Starting my day in Lagos, on the last day of my 3-day vacation and with a new list of few things to tidy up before catching an evening flight back to Abuja. I was on the Island part of Lagos with the thought of leaving early to the mainland to see a few friends then draw close to the airport to avoid missing my flight. I have sure exhausted my budget for the trip, left with me was my backpack.
I checked out of the hotel at about 09:00 am, at this point, I could not afford the taxi available at the hotel, so I trekked out to look for a regular taxi and went to meet a friend. I left the Island at about13:20 pm to pick up few accessories and window shop for gadgets at the popular computer village at Ikeja. At this time the third mainland bridge (linking the Island and Mainland) had less traffic which has been my major concern, the city is known for its gridlocks.
I alighted the funny looking bus at Ikeja under bridge bus-stop and was happy I made it fast to computer village (tech market) within an hour and I had like 2 hours to play within the market. Under the scorching sun of the day, I did all I could from inquiry to buying and finally, I wrapped up all I got and as I did not want to carry extra bag except my backpack, I promised myself I would repack when I got to the airport. With a sweaty and exhausted looking face, I walked into the departure hall, right on time and headed to the check-in counter to get my boarding pass, passed through the security screening and went to relax and repack. Phew!!! Done with the repacking, now ready to go. Had to call my friend Francis to pick me at Abuja airport.
It was 17:00 pm and the flight was for 17:30 pm and the flight announcer just called up our flight number to alert us about the delay due to a technical problem and a change in the estimated time of arrival of the aircraft with a delay of about an hour. The one hour delay was still reasonable, being human we expect lapses at times coupled with the Harmattan haze. Now I had to look for a spot where I could find an electric socket to plug my phone and beef up the battery level. While doing that I overheard two lovebirds chatting that they had spent five hours waiting for 13:00 pm flight and cannot wait to be home that night. It then dawned on me that mine was nothing compared to theirs, still lost in their conversation, another announcement was made for the flight delay for another 1hour 30mins.
But this time people started grumbling and the departure hall became extremely noisy with uncontrollable human traffic. I left the departure hall back to the check-in counter to confirm from the airline staff if the aircraft with the technical issue was on the ground. Alas!!! I met the absence of all staff, at this point people were furious and on the lookout for these staff. There was no one to address the issue and at least give advise on the best alternative option. Other airlines heard about the disappointment and their fares skyrocketed due to pressure.
I saw a family of six that came from the USA, looking so exhausted but eager to get home. They had been in the airport in the past 24hours waiting anxiously for their domestic flight to Owerri, with no prior hotel arrangement to handle this kind of situation, the spread a wrapper on the floor for their kids to sleep on and another passenger was now lamenting that a friend went by road to Abuja and he has gotten to Abuja.
What becomes my fate now? I called Francis not to wait any longer. I pleaded with him and being someone that is familiar with the situation, he was more concerned with my next smooth alternative. He now offered to do an internet bank transfer to me and advised I go look for accommodation and put up until morning. But with these backlog of delayed passengers, I was not ready to start another hustle at the airport in the morning.
So I walked out of the departure hall and looked for an ATM machine for the withdrawal. Several ideas flashed through my mind on my next line of action. I called a friend of mine called Bengreat, narrated my story and he asked for my location. He was a God sent and like an angel, he rescued me and offered to buy me food and we had a great time that evening with a few glasses of cold beer and I felt better. He now advised I go by road very early in the morning. In my mind’s eye, I thought of the distance, the stress I had passed through and more ahead. I heeded to him and we left for his place at Egbeda. We had a long chat till like 02:00 am and he kept trying to book a bus online for my trip, the internet was crappy and I dozed off.
At exact 05:00 am, Bengreat tapped my foot to wake me up, he has this regimented mentality of being on top of the situation and he is excellent at it. I had my bath and got ready, he told me he was able to get a bus ticket online for me. So we headed to God is Good Motors (GIGM) at their Iyana Ipaja bus terminal, we got there at about 06:00 am and I went to the counter to confirm the online ticket and there was a long queue and I joined the queue with this nostalgia of the previous day at the airport.
Finally, I confirmed the ticket, proceeded to the bus and got a comfortable seat and came back to meet Bengreat. I thanked him for the timely rescue of me and we shook hands and he left. While walking away, he turned, smiled and said I hope this is a proper goodbye to Lagos. And I smiled and heaved a sigh of relief and replied Goodbye to Lagos but still in Lagos.
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time – eat, sleep, travel!
Hasta La Vista,