lagos! Thank you @Babsburton for the ride, and @seyitaylor for the company!

This was written from the safety/warmth of my lodgings in Lagos, totally grateful to God for safe travels (London-Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos) over four days. Beyond non-functional in-flight entertainment, delayed flights, and bad roads, my trips were without incident. For that I’m super grateful.

It was awesome to catch up with my old friends (too numerous to mention) but also to meet folk from Twitter! People like @BisiOgunwale (Mr President), @Obadayo (helmet), @OkShorty1, and the delectable @LAkintobi!

To @eggheader, egbon of life! Thank you for making sure we were comfortable/taken care of. Thank you.

And to the latest couple, @toluogunlesi and @kemichronicles, congratulations! Welcome to the best years of your lives.

Photo courtesy Eggheader. Isn't the bride just gorgeous!! I love her gown! Simple and oh-so-beautiful!

Photo courtesy Eggheader. Isn’t the bride just gorgeous!! I love her gown! Simple and oh-so-beautiful!

Love ya!

Greetings from London! Whoop! The weather is chilly, just how I like it (my skin flourishes in cold weather)! Would have been happier if it was a tad less grey and depressing sha, haba!

I’m looking forward to resting from the marathon three weeks I’ve just had, so grateful I can go away, refresh, and come back.

So, want to hear about the trip (as always)? You know, sometimes when I have an uneventful flight I’m a tad disappointed there’s nothing to write about.

Anyway, so about this one; so you know I got home about 10.30pmish, had yahuza, suya (see why all my #FitFam and dieting will not prosper) and drank my medicine (which I couldn’t find this morning by the way). What I didn’t mention in that one was the fact I decided to ‘lie down for a bit’ when I went into my room. Next thing I knew, it was 3.30am. Of course my boxes were unpacked, I’m not even sure I knew where my passport was!

I began putting things into the chosen suitcases, arranged passports et al, and it looked like I would be ready on time. Time check? 5.30am, the time I’d arranged with a taxi company to get me. And there begins the Viko Car Hire story.

The general idea for Viko Car Hire is that you pay N5000 for them to take you home from the airport, and then your return to the airport (whenever) is free, provided you give them 24 hours notice. Nice deal/business model right? Considering rides back to town from the airport cost between 4000 and 6000 (one-way), depending on your negotiation skills.

I heard about them around the middle of the year, and I’ve used them ever since, with minimal complaint. Here’s the thing though: there’s a difference between the dream and then the people to bring that dream to life (a.k.a the Viko drivers).

I personally think they’ve taken on a few devil drivers recently because in the last two months I’ve been yelled at, picked up late, and not picked up at all.

This particular morning, my driver was running late by an hour and so I rang their care line. They said they’d reach him for me, only for someone to call back and say the driver said he’d rung my number and spoken to a man the night before who he told his car was bad so he wouldn’t be able to come take me to the airport. And ‘the man’ (whoever he was) said ok.

Lol. Silliness in the highest – how much more foolish can people get? Here’s everything I did yesterday here. Where is the man he spoke to o!!

I was upset. Sweet baby Jesus I was so upset! How can we be playing this kind of rough play with an international flight?

How did we resolve it? They begged me to come to the airport myself (of course everyone knew the driver was lying through his teeth), and the driver would refund my fare.

Got to the airport (kisses to my sister for dropping me at the junction where I caught a cab) where I got the staff of Viko to sign something saying someone would refund my money. Rubbish.

Boarded the flight, buckled myself in, covered my feet (I can never sleep with my feet uncovered, even in scorching weather), and I slept. Immediately. After speaking to my friends and loved ones of course (if we spoke or chatted this morning you’re in the number, he he he.) In my book of life ke nan.

So I slept til it was food time, somehow I’m unconsciously programmed to wake up to eat when I’m really hungry, and meal over, I slept a bit and then watched Rio 2. Loved it, it was just incredible! Can’t wait to buy it for Boo Boo, I know he will thoroughly enjoy all the singing and dancing in the movie. Cartoons are the way forward jor!

Err, want to see the official trailer for it?

Went back to sleep immediately after, and then the lady beside me woke me to take my snack pack and some juice. And I went straight back to sleep. Next time I woke up, we’d touched down – I’m sure the lady beside me would have been wondering if there wasn’t anything wrong with me! And no, they didn’t forget me on the plane either!

 

Social media is a funny thing. It’s like a playground these days, and everyone’s invited. Compelled almost, if you like. It has become possible to have a living, breathing relationship (work or otherwise) with a person you have never met (watch out for the catfish though) totally enabled by the various technologies around. Exciting stuff!

Found a blog almost a year ago now, and it was Tolu’s, this young man who’d returned to Nigeria (IJGB) and was documenting (daily) what it was like settling into work (he runs his own company), living in Lagos, all of that good stuff. Of course the tales were hilarious, and after a while I would find myself looking forward to his next piece. I would leave a comment every now and then too, and sometimes they’d become full blown conversations.

We narrowly missed the chance of meeting sometime in September; I’d been invited to an event in Lagos but I was in England and since the invite didn’t come with any attachment with the subject ‘British Airways’, I sent my regrets. However, I was really interested in the event (and I said so to the organizers) so after it held, I saw a link to a video of the proceedings, and so I watched.

And then I saw Tolu! And I’m like “no way”!! Apparently he’d also been invited, and was one of the key speakers or something like that. So I messaged him on Twitter (hello social media) to say we narrowly missed each other, and the conversation ended with a plan to meet when next I was in the country.

