Flying Out

You know, Lagos airport never ceases to amaze me.  Even after living there for so many years and flying in and out countless times.

We used Qatar to fly out this time (we’re in Dubai, by the way!).  The last time we flew on Qatar was December last year.

Anyway, the Qatar Airways check-in queue was unbelievable.  It didn’t matter if you had checked-in online.  And it didn’t matter if you were a Qatar Airways cardholder.  There was one LONG line for everybody.  I should have found out actually if First and Business Class passengers could check-in separately.

Once you reach the front of the queue, you don’t go straight to a check-in counter.  Your bags have to be inspected first.  So you go to security.  No – not an x-ray machine.  They are checked manually.  You have to lift each case up onto a table, open it and someone goes through all your stuff.  Then you slide the bag over to the 2nd security officer.  And then to a 3rd.  They usually wish you a ‘happy weekend’, ‘Merry Christmas’ or they just say ‘Anything for me?’

If you’re lucky, they’ll get bored after the first bag and tell you to move on.  By the way, there’s no one to help with the lifting of bags or taking off of bags onto and off the table.  And when they’re done with you, they just start shouting for you to hurry up.  Not only do you have to be super-fast in taking your bags off the table, you have to zip them up and lock them first!

No, no.  It’s not time for check-in yet.  Then you have to stand in another line.  The person behind this desk checks your passports and visas.  They also write your name down on a passenger list.  NOW we move to the check-in desk.  This area is uneventful, but allows you to stand still for a few minutes.

Oh, I forgot to mention – there’s also no air conditioning anywhere.

So next is going through passport control, security and to the gate.

First a guy checks your boarding passes before you can go through to passport control.  You stand in another line and hand over your passports and departure cards.  You don’t wait there to get your passport back.  You go to the NEXT line (which is usually at the same desk).  I don’t know who checks what, who does the stamping or what they do with the departure cards, but it’s seriously annoying.

Annoying.  But not as bad as the check-in process.

Time for security!

You put your stuff through the x-ray machines.  You walk through the metal detectors and then get patted down by a security officer.  No use of a hand-held metal detector.  Is that because the walk-through metal detectors work properly?

When you finally reach the gate, there’s another queue.  It’s usually pretty long, but at least this part of the airport is cooler!  So to get in, a person at a desk checks your passports and visas.  And right behind him/her at another desk they check your boarding cards.  Once you go through, your hand luggage is searched.  You’re again wished a happy weekend of asked ‘Anything for me?’.  Then you’re body searched again.  Aaaand….  we’re in!

Don’t start cheering quite yet.

There isn’t enough seating at the gate (or enough space for all the passengers to even be there).  So many people are standing and all squashed together.  And they pack in more and more people until they’re ready to board the flight.  It gets hotter and hotter and everyone gets more and more agitated.  It’s hardly surprising though, is it?

I think the whole process is absolutely ridiculous.  I also think:

1. At least more people have jobs – you know, since everything is done three times.

2. Because there are more people checking everything, they are more likely to find banned items in carry-on and checked-in luggage.  HOWEVER, if they don’t do their jobs properly, there’s no point.  And they don’t tend to do it properly.  When we left yesterday, security looked in V’s suitcase.  Then they looked into one of my bags.  Both bags had only clothes in them.  They asked, ‘Only clothes inside all the bags?’  I replied, ‘Yes’.  They said, ‘Go.’  While this suited me just fine, I could have had ANYTHING in any of the other bags.

3. With more people checking passports and visas, they are more likely to catch people with fake documents.  Right?  Maybe they’re all more ‘on the ball’ now?

4. It would all work so much better if not everyone was looking for a pay-off of some kind.

That’s it.  Rant over.  And don’t even get me started on Arrivals!

Hairdresser Dilemma

I’ve been meaning to try out a new hairdresser.

I need to have my roots/highlights done quite desperately, but don’t really want to go back to my usual place.  There are many reasons, but I’ve also never been totally happy with the end result.

I thought about waiting until I get to Dubai, but then wondered if I really want to spend three hours sitting in the hairdresser, when I could spend it in the mall…

Anyway, so many people have talked about this lady – I’ll call her….  I’ll call her Tina.  She’s meant to be AMAZING at highlights and colour.  I do always feel a twinge of envy when I look at my friend’s hair.  Also, she’s cheaper than my usual hairdresser.  So I thought I’d try her out.

