We finally arrived after the 18 hour delay at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.
It’s still not clear why that delay as we blamed www.wakanow.com but the wakanow chaps seemed to have other people or forces to blame.
Because of the delay and no clear cut reasons coming from the tour packagers a couple of people began to insinuate and three of them started spreading a story that the airplane had mechanical issues and went back home, abandoning the trip.
However, with the CEO of the company travelling on the same plane, some of us believed the plane didn’t have those mechanical problems.
The trip itself was drama because of the mixed multitude of Nigerians flying.
Some didn’t understand the food served (they had never flown before), some wanted to drink as much beer as possible (since it was free) and even got into shouting bouts with the air hostesses.
On landing, some packed as many blankets and mini pillows into their hand luggage to take away.
In fact I saw one who grabbed at least 10 blankets and more than six mini pillows.
At about midnight local time we had touched base and then there were the immigration formalities and checking into a hotel and the Ibis Hotel, located just behind the local Airport at Sao Paulo was not a bad one.
Hotel security checks
The Ibis Hotel has a funny security check here which we all do not understand or even like.
Your room key card can only take you to your floor and the ground floor.
That simply means that I cannot visit a friend on the 4th or 5th floor of the hotel because my room is on the 7th floor.
We all talk on the room intercom and agree to meet at the lobby of the hotel.
We have complained but they insist it is their way of ensuring hotel guests have their privacy by restricting us to our own floors and ground floor.
So if I want to visit a friend in, say room 456, I have to call him up on the intercom and ask that we meet at the lobby, then use his key card to access his floor on the lift so the process can be tiring at times.
I thought Sao Paulo was hot
The temperature here has been completely opposite of what we envisaged.
Coming from Port Harcourt where we had temperatures of 27- 30 degrees celsuis and with the complaints from Europeans teams one would have thought it was like Lagos, Port Harcourt or Kano but here the temperatures are as low as 13 Celsius in the morning and night. In the afternoons, it goes as “high” as 20 C.
However, we braved that and set off to explore Sao Paulo with the Eagles away at Porto Alegre.
Getting a sim
I still haven’t been able to get a simm card here. I see people selling recharges but no one selling the simm and I wonder why.
We went to the airport, the local sales people and even the big mall at Ibirapuera but still no deal.
But the bigger problem is the language as we can hardly explain to people here what we want.
Well, Arafat Aliyu of Nigeria Info FM, Abuja says I should hook up with him and he will take me where I can get a simm, so that’s my best option for tomorrow.
The airport viewing center
Pic: Travelers watching the Brazil v Cameroon game at the airport
I tried to locate a public viewing center where I could watch the game between Brazil and Cameroon.
I predicted a 4-0 thrashing of the Cameroonians and needed to watch the game with the homers to be part of their joy and I found one at the departure lounge at the Aeroporto Sao Paulo.
First I saw the Dutch fans departing after their game against Chile and I spoke to Roy, who said he didn’t think they could win the World Cup but was happy with their 5-1 thrashing of Spain and of course the fact that they were through to the knock out stage.
Then I joined the Brazilian party to see the thrashing of Cameroon.
Sat in between Brazilian, Dutch and Chilean fans all trying to make their way to another city plus airport staff who took time off to enjoy the game, I must say I enjoyed the annihilation of Cameroon.
And of course the fact that Neymar may just be the most loved Brazilian in the country right now.
Eight out of ten Brazilians I have seen wearing their shirts have the number, 10 and the name, Neymar behind it.
And watching at the Airport viewing center, anytime Neymar had the ball there were passionate groans from the 200 or more people there, like they expected some magical Pele like move.
Their man, Neymar got a brace and of course, the Brazilians couldn’t have been happier.
Tomorrow, I locate the Super Eagles… isn’t that why I am here anyway?