Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Idries J. Abdur-Rahman, MD

Why Nigeria?

Nigeria was our third and final stop on an 11-day adventure to three countries; Latvia, Holland and Nigeria. My brother and I were filming three episodes of our video travel blog called The Globe on Call.  As physicians by day and travel junkies by night, The Globe on Call is our attempt to marry the worlds of travel and medicine. Our first episode in Latvia examined alternative Latvian medicine ranging from traditional Latvian sauna therapy to the cutting edge rapid alcohol and heroin detox industry using implanted medications that is drawing people from the world over. In Holland we documented the changing Dutch perception of sex and sex workers and we even had a chance to interview the world famous Folken twins. Our last stop was Nigeria where we investigated the high rate of twinning and had the opportunity to visit the twin capitol of the world, the village of Igbo-Ora.

-If you are an aerophile like us, you will want to check out part 1 of our Latvian adventure, The Journey to Latvia, right HERE. 

-If you want to check out part 2 of our Latvian adventure detailing our time in Latvia, you can check it our right HERE. I think the blog is pretty cool but if you don’t want to take my word for it, click the link just to see the two headed dog!

-If you want to check out our episode of The Globe on Call in Latvia, you can right HERE.

-If you want to see how we got to Amsterdam, check-out Part 1 of our Amsterdam series featuring the airBaltic flight from Riga, you can right HERE

-You can read part 2 of our Amsterdam series detailing our time in Amsterdam right HERE

-If you want to see our episode of The Globe on Call in Amsterdam, click HERE

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

A whirlwind 24-hours in Amsterdam was capped off with an early morning wakeup call, and by early we are talking 4AM early! A combination of jet leg, adrenaline and watching election coverage most of the night meant that I was actually already wide awake when the alarm clock went off. After a quick shower and shuttle bus ride to Schipol airport, we were checked in for Lufthansa flight LH1003, the 07:30 departure to Frankfurt Main airport.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Bags checked and security cleared, a short walk had us at gate B17 waiting to board….

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

D-AIPM, a 1990 built Airbus A320-200 that would fly the 227 miles between AMS and FRA in just 39 minutes. Boarding started on-time and we were soon aboard the 26 1/2 year old Airbus getting settled in for the short hop to Germany.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

If AirFleets.net hadn’t spilled this bird’s secret, I wouldn’t have guessed her advanced age. The cabin was clean and well maintained though it was outfitted with those dreadful slimline seats that save the company’s bottomline while wrecking your bottom hind! Ba dum dum! Okay, I won’t quit my day job! Before take-off mom was already dancing with the sandman while Jamil and I mugged for the camera.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

We pushed off of gate B17 right on-time and after a short taxi the  two CFM engines came to life propelling us into the skies above a sleepy Holland.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhhh, I think I’ll go outside a while, an just smile…

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

that’s the song that reverberates in my mind anytime I catch the start of a new day from up above. Is it just me? Probably.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Sitting in the emergency exit row meant that we had unlimited leg room and of course one of those topsy turvy windows with the shade that closes up instead of down.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

The in-flight service on this short hop consisted of only light beverages and I don’t even have to tell you what Dr. I went for. You got it, I had water. Always have to stay hydrated when flying, especially long distances.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Soon we were leveled off and…

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

within minutes the engines throttled back as we started our descent into Frankfurt Main airport.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

As we passed through the final layer of clouds, the chimes indicated our final approach. 39 minutes after lifting off at Schipol, we were touching down in Lufty-land, joining the scores of other planes with cranes on their tails, as we made our way to the gate.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

With a three hour layover in Frankfurt, we decided to chill in theLufthansa Senator lounge stuffing our faces with free food and taking advantage of free wifi.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Faces fed and internet surfed, it was time to head to gate B25 where our Airbus A330-300 was waiting to take us to Lagos, Nigeria…..

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

with continuing service to Malabo, the capitol of Equatorial Guinea. The boarding area for flight LH568 was pretty crowded so in true American fashion I steaked out a spot near the boarding door hoping to beat the inevitable rush when boarding was called. I know, I know, gate lice! Guilty as charged.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

D-AIKD, a 2004 built Airbus A330-300 would be doing the honors today of flying the 3,021 miles between Frankfurt and Lagos and she would do it in just under 6 hours (5 hours and 57 minutes to be exact). I spied one of United’s Queen of the Skies in the background preparing to make the long journey back to San-Francisco.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

The morning drizzle that greeted us on arrival in Frankfurt continued as the ground crew prepared Siegen for her African journey. Boarding was called right on time and we were soon joining the line of folks headed to Lagos and Malabo.

 

Okay, this was supposed to be the serious B-roll showing us boarding the flight to Nigeria but of course Dr. J just couldn’t keep a straight face.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Using our Star Gold status to board early meant that we were some of the first people on the plane, even beating the majority of the Business Class passengers. Unfortunately we were not flying in J today nor…….

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

were we even flying in Premium Economy. Alas…

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

our fate today was plain old Y-class but no complaints here. Even in Y-class, being able to travel the world is a blessing that most people don’t experience so I was happy to be there! We were traveling in the last row of the two row mini-Economy cabin, which meant that we got to smell the upgraded Y+ meals and see them stretch out enjoying their extra legroom. But I digress, like I said, plain old Y meals and standard Y seats were good enough for me. Next stop, Nigeria!

