March 6, Departure
After our staple breakfast of either oatmeal, scrambled eggs or omelet, we boarded our bus for the long ride to Abuja. We once again experienced longer than anticipated travel time to the airport. We thought that the ride would be six or seven hours but took nine hours due to tire trouble. When we stopped for lunch early afternoon, our very competent and experienced driver Daniel was checking the tires when he noticed a tire with low pressure. The rear compartment holding luggage was unloaded to gain access to the spare. SURPRISE!!! There was a problem with the spare. Reload the luggage! I thought for sure we were going to miss our flights. But somehow, someone, someway and somewhere was able to repair both the spare and the left front tire and we continued on our way.
Arriving at the airport, we were again reminded that we were in Nigeria when the power went out briefly and we discovered that the ground floor (and other areas) of the airport were not air-conditioned. We quickly passed through basic security (not even “TSA light”) and checked in for our flights. We reassembled in the air-conditioned “Executive” lounge for drinks and snacks. Those not flying business class paid $30 for the privilege of being in a cooled room. The staff in the lounge later informed everyone that they ran out of food and ran out of red wine. Conclusion – TIN = This is Nigeria!
It was time to bid adieu to one another as some of us left on Lufthansa for connections in Frankfurt and others on Air France for connections in Paris. Hugs and tears were the result of our incredible shared experiences in Nigeria. Our team’s final thoughts are on the next page.