22 Dec 2007 -So here I am at the Double Three Hotel in Atlanta after a rollicking good, but freezing, writing time in New York and New Jersey. I was meant to be in Lagos by now but I missed my connecting flight from New York thanks to Delta Airlines (the worst I have ever travelled on after Aeroflot to Moscow). Delta Airlines flights are "punctually late" and should be called 'Later Airlines'. A good number of the staff are rude and unhelpful and Later Airlines offers no compensation for making one miss a flight beyond hotel accommodation and $7 meal vouchers - almost the cost of a beer on their domestic flights. Yes, you have to pay for your own beer on Later Airlines! The hotel is nice but sterile, its near the airport thus most buildings around the hotel are somewhat industrial. Perhaps I will foray into the brutal cold to see a bit of Atlanta before heading off to Lagos. Can't wait for the warmth of the African sun!
The presidential race here in the US is heating up and one would think the elections are next week, not next year. Even Kenya which goes to the polls on the 27th of December is not as heated as this, though that would be something to watch....I have a vivid picture of a Kenyan friend's cute three year old holding up her fist and shouting "Raila Odinga" two weeks ago when I was in Nairobi. At least we can be comforted to know that three year olds are more politically conscious than teenagers glued to MTV or Channel O. Anyway, back to the US, Obama's savvy and acceptance here is quite impressive. He is on the face of so many magazines that Hudson News and other airport and train station newsstands seem like Obama campaign centres. I have not seen a black candidate taken so seriously -remember Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpeton ( now under investigation about his presidential campaign funds) were often snubbed or laughed off their campaigns? Well, if you want to see support – with a comedic twist - check out this Barak Obama Christmas carol I just heard on CNN: http://www.videogully.com/A-Barack-Obama-Christmas-Carol__UDbRTlKK-Ok.html. I wonder if there are any carols for Raila and Kibaki! That would be something. Nairobi must be alive with political hype right now -cant wait to get back there next week under President Odinga or Kibaki...(?). IF Obama wins in the US, wouldn’t it be a Kodak moment to see two sons of Kenya seating down in Camp David over a meal of Nyama Choma? Comrade Jomo Kenyatta would be so pleased.
Anyway, the coffee machine beckons and so does Atlanta....am sure I can find a good bookshop and cafe somewhere to 'people watch' -if I my eye lids are not frozen shut. God knew what he was doing when he made me an African! Melanin and cold don't go well together...no matter how long I lived in Europe, I still eschew this cold. It will be a delight to wake up over African skies tomorrow and to start my day in the warm embrace of the African sun and the pulsating hype of Lagos...the city of the unpredictable.