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#36DaysInRussia – The World Cup Travel Series: Lagos

Worldcup Russia Travel diaries

My name is Chidi Okereke, and I am spending the next #36DaysInRussia. While the World Cup is the ‘excuse’, this trip is #BeyondFootball for me. Oh, best believe I’ll be cheering the Super Eagles to success here, but this trip is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to be in one nation, connect with people from all over the world and have a first-person view of their lifestyles. It is a chance to see what happens behind the scenes, during a World Cup (so maybe when Nigeria does host it, I’ll be able to contribute valuable experience to making it grand). It is a chance to create content for @listsng, the good people who made this trip happen. And oh, I turn 30 on the 4th of July, so it is also a chance to get away from the distractions back home, reflect, think and plan for the next 10 – 20 years.For the next few weeks, I hope to share my experiences here as frequently as possible. Turn on notifications, share with someone, and follow the tag – #36DaysInRussia. Stories begin now.


Of course, it started in Nigeria. I was supposed to catch a 6:10pm flight to Moscow with an 11 hour layover in Dubai but I was running late. I was going to be out of the country for 38 days so I had to wrap up all meetings, tie up all loose ends and balance all books, so I won’t come back to nothing in July. I also needed to change my phone, to one with a faster processor and better photo quality because I wanted to curate my experiences in HD. That is where the problems started. I tried restoring iCloud on the new device, but I couldn’t get the 2-factor authentication code. I then connected the phone to my Macbook and used iTunes back up, but in my rush, I restored a back up from 2016. In one fell swoop I lost 2 years of data. And oh, I almost forgot to mention that on my way back from getting the phone, I got stopped by Policemen. They said I ran a red light under that Ikeja Bridge. I still insist the light wasn’t even orange when I crossed. Long story short, while I would have ordinarily seen the matter to its logical conclusion, I had to part with N4,500 so I could rush home and back to the Airport. #ThisIsNigeria.

Chidi Okereke, Chydee
Enroute the Murtala Mohammed International Airport

The check in counter was supposed to close by 5pm. I got there 4:45pm, then my Nigerian brethren decided to use me and shine. All I needed to get into Russia were my Passport and FIFA Fan ID, but the aunty and uncle at the barrier said I also needed a match ticket and hotel reservation. I didn’t have any information to that effect and I told them. I mean if Emirates wanted me to come with those documents, they’d have asked, won’t they? Aunty, the first guardian of the golden gate told me point blank that I wasn’t going to get my boarding pass without those documents. Remember, because I was having iCloud issues, I couldn’t download apps, so I couldn’t access my friend/host who made all arrangements/reservations for me. I didn’t even have his number anymore. Check-in counter was closing in 8 mins. I was fvcked.

Then in a lightbulb moment, I remembered Whatsapp Web. While I couldn’t chat, I could retrieve his number from the desktop application. So I brought out my laptop, called him, and he emailed my match tickets. You need to see the eye I gave the faux ‘keepers of heaven’s gate’ as I waltzed past them. The check-in counter closed after I collected my boarding pass. Look at God.

Maybe it’s the recession, maybe it’s greed; but every official you will meet from check-in to boarding the plane will demand ‘something’ from you. To be fair to them, I came prepared with plenty N500 notes, and because I was already running late, I didn’t hesitate to squeeze one into their palms as soon as they asked. That venture cost me N4000. 8 different check points. Oprah Chidifrey.

But I boarded – one of the last persons to. And that was the most important thing. And another important thing happened. I finally received the 2 factor authentication code from Apple, but I couldn’t download anything because we took off a few minutes later.

Lagos Airport

Good bye Lagos. Hello Dubai.

Follow the full travel series HERE.

Written by Chidi Okereke

Content creator, Digital Communications guy, Social Media Analyst, Jack of many trades, and master of some.

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