Wide eyed I stood at the Virgin Check-In counter as I watched the foreigners push huge trolleys filled with giant plastic bags of goodies. Two people had to lift each bag as they attempted to check-in these monstrosities. I asked my husband, a somewhat native of the land we were going to, what could be in those monstrosities. He simply shrugged.
I was certain that these passengers would be the only ones with so much luggage until my husband pointed out the number of equally filled huge trolleys across the sea of people. They had come in droves! I quivered in my shoes and understood why he had warned me that we would have to wait for a while on the other end to get our luggage! Now I know why I got the Chanel I so longed for just before we were flying to Nigeria!
Next we were semi-sprinting to the gate and I couldn’t understand why but my husband insisted I trust him. As we approached I saw the long queue of burly Nigerians ahead and knew that after this point there was no turning back. We stood in line and waited for our boarding cards and the weight of our hand luggage to be checked before entering the gate. That was when I noticed it first. It was a pungent odour like I had never smelled before which began to burn my nostrils and leave me teary eyed. I made a gesture to my husband indicating that the air in the atmosphere was less than kind to which he shrugged again.
‘It’s just like India.’ He said.
He was wrong as the people in India aren’t this big and at 5’1 I stood perfectly at their armpit height!
We finally made it on board and he was lucky to find some cabin space for our carry-on’s. It was then I understood why we had rushed as overhead cabin space was like gold on a flight to Nigeria. Those who couldn’t find enough space simply left their bags hanging half out and decided to let the flight attendants deal with it. In fact, there was a stand-off between one of the attendants and a passenger to remove a bag that was jutting out of the compartment. We both watched with great interest while munching on a bag of crisps and speculating on the outcome.
Would he actually stand up and remove his bag or would he scream for the air-hostess to do it herself and leave it alone?
Fortunately the stinging odour didn’t follow us on to the flight and I could rest easy on our 6 hour flight…..until it hit me, I didn’t pack any deodorant!!!!
Marriage Tip No. 26:
The ‘When in Rome,’ philosophy does not apply to personal hygiene!
Welcome to our African married life.
Born in Africa, Chandru grew up between Nigeria, India and the UK. With a Masters in International Business from the University of Westminster, he moved to New York where he worked as a Business Development Manager for three years. In 2002, he returned to Nigeria where he currently resides and runs a trading company. Chandru has been writing for Beyond Sindh (www.beyondsindh.com) since 2004 and has published numerous articles in the quarterly publication. His story entitled ‘The Love Letter’ won the Mirage Book short story contest and was published in an anthology titled Inner Voices in January 2009. His short story ‘Zero’ is scheduled to be published in the anthology Indian Voices towards the end of 2010.
In December 2009, Chandru’s first novel, ‘The Journey of Om’ was published in India by Cedar Books.