Welcome Home


Welcome Home

There were lots of people from a certain tribe on the plane from Madrid to Lagos. They all seemed to know each other or possibly were traveling together.

I asked the gentleman seated next to me about the language they were speaking. He asked if I was a Nigerian and I answered to the affirmative. He then fished out his passport from his back pocket, opened it up to the bio-data page, showed it to me  and asked me to look at his name (Sunny OS*O). He then said, “We are the real Nigerians.”

His move to show me his passport instead of just telling me where they were from was highly suspicious. Besides, there was a lady screaming at the back of the plane. The lady had at least one Spanish “minder”. I noticed the group discussing the lady (with a woman remonstrating with someone else “that they felt that way because they were already successful” – I suspect the other party might have been un-supportive of the lady in distress). I asked the gentleman what was going on with the lady. He answered that the lady was being deported to Nigeria but was not from Nigeria. He seemed to be understanding of the Spaniards’ position with respect to deporting people that are liabilities to them as he added something along the line of “Even the Spaniards are hungry. They don’t want other people sticking spoons in their pot of soup unnecessarily.”
It’s possible this group was from say one of the border areas of Lagos for example, but the fact that it seems the woman was speaking the same language as theirs and the woman wasn’t Nigerian makes for some obvious deductions i.e., they were probably not from Nigeria either 🙂

So either they are all from Nigeria (and the lady in distress was just using being non-Nigerian as an excuse to avoid deportation) or they are all from some close neighboring country but claiming to be Nigerians. I thought I heard Ikorodu a couple of times but that may just be where they are headed. I hate to say this but the look and dressing of some of the ladies definitely put their character into question.

I may upload a recording of part of their conversation. They practically talked nonstop, were loud, and as soon as the seat-belt lights went off they were all over the place.

Some lady in the group who happened to be in business class (and who the rest of the group had questioned how she managed it)  comes to ask the chap next to me to help her bring down a suitcase from the overhead cabin.

The chap tells her (and turning to me jokingly for confirmation): “Me, a man with 4 wives. A woman can only be proud if her husband has one wife. You can’t be talking to me any-how.”

They started the party early as they had brought their own drink (gentleman next to me says “we are doing birthday” implying people should be understanding of the raucous).

home2 home1
I think the cover had “JB” written on it.

One of the ladies offers me a cup of water (she would be one of the dueling party below). “Bros. 10 Euros for a glass.”

I asked if it’s water. I laughed and said that’s a lot to pay for a small plastic cup of water.

She passed it over, winked and said “you are free.”

I sniffed at it. It was water. The stuff they were drinking had a pale yellow colour.  I drank it. I think it was just an extra cup they got when they asked the hostess for water and didn’t know what to do with it (cos she had a tray in her hands and that was the last cup on it).

They kept referring to one of their party as “chairman” or “chair”.

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Like all such gatherings, when the handshake gets above the elbow, there is bound to be some friction. There had been some teasing and flirting earlier.

Not sure how it started but there was some reference to the word “prostitute” several times during the subsequent heated argument. From what I could make out, it might have been the lady involved in the fracas that used the word (possibly on a lady-friend of the chap seated next to me who wasn’t on the flight). It seems the chap might have struck back with some reference to the woman’s son.

“I am almost 31. My son is 14 and I am proud of it. Why must you always look at my waist. Should I always be afraid when I am with you?!”

“When I date, I date for love. She’s with you only because of what she can get from you!”

“Why should you bring my son into this!”

(Lots of shouting from both parties, interspersed with input from other members of the group – mostly trying to pacify both parties.)

The chairman came over and talked quietly to the chap next to me for a couple of minutes. Other ladies in the party asked the lady to apologise to the man. Which she sort of did later.

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After we landed, it appeared some people further back despite the tight confines of the Iberia plane (if I had been a couple of inches taller, it would have been impossible to seat straight in the seats) wanted to leapfrog the people in front to get out the door (this was despite the fact that no one had yet exited the plane and we were at the front of the economy section so nowhere near the exit yet. It soon devolved into a shouting match with some man threatening to beat up a lady. The lady retorted that there was security outside and if he lays a hand on her, he would be arrested. I guess the man reconsidered his stance and changed his assertion to the fact that he had a wife on board and would get his wife to beat up the other lady. From comments from others near them , I think the lady was at fault.

“Are you mad? …  Then I will slap you and I will beat you … Am I your mate, am I your mate. Am I your mate … You are stupid … Let me get you outside … am I your mate … I have a wife in the flight. I will tell her to beat you … I will beat your husband … You are mad! … Stupid somebody. … Buuulllshit! … You are stupid! …. You are very stupid somebody! … You are mad.”

A short recording (2 mins) below:

Welcome Home

Above all the screaming and yelling, I smiled and said to some fellow close by whose facial expression said it all: “Welcome home”.



I left my money on the streets of Amsterdam
It went up in smoke,
Chicken wings and Coke

I left my soul on the streets of Amsterdam
If you find him, he is old,
Be nice: the streets are cold 

I left my wishes on the streets of Amsterdam
An old-timer told me of the fairies
They grant wishes:
Look for them on the ferries

I left my hopes on the streets of Amsterdam
If they find their way home
Their adventures should fill a tome 

I left my heart on the streets of Amsterdam
It was lonely
Maybe it will find a partner – nice and homely 

I left my passport on the streets of Amsterdam
If you find it, don’t find me
It is right where it wants to be:
anywhere but with me

I left my past on the streets of Amsterdam
It has found friends amongst the ghosts and shadows
But it still manages to furrow my brows 

I left my body on the streets of Amsterdam
Frozen solid
A feet beneath the snow
Do not dig it up: not with the hoe or the plough 

In Amsterdam Centraal

NOTE: the piece above is not meant to convey a negative view of Amsterdam: a truly lovely city. Though I have no intention of throwing away my passport, what I said about my passport in one of the stanzas above as well as the last stanza should give an idea of how I feel about the city were I to be jobless or in a tight fix 🙂