Posts Tagged ‘Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport’

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!


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!!!

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Duck mouth!

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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.

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With the one and only Gbenga Sesan!

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Another wall, another Queen portrait.

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Yet another portrait. Queen.

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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!

I decided to go visit my folks in Asaba (especially my dear Momma who I haven’t seen in 11 months) and so I packed a bag (or box, since my Royal Majesty doesn’t know how to travel light), and off to the airport I went.

By the way, Abuja folks, there is this new taxi service at the airport called ‘Viko’. If you take them to or from the airport, your next trip is free. All you need to do is text them your desired pick up location, time, and contact details 24 hours before your next flight and someone will come for you. And on time too! I used them so I can tell.

So I got to the airport, and funnily that’s where I met Emem who I’d tried to meet up with the night before. We had a quick discussion/meeting before her flight was called and she pushed off.

I went into the Biobak in the departure lounge and bought a pie and donkwa (Northern snack made of groundnuts and peppery spices). My flight was called, and I went to board. Waiting for my boarding pass to be checked, some lady came and stood before me on the queue. Of course I didn’t stand for it but it made me smile. What was she thinking? I tweeted…

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Then I went to board, and because I have the habit of leaving this particular handbag open the person to do the body scan saw my small bottle of water and said I had to drop it. I tried to explain that I needed my water and wasn’t a law against water on the plane but you know how we Nigerians get when we only have an instruction in our heads; no room for discretion – we just keep repeating the instruction over and over again. By the time she she’d said, “ madam you cannot take the water on board – it is not allowed” the 4th time, I left the water with her. Yes I was fuming. Ok, only maybe just a little bit.

Got to the door of the aircraft and I met two members of the cabin crew and a/the pilot. I turned to the one smiling (a guy) and asked how much water I was allowed, and he said one. I was thinking of the miniature bottles they offer and so I asked if I could get a second one because I’d been asked to drop mine and I’d been feeling pretty dehydrated all day so I was a little upset.

Pilot (who I wasn’t talking to) said, “you are not allowed to take liquids on a plane anywhere in the world”. Fallacy. So many things wrong with that statement (including the fact that I wasn’t speaking to him in the first place) so I said, “it’s not true”. Then he goes, “ don’t teach me my job”. Ticked me off so I very quickly said, “don’t have any plans to teach you your job. More importantly, I wasn’t speaking to you so if you’re not the one who will serve refreshments later please let me conclude this conversation”. Turned back to the guy, confirmed I would get an extra bottle, and then I went to my seat (after warding off some politician who had said hello earlier and now wanted to hold my hand). Why? Cos I’m blind or unable to lead myself to my seat? Arrghh!! Tweeted…

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Of course there had to be someone on my seat (because it doesn’t rain but pour). While I tried to gather my composure enough to say so, another hostess came to say it was free seating. I thanked her, and moved to the next row that had a window seat only for the lady sat on the aisle seat to roll her eyes at me when I asked her to let me get in. Made a big show of standing up for me to get through but I was too exhausted (physically and mentally) to even bother. No energy.

I sat down, took a few deep breaths and smiled. Then I brought out what I’m reading at the moment, “The Social Media President”, brought out my donkwa too. Next few tweets capture what happened next.

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Beggi beggi, after rolling her eyes at me. Took all of me not to chuckle.

Got to Asaba ok, and ran into the loving arms of my Momma (after helping some lady trying to coordinate her infant, handbag, and a small box), and as soon as we started gisting on the drive home, everything else (pilot, beggi beggi, lady at the foot of the aircraft) paled. Felt super to be home!


PS – I got my water. Two bottles.

PSS – Liquids are allowed on planes, depends on airport, quantity, where you got the liquid (naturally Duty Free Area works rather than before you cross security). I wasn’t just channeling drama. At MM2 in Lagos, normally depending on who it is, they’ll ask you to take a sip of it and then it can go through. Lord knows what (all over the world this ‘international pilot’ was referring to).

