The following are real life events from a reader who has chosen to write under the pseudonym Saka. Enjoy the hilarious 1st part of a series to come.
I looked around Muritala Mohammed International Airport, it was packed with hot smelly bodies. The air conditioning was either broken or not geared to handle the crowd the airport usually saw in the evenings. I dragged my suitcase and backpack along with my girlfriend’s. I was heading out to God’s own country, for my masters and she was going to the UK, also for graduate school. We checked her own luggage in first and as usual had to go to the back of the line to remove some things and move her stuff between her boxes to get the maximum weight. We did this three more times before I finally had to take on some of her “non-essentials” that were packed (she still blames me for not letting her pack some things and I calmly remind her that we had to dump some things in my underweight box!!!).
We finally check her in successfully. At this point I was already dripping with sweat, I was hungry and very tired; These were a bad combination of discomforts for my long trip. I comforted myself that I was doing it for love. She still asks why I was frowning during our last moments together… err I don’t know? it must be the extreme “cold” in the airport or the serene calmness of the airport, or that somebody decided to pack light and give me enough time to check in. We managed to check my luggage in without incident, apart from of course the immigration officers hustling me for money. Me being the Naija boy that I am, promised them once I was done checking in. The trick is to keep their hope alive every time they ask (even if its 50 times). Fast forward 12 hours, my flight was uneventful. Landed in the United States of America. Land of the Free.
My roommate was to pick me. I was in early and after stepping off the plane I didn’t know what to do or where to go, there were too many signs I HAD to read!!! Couldn’t I just ask questions like I always do. “Errr excuse me please where do I pick my luggage from?”. She smiles at me and points at the sign with the arrows. It says baggage claim, but the arrows didn’t help much. Voila!! I suddenly realized if I followed everyone I flew in with I would get to my luggage as they got to theirs. As I walked, I saw racing cars parked, I mean just there, parked for decoration, and my first thought was; why are these in the airport? This is what you do when you have more space than you know what to do with. Try this in Lagos Airport, put in some molues or danfo’s for decoration. There’s not even enough space for people, let alone danfo. Anyway, so I follow everyone and we have to board a train to arrive at the international baggage claim. A train??? How big is this airport? I manage to drag my suitcase off the carousel before it runs from me the second time. I flew in with a backpack containing my clothes and two cartons of noodles packed in my suitcase, which served as my luggage. I generally don’t like to play with my tummy, so I was prepared.
Next was baggage check by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers. I noticed my luggage was separated from the others after passing through the scanner. At this point I knew they were sending me back to Nigeria. Maybe someone had smuggled in cocaine in my bag, maybe a bomb sef, I mean I just came in from Nigeria, high risk zone. But alas, I was told my noodles contained chicken so they had to throw it all out. Hahaha!!! “No ma!! you see, this is the onion flavored one, there are other flavors apart from chicken. Although I agree it is… indomie noodles…” I finished off my sentence weakly, seeing that her facial expression remain unchanged, dread sinking into the pit of my stomach. She smiles at me sadly and then says- while turning the packet to me- “this also contains chicken” I watched in disbelief as my two cartons of noodles were thrown into the trash bin. My luggage felt lighter and my heart heavier. Life stinks. I was eventually picked by my roommate, a nice Indian dude.
The roads were wide, with green lush fields on either side, and no potholes. The view was unbelievably amazing, nice enough to go on a post card. After driving for over an hour and listening to my tummy for the whole ride, first thing we did, once we got into town was a food stop. As I walked into Subway and approached the counter, I knew I was in trouble, what the heck!!!, why were there so many choices, I had no clue what any of the options were. I turned to my roommate “dude, you are going to have to help me out” choosing a burger shouldn’t be this hard.
Foot long/6 inches bread; what type of bread; Italian/Italian cheese/flat bread, tuscan melt; Cheese; what kind of cheese: shredded cheddar/white cheddar/mozzzarella. Blah blah blah!!! I DON’T really care guys, just give me FOOD. I asked for a coke, she says what size? Huh…again..Well with the rumbling in my stomach lining, large seems like a good idea. She hands me an empty large cup, large enough for me to swim in. Ahmmmm…excuse me please… give me my drink… I did not ask for a cup. My roommate, probably embarrassed discreetly tells me there were dispensers to get the drink from. Right!!!. I was ready to start swinging after a long flight, with 2 Stops (tickets were ridiculously expensive, the more stops the cheaper it was) and after losing my priceless noodles too. We finally left Subway without creating a scene and drove to our apartment complex….Life in America officially starts now.
…To Be Continued.