CnLsnapping


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Breakfast in Sevilla

I decided to post a teaser picture or two in each city! We arrived yesterday and rode our bikes around the city. Now we have another whole day here to explore. We had a traditional breakfast consisting of toast with olive oil, fresh tomato sauce, and a little salt. It usually comes with a coffee or juice. Casey loves this meal. The Spanish cuisine has been great to him. We also got a fun pastry dipped in a sweet glaze and chocolate.
“Sevilla” is the Spanish version of “Seville,” in case you were wondering. I like the sound of “Sevilla” better.

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The Trip Back to Spain + Thanksgiving!! + Updates

Well it’s been some time since I’ve written because Casey and I have been so busy. Doing what? Relaxing? Yeah we haven’t done much here this week besides relax, shop, cook, and plan for another trip, but I’ll get to that.

Right before leaving Lagos, there was a rainstorm, and I have a couple cool pictures to show you. Casey was working, so we were both miles away from each other at the time. However, we both took a picture of the storm cloud from our vantage points. Mine is from inside the hotel when I first saw the dark storm cloud, and Casey’s (as you can imagine) is from the airplane looking at the storm from above!

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That’s my view from the hotel window. You can easily see the dark cloud brewing above me. Casey’s photo is a little more intricate. The whole, huge cloud looks like an anvil with a pointy end on the left side. This point shows that the storm is moving towards the left, as the green arrow indicates. Pretty cool huh!

Anyway, the next day we left Lagos and flew to London. Arik sent a van to pick us up, and we loaded all of Casey’s luggage that stays in Lagos (four bags and a bike!) into the car.  The hotel we were staying at didn’t have a storage room, so we went to the pilot compound to drop off his things. These bags hold all of his food, a piano, some clothes, and anything else he wants to leave in Lagos.

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On the way to the airport, we passed by a “Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery Mission.” The sign even says “FREE!” That’s pretty nice. You always see those cleft lip commercials on TV, so it’s neat to see an actual surgery center in person. I mean, it’s too bad we have the problem to begin with, but at least they’re doing something to remedy the situation.

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We checked into our flight and had a few hours to spend before leaving. We bought a meat pie and a chicken pie for lunch; they were tasty enough. We’ve had better meat pies in our day. There used to be a nicer restaurant that we’d eat at, but they changed it into more of a bar with smoking allowed, so now we don’t go there anymore. On the plus side, they are adding a KFC in the airport! So hopefully next time we will be able to eat there.

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I laughed at Casey and took a picture because he blends into the chairs!!

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We walked around the terminal and window-shopped. What cool Monopoly games! I was very tempted to buy them just for fun, hehehe.

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I was also tempted to buy this doll! It’s called “Queens of Africa” and her name is “Wuraola,” which is my Nigerian Yoruba name! I can’t remember who gave me that name, but I’ve been using it here for a couple years. No one remembers my real name, but they call me “Wura.” Cute! For the record, I didn’t buy the game or the doll.

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FINALLY, we boarded a very very very very hot plane. The APU (auxiliary power unit) wasn’t working, so they couldn’t turn on the air conditioning system until the engines started running. The APU provides power and cool air to the plane without needing to turn on the engines. It’s actually illegal to board a plane with the engines running, so they needed to get all of us on board first and then start the engines to provide cool air. Everyone was using a magazine or the safety information card to fan themselves. It felt like they had the heater on because it was so warm!

Luckily that didn’t last too long though. We had cool air after ten or fifteen minutes and then we took off. Casey and I treated ourselves to a Pepsi, and there was a baby in front of me who kept smiling and reaching out his hand to grab mine.

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The flight was about 6-7 hours long and it felt like it! We talked, Casey played a couple computer games, I watched him, and we ate the inflight meal (chicken with spicy rice). We were sitting in the middle of the plane, so we didn’t have a window to look out of, but he went to the bathroom and took a picture of the desert below. It was cool to see such a vast desert with sand dunes and all. I got bored and laid down. The flight wasn’t full so that was great. We had a row all to ourselves.

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While laying down, I looked up and noticed that there was no 13th row! It goes from 12 to 14. I never noticed that before. A normal picture was too dark and didn’t show the numbers, so we had to make it brighter. We landed at London Heathrow and checked into the Yotel – the airport hotel. The rooms are small and compact but super nice for a one night stay, mainly because you don’t have to leave the airport! I just love that idea. Anyway, we went to a restaurant next to the Yotel and shared a niiiiice BBQ burger, fries, onion rings, and a salad. Yummy!

