Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The 1st good thing about Lagos: Eventually my luggage arrived!
Hello and welcome to my new blog which I plan to use to journal my experiences in Lagos. I'm hoping that family and friends can use it to check in and see how things are going for us here and see some pictures and read some experiences about life in Lagos. Today is Wednesday, August 9. We arrived here on Sunday evening after a great week in London. Because Brent had been here working for several months, he had prepared me, so the airport wasn't too much of a shock. There was one loud disturbance in the crowd on the escalators behind me while I was waiting in the immigration line. I never learned if it was a fight or a fall or a robbery -- I was just glad not to be involved in it. The baggage handling is never up to the speed of other airports, so waiting for bags is a chore. And it's even more of a chore, when one of your bags didn't make the plane and you have to wait for 3 hours to see all the bags come off to learn that you are missing one. And then you have to stand in line to fill out the form to claim a missing bag. I was afraid I would never see my belongings again, and of course, it was the bag I had packed to carry on the plane with my toiletries and make-up and the vegetables we had purchased in London that we didn't dare buy here in Lagos. But at the gate in London, the attendant determined that the bag was an inch too long and they were now enforcing their carry-on size limitations. No matter that the company had purchased 2 $8000+ business class tickets -- they had their rules and they must be obeyed. But the bag made it on the flight the next day and Tuesday morning I was brought back to the airport in the armored vehicle with security escort to identify and claim my bag. It was a good thing I went personally, as their system is quite disorganized. They look on their hand-written log around the date of the flight when the bag might possibly have come (not a problem here, as there was just a day in between), and find a name and number -- YES, my name was there, spelled wrong, but hopefully meaning my bag was on the plane. They list a shelf number and the clerk led me into this massive room with luggage piled to the ceiling, some on shelves, but many bags crowding the small aisle. She led me back to the general area of the number indicated on her logsheet and immediately I saw my bag about eye level in the stack. Quick relief! Whew! Maybe the lettuce hadn't totally decomposed into my books! I feel sorry for all the hundreds of people who belong to the bags in that room and haven't yet been able to claim their belongings. Tomorrow I'll try to figure out how to post some pictures and give you more of my first impressions of Lagos.