Interview with the Mayor of Amman
By Chibuogwu
Nnadiegbulam
Waking
up this day, I knew
My
dream was about to come true
And
yes, I should have had butterflies in my stomach, but instead, I woke up with a
persistent gas-filled running stomach – surely there was no room left for
butterflies.
This
killjoy which had tormented me the day before (just don’t ask me what I ate)
succeeded in sneaking into my morning in spite of me enduring two tablets of
Flagyl, one of which got stuck on its way down my throat.
But
I still began my day with another two, nonetheless because I could not imagine
an embarrassing situation of unofficially converting the toilet on the airplane
to my seat.
The
GTBank was my first port of call on the day (oh please, don’t hail me too
much), I had gone to cash a cheque and possibly buy USD at once.
However
after getting my money, there was no USD for sale and so I fell back to the
option of buying from an Hausa guy Janine Anthony had recommended.
He
was selling at N430 to the dollar, the cheapest from our little survey. I was
supposed to meet him at the Airport, or so I thought.
Anyways,
in my late morning walk to get some things sorted, I printed out my ticket
confirmation and was headed for the Murtala Mohammed Airport from where I would
proceed to Dubai and then Amman for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup.
Okay,
I did stop at Okosisi, a famous Supermarket cum Pharmacy along Muri Okunoka
street to buy (and swallow) Tetracycline, else mum would not have left me in
peace. She can worry sha.
Well,
I got to the airport in time for check in and was done before you know it. No,
I take that back.
I
would have been done before you know it, if not for my igbo sister who kept
scrutinizing my visa letter again and again from the Arabic written one to the
English written one, to be sure she would be doing the right thing to let me
pass.
I
went through all that, got my tickets; one to Dubai and the other to Amman, and
was ready for my flight, but first I needed Dollars and here I was walking up
and down from Departure D to E and back, in search of Sumaila, the Hausa guy,
whom, as it turned out, I wasted my hard earned airtime on.
He
was actually at Air Force barracks in Victoria Island. The same VI I had come
from, nowhere near the Airport, and he was requesting I returned which would
have been insane to do.
Moving
on however, I got some change at a Bureau de change located at the Airport and
proceeded to my flight’s boarding gate, of course through immigrations.
A
whole new experience for me. And so as we took off aboard an Emirates Airline I
smiled at the setting sun in view of a lot more exciting moments.
It
is my second travel out of the country and my first out of Africa. My first
trip out of Nigeria was Ghana, by road.
For
the over 7 hr flight to Dubai, I had dinner, watched a Hindi movie and slept.
When
I woke up, we were less than two hours from Dubai and so I helped myself with
another movie to see me through it (candid advice from Janine Anthony). And at
about 4:30, we landed.
In
order not to make it seem like I don’t talk to strangers, I decided to start a
conversation with this guy I had noticed all the way from Nigeria.
He
sat beside me in the airside bus that took us to the arrival gate and I asked
him if Dubai was his final destination but he said no, that he would be
connecting a flight to Guangzhou, China and when I asked him what for, he said,
“business”.
I
already knew right from when I saw him at MMA, what I was wrong about was that
he would stop in Dubai.
Anyways
he told me he would be in China for three weeks before returning to his Onitsha
base with the jewelries he would buy.
According
to him, they are cheaper in China and he sells wholesale when in Nigeria.
Anyways,
we went our different ways and I went on an ultimate search for ‘B29’ from
where I would board my next flight to Amman. When I finally found it, I then
took some time to marvel at the magnificence of the Dubai International Airport
and was back in time for take-off.
After
over 2hrs 30 minutes, we arrived Jordan and with the help of FIFA, my
International Passport was stamped without any hassle.
And
a driver from the hotel was already at the airport to pick me up to the Grand
Palace Hotel.
His
name is Yousef Yaqoub and he was really friendly. He gave me access to the wifi
in the car and while we spoke on the long drive to the hotel, he seriously told
me to be careful about the dead sea because there was a case in court regarding
it, and when curious me asked the crime, he said the dead sea was murdered and
it’s blood flowed into the Red sea.
The
view on our way to the hotel was awesome with largely clay colored storey
buildings scattered on hills in Amman.
When
I got to the hotel, I finally met Sonja of the AIPS whom I communicated with
for about three weeks with regards to the AIPS Young Reporters Programme,
Roselyn, who is the Secretary General of the International Sports Press
Association and three other Young Reporters who had arrived before me, Katie
from England, Victor form Brazil and Tracey from Cameroon.
I
was given time to freshen up and rest a bit before coming down for lunch where
I tried noodles that was prepared with Sesame oil and did not go beyond a
spoon. Eventually I settled for White rice and beef sauce.
From
lunch, we went on our first assignment at the official opening of fan zone for
Jordan 2016.
I
did my first interview as an AIPS Young Reporter with the Mayor of Amman, I
took a selfie with Jordanian super star, Hussein Al Salman a co-singer of the
official song of the tournament “Jordan our Playground”, we played
with the kids at the FIFA LiveYour Goals area and it was all fun.
Back
at the hotel, we had dinner and then my sleepy head managed to write my first
article of the AIPS Youn Reporters Programme before I succumbed to nature’s
freezing cuddle.
With the other AIPS young reporters

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