Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My journey begins...

Finally my journey begins! The day I was about to leave, I was numb, I couldnt believe that this is happening.

I am very thankful for my share of good experiences so far. First my bags which were about 45 kg [excess by 5] were checked all ok without any excess baggage charges and then the guy checked it in all the way to Abuja. So I got the excess allowance right upto the last sector which actually allows only 20 kgs!

I was very impressed with Emirates! The entertainment system was excellent, I watched two movies-"Enchanted" [demsey looks really Mcsteamy aka Dr Shephard in Grey's Anatomy], an amalgamation of cartoon and reality, modern day cinderalla story, lovely songs...and "No Reservations" [Anthony Bourdain must not be very happy with use of this name!], a story about lonely hard working chef who discovers meaning in life by living with his niece!

I also watched two episodes of "Greys Anatomy" which I had not seen, it was so nice to watch this after so long..and of course no TV experience is complete without my "Friends"....

The 3 hours at Dubai went by very quickly, the crowd made it a bit exhausting, but I walked around and had a fruit cocktail for breakfast! I chatted with this Indian lady who was gorging on poori aloo...

But both times I got a middle seat:) This is the only downside I ahve experienced about checking in late, that you get the lousiest seats...

But luckily I had an interesting young Nigerian businessman seated next to me who was curious to know my reasons for visiting his country. Our conversation strengthened my opinion about the similarity between India and Nigeria. He was so frustrated with the state his country was in. Government had schools but no teachers nor infrastructure, so the children got little quality education, so parents send their children to private schools only. Those also he said were making money...The government announces various schemes and plans in the name of the poor but most of it is eaten away within the system only. He said that young people were interested in politics only for one of three possible reasons: for money, following father's footsteps, or wanting real governance [of course the minority]. The country lacked basic amenities, like electricity, water, food, good roads...He had businesses in Dubai and he said that he could achieve in 2 hours in Dubai what would take him 8 in Nigeria! People are very enterprising..but vendors also face the same harassment and extortion as in India.

He asked what it took to set up an NGO. He wanted to start a program to donate books in poor communities where there were no or insufficient schools. I suggested he check out room to read...maybe they operate here as well.

I felt so sad after talking to him...it actually seemed he was talking about India as much as Nigeria. I took his number. He looked like someone who would be a good help in time of need...

Now am sitting in Lagos airport. As soon as I landed here, I cleared immigration, lugged around my two heavy bags without a trolley and checked in Virgin for my flight to Abuja! The Virgin staff were very helpful...I can almost feel the air of lightness and fun as I walk around listening to laughter and loud excited voices...

What a relief to have a working phone...Parth has called a few times and so have Dad and Pinky...its just nice to be connected...doesnt make me feel that I am that far away...

I will be in Abuja soon....

1 comment:

Renu said...

Hey Mana!!

Seems like you are having a good time!

Do keep us posted :)

Renu