Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Our last day in the office and our LONG trip home - February 207

We packed our bags, ate breakfast at the hotel and then met our driver for our drive into work. It was a busy day in the office. Bob and I both ate lunch in the cafeteria (separately), which consisted of chicken, rice or potatoes, and some eggplant dish. It was good but not great. At 5PM we headed out to the van for our trip to the airport.

Our trip home took an exhausting 30 hours. We left the office at about 5:30pm and headed to the airport in our caravan (a large 20-person van sandwiched between police escorts), dropping people off and picking people up along the way (staff house, expat residence building, Sheraton Hotel). Once we got onto the mainland, where the airport is located, we saw the more densely populated and impoverished parts of the city. There were many houses packed together on land and the housing extends out into the water (houses built on stilts). I tried to take a photo but because we we moving relatively fast in the van, the pictures came out blurry (have not figured out our brand new camera yet). I will try again in the future. The drive took about 2 hours.

Market on the side of the road on our drive to the airport.

Once at the airport we were escorted into the airport by company representatives, checked in and had our checked baggage searched (all checked bags are searched in your presence) and then headed to the British Airways lounge, which is not near as nice as the lounges elsewhere! It was packed, every seat was taken, and the food selection was not too great (Bob saw a bug crawling inside a plastic bag with a pastry - YUM!). We sat there for about 3 hours until we boarded the plane for our near midnight departure.

The flight to London was good (~6 hours, local time upon arrival 5AM). We both slept a bit, me more than Bob, as usual. Near the end of the flight, the crew sprayed the plane with insecticide to kill any mosquitos that made it onto the plane with us in Lagos. Once in London, we had to change airports (Heathrow to Gatwick, 45 minutes by car) which killed some of our layover time (5 hours) and then we decided the take advantage of the showers available in the BA lounge. In the future we will try to avoid flying BA so that we don't have to change airports in London and our luggage can be checked all the way through from Lagos to Houston. We travelled BA this time because there were no more seats on Air France or Luftansa and our "chaperone" was flying BA. It is not company policy to have a chaperone but it definitely was nice to have someone with us who knew the procedures once we arrived in Lagos. We would feel comfortable flying into Lagos on our own next time.

Finally we boarded the plane to make the final leg of our trip, the 10 hour flight from London to Houston. By this time I think we had watched most of the movies available to us and were ready to get home. Once in Houston, we were picked up by company-hired transportation (Lincoln Town Car) and taken home where we tried to stay awake until at least 8PM in an attemp to reset our internal clocks to Houston time.

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