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We got up early the next day for our flight to Paris. Breakfast consisted of a strawberry yogurt smoothie, an apple strudel, and a blueberry muffin. The bathrooms were nice and high tech with an air dryer above each individual sink. That’s convenient.

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Casey was happy and we were wide awake all day. The people across the row made us laugh with their sleeping positions :)

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The view was just beautiful as the sun was rising! I love the colors of the sky in the early morning and at dusk. Just gorgeous to see it from an airplane.

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I liked that Air France gave us croissants for a snack. Very French. The flight attendant asked us if we wanted tea or coffee and, when we both said no, he looked genuinely shocked! It was quite amusing.

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This next photo clearly shows a huge sun beam through the clouds! That was awesome! I said that someone was coming down and Casey said someone was going up.

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And then we landed in Paris. We were supposed to have about an hour layover, but our flight out of London was delayed, so we had 20 minutes to walk quickly through the airport and find our next flight. I snapped our journey through the airport, which was very modern and looked nice from what we could see. 

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We got to our gate in plenty of time since they were just starting to board. Whew!

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Casey was eating peanuts and I asked him to give me “just a few.” He started me off slowly with half a peanut…  how generous. We were hungry for lunch since we didn’t have time to grab food in the airport, so we bought food on the plane. I got some chicken-flavored noodles which were alright. I’m used to spicy, Korean-style noodles with kimchi so this didn’t have quite as much flavor, but it was filling. Casey ordered a bocadillo, his favorite sandwich with jamón, cheese, and tomato. It was satisfying for both of us.

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We landed in Valencia and Abel was there to meet us at the airport! Since our connection time in Paris was so short, our bag didn’t make it to Valencia. Abel warned us about this ahead of time though since he’s taken this particular flight from London to Valencia as well. We decided to come back to the airport the next day and pick up our bag. We were on one side of the baggage office and Abel was on the other side. You can see him in the window with the yellow arrow!

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At the airport in London, we bought some fun Italian chocolates. They are limoncello flavored, which is a lemon liquor. They were good, and they actually have quite a strong liquor flavor. I really just liked the tin that they came in, haha.

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Casey was happy to be back in Spain in a comfy apartment with everything we need. We were still a little hungry so we rode our bikes to that new Tex-Mex place called Tako-Away. Abel, Maria, Martina, and I went there right before I left for Lagos a few weeks ago. Casey enjoyed it too!

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That night, we went to Abel and Maria’s house for dinner and dessert. They made hamburgers from horse meat and ox meat! Horse and ox! Wow! What do you think about that? There is a special butcher shop that sells pre-formed hamburger patties, and they have all different kinds of meat: horse, ox, beef, bison/buffalo, chicken, duck, turkey, pork, and vegetarian. Then they have all kinds of seasonings and flavors too. Interesting!

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The ox tasted like typical beef, but the horse was incredibly lean and tender. It was probably similar to venison in the leanness and had an ever-so-slightly gamey aftertaste. I could tell that it wasn’t beef, but it was pretty good if you didn’t let your mind get the better of you.

It was Casey’s birthday, and they were so sweet to pick up two mini desserts for him! A blueberry cheesecake and a chocolate cake. Adorable and tasty!

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And thus began our past week back in Spain! We’ve been to my favorite restaurant, Las Lunas, a couple times… here are some more pictures of the amazing dishes.

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They are just works of art! With presentation and amazing flavor profiles and ingredients. All of their dishes are so new and unique but taste so good! They had THE best lemon tart too! I definitely need to recreate that dish. Wow. The lemon tart is the one on the left.

We went to McDonald’s one day because I was craving a fish filet, and we discovered that they have easy order kiosks here! How cool is that. You insert your credit card (you can’t use cash), choose what you want on the touch screen, pay, get a receipt, and wait for your number to be called. Super quick and easy. They should have those kiosks in the US! There were upstairs and downstairs eating areas but every single seat was taken. It was so packed. Luckily, we found one seat so Casey let me sit while he stood. How gentlemanly.

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He ordered a chicken wrap and the box made me laugh because they list the ingredients with pictures. What a cute little chicken! Afterwards, we went to a gelato café next door and got two gelato macaroons. They were like ice cream sandwiches with vanilla and chocolate brownie-cookies. Mmm.

