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Nothing new, nothing changes (Time and Flight)

OK, it's only on a Nigerian flight that the plane would be made to wait for all passengers to arrive at the check-in (no matter the amount of delay). Maybe this is a true indication that Virgin Nigeria (VN) is truly Nigeria's flagship airline carrier - "Nigerianised" to the core.

As a Nigerian, VN needs to be smart - of course it's a well-known fact that Nigerians possess above-average IQs. Thus, by the time I was asked to board the plane, the flight had been delayed by about 1:40mins, and right on the final check-in desk is a little inscription that says that if your flight has been delayed for at least 2 hours blah blah ask for a text showing your rights blah blah to a refund blah blah etc. Ok, so VN was smart enough to check us in in the nick of time. Of course, having escaped that particular trap, there was no reason why we shouldn't be kept on the plane itself for another 1 and a half house, sorry no complaint desk available on the plane: it was excuse after another. At first, the reason was that it was not in VN's hands. It was because passengers checked in late and of course had lots of baggage and the additional time needed to load the baggage on to the plane. This was at about 12noon - for a 9:45am flight for which I had left my house at 5am and arrived the airport before 6am!

Then after more delays, a new reason was given: someone had skipped through immigration and checked in with an expired passport. So now that he has been caught, his baggage had to be found and unloaded - as one would expect this took a looooooooooooong time!

Then after that, we went through about 3 sets of headcounts! Then a further announcement that the gazillion people in economy class had to be recounted again.

Nigerians are as usual the masters of forbearance and longsuffering. Even though I heard someone in the Departure lounge mutter that this could never happen on an European flight (to the continent), as far as I could make out, not one person made a formal complaint. It seems you can slap the average Nigerian on both sides of the face as many times as you want and it's ok just as long as you continue to say you are sorry. Maybe we should just have lunch and dinner on the plane and take off the next morning?

Kids - very intelligent and inquisitive. A very young boy on his mother's lap pointed at the little screen on the back of the seat in front of him and asked "Mummy, is this a baby TV?". Ah! the beauty and innocence of youth - no problems no worries. Wish I was like that. At the moment I was busy thinking of a reasonable line to chat up the beautiful girl sitting next to me ... now sleeping?

So now we are down to hostesses going round with a stack of plastic cups and bottled water and a little while later, 2 tiny packets of pretzels each.

Her friend? came round and woke her up to find out how she was doing. After a little chat, she offered the friend some chocolate. Well, here was my chance, after the friend left, I more or less muttered (rather than said) "what happened to be thy neighbor's keeper" - to which she smiled. A little exchange followed. Contrary to my believe, she gave me a Yoruba name (OK, I have always said it, every last one of us is a bloody tribalist at the "local" level and a racist at the international level. To cap it up, I said to myself, she may have a Yoruba firstname, but she is almost definitely half-Yoruba. I can see the hair on her forearms - sorry, I can't help it though I am trying. A little explanation, not that I mind the hairs, but it seems the female specie of certain tribes are more hairy than the average Yoruba woman.) So here is a beautiful girl sitting next to me, definitely of the right temperament and one you can take home to mama, so how do I get her number or email address? Is there any reason to even try given that she went to GreenSprings in Lagos, and now schooling (for the past 2 years) at the London School of Economics (LSE)?

I had at some point considered the following pick-up liines:

"If I had a gun, I had point it at you and say your email or your number"
"I have 2 choices, I either make small talk or peek at you out of the corner of my eyes all the way to Lagos"
"If I don't at least say hi, I will regret it for a very long time."
"It is not everyday one sees a beautiful girl while waiting in the Departure lounge to board a plane, and then have one's prayers answered by ending up in the seat next to hers (on the plane)


21/06/2005