Flight Fiasco

Last week I flew to Lagos a day before the rest of my colleagues so I could meet with people working in industries I cover, an initial face-to-face meeting with people that I'll be talking a lot to as part of the job. Everyone else was coming down for a weekend of meetings with our colleagues at the consulate, essentially the same purpose as I had with my industry contacts. We've got a number of new people in new jobs and it is an important opportunity for us to get to know the people that we constantly coordinate with via email.

Domestic air travel in Nigeria is notoriously unreliable (and expensive to boot), but I made it down with nary a hiccup. Thursday morning we got word that the first of our colleagues had arrived (he took the first flight of the day) and everyone else was planning to trickle in on the remaining flights throughout the day. But on my way to my first meeting, we got word that airport worker unions had occupied the terminal of the main carrier still operating (Air Nigeria collapsed a couple weeks ago under apparent mismanagement and Dana was grounded between June and September due to the crash of their plane. They've been reinstated to fly but haven't launched flights yet). Arik is by far the biggest remaining carrier (even before Air Nigeria went under) but now we discovered that all but 2 of us were not going to be able to fly down for the combined section meetings. Even though I got out, my return ticket was on Arik, so I was stuck in Lagos.

We tried getting seats on one of the smaller remaining carriers but the was a mob rush for seats during boarding on the last flight out of the capital. Apparently it was a free for all with both ticketed and unticketed passengers making it onto the planes. I didn't witness it, but I can imagine the chaos that would emerge from desperate Nigerians at the end of a long frustrating day.

In the end, I was able to get scheduled on a different carrier without too much hassle and made it back on Friday. Had I been stuck in Lagos, I was looking forward to helping out on the visa line but that was not to be, alas.

I returned to discover that the band is all in town and they want to have practice on Sunday. I've got a real dilemma developing on weekends as I want to watch football, do the band thing, go to workouts, and brew beer. Once I get the beer thing down, I'll be able to do a whole grain batch in under 8 hours I think, but that means either I start early on Sundays in order to watch football (but can't do the band then) or I skip the workouts to do it on Saturdays (or start it in the afternoon and brew until after dark). If only I could work 4 days a week!

I'm still having issues with the brewing process. I was highly motivated to take advantage of the Saturday opportunity now that I returned from Lagos earlier than planned. It's a bit more complicated in theory but the real challenge is that I'm using a non-self-priming pump that I'm just not sure how to use and there are more parts involved in the brewing itself. I'll be using a dual-burner process and thus have to rig a way to switch fuel from one burner to the other.

As I set up the equipment I realized that in spite of my best efforts, I'm STILL short a barbed hose adapter for the pump. I forced the tubing over a non-adapter piece and was going to brew no matter what but then ran into issues getting ice. I usually can get ice from the Marine's but there's been a bunch of turnover and I now only know 2 of them and only have 1 phone number. I think they had a Marine House party last night as well so they may have been sleeping late and even running low on ice. I didn't want to just roll over there without checking in but the guy I texted about it never got back to me. So I fell into a funk and spent the day in my pajamas, catching up on Daily Show and Louie episodes while playing Minecraft. The newest Survivor has started (I made an application video while I was home but couldn't submit it, even though the website said they were still taking applications). It was a sad day for beer and now I'm doubting whether I'll be able to get it down. I've heard of a second option for ice that i need to follow up. I ordered the final (I hope!) piece for the bigger setup, so if I can get good ice options, I'll be ready to rock.


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