Arriving back in Lagos at 5:15 am was both a blessing and a curse.
Blessing: Plane didn’t crash; safe arrival.
Curse: Plane arrived in Lagos.
Coming back to Lagos after over a week in one of my favorite places in the world was no easy task. It took all of my strength and mental fortitude to board the plane. But, I knew that Lagos would have some of her well known craziness just waiting to welcome me back.
Let me regale you with some stories of foolishness, Back in Lagos, Day 1:
Getting off the Plane:
The woman sitting in the row in front of me asked for my assistance in retrieving her oversized, over stuffed, knock off Louis Vitton bag from the overhead compartment. She’d put the big, stupid bag in the compartment two seats behind her for some reason.
“Your bag is really too small for the stuff that’s in it. It’s way over full,” I said as I struggled to get it. She reached up to try to help me. I nastily said, “I will do it or you wait and do it yourself.”
^ I am not usually such a short tempered person, but you know, when in Lagos. It also annoyed me that her bag was knock off Louis Vitton; just buy your bags at Wal-Mart (or whatever the equivalent is here) like a decent person. Don’t support counterfeiters, but whatever, I will get off my moral high horse.
Her next bag was a blue, hard sized roller bag. I laughed when she asked for assistance with that one. I impolitely informed her: “You will have to wait on that one.”
Her jackass of a companion, who had listened to several videos OUT LOUD on his phone during the flight, eventually came along and retrieved the blue bag.
When it was time to go, I snipped at R: “Come on R! You’re back in Nigeria and you’ve got to fight! Did you forget?”
Yes, I said that, out loud, on land in Lagos, in a plane full of Nigerians. I’m sure most of them agreed with me in their heads and hearts. R quickly remembered that we’re not in London anymore and it was time to get aggressive in order to get through the line to get to immigration.
Since the plane was full of Nigerians, the line for the non-Nigerian passport holders was blissfully short. It only took about 10 minutes to get through the line. Every other time I have traveled here, it has taken a minimum of 30 minutes to get through immigration. That time can be compounded as the guards allow Nigerians to cut the line to be serviced first, even though there are two lines devoted to Nigerian passport holders.
After making it through immigration with no fanfare, we waited on our bags. I went to the toilet and two women inside who were the attendants asked me for a blessing (that’s Nigerian slang for a “tip”).
I told them I had nothing, and they both began to tell me about how they have not been paid for 2 months and how they had nothing to eat last night.
One of the ladies was wearing heavy eyeliner and lots of decent looking makeup and a wig. The other lady was wearing decent looking weave. I thought, “No money for food but better hair and makeup than me?” I asked, “Why do you continue to come back here if they do no pay you?” They told me they had no where else to go. I thought that was an odd answer, so I just excused myself.
Later, I wondered if they were just making up the story about not being paid in 2 months. I wondered if I was being judgmental about them. So, I decided to do a Google search for news stories about workers not being paid. I actually found several, but this is one of the latest ones I found, in case you’d like to read about this in more detail, and from a more reputable source than an American reciting what I was told by 2 bathroom attendants.
After the bathroom fiasco, we got our bags and attempted to make it through the security search. The bags are searched for “security purposes” (emphasis on the quotation marks).
Let’s be frank here: White people or any other non-Nigerian looking people are searched; Nigerians are not.
Now, it’s ok to be a nationalist and take care of your own and show preference to your own people. BUT, being on the other side of the unfair treatment REALLY SUCKS.
So, today, when I was asked what was in my bags, I answered in circular logic until the customs official got annoyed and waved me out, angrily telling me to “Just leave.” Thanks, dude.
My brown skin helped; my accent probably did not. I am not a rule breaker; I never bring un-allowed things into any country. But, I openly hate being treated like a lesser than person because I am not Nigerian. I also openly hate to see R treated like an even lesser person because he is not a Black person.
The rest of the day was uneventful and thankfully, I was able to catch up on a lot of sleep and drink a gallon of water.
Here are two videos that I took on the bus ride home. Leaving the airport so early in the morning allowed the bus driver to drive like a bat out of hell. Or should I say a bat out of Lagos. Ha!
Enjoy the videos and until tomorrow, my friends…