Thursday, June 11, 2009

When It Rains It Freaking Pours

We land in Dulles Airport in Virginia, we make it in good times—the ride from Spain was really bumpy, it made me think it was take interns to work day. We get taxied to the terminal where the international arrivals are and start lining up for custom and immigration procedures. The line was really long, so I started reading a book I brought with me. When it was my turn, I step up and the officer asked me the regular questions and asked me to put my fingers and index on some device, he took pictures of me withot my glasses then he asked while looking at my passport, “So, what country issued this passport?” but as he asked he flipped it and saw it’s the Palestinians authority….he wanted to feel good about his silliness so he suggested I move the many stickers—I tried. Now he asked me if I had food with me, I said yes, because I bought some cookies from Spain…then comes the big question…”do you have any tobacco with you?” I said yes, but I bought it here—Nicaraguan cigars for dad. I guess lots of people buy Cuban cigars in Spain which is banned in the States, but abundant in Spain. The officer said it does not matter, you are bringing them to the country, I was thinking to myself, “I mean my luggage was not with me, I was never allowed to leave the airport, he can see that, so whatever” He sends me to the custom people who send me to the agriculture people.

I waited for 10 minutes until, I was called upon, but an officer Zudamo is her last name. she looks at the cookies I brought with me, I also had some Spanish olives…she said ok. Then she said did you bring any tobacco with you? I said, Yes, but it is purchased in America. She said ok, she wrote things on her computer and then asks me what I was denied intro to the great country of Egypt. How do you explain that? I said, it is a political thing, I was not going to Egypt, but they do not want me hanging by the borders, because the more of us hanging by the borders the worse the Egyptians look, no one wants that. She understood what I was saying and kept on typing. Then she asked to see my luggage and examine it, she found nothing worthy of her attention—a small gift I had with me gave her smiles and I think she warmed up to me after that. Now, she said she wanted to see the cigars! I smiled and I told her that wasn’t possible and I handed her a sheet of paper. She looked at the paper and logged into her computer, typing things. She asked her colleague what to do in this scenario; her colleague told her the proper procedure. She handed me my sheet back, it was a form for lost luggage—the airline lost my luggage because in the rush to board me back on the same plane in Cairo, they did not handle it properly. They gave me a record of them taking it, but she could not find them in her computer system since their manually inputted.

As I was leaving, I said to her, “When it rains it pours”, she smiled and said “it really does” 48 hours later, 30 hours of flying and now I am back to square one—my friends Jehad and Carlos were patiently waiting for me at the airport terminal.




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