PSSS – this post was written on the 10th of July. 🙂

PSSSS – Flew from Abuja to Lagos a few days ago. Flight was hella smooth! Let’s not forget the smooth, soothing voice of the pilot *wink* …Slept right through it, and of course, I tweeted… And learned his surname is actually Norton.

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Ok, I must say it’s taken me this long to write this, and for a number of reasons. To start with, I still cannot believe that she’s dead; is death that ‘simple’? And that’s for lack of a better qualifier. Secondly, I read the outpouring of love and the fondest, most vivid memories from her sisters (@pdbraide, @IjeomaOgud, @Funmilola, etc) on Twitter, larger than life tributes on Facebook and I wondered if I was even ‘qualified’ to say goodbye to this fabulous lady I had the privilege of meeting only once. Yes, once, and there was the promise of many more meetings in the future. Death, shame on you.

Matter of fact, the day I heard she was dead, I promise I was going to ask our mutual friend to ‘bully’ her into sending me the designs to choose from for my new dress. Perhaps it was also for that selfish reason I refused to associate Remi Lagos with the #Remitothelight hashtag that @IjeomaOgud started.

How did we meet?

On the 8th of September this year I’d gone to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to pick Ace. It was threatening to rain so I called and said to please hurry out so I could speed and put both the rain and traffic behind us only  to hear, ‘I’ll be a few minutes please, we have to drop a friend at the Hilton and she’s waiting on her luggage’. I said ok, swallowed, and waited.

They came, my friend and this lady with her hair neatly unpacked, resplendent in a black kaftan. I introduced myself and she said, ‘my name is Remi’! We got in the car, and we were not even out of the airport when it started to rain. More like it started to pour, thunder, and the lightning was just out of this world.

Now my friend had offered to drive but as ‘Louisa Hamilton’, I refused. Anyone who knows me knows I have a mortal fear of sudden/sharp sounds (among a good number of things I am afraid of). It is the reason I cannot be around balloons, and I never enjoyed hide and seek (still don’t). I remember taking my hands off the wheel to cover my face (or ears) severally on that drive, the scolding from Ace that earned me, but most importantly, the way Remi didn’t even behave like it was raining, we were not even halfway home, and we’d been stuck in traffic for about an hour already!

When somehow it slipped that she was ‘the’ Remi Lagos, I couldn’t stop squealing! Yes, I took my hands off the wheel again. Fortunately the traffic was ‘bumper to bumper’ (literally) so no big issue there (even though Ace didn’t think so). I mean, I’d been hearing of Remi Lagos since I was a child! I didn’t believe she’d look that young and pretty (sans makeup), especially when I found out how old she was later.

I had on Wande Coal’s ‘Mushin to Mohits’ CD, and apart from being a very funny, lively, and boisterous lady (we had this hilarious conversation about metrosexuals – how to spot them, and a particular friend of hers who would arrive at a party separate from his girlfriend just so his chic wouldn’t steal his ‘shine’), she loves(d) Wande Coal! I repeated the Bumper to Bumper track severally, and it was fun singing the second verse together, especially the ‘fight like Chinese – kpishan’ bit! Lol!

By the time we finally got into town we’d become friends! We’d also exchanged numbers because she wanted me to work a social media strategy for her brand, building from London. And of course, Ace said she should make me a dress!

We exchanged these later that night….

We spoke the next day, after her devotion meeting, and even though I came back to London a few days after, we spoke again, and things were on course. And then out of the blues I hear she’s no more, less than 60 days after we met.

Death, shame on you.

I remember her laughter in my head, I see the twinkle in her eyes as she laughed; Remi if you made such an impression in less than 3 hours, then I will never grasp the depths of grief of the people who were really close to you, the ones you left behind.

Rest in peace Remi Lagos

Rest in peace Remi Osholake.