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The picture above is funny because the elevator going to our apartment smelled like smoke, so we both covered our faces. Yuck!

Casey created a recipe for his new favorite breakfast that I make for him now. It’s two pieces of toast with jam and an over-easy egg. He named it the J.E.T. which stands for jam, egg, and toast. I use my dad’s steaming technique to cook an even easier over-easy egg and it turns out perfectly!

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There is an American store nearby called “Taste of America.” They have a lot of products from the US, and we went there to buy a plethora of ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner! We found canned pumpkin, StoveTop stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I’m sure you can tell what we ended up making the next day.

As for that night, Abel and I are standing in the regular market where he needed to pick up a few items for his house. THEN we ordered pizzas from an Italian restaurant called La Strega (which means ‘”the witch” in Italian) across the street from their house and they were phenomenal! Amazing! Delicious! Wow! They tasted like Nikki Lee’s and Grimaldi’s pizza with an extra flair of New York Style Pizza and Italian Goodness. Mmmmmm. I really really liked it!

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Thanksgiving!!

Yay it’s here! Casey and I went to the market to buy all the additional ingredients that we needed. I cooked the meal at our apartment, and then we brought all of the food to Abel and Maria’s house. They really enjoyed it! I made turkey from turkey fillets, sweet potatoes, stuffing, roasted asparagus (for something fresh and green), cranberry sauce, bread, and pumpkin pie! All of the dishes were new to them but they seemed to like everything a lot.

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Of course they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, so they don’t have any whole turkeys. Our plan was to buy chicken instead, but we found these turkey fillets and decided to give them a try. They were pretty good actually. At least they had the same texture as when you roast a whole turkey, so they served us well and went perfectly with the cranberry sauce. (A shout out to my sister: Look at the Little Becky Marshmallows hehe. I didn’t notice it until I opened the bag.) Casey then snapped me a bunch of times while I was preparing the pumpkin pie.

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We didn’t have much room to cool the pies, and I don’t have a cooling rack, so we used the next best thing: the drying rack! Hey, it worked. We packaged everything really well in take-away containers and loaded up our bike bag like a delivery service. Then I bought fresh bread on the way to Abel’s apartment and we were all set.

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Casey was playing with Martina’s toys to try and make her laugh :D

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And here is the delicious meal! The ingredients were expensive at the American store, but it was well worth it. Even Martina enjoyed it, and she REALLY loved the pie. It was so cute seeing her gobble up the filling, and she asked for more whipped cream.

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I made some delicious homemade hot chocolate yesterday! Both of us agreed that it’s probably the best we’ve ever had.

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Updates

I had to blog about all of this before we leave for our next trip TOMORROW (Saturday the 29th)! We’ve decided to take a week off (per se) to explore southern Spain! We’re going to take the train and visit Seville, Córdoba, Ronda, and Málaga. We’re bringing our bikes to help us get around, and we’re going to stay in each city for two days. Once we reach Málaga around December 7th, we’ll decide if we want to visit a few more places or return to Valencia. It should be fun! We’ll take some great pictures for you all too! I’ll write if I can during our trip; otherwise, I’ll write once we’re back in Valencia.

Thanks for reading! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! And ciao for now!


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And Just Like That…

We’re back in Spain!!!!!!!!!!

I just wanted to shout it out and let you all know that we made it back to Valencia! I will have much to say, with many pictures to display, in my next post about the trip.

Also, it’s my dearest Casey’s birthday today! So we’re going to get lunch and then dinner and celebrate it in a fashion only suitable to him – THE BEST!

Stay tuned!

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London-Bound

Casey and I are at the airport waiting for our flight to London! We’ll arrive there in the evening, spend the night at the Yotel (the hotel in the airport), and then fly to Valencia tomorrow. We are looking forward to going back to Spain!

Our flight tomorrow takes us on a brief layover in Paris, so it’ll be fun to “be” in France, if only for a quick plane change. Now who knows what this next month will bring.

Ciao for now!


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Football Anyone?

Casey looooves playing football, which is soccer as we know it in the USA. He’s like a kid in a candy store when he gets to play football. That’s good though, since it’s a really good workout and he gets to hang out with his friends. He’s played twice since I’ve been here, and it’s quite fun to watch! I’m fairly easy to entertain too, so plop me on the steps with my camera and I’m good to go.

