By Kate Henshaw
I seem to be spending most of my time lately going through airports.. Much as I love to travel, it can be a chore sometimes. It does however afford me the knowledge of seeing things first hand as a frequent traveller what obtains in other ports in comparison to ours.
Who knows when the remodeling of our airports will be over? Anyone? I hope it includes expansion and not just aesthetics. Going through the airport at the end of June, it was the flooring that was being changed, the toilets were still..well..toilets!
They smelt and were quite dirty, harboring all sorts of diseases dangerous to human health. I have taught my daughter to “hang” except it is her personal toilet, keep wipes handy and other antibacterial needs.
Going through the immigration was quite a task, my daughter and I, my friend and her two kids. The queues were endless and tedious even going through the fast track lane. Some people tried to jump the queue as is characteristic of Nigerians claiming that they were on the verge of missing their flight.
Well, they should get to the airport on time, check in and get through to their boarding gate on time n’est pas? We finally made it through the choked lines and the next stop was another barrier of officials asking how much money you were travelling with, and also where you were going to.
Moving on to the lounge, it was quite clear that it was filled to capacity. More of a glorified waiting room with some small bites and drinks laid out for the passengers. It was filled to capacity so the whole purpose of relaxing before you boarded was defeated. Boarding at the gate was harder than a camel passing through the eye of a needle. Jeez! We were like sardines in a tin. The PA system was hardly heard and so passengers could not hear when their seat numbers were called.
They would go forward only to be turned back and then they would clog up the entrance. Arriving at Miami International airport, we were met with orderly queues for everyone coming through, even the residents of the city.
It took a while but we went through and by the time we got to the baggage claim, our luggage was already taken off the conveyor, arranged neatly and placed in the centre for pick up. Going through the “nothing to declare” customs area was a breeze. It was 45mins drive to Boca Raton.
The weather was gorgeous at 95 degrees fahrenheit. Blues skies, clean streets lined with palm trees, well maintained side walks, visible street signs displaying speed limits and stop signs.
My friend’s home was clean and welcoming. Tiredness set in and after dinner, we all slept off to wake up to an even brighter day. In the morning, it turned a bit cloudy and then it rained for a bit. We were due to take the kids for a dental check up and so after breakfast, we set out.
Arriving there were children of all ages. Some coloring in books that had been provided, a sign outside another door read “ ALL VIDEO GAMES ARE SET ON FREE PLAY COURTESY OF DR KAWA. ENJOY”. The atmosphere was quite welcoming; colorful walls with aquariums fitted overhead and round the office with fishes from the movie “FINDING NEMO” featured.
The children had nothing to be anxious about. We all know how we dread going to the dentist.
The next day was spent at the mall, shopping, eating pretzels, drinking slushies and generally taking things easy. The air was clean and fresh. People walked around in their shorts and tank tops. Such a welcome relief from the pressure of moving around in Lagos.
Back at the house, I changed into something more comfortable and lay by the pool , it was serene. I do not need to tell you that not once did the electricity go off! It has been a week now and it gets better with each day. The inner peace I enjoy will be shattered in another few weeks when I return to the place I call my home, Nigeria.
I dream continuously of a Nigeria that will surely be a home that I never want to step out of. A Nigeria that will meet all my expectations and where my life will indeed be prolonged instead of being cut off in its prime. Till then, I will revel in my summer time away with my daughter and friends in a place I have fallen in love with Boca Raton.