I hung out with a dear friend recently, she’s here in England to study ‘modelling and management of risk’ and walai, it has tripled the respect I have for her. In academics, there are two classes of people I respect; people who love maths, and people who love maths so much that they study it! I remember the tremor in my heart in Secondary School every time I knew we’d have math for first period, how I got a ‘C’ in my A Levels is beyond me! We had some maths gurus then, but when one of them said she was going to study further mathematics at Uni I must confess I kinda stopped liking her very much! What! I can’t understand things ‘as basic as quadratic equations‘ (rolling my eyes at my math teacher for saying it was basic), and you want to study further maths at Uni? Kai!

Anyway, I think I’m a bigger person now, because the friend I hung out with today studied…….(wait for it)….MATH for her first degree, and I still like her a lot. *hugs*

Ok, so after we prowled Oxford Street (the definition of girls ‘hanging out’), we started gisting on the train home, and somehow it  moved to flights. That’s funny enough. Then it moved to ’embarrassing moments on flights with Nigerians‘. Before I go on, what’s your story? Local or international, what has irked/amused or just totally cracked you up?

We started from the ‘rousing ovation syndrome’, and Fe told about (as I have heard severally before) about our people giving the pilot an ovation when he lands and is taxiing the plane to where they get off. Most culpable route? The DubaiLagos flight, on any airline. I won’t even start World War Three by mentioning (or even hinting at) the most culpable Nigerian geopolitical zone! I learnt that if the flight was without incident, then the pilot gets a regular applause, nothing special. But if there was turbulence anytime during the flight, ahh! Not only does he get a rousing ovation, some take the liberty to stand (never mind the ‘keep your seat belts fastened’ rule) and pour blessings on the pilot, which is a bad idea in itself because he CANNOT hear!

I told the story I’ve shared here before about the man who sat beside me on a flight from N’Djamena to Douala. That was just as sad as it was hilarious!

Another one comes to mind; I was flying from Lagos to Abuja, one of those days when I knew that thanks to the airline, I was going to be late for work. And it was a Monday morning, the worst day in the world to be late, or appear ruffled due to the mental/emotional exhaustion of driving the taxi with the cabbie!

I wasn’t in the mood to chat, was saving my energy for explanations back at the office. Till I noticed the guy in the seat next to mine didn’t hurt my sight; matter of fact, he looked really nice. I ran through a little list in my head, shoes and belt matched, crisp shirt, light whiff of his cologne…… ‘Not bad’ I thought. Just as I looked away, he said ‘hey’, and I smiled (more inwardly than outwardly of course). He said he’d seen me look at my watch a few times in the last minute so he was sure I was running late as well. ‘Doesn’t sound half bad too’, sucker for accents that I am. After a few minutes of chatting I turned away, and was counting down to exchanging numbers at the end of the flight. *wink*

Man proposes, God disposes. Abi? 25 minutes into the flight, what started out as a beautiful sunny morning suddenly turned dark and cloudy. With the clouds came turbulence in epic proportions. God of my fathers! I was AFRAID, there’s no other way to say it. I prayed, asking God to remember my service in His kingdom and have mercy, and if mine wasn’t enough, to consider my parents. Anything, I just knew I didn’t want to perish!

The hitherto suave young man beside was obviously more terrified than I was. Before I closed my eyes to pray, he had maintained a calm mien, like he didn’t notice the chaos. Just as I opened my eyes, and wanted to hold his arm (for support, lol!) the plane dipped. Immediately I heard, ‘chim o! Obara Jesus! Onye nwanyi gbaghara!’ What!! In spite of myself and the situation at hand, I started laughing. I laughed even harder when I realized the chants were coming from the guy! Ah! Where did the accent go? I could have sworn he wasn’t Nigerian before!

God being merciful (as always), we left the troubled spot, and 40 minutes later were taxiing to a stop at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. ‘Can I get your number’, baby boy said, assuming his cool demeanor again. ‘Nope’, I replied, without missing a beat. After that episode? No way! I smiled at him, got off the plane, and laughed all the way to my office. Na wa!