 

Saturday, November 8th

Of course, the first step is getting there. Most of the “football players” stay at the designated pilot compound, but Casey and I are 10-20 minutes away at a regular hotel (depending on traffic). Usually he rides his bike to the compound, but since another pilot and I were going too, we opted to take a keke instead. A keke is this three-wheeled vehicle below. Some people don’t like riding in them, but we don’t mind. It’s cheap and fairly quick since they can go around cars in smaller spaces. We had to take two kekes in order to get to the compound that day because traffic was so bad. The highways are set up very inefficiently (in my opinion) because you usually have to go past the street you want and then make a u-turn. And when the traffic is really heavy (which is most of the time) it takes forever to get anywhere! So it was quicker for us to take a keke in one direction, get out, walk across the street, and pick up another keke on the other side instead of waiting in traffic to make a u-turn.

So this picture shows our second keke. A woman was getting out of it as we were getting in. It worked out well.

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The guys play in the middle of the parking lot, and this truck was sticking out much further into the “field.” They put it into neutral and pushed it out of the way.

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Warming up in a circle. Everyone is a pretty decent player too, so there are good passes and entertaining goals to watch. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

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I like how Casey is leaning in the next two photos. Kind of funny!

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Bring it in! They were tired! You can’t tell how sweaty these guys get, but it’s a lot. Trust me. Whew!

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They were kind enough to listen to me and pose for a group photo! Those are the steps that I sat on to watch them as well.

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We came back to our hotel and Casey decided to go for a swim. He enjoyed it!

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Sunday, November 9th

We decided to treat ourselves today with good food! And ice cream! But I’ll get there, I will. First off, we walked to the end of the street, hopped in a keke, and took a 5 minute ride to our favorite store, Goodies. There is a bridge we have to cross and underneath it is a huge jungle area. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but it is deep and green and probably extremely hard to get out of.

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Casey snapped a picture of me inside the keke. It’s almost fun like being at Disneyland and sitting in the two-seater cars to ride Snow White or something. Almost.

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You might remember Goodies from one of my many previous posts. It’s owned by Middle Eastern people and has tons of American products that we are familiar with. Casey was thrilled to find his favorite cereal here! Basic 4! They did not have this cereal when we lived here a year ago. They have remodeled a little bit and have many new products that I would have loved to have when we lived here. Alas.

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We went upstairs to the new restaurant to order lunch. Sometimes their English vocabulary isn’t the best in Lagos, so it always cracks me up to see how they spell words, such as “broasted chicken.” Is it braised? Is it roasted? Is it just spelled wrong? They have new placemats with a new motto too: “When it’s that Good, it’s Goodies.’’ It’s catchy though!

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Anyway, Casey ordered a yummy frappuccino, which he usually orders at Goodies. Then we decided to try a chicken fajita (spelled “fahita”) and a “fish burger.” We were pleasantly surprised!! We’ve had chicken fajitas at another restaurant and they never come in tortillas, so it was normal to get this in a sandwich roll. The flavor was delicious though with chicken, peppers, onions, and cheese. They put mayonnaise on it which was unnecessary, but I would gladly order it again. Casey’s fish sandwich had a wonderful piece of thick, breaded fish with tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato, and sweet pickles. He could have used more tartar sauce, but the flavor was still very good. We were quite happy to get such high-quality meals! We also found out that Goodies delivers, so we look forward to ordering something when we’re back at our hotel. Nice!

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After that, we walked across the street for some ice cream at COLD STONE! Yeah! You might remember that we’ve been to Domino’s Pizza and Cold Stone before in Lagos, but it’s about an hour away in Victoria Island. When we lived here last year, we heard that they were opening up a Domino’s Pizza in Ikeja/GRA which was close to our apartment, but we didn’t know when it would actually open. As luck would have it, they opened up right after we moved back to the US! I was greatly disappointed, but I had to remind myself that we have Domino’s and Cold Stone in the US… so life wasn’t that bad, right. Just unfortunate timing. Anyway, Casey has been able to enjoy good pizza and ice cream for the past few months now, and he’s been anxious to take me to this location. [It’s within walking distance of our old apartment! A long walk, but still capable of walking to it. Amazing! I need to let it go that they opened up this location right after I left.]

