My one way flight to Lagos via Arik Airlines was eventful to say the least. The average number of checked bags per person was 4. I sat next to the sweetest old man who made sure to use all 11 hours of the flight to tell me his entire life story. These stories included traveling to New York back in the 60’s to attend Long Island University for his MBA. Sending letters to his mother assuring her that he would return home to Lagos to take care of her in her old age.
We took breaks in our conversation during meal time. Now I have been a pescetarian (I eat seafood but not the flesh of other animals) for the past 5 years and gluten and dairy free for the past 6 weeks. It’s been challenging finding good restaurants in NYC with my dietary restrictions. I figured that it would be even more difficult in Nigeria. Well I got my first experience with the strange stares and puzzled looks when I asked for a meat, gluten and dairy free meal on the plane. To be fair, most people in NYC , have no idea what gluten is and chicken and beef are both gluten free. Most airlines have a few vegetarian or fish dishes on board just in case there are passengers with special diets. Well, not Arik Airlines. I was told to just eat the jollaf rice and plantain (2 of my favorite Nigerian foods) and ignore the chicken or beef . I also had to ignore the brownie, pasta salad and kitkat bar that accompanied my meal. Thank God for the bag of popcorn I packed in my carry-on!
Well I must say that the flight was not a good representation of the options available to me in Lagos. On my first night here I had the jumbo prawns, rice and vegetables at the Lagos Boat Club. Lagos is known for it’s amazing seafood. I think my stomach will be happy here in Nigeria.