Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Idries J. Abdur-Rahman, MD

 

Why Nigeria?

Nigeria was our third and final stop on an 11-day adventure visiting 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 so-called 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

-If you want to start with Nigeria part 1-The journey to Lagos, click HERE

 

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

With a departure time a few minutes before midnight, we woke up late and enjoyed a lazy day at the Four Points before heading to Murtala Muhammad International airport. Now if you will recall in part 2 I mentioned that the fruits of my brother’s retail therapy session never made it home. Well, this is why. All baggage is screened before you can enter the check-in lines. Apparently this gives the “security” personnel the opportunity to screen all of your souvenirs right out of your luggage if you don’t give them a “little appreciation” as they called it. Wanting to keep his souvenirs, my brother gave the seated women in the house dress a “little appreciation” but apparently she didn’t feel appreciated enough. The security guards were instructed to remove everything from his luggage that even looked like it was purchased in Nigeria. That left hand folded under the table by the way is clutching Jamil’s appreciation.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Speaking of giving a “little appreciation”, the Lufthansa check-in agent also asked Jamil for a little appreciation when he noticed that his Star Gold status didn’t print on his boarding pass and he asked her for a lounge pass. Stop corruption, year, right!

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

After distributing way too much appreciation and clearing customs (where the mug I purchased in Latvia was confiscated), we finally reached the muggy, un-air conditioned departures lounge.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Tonight D-AIKA, a 2004 built Airbus A330-300, was waiting to take us on the 3,021 mile, 6 hour and 3 minute flight to Frankfurt. D-AIKA also had the honor of flying me from Dubai to Frankfurt earlier that year as I was coming home from Hajj.

 


Sorry for the shaky video, I was trying to manage the iPhone and two bags at the same time. Nothing like boarding a jumbo jet from the airstairs.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Her indifferent look as I rubbed her belly and said hello told me that she didn’t remember me. Oh well, nice to see you again darling!

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

After sitting at the hot boarding area for about an hour and walking across the steamy tarmac, the nice, cool cabin of this Airbus was a much appreciated welcome. I wonder if they would have noticed if I just took a seat up there. Hey, I wonder if we will get any of those roses in economy?

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Business Class would have been okay as well…

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

but not tonight.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Tonight I did however have seat 28A, the first class seat of economy class. Yes sir, I had the bulkhead with it’s unlimited legroom and awkward view directly into the eyes of the flight attendant sitting in the jumpseat.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Boarding was completed within few minutes of the STD and with no one competing with us for that number one spot, we quickly made our way to the active runway.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Our engines pierced the quiet of the field, propelling us into the night sky over Nigeria.

 

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

As we climbed over the countryside we bade Igbo-Ora a final farewell.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Soon after takeoff I was enjoying the reboot of one of my all time favorite TV shows (Absolutely Fabulous) when the dinner service started. Regarding the dinner, lets just say that…

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

this one was a bit of a miss. The noodle vegetable medley just didn’t work for me but being close to 1AM I had already eaten way more than I should have that day anyway.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

I was going to say that one of my favorite experiences of life at 35,000 feet is flying through a clear night sky guided only by the light of the moon, but then again every experience at 35,000 feet is my favorite.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Hey, look who caught the beacon light!

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

I slept off and on, finally awakening over continental Europe as the pre-landing snack service started. Sorry, I didn’t take a picture and I can’t remember what it was so it probably didn’t leave much of an impression. Landing at Main airport was right on time a few minutes before 06:00.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

After a couple of hours in the Lufthansa Senator lounge, we boarded N225UA, a 2001 built Boeing 777-200 for the 4,336 mile, 8 hour and 53 minutes journey across the north Atlantic to Chicago O’hare.

 

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

We pushed off of the hardstand three minutes behind schedule and had a typically powerful 777 takeoff. Adieu Frankfurt!

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

I still don’t understand why a lunch is served as the main meal for an 08:30 departure but lunch it was and…

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

it was pretty descent. Pasta and a cous cous salad with a Coke. Before you ask, I had a huge bottle of water in the carry-on under my seat so I still stand behind my claims regarding the importance of in-flight hydration.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

11 days of virtually non-stop running meant that I slept most of this flight away and soon the silhouette of beautiful downtown Chicago came into sight.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

As we crossed the coastline of Lake Michigan…

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

the landing gear came down with a loud thud.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Roaming the world is a great blessing but…

 

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

I am always so happy to be home in my one and only sweet home Chicago.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Don’t let the beautiful day fool you.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

It was indeed a brisk November morning in the Chi.

 

Nigeria-Twinning and the Slave Trade (Part 3-Airport Corruption and Flying Home)

Being one of the first international arrivals, we had most of terminal 5 to ourselves. This along with Global Entry meant we quickly cleared immigrations and customs and within an hour I was kicking back on my couch in my skivvies.