For some time, I have kept a list of lifetime 'must-visits' which I keep updating periodically and last month, an opportunity to acheive one gracefully presented itself (it's the law of attraction, ask Oprah) in form of work (a course) but who cares as long as it didn't stop me from being a tourist! One lifelong dream fulfilled: visiting France!
Well, well, well! There are no rumours about France. If you ever heard, read and/or saw anything on TV about France, guess what! It's totally true! Paris truly is a city of life, lights and love and Lille was very homely. I was ecstatic when I heard Asa's "fire on the mountain" being played time and again in the stores. Although my schedule blatantly refused to accomodate leisure trips and I didn't get to experience much of the nightlife, the Roubaix d'Espaces and Gare Lille Flandres sights were ravishingly picturesque. Sadly, my innerchild still remains deprived of the Disneyland, Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe visits but the lady within was duly compensated with some groovy shopping!
If anything wore me out the most, apart from the oxymoron of having a freezing summer and having to mentally flip through the pages of my France Afrique textbook in a bid to communicate with attendants, it was the food. The food didn't go down well with my Naija appetite and I couldn't have been happier to find solace in burgers and Chinese restaurants.
One of the things I had known about Paris was that it's THE city of Love. I wasn't disappointed. I couldn't help wondering what would happen when Valentine's day came because it was just mid-July and there was so much love in the air, on the streets, on the train, at the mall, in the restaurants and eventually at the airport. And when the French kiss, it's a French kiss! lol! One of my colleagues who travelled with me felt the French are/were indecent for their public display of intimacy and she voiced her thoughts. I thought it was rather cute though and went on to say, "At least, they are not hypocrites." I know she secretly wished she had made the trip with her significant other!
Sadly and gladly, we concluded our program and it was time to return home. Charles de Gaulle airport was the last venue and scene of such display of affection and then we headed for Lagos.
My final destination was Abuja and so I had one more domestic flight to board. Virgin Nigeria did us strong tin that day as the flight was scheduled for 6.30 p.m and we arrived Abuja at 10.17 p.m (I choose to spare you the gory details for now). Seated by the window, a young couple shortly occupied the seats beside me. The lights were turned off and this Paris-influenced sucker for romance turned eagerly to the couple, secretly hoping for one more romantic scene. I even smiled when the lady began resting her head on the guy's shoulders and their hands found each other. "Awwww!" About eight minutes later, the plane was lit so as to enable the flight attendants serve the meal and VOILA! the speed with which the guy pulled his hand away from hers was alarming. The lady clearly felt awkward with her head still on his shoulders and sat up in her seat. Never had swallowing giggles been any harder for me. Kai!! Naija! So much for love, eh?