I asked someone for her number.  She gave me the salon number and Tina’s mobile number.  I decided to call the salon – if she wasn’t in how would she be able to take an appointment, etc.

A Lebanese man answered the phone and this is what transpired…

Me: Hi!  I’d like to make an appointment with Tina for colour and highlights, please.

Him: Madam, you don’t make appointments with Tina, you make them with me.

Me: Ok – sorry.

Him: Tina works for me.

Me: Okaaay.

Him: You must be Indian if you’re asking for Tina.


I’m thinking that all the Indians want Tina to do their highlights because she’s good at it, and he’s a bit peeved?

Me: Yes, I am.

Him: That’s why you’re asking for her.  Who gave you this number?

Me: *gives name (of non-Indian) friend*

Him: Who?

Me: *says name again*

Split second of silence

Him: You are welcome, madam

And then he went on to take the appointment.

WTF was all that about?  What a complete twat!

Please correct me if I’m wrong – but when you call a spa or a salon or somewhere for an appointment, if you want a particular person to do your treatment, don’t you make that known?

What crawled up this guy’s backside?  And how long is it going to be stuck there for?

Did he get all twitchy because the lady that works for him is better at doing highlights than him?

When I go there on Tuesday is HE going to do my hair?  Or will he let Tina do it?  And if he does it – is he going to fuck it up on purpose?

Maybe I should cancel my appointment and go back to my usual place?

Giving Up The Bottle

My tutoring session last Wednesday was cancelled and V has no more cooking classes until January, so I decided to take him to buy a new water bottle and his special cup for when he “gives up the bottle”.

The first store we went to was the place to get his new water bottle.  On the same display as the water bottles, were the pacifiers.  This was a problem.  He spent ten minutes choosing his new bottle and then a further five minutes trying to persuade me to buy him a pacifier.

When he realised his tactics weren’t working, he started crying.  He cried and cried.  All the way to the second place we were going to.

When we reached the second shop and he realised a) I wasn’t going to give in and b) He was going to have to wait in the car if he kept crying, he stopped.  He stopped his tantrum so suddenly, I wondered if the whole episode had actually happened!  All he said was, ‘When I become a baby you buy me a chupa, ok?’  I agreed.

He chose his cup.  A very boring green cup.  I’m still trying to work out why he didn’t want the teddy bear or cow shaped mugs.  Oh well, at least he saved me some money!

We got home and I asked him when he was going to throw his bottles away.  He stopped for a minute and said, ‘On Monday.’  I asked him why on Monday?  Why not right away?  He responded, ‘Mama, see.  Today is Wednesday.  I can only throw bottles on Mondays.’

Hmmm… Delaying tactics me thinks.

I brought it up a couple more times during the next few days – but never got a response or a reaction until…

On Saturday morning, V came into our room and said: Mama, Santa is coming today.

Me (confused): Oh?  Is he?  But it’s not Christmas Day today.

V: Mama, Santa is coming today and he’s going to take aaaall my bottles away.  And he’s going to leave me a present.  But he will only leave me one present because it’s not Christmas Day yet.

Me: Oh!  Ok!  Lucky you!  Santa’s coming!

And he turned and left.  Where did all this come from?

He was at his grandmother’s that whole afternoon, so I was able to gather all his bottles.  I found a whole lot of new ones still in boxes (don’t ask) and I shoved everything in a cupboard.  I wrapped a gift from the toy cupboard (in Christmas paper) and hid it.

He didn’t even ask for milk before he went to bed.  This was very unusual – but I didn’t say anything.  I just wanted to see what would happen.

He woke in the night and when reminded about the bottles/Santa, he had water and went back to sleep.  At 5am he woke again and was not happy.  Until he saw the present Santa left him!  He had water and went back to sleep.

He was very excited on Sunday morning.  He opened his gift and I read him the accompanying letter.

IMG_20131130_153358He hasn’t been very well since yesterday afternoon (cough, cold, high temperature) and hasn’t asked for any milk at all.  He knows that when he drinks milk when he has a cough, he usually throws up.

He’s still unwell – so I don’t know what will happen once he’s feeling better, but I’m so proud of him.  I can’t believe he’s just…  Done it.

I really should have higher expectations.