“Some minutes to 8:30pm, an announcement came over the speaker.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we will be landing at the Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport Abidjan in 10 Minutes. Please put on your seat belt”
Back in the aircraft, the same voice had lectured us on what to do in the event of emergency.
With the help of the Television monitor overhead, the voiced lectured us on how to put on the oxygen mask in case of power failure and how to put on the floating tube if we managed to crash into the Sea.
Everything was scary. I didn’t like the idea of reminding us that the plane could crash.
Of course we all knew that something like that could happen but it got scary when the voice reminded us.
I had no plan of dying anytime soon. My life was just beginning.
The past few years were spent sleeping with different men.
The immediate past few months were spent doing the same and it was time to see the World, not to hear that i might be required to wear Oxygen Mask or Floating life vests.
The Large Jet landed at the Port Bouet (Houphout Boigny) Airport at some minutes before 8:40pm.
We proceeded to the exit where our documents were also checked by some immigration officials.
“What do you come to do here?” A female immigration officer asked me on my way out.
“Holidays. I am here on one week holiday” I said.
Basil prepared me well back in Amsterdam. He told me that such questions could pop up at Charles De Gualle or Houphout Boigny.
“Are You Maria?” The male voice said behind me.
I turned back and flashed a smile.
I had just gotten out of the arrival hall.
He was waiting for me there.
Basil told me that someone was coming to pick me up.
“Follow me” He said as he walked fast past me.
I quickened my pace to be able to keep up with him.
My small luggage wasn’t heavy enough to slow me down.
The gentleman didn’t even offer to help.
They might have been a reason for that because as soon as he breeze past me, he didn’t even look back again.
I followed Chinedu to the Taxi Park where he asked me to put my bag in the boot.
I did as he said before i entered the back seat.
“Take us to Hotel Afrique” Chinedu said to the driver.
“How was the flight?” He turned and said to me.
I told him that it was fine.
He didn’t say anything else until we got to Hotel Afrique near the Beach.
A hotel room was already booked for me with my name.
Chinedu led me to the second floor where the room was located.
“Here is some local currency. They sell food near the reception. When you finish resting, you can go down and eat something. I am doing some work somewhere, i will visit you again in the morning” He said before he left.
The Room 212 of the Hotel Afrique in Abidjan was luxuriously organised.
A large bed that was capable of hosting four people occupied the right hand corner.
A small table and chair stood near the window while a large bathtub sat in the bathroom.
A white towel hung inside the wardrobe.
The small fridge in the room contained two Bottles of beer and one pack of beer.
I locked the room door and went into the bathroom.
Fifteen minutes later, i finished my bath and put on a new set of clothes.
The temperature was high but the Air Conditioner in the room did a good job at keeping the heat away.
When i was done wearing my clothes, i locked the door and went down to the Hotel Reception.
“Where can i buy food here?” I asked the receptionist.
He pointed to a closed door and asked me to go there.
I opened the door and saw a mini hall with some sets of seats.
I sat in one of them and waited for the waiters.
One minute later, one of them showed up.
“I want Rice and Sauce” I said.
“Please follow me” She said.
I stood up and followed her to where the foods were arranged in large bowls.
I pointed to boiled white and sauce with fried Chicken leg.
“That’s 3400 CFA” She said.
I brought out the money Chinedu gave me and looked at it.
I didn’t know the denominations and how the money was used.
It was my first time to see the currency.
But like every other currency, the denominations were separated by the number values.
I gave her one note of 5000 CFA and waited until she gave me the balance and a receipt.
I returned to my seat and waited until she came with my food.
“Can i seat with you?” the voice said.
I looked up from my food and saw a slim black young man of about 27 years standing in front of me.
“Sure you can sit” I said.
He looked purely Igbo and i was right because when he sat down, he introduced himself as Ken from Enugu State.
He said he came from Germany to spend one week on Holidays.
My heartbeat skipped when he said he arrived two days ago from Germany through Paris.
I myself arrived in Abidjan from Amsterdam through the same Paris.
He said he was on holidays and that was exactly the same thing i was told to say if anybody asked what i came to do in Ivory Coast.
For those two coincidences, i concluded that Ken was in Ivory Cost to do the same thing i came to do.
“I am also a Nigerian but i am from Edo State. I live in Italy and that’s where i came from” I eventually said to him.
From the look on her face, i felt that he knew what i also came to do.
His confidence showed that he knew his way around the birding business. It also seemed to me that Hotel Afrique was very popular for birds from Europe.
I managed to tell Ken my name too and some minutes after my meal, he offered to take me around the area.
I kept my room keys at the reception and followed him outside the hotel.
I wasn’t afraid of him because i started dealing with Igbo men long ago. I knew how desperate the fight for what they wanted.
They were never dangerous and would readily spend money on girls as long as they knew that sex would be involved.
We took a cab to the city center where we drank and walked around until 1am when we returned to Hotel Afrique.
Ken and I ended up in his room that night and when he said he was going to take his bath, i followed him to the bathroom.