Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

Nigeria: Day 1

   It seemed like a bit of a bad start. I got "randomly selected" for special security screening, which I pretty much expect (and they just did this weird thing where they swabbed my hands and ran the swab through a machine??), but as I went to put my boots back on, the zipper pull tab completely broke off. I was moments into my two and a half week adventure in Africa and bam I already had a broken boot that would henceforth be really difficult to zip up.

   Flights were unnoteworthy. Every seatback has a television monitor in it. From Orange County to Atlanta Delta wouldn't show anything for free but from Atlanta to Amsterdam everything was free. Watched "Horrible Bosses" which was pretty lackluster, and Ides of March, which I found really disappointing (really slow to go anywhere and anticlimatic when it gets there).

   Having left OC at around 0845am, I arrived in Amsterdam around the exact same time (but I'd lost 9 hours of my life to time changes). Had a six hour layover in Amsterdam but when I asked a security guard if I could leave with no European visa I was informed I couldn't. I've been since informed this was a filthy filthy lie. Was exhausted by this point anyway (it is IMPOSSIBLE to sleep on an airplane flight, apparently, unless you've drunk yourself silly on wine like I did last time), so just found a seat I could curl up in and slept for a few hours.

   It was about 33f in Amsterdam and outside everything was covered in snow. Another six hour flight later I landed in Abuja, capital of Nigeria, and it was 90f at 9pm. On this flight I watched "Hangover II," which was also disappointing and suffered severely of sequelism (trying to be exactly like the original and yet somehow different); and a movie I'd never heard of called In Time which I actually liked a lot. It takes place in a dystopian future where everyone drives cars from the 70s and dress kinda like they're from the 20s. Oh and they stop aging at 25 but the amount of time they'll live after that is used as currency, and they only start with a year. Shenanigans ensue.

   But enough about movie reviews, we both know if you're still reading this it's because you want to know everyone's biggest question about Nigeria -- is it really filled with millionaire princes who want to wire you all their money???

   Well, the big sign pictured above is about the first thing you see when you get off the airplane. And it would have you believe that fellow busting some kind of gangtsa self-hug is not actually my millionaire uncle who died in a plane crash but a scammer!

   So now you know what the guy behind those emails looks like ;)

   But then again, I DID get wired thousands of dollars to travel to Nigeria ;)

   After over 27 hours in transit I was in Nigeria. Spent another hour going through passport control.

   Outside the airport I noted the place had a very earthy smell. Perhaps a bit like putting your nose in a hedge. The Winrock driver who picked me up was named "Blessing," (Nigerians apparently have a tendency to choose English words as first names that we wouldn't normally consider naming material, such as President Goodluck Jonathon for example). It was about 30 miles into the city. Highway didn't have lane markers on it, cars just kind of swarmed around eachother. There were also occasionally SPEED BUMPS on the highway. And then we saw lights headed towards us on our side (a pretty significant median separated the two traffic directions), and we slowed to avoid a car going the other direction.
   "Uh, is that normal?" I asked Blessing
   "Yeah, just not during the daytime. During the daytime they'd get arrested for that, but at night there's no traffic police out"
   Oh, okay. A few minutes later we passed another vehicle traveling the wrong direction (Blessing hypothesized they had to get somewhere off this side of the road, and the median being more or less impassable they'd just done a U-turn somewhere where there was a hole in the median and backtracked). Then we passed a totally smashed car sitting on its side unattended in the left lane. Well of course it hadn't been cleaned up and taken away, if the police are off for the night...!

   My hotel was pretty nice. Bed was rock hard but felt like heaven after airplane seats. At the gate to the parking lot they looked under the car with a mirror on a pole for bombs, and I took note there was soldier in uniform at the top of the stairs on the floor my room was on too.

   And thus ends day 1! I'm actually at the end of day 2 here in real life but you'll have to wait to hear that exciting story of explosions, blackouts (the powergrid kind), dead bodies, ministers shooting ministers, and everything else! (:

Tags: africa, agdev, movie reviews, nigeria, travel, travelogues

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