Thursday, April 15, 2010

Arrival in Abuja

I was pretty freaked out by what I’d read and heard about arriving at the airport in Abuja. More than one person reported being “shaken down” at the airport, whatever that means. I read an account in the otherwise helpful book, This House Has Fallen, about having to fight off hordes of people trying to extract money, including a customs agent who demanded $300 to “import” the author’s personal computer. I stepped off the plane feeling like I’d be fresh bait in a pond.

It wasn’t like that at all. The passport line was a little slow, but presented no problems. Everyone was in uniform, from the officials in their khaki uniforms to the luggage carriers in their lavender shirts. Not a single person approached me. I used a free cart, grabbed my bags, sailed through customs (noting a big sign on the door that said Say No to Corruption in Customs) and found my driver outside. There is nothing to be nervous about here.

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