"A business trip to Africa" Lagos Travelogue by gordonilla
Lagos Travel Guide: 122 reviews and 257 photos
As with every trip, it begins with leaving home. I live a fairly short distance from Heathrow, so I arrived at the terminal well ahead of check in time. However, this was good that there was no rush as is sometimes the case!
As I was travelling business class, I was able to visit the BA lounge. This time I in fact, visited lounges in T5 A and T5 B. Both were enjoyable and T5 B was much closer to the boarding gate.
The flight was enjoyable, although I was really surprised that when I tried to change seats it looked as if the Business Class seats were full. This was not the case, it was quite empty. However I did get a window seat, even if these are facing away from the way of travel.
The inflight entertainment seemed quite good and I enjoyed some quality viewing - I started of with watching "Thor" directed by Kenneth Brannagh. I was quite surprised that when I had finished watching this we were well over the Sahara Desert. I managed to take a few reasonable pictures from various windows.
The main meal was good and braised steak dish and an interesting dessert. The coffee was good.
On arrival at Lagos, we experienced a series of queues:
- Passport and Visa Check 1
- Passport and Visa Check 2 (two seperate people)
- Currency Declaration Check
- Medical Certificate Check (Yellow Fever)
- Luggage Tag Check
Of course not to forget the wait for our luggage or rather, my luggage as I seemed to be the only one of our party who had checked in my suitcase.
There was a pleasant experience where we were met airside by the FAAN Protocol Desk, who aided us through the airport protocols. They hadned us over to our company protocol officer and then our journey recommenced by car to our hotel.
Our hotel, the Southern Sun, was busy and very comfortable. It had a good restaurant and we ate a rather large dinner. I then went to bed instead of visiting the hotel bar.
This is sometimes always a problem, as I am an early to bed person - so do get up early too. Before sleeping, I watched an episode of the BBC's production of Henning Mankell's "Wallander".
Our first full day in Lagos was to be a day of meetings and travel. So my early rising did help me; I had a peaceful solitary breakfast - although I understand my colleagues did have a much later night than I did!
The journey for the day was agaisnt the flow of traffic (well nearly) and we did travel some ground when we were on the road. It did seem a lively and busy place - lots and lots of strteet traders as well as people walking down the middle of the road selling everything from bread to newspapaers and chewing gum to household goods. I was advised by my driver that this was illegal.
There were a number of different law enfircement people on duty -
- traffic police
- vehicle checking and enforcement police
- the police (armed)
In addition there were a few armned military personnel visible from time to time; although around government offices and the like.
The journey in and out took us from the islands to the mainland - it was not as humid has I had expected but it was warm all the same.
Our journey was much faster than we had anticipated so we arrived back at the hotel in time for a late lunch. There was a buffet and an a la carte offer - two of us took a la carte and the third took the buffet menu. For my part I opted for an a la carte dish:
Seared beef salad; a sliced roast beef fillet in a thai lemon grass, soya and coriander dressing and french fries. EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!! Is all that I can say. I had water and coffee too.
I then returned to my room, and did some reading then some shirt ironing, some emails then a walk around the hotelk lobby, back to my room then watched some telelvision. Then at around 22.00 - went to bed.
All in all a busy day; oh, I forgot to say that the roads have many pot holes, and by the time I got back to the hotel, I did feel quite "sea sick" - although after disembarking I felt much better quite quickly.
Having switched off the somewhat noisy a/c unit - I was woken at about 03.30 by quite heavy rainfall. Sadly, I could not open the windows and eventually had to put the a/c unit on again.
It is now 05.06 and I think this will be a long day! After showering and going for a short walk, I went for breakfast.
The temperature seemed cooler, although still very warm. By the time we reached our office the temperture and traffic flow was more significant.
We had a day of meetings and a site tour. It was a busy and good day. Lots to speak about and people to meet.
Finally at around 18.45 we left the office and traveled to a restaurant located on Virgin Island (VI) for dinner. "The Lagoon" was quite comfrotable, outdoor facilitiues right by the waterside. They have two menus - chinese & indian food and thenthe "continental" menu.
The one point to note was that service was very poor - more about it on the tip when I write it up. My colleague from the local office paid for the meal - he had what was described as a "brick" of money as using a credit card is not an ideal way to pay.
Then we travelled back to the hotel and by about 11.00 I was in bed and trying to sleep.
As I went to bed when I returned from the restauarant we visited, I woke early and did my packing. It is now 06.30 and time for breakfast.
I think it is fair to say that I am now flagging a little, it is 13.45 and have been in meetings all morning and have a few more to go this afternoon. I am on the 23.00 flight out of Lagos back to the UK.
I have just had an enjoyable rice and bean lunch and am now waiting for the next meeting to start. Then we are on the go until 17.00. The meetings and follow up discussions lasted until well after 18.00 and then we all struggled to check-in to our BA flight online. the network was very slow and it seemed that many people were trying to access the same site it appeared.
We started our journey finally after saying goodbye to our hosts and colleagues and then found that we were travelling during a peak traffic time. However we took just under an hour to get to the airport.
After being escorted by our protection detail to the airport departure gates we were on our own, and it took over an hour to get into the departure lunge. This was due to having to follow a lengthy and repetitive checks of luggage, passport, boarding pass and currency matters. Finally through to air side and then the BA lounge. It is small and has limited facilities, although it was comfortable enough.
The flight was due to depart at 23.00, and we left the lounge when called at 22.10 - then we discovered the full problem ahead of us! We had to subject ourselves to even more checks dealing with all the other things we had gone through to get air side - they were done again as was another luggage check and the removal of all liquids. It was exceedingly hot and none of the areas had working air conditioning.
Finally at about 22.55 we had reached the doors of the aircraft, then on board and the somewhat cooler interior. We took off late but they felt we would arrive ahead of schedule. I did not eat, but instead went to sleep, luckily in business class it is possible to recline and lay down almost flat.
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