Socially distanced in Portharcourt


So, I travelled to Portharcocurt over the weekend and had a great experience in social distancing in the fight against the Corona virus.

The Nnamdi Azikiwe airport, Abuja

Before you get into the airport, you have your bags ‘anointed’ with water. Perhaps there is indeed something in the water, I don’t know, but the haphazard, nonchalant and unserious manner in which the bags are fumigated shows its ineffectiveness.

In any case, whatever you gained in the fight against the virus is lost very quickly once you put your bags on the x-ray scanner, at the entrance of the airport. Who sprays or cleans the scanner? No one! But all bags and shoes are placed on the scanner, all day long! The thought is enough to send me scurrying to the shower.

The airport lounge

The lounge was crowded and then overcrowded with many flights booked to leave almost at the same time. You see the rush soon as the calls to board were made. Thank God, most of the ‘Russians’ were going to Lagos. My flight to Portharcourt was delayed as usual. I think they first went to deliver some people to Lagos. Lagos is Nigeria’s economic powerhouse.

Eko for show!

I was mentally prepared for delays and this provided plenty of time to get some work done. I sent so many texts, my wrists started hurting. I decided to give it a rest after 3 hours and that was when my flight was called for boarding. As we boarded, the attendants handed over the snack pack as a gesture of goodwill…for the long delay.

However, what this did for me was that a chatterbox sat next to me. This chap took off his mask soon as he sat down and proceeded to eat and talk at the same time. Not to me, of course! However, I regretted not wearing two facemasks, a face shield and the full personal protective equipment! How do you tell the guy next door to shut up? In a nice way and without a full-blown argument or further ‘spit’ in your face? And without using Chloroform!

Please send your answers on a post card!

We landed in PH

People ask, ‘how was your flight?’ In truth, safe landing is the sweetest part of any flight and you soon forget whatever happened inflight. Until you get to the arrival lounge. There was a welcoming party armed with hand sanitizers and enforcing social distancing in front of the carousel. It didn’t seem to matter that we had just been sandwiched together in the full flight…no….’please stand on the spot and wait to pick your bag…only when you see it’. No one was also spraying the bags before we picked them up! After all, the bags have been roughing themselves up in the belly of the plane.

Once you leave the airport, no one is really wearing a face mask or using hand sanitizer. Most people actually have it as I found out, but they prefer to wear it in their pockets until they get to an establishment where it is mandatory.

Hotels in PH

The hotels in PH are perhaps the best places for ‘special social distancing’. For example, one hotel had closed its restaurant, gym and swimming pool to visitors and had signs proclaiming social distancing all over the place. The staff do not wear face masks or hand sanitize. They also come into your room as often as they can. So much for social distancing!

However, the only real social distancing was on the plate of food. Let me explain. I asked for fried rice, plantains and fresh fish. The rice, plantains and fried fish were served on different plates, well covered with cling film.

Socially distanced, I see. Appreciate it.

It was served without cutlery. So, the staff had to go back and then came back with a spoon wrapped in tissue paper. The bill? Sorry. She forgot that and will go and bring it. Meantime, could I have coffee? Please. She brought the coffee without milk but included a straw.

Nice touch!

The plantains were dry and tasted like cardboard. The fish was fried, not fresh. All a product of the microwave. I assumed that is why the meal was served separately. Fake social distancing. Anyway, I returned the meal to the sender and had a quiet night. If the staff and most of the city don’t much care or understand about the Corona virus, best to keep out of their way.

Tomorrow, back to Abuja and some sanity.

You see, in Abuja, even mosquitoes use a wet wipe before they bite you!

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