I had to be at the airport a minimum of 2 hours ahead of my flight, meaning I needed to leave the hotel a little before 6 am – rolling out of bed early!
There were a lot more people there this morning than last night.
The next security check, when everything must go through a scanner once again, had a LOT of people going through, and it happened with the kind of efficiency I’ve come to expect in this part of the world – three lines of people all trying to merge into one. And if the line looks too long, just start your own line that tries to push in as well. And they only had two scanning stations operating. So although I could see the machines, and I wasn’t physically all that far away, it still took about 45 minutes for my turn to go through.
Once through, I found my gate and waited at the gate for a little bit until it was time to board.
The plan was a pretty new Boeing 787-8, and the interior was in very good condition (something one does not always find in Africa). And it had a feature I’ve never seen before. After reaching our cruising altitude of 40,000 feet, and after lunch was served, they dimmed the cabin lights, which isn’t unusual. But since it is morning, it is bright outside, so all the windows automatically darkened! I was sitting on the aisle in the middle section, so I hadn’t noticed there are no window shades to pull down like normal. Each window was auto darkening – which was really pretty cool!
I read some and slept some on this smooth flight. We arrived in Lagos about 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
The immigration procedure here changes every time. But I had all my paperwork and my visa, so as quickly as the line would crawl forward, I moved, and went through immigration with no problems. My suitcase came around within moments of me walking over to the carousel, so all was good!
Normally I’ve changed money at the airport, so decided to change a bit there before I left, but it was not to be.
A few months ago the government decided to change the currency, making the old naira notes worthless by the end of 2022. Problem was, they couldn’t print the new notes fast enough, meaning people had to turn their old notes in to the bank, but couldn’t get any new ones. In a primarily cash society, this created a lot of problems, riots and such.
So, when I went to the first Bureau de Change, they had no cash to give me, only credit to a Nigerian bank account. That won’t help. The second started to give me old naira notes, which I didn’t want. So I went out to call for an Uber and figure out what I was going to do.
There are always money changers on the sidewalk, and one of them came up and said he had new notes (turned out, they were the old currency, just new, clean notes). And he wanted to cheat me by cutting the exchange rate by almost 1/3. An airport security man was there, and forced him to give me my dollars back, and sent me on my way as he talked roughly to the man. He said the man would be arrested, but I don’t know what happened.
I called for an Uber, which came pretty quickly, and brought me to the Raddisson hotel. Before leaving the local members told me this is where I need to stay because it is in the police district, and they have very good security. They feel this is the safest place for me to stay in Lagos. If the locals recommend it so strongly, that’s what I’ll do!
After talking to both my Uber driver and the front desk at the hotel, I learned the government changed their plans, and the old naira notes are good through the end of this year. In fact, they said if you go to a bank, all you an get are the old notes. I don’t plan to be here that long, so I guess the old notes are what I’ll use.
There is a Bureau de Change just a couple of blocks away, so after checking in and calling my wife, I walked down to change some money. They gave a very good rate, but were limiting how much I could change. However, I believe I got enough to suffice for this trip, since I’m able to pay the hotels and Uber cars with a credit card.
I got some work done in my room, and then went down for dinner. They had fish and chips on the menu, and it turned out to be quite good!
After dinner, I came back to the room, called my wife (and interrupted her from mowing the lawn!) and then got ready for bed. I’m tired! Tomorrow should be a full day of visiting with members and prospective members.