As you land in the UK, it’s not the heat that welcomes you, instant a chill that creeps up from your neck and stomach. No matter the season, this chills waits for you like climbing ivy. Don’t be caught off guard. Have to hand as much scarves and vests as possible with an overcoat, a lighter one for May to August and your winter coat from September to April.
You’ll see two queues… EU
and its friends [I’m sure that’s not what it reads, but we’ll assume], the other queue is for everyone else. It’s usually relatively quick. Once you’ve gotten pass customs, you’ll pass the ‘declare’ or ‘nothing to declare’ door. Choose wisely.
I had an aunt who was carrying dried fish [in], and was, OK twice over the allowable limit. Do you know they confiscated her fish, gave her a penalty fine, plus penalised her passport with a warning? Harsh much?
So, you’ve decided you have nothing to declare, now make your way to the exit lounge.
First you’ll pass your last chance to buy some chocolates and perfumes. Try and resist, as Naija people spend too much in this seemingly holding cell.
When you get to the waiting lounge, you’ll notice a difference if you are flying from Lagos – people are actually allowed to wait inside the airport. Surprise!
You will see different chauffeurs holding placards for passengers they were supposed to pick up. If you know your name is Ade, and you see a card waiting for Michael, mba, it is not for you to enter oh, OK.
I don’t know if I’m exposing a secret, but you can normally find [Nigerian] taxi drivers willing to pick up multiple [Nigerian… Naija people, we know ourselves jor anywhere anytime we can spot each other] passengers going via the same route to save costs. See this isn’t exactly allowed at the airport, but they sha find a way to make it happen. And these shared cabs are a fantastic way to make new friends especially if you don’t know anyone in the UK.
Enter the cab.
Most times cab drivers will make small chitchat and then wait for you to respond. So if you know you do not have energy, uttering a small laugh is enough to make them know you are not in the mood to chat.
And as you exit the cab, you may want to tip him +10%.
Your new home awaits…
Wishing you ‘Ijeoma’
xoxo Ije Bima