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Oh, how nice, thank you for the warm welcome Lufty! It’s always a pleasure to fly with you.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

The light rain continued as the last of the passengers boarded.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

At 11:30AM on the dot, D-AIKD pushed off of the gate as the safety video began. Bye bye Airbus A321, hope you have a safe journey as well.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

As we slowly made our way to the active runway, I spied the retro livery Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i that was parked next to the SFO bound United 747-400. I love when airlines do these nods to the past.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Lufthansa has one of my favorite flight trackers, I really like…

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

following my aircraft in real time as it taxis around the airfield.

 


After a brief taxi, we lined up on the active runway and the two Rolls Royce Trent’s came to life hurdling us into the soupy skies above Frankfurt.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

We slowly climbed over the cloud covered countryside and…

 

after a few minutes finally broke through the last layer into a beautiful, clear blue German sky.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

As we got leveled off at our initial cruising altitude…

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

the cabin crew started the beverage service. I know what you’re thinking, really doc, a Coke? Weren’t you just advocating, no preaching the benefits of hydrating with water on long flights and now you’re drinking soda? Okay, just give me a minute to explain. Yes, I had a Coke but in my defense I did have water on the flight from Amsterdam and again in the Senator’s lounge and I had a bottle of water in my carry-on to boot so I’m not a total hypocrite. No, I’m just a man who loves a good Coke. Well, really I’m more of a Pepsi man, but you get the point.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

As you can see the demarkation between Premium Economy and Economy is little more than these partial dividers hanging from the overhead bins. The lucky people in the first row of Economy get the larger IFE screens in the back of the Premium Economy seats..

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

There are so many moments during life at 35,000 feet that just make my day and…

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

one of those is just simply gazing out at a beautiful blue sky that seems to stretch endlessly.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Within 90 minutes of take-off, the lunch service started. Okay, here is one of my airplane life hacks. If you put your butter, which 99% of the time is straight out of the refrigerator and hard as rock, on top of your warm entree, by the time you are ready to eat, the butter is soft and easy to spread on your bread. Word of warning, as easy as this hack sounds, there is a fine line between perfection and liquid butter so be careful. Today, I was lucky enough to hit that butter sweet spot, yes!!

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

For my main I opted for the mushroom stuffed ravioli which was pretty solid for an Economy class meal.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

After lunch I kicked my shoes off, reclined my seat and alternated between watching a movie and just enjoying the beautiful sites unfolding outside of my window as the gray skies of continental Europe quickly gave way to…

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

deepening hues of brown and then red.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

As we cruised along over northern Africa, I managed to get my camera out in time to catch a shot of this aircraft heading northbound. No matter how much I magnify this picture, my 40 year old eyes just can’t figure out the carrier. Any ideas?

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

In the beginning I wasn’t much of a winglet man but over time the curves of a sexy winglet have definitely grown on me.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

The combination of a semi-dark cabin and jet lag conspired against me and I slept for a couple of hours only awakening when the cabin crew started the pre-landing snack service which consisted of a piece of pizza and beverages. And yes, I had water!!!

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Soon the crew were making their final cabin preparations as we approached Lagos…

 

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

flying into an ominous looking cloud that jostled us around a little bit.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

The turbulence were short lived though as the skies quickly cleared. With over 2,000 mosques registered in Lagos alone, the blue and white mosque in the distance was the first of many that we would see during our five days exploring the Nigeria.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

I really started to get excited as we were on short finals. There was the normal excitement that any wanderlust sufferer has reaching a new destination but there was also the excitement of actually being in Nigeria.

 

My brother and I had recently done a commercial for Ancestry.com and as part of that process we learned that the largest percent of our genetic makeup (30%) actually comes from Nigeria.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Knowing that increased the significance of coming here ten-fold and in a strange way it felt like we were coming home, just after a 200 year hiatus.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

And just like that, we were in Nigeria!

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

The sun began to set as we slowly made our way to the terminal where we…

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

approached a familiar sight from the other side of the Atlantic. The widget of a Delta Boeing 767-300 recently arrived from Atlanta.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

And Lufty made three as we joined this Emirates Boeing 777-300 at the terminal making it’s final preparations to return to Dubai.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Customs and Immigration was chaotic to say the least but with a little patience and about 10 pounds lost in sweat alone, we made it through the gauntlet and officially entered Nigeria.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Here is our proof of life pic as we waited for our guide Confidence to bring the car around. After 12 hours and 3,300 miles we had left the cold of northern Europe behind for the sweltering heat of sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

Thankfully the ride into the city and the Four Points by Sheraton hotel was quick. Okay, you busted me!, clearly this picture was taken the following morning but you get the point, we were at the Four Points.

 

Nigeria- Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 1-Getting There):

After a long journey my two favorite things are a nice, hot shower and a comfy bed. Get your minds out of the gutter folks, there will be no shower pics here! Just take my word for it, a shower was definitely had before I sank into a deep sleep.

 

Check out part 2 detailing our time in Nigeria, RIGHT HERE

 

-If you are an aerophile like us, you will want to check out part 1 of our Latvian adventure, The Journey to Latvia, right HERE. 

-If you want to check out part 2 of our Latvian adventure detailing our time in Latvia, you can check it our right HERE. I think the blog is pretty cool but if you don’t want to take my word for it, click the link just to see the two headed dog!

-If you want to check out our episode of The Globe on Call in Latvia, you can right HERE.

-If you want to see how we got to Amsterdam, check-out Part 1 of our Amsterdam series featuring the airBaltic flight from Riga, you can right HERE

-You can read part 2 of our Amsterdam series detailing our time in Amsterdam right HERE

-If you want to see our episode of The Globe on Call in Amsterdam, click HERE