So… Had a really good first half of the day yesterday at the Diplomatic Dialogue series organized by NLI, hosting the US Ambassador (more gist about that in my next post) and then it was off to Terra Kulture to work, eat, and see if Tolu would be able to make it down.

He did! Right in the middle of me burning up (because in my ‘wisdom’ I’d sat by the window so the sun was in my face), my Mac charger packed up and I don’t know my way around Lagos so even after I’d been told on Twitter where I could get a new one, I was still obviously helpless. Tolu be sincere, I was whining those first few minutes abi?

Tolu laughed at me first (Smh at that first impression) and I daresay he laughed all the way to his car just under 3 hours later!

From airport to dim sum spots stories, to the ones about computer chargers and incomplete information, to the 21 questions (rolling my eyes at the interrogation), I had a fabulous, fun, really laid back evening!

And I’m grateful for that, for good fun, good conversation, and wait for it… Chicken wings!!

So we ordered smoothies and chicken wings (team FitFam), and we shared them equally, even though Tolu tried to shame/bully me into eating less than my share. Yet he was off to a party where he’d have a proper dinner o… *Rolling my eyes again* In fact, you be the judge – who do think owns which pile of bones?

image

Count carefully!!!

And there was the last wing, the lonely last wing that we both formed we wouldn’t eat… For several reasons…

image

I wonder what happened to this last wing… Where does a solitary chicken wing go?

Notice we left the fries alone? Team fitfam dot com!!

I had a really good time Tolu… Thank you. Send your email address, so I can send you that idea biko. Hope you enjoyed the party!

PS – what did you do yesterday evening? Yes, you reading this! Share!

This is the beginning of a series capturing my trip to Edo State to monitor elections via social media. Trip was made under the auspices of Enough is Enough Nigeria, and funded by the World Bank. I’ll capture the trip to, the events in Benin, and the trip back. Ready?

Right. The date for the trip? Friday the 13th, famous for people who believe in superstition. Funnily, I saw a black cat the day before, but I’m sure it doesn’t count. Again, I slept very well the night before (very unusual if you know how I get before trips).

I had a few things to sort out that morning, and my flight was for 1pm; was worried because apart from waking up late, the ache in my lower back that started on Wednesday was manifesting with an intensity that was scary. I collected the ekpang nkwukwo (traditional Cross Riverian dish made from cocoyam, pumpkin/green leaves and lots of different meats) I had ordered the day before, went to renew my Starcomms subscription, and then went to play with my nephew.

I hitched a ride to the airport with Mercy Abang, my friend and colleague, and the first sign of trouble was the long queue of cars as we entered the airport; that turned out to be child’s play compared to the people waiting to check in. Let’s digress; I think it is very unfortunate that there is only one airline operating out of the International Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Arik Air. We all know about the disaster with Dana, and Air Nigeria has not only been suspended, four of the planes in their fleet have been repossessed. Again, I think that Arik Air is under a lot of pressure to satisfy customers that have almost trebled with the misfortunes of the other airlines. Have they increased their fleet? No. Employed more staff? No. Instead their pilots are ignoring weather forecast warnings, and putting people in danger!

Our 1pm flight was called at 1.15pm, by which time I was doubled over in pain and trying to convince myself to still go on the trip. We went through the boarding gate (which was a corridor with a guy signing our boarding passes) and then we got in the bus on the tarmac to take us to the plane. Typical cramped six sitting, three hundred standing  scenario (yes I’m exaggerating but you get the idea), and now I had sights, sounds, and smells to contend with. I watched a flight wait for one guy; they re-opened the doors when the guy (and his military aide) got to the plane. I miss England…. British Airways wait for you? Try yourself!!

Time check? 1.50pm; we had been standing by the plane for about 20 minutes, under the sun. Then we were told that there was no fuel. What!! Why do we do things that are unheard of everywhere else? I had tears in my eyes. Why take us out of the lounge at all if there was no fuel? We milled into the bus, and ended up in the lounge that barely had space to stand.  Plastic bottles of mineral sold for N300.  We got some, and then some heavily made up lady, color blocked to the teeth bought a can of Guinness extra smooth, wrapped it in nylon, opened it, and then sipped with a straw. Amused me to no end.

Then we heard, ‘final boarding call for Arik flight xyz to Benin’. What!! Final boarding call? Thought you just told us there was no fuel! We pushed our way through the crowd to the plane, I didn’t even bother with the bus again. Can I say security at the airport is below zero? I boarded the flight with my pack of ekpang, and juice at the bottom of my handbag; the security scanners didn’t pick it. Most importantly, when we went to board the second time, we weren’t checked so ANYONE could have taken ANYTHING on board.  You can imagine my exasperation when one of the people who check your boarding pass at the bottom of the plane (never understood their function) saw me drinking my Mountain Dew and said I couldn’t take it on board. Just in case I constructed a liquid bomb with it while walking the flight of stairs into the plane abi? I was too drained to even argue.

Drunk sounding pilot gave a one line apology about the 1 hour 40 minutes delay, said they had ‘fueling issues’; I remember tweeting ‘Jesus take the wheel‘. Then there was the lady sat beside Mercy and I who wouldn’t stop singing above the noise from her already loud earphones.*sigh*

Smooth take off, not ashamed to say I had my heart in my hand throughout, and I’m not looking forward to the trip back.

Part two? Benin. Edo Decides.