Well, we spent a lovely two and a half week vacation in the states visiting with family, but CnL are finally back in Lagos. What a trip it was to return though! When we arrived at the airport in Las Vegas, we discovered (only too late) that our flight was delayed by three hours. Oy. Casey and I were not pleased to hear about this, but there wasn’t much we could do, so we walked around the new Terminal 3 and grabbed a bite of lunch.
The flight to New York was fairly quick and uneventful. We sat in an exit row so Casey had lots of leg room. We were initially scheduled to arrive around 7:45 PM eastern time, but ended up getting in around 11 PM only to find out that the shuttle bus to our hotel stopped picking people up from the airport at 11 PM. Needless to say, we took a cab and got to the hotel around midnight. There weren’t any food places open near our hotel, so we ate snacks that my sister had given us a few days earlier. Luckily, we both weren’t too hungry. We woke up early and took the shuttle to the airport with plenty of time to spare for our flight. Check-in to Arik Air was smooth. We always see the same lady who checks passports/visas and the same man who supervises the show. He gave us a free pass to the lounge that day, which was really nice of him, so we got to chill in comfy seats for an hour or so.
This was the first time the flight from New York to Lagos was in the afternoon, so you can actually see the plane clearly in the daytime. I always snap a photo, but it’s been at night, so the light reflects off the window and you can hardly see “Our Lady of Perpetual Help.” We got much better seats this time around: a two-seat row with a window and an aisle seat. We were also behind the exit row, so Casey had more leg room again. I was quite comfortable here. I prefer to sit on the side of the plane because we can get two seats together, and then I can lean on Casey to sleep, which is comfy to me. The real test of comfort, though, is if Casey is comfortable, which he was with the extra leg room and reclining seat, so this location was a winner. We started out the ten hour flight with a movie called “Never Let Me Go.” It’s apparently after the book with the same title by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I haven’t read but would like to read. Casey played some games on his laptop, we slept for a little while, and ate a couple in-flight meals. Somehow ten hours flew by and we were ready to land.
We usually sit on the plane for a while and let everyone de-board, since baggage takes so long to come out, but this time we left early. Our luggage had priority tags on them, which usually means that they’ll come out faster than others, but that wasn’t the case this time. To our disappointment, they actually came out last. Sigh. We had to wait about an hour for them, but it’s not like we had anything better to do. I took some photos of the mobs of people from our flight, and I tried to take a panorama photo as well. It didn’t work out perfectly, since the right side is doubled, but you get the gist.
Having left in the afternoon in New York, we arrived around 4:30 AM in Lagos. It was nice driving to our apartment in the early morning hours with cooler weather and less traffic. The unfortunate thing is the AC unit in our room and in our kitchen both stopped working at some point while we were gone. The AC in the kitchen had a frozen pipe, and the unit in our room needed a new electric panel and to be cleaned.
You may be wondering what happened to our car during this whole time. Well, it finally arrived to our complex when we were away! The housekeepers received it and held the keys for us. We were so excited to see our car! It was like Christmas opening it up and seeing all of our goods inside. We were very tired by this time, but it’s best to stay awake and try to get on Lagos time again. Casey suggested emptying out the trunk of the car and bringing all our stuff inside to the kitchen. We had much-needed shelves, a table, and chairs! I was waiting anxiously for that dining room table – an inexpensive fold-up model. We had been eating our food in our room, which is on the second floor, and we are SO happy to be able to eat in the kitchen. Sure, our bedroom is only one floor up, but it’s so convenient to cook and eat in the same room. We don’t have to put everything in Tupperware and carry it upstairs, and then back downstairs to be washed. Casey’s been sweet and does the dishes since I cook. We are now loaded with food which will last us for a while. Yay!
And here is our vehicle! A lovely Ford Escape. Oddly enough, the inside was very dirty when it arrived. I’m very curious as to how it got so dirty since all the windows and doors were closed. Anyone have any ideas?? Casey thinks there was a little bit of mold on a couple plastic surfaces, which I can understand if the car was a bit moist when it went into the container on the ship. But how did dirt and dust get everywhere? Granted, dust finds its way everywhere, but it was dirtier than I expected. Anyway, I cleaned the inside as good as I could with Lysol wipes (amazing stuff), so at least it looks better now. I could have used a vacuum and my Mama’s help cleaning the bedroom, kitchen, and car. She is a cleaning machine.
We didn’t have a license plate and registration yet, but the car was desperately low on gas, so Casey convinced me to drive with him and get some. I didn’t want to stray too far though in case the police spotted us without plates. Luckily, the gas station was close by and all went well. We took one of the housekeepers with us to be safe. Locals have told us to always be careful when getting gas. Sometimes the attendants don’t reset the meter to zero to make you pay more, so Casey was extra observant and watched the meter closely. We always plan to take a local with us so that the attendants don’t feel like they can cheat us since we’re foreigners. We also don’t mind driving in a small radius by ourselves, but if we go somewhere farther, we plan to take a Nigerian or two with us to be safe.
The photo above on the right was taken the next day when the AC guy came to fix the unit in our room. He had to clean the box on the outside and needed a taller ladder. Casey and Janti, the main housekeeper here, were trying to balance the ladder on an empty dumpster, but it still wasn’t tall enough, so we drove to the pilot compound nearby to get a taller ladder. Casey is posing below with one of the security guards, and I am posing with Kingdom, another housekeeper. Everyone here is very nice and friendly, so it was really fun to hang out with them. We all usually don’t talk too much, but it was nice to chat, joke around, and take pictures. You can see that the complex is surrounded by a wall with barbed wire and there are always security guards, so the cars are safe. Even if we’re not here, we know that our car will be fine.
Casey’s favorite item in the car was his TREADMILL! Of course! Yay! He’s been waiting for that thing for months. We brought it inside to the gym with the help of a few other people (that thing is heavy) and hooked it up. It worked beautifully. Here we are after our first workout session.
And here we are with our license plate!!!!!! We’re official!!!!!! I feel so much better having the proper plates and paperwork. We drove to Goodies Market that day to buy some cold food items. We had been avoiding that store since it is on the expressway/highway and there are more policemen around there, so it was really nice to finally drive there and not have to worry. It was also great to not have to wait for a taxi once we were finished. We could buy frozen items and immediately go home. The simple pleasures of life!
We bought a sunshade in the states and it came with two mini window shades, so Casey was trying them out.
The title of this post comes from a sign I saw somewhere. We were buying cell phone credit and this sign just tickled me. “Hawking” refers to the selling of goods on the side of the road. The sellers, called “Hawkers,” walk right in the middle of the road and up to your car to sell you things, so you often see signs saying “No Hawking” around buildings and such. I just loved that it said “Keep Moving.” Who says that? And this anonymous “Management” is always present, like Big Brother.
CnL are back in Lagos and must keep moving… keep advancing through life to reach our goals. I must keep trying to stop thinking and rest my overly active mind on occasion. Casey must keep flying and rack up those hours. But we must also keep having fun and enjoying ourselves in this strange and unique country that we find ourselves in.