So we came here to treat ourselves to some good quality ice cream. Yum! Casey got his favorite cake batter with brownies, and I got my favorite mint chocolate chip with brownies… mmm. We could not have been happier. I would say that it’s the little things that make one happy in Lagos, but ice cream always makes me happy in any country, so I guess that cliché doesn’t fully apply here :)

Oh and Domino’s Pizza delivers! That’s great! Unfortunately Cold Stone doesn’t deliver… wouldn’t that be grand?

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I have been meaning to show you our hotel, but I haven’t taken many pictures yet. The funniest part is the staircase. We are on the third floor, so we have to go up a few flights of stairs. But it’s like a dollhouse! These are Leanna-size staircases and Casey is a giant. I don’t need to bend down at all, but poor Casey needs to be careful so he doesn’t hit his head. He said that he’s actually hit his head a few times when he forgot. It’s quite whimsical in a way because the staircases are narrow, the ceiling is low, and the stairs themselves are all different heights, so it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland going down the rabbit-hole. You never know what to expect.

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While at Goodies, we found our absolute favorite candy: Sour Patch Kids! They are truly hard to find outside the US. Only this time, they were made in Britain by the brand “Maynards” and were in an unusual soda-pop flavor. Of course we had to try them. I was a little disappointed to be honest. The flavors were just okay, but not nearly as good as the original flavors. And the texture was more rubbery and waxier than we’re used to. I’m not sure why though. They weren’t passed the expiration date so I don’t know if they manufacture them differently or if it was just a fluke thing. They were still fun to try though.

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I can just see my mom thinking “look at all the sugar these kids eat!” and Casey’s mom thinking “I hope these two are brushing their teeth regularly,” but I assure you both that we’re taking care of ourselves! I only blog about the interesting things like candy and ice cream, but we do eat nuts and rice and steamed veggies. But who would want to read about that? Hehe.

 

Tuesday, November 11th

Casey worked on Monday so that is when I wrote the previous blog post. Other than that, there is not much to say about that day.

Yesterday was more eventful because we went to The Office! It’s always a big deal when we go to the office because we have to get transport and wait around and search for people and get papers signed and whatnot. We had to go this time because I needed to get my Arik Air tickets purchased and confirmed. First, we only have one week left in Lagos before we head back to Valencia on November 19th/20th. We bought my ticket coming here which is why I didn’t fly with Arik Air, but going back I will want to fly with them to have the same flights as Casey. I needed to fill out a discount ticket form which gets me a discounted ticket, as you could infer. They’ve recently instated this discounted ticket policy so that’s quite nice for us. Secondly, I am coming back with Casey for a month in December-January, so for that ticket I needed to fill out the family travel form. This gets me a free round-trip ticket. I am entitled to one free, round-trip ticket per year.

It sounds like a fairly easy process, but everything takes longer in Lagos. We had to get the papers, fill them out, and then hunt people down for signatures. As I’ve said before, they love leaving a paper-trail in this country, and they love having management sign paperwork for no obviously important reason. We just have to get “approval” from management for these tickets, when management really could probably care less about it. I don’t know. It’s a weird system. So we spent a couple hours walking back and forth between three buildings trying to see who was available to sign or who could sign in place of someone who wasn’t there! Oy!

Finally, we got what we needed and had to go to the bank to pay for the discounted ticket. Luckily, there was a branch within walking-distance of the office. We also stopped off at KFC for lunch! We’ve been to this location by the airport’s domestic terminal many times. It’s still good for a quick, filling meal.

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After we ate and paid for the ticket, we went back to the office to show them our receipt from the bank and to get a new receipt from Arik Air. Efficient, huh? It was a long process but we did get the ticket at a great price, so that is ultimately what matters. (Here I am filling out the deposit slip at the bank.)

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And then… Casey’s favorite part… more football! He has a What’s App group on his phone which includes all of the pilots who care about football, so they can easily text each other and see who wants to play that day. We went back to the hotel, changed, and quickly went to the compound to join the game. Fortunately, this time we had an Arik Air driver who could take us and pick us up.

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Casey had fun changing the colors and effects of these photographs.

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He’s been using the same soccer ball for a long time now, and it finally had enough! The outer layer was falling apart so he ripped it off and retired the ball.

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And that’s that! You are updated! Casey is working today but should return fairly soon. I’m just relaxing here and keeping myself busy. Thanks for all the recent comments as well! I love them!

P.S. I forgot to mention that the third Q400 aircraft finally arrived last week! We’ve been waiting for that plane for years, and that’s not an exaggeration. Supposedly the fourth Q400 is expected to arrive this month, so we’ll see!