Friday, December 24, 2010

Travel Highlights

Our flight ended up being delayed 3.5 hours.  This was actually a benefit, as we got to leave our apartment at  8:00 instead of 4:30 am, and it just shortened our layover.  The first leg of the trip was the easiest I've ever experienced, no wait either to check in or go through customs.  The second leg, well, we had a long boarding process and sat on the ground for 1.5 hours on the plane.  Luckily I had some good books.  And it certainly could have been worse.

Other travel highlights included:

The guy in front of me at the duty free store bought 276 Euros of French cheese.  I'm not sure if I'm appalled or envious.  Maybe both.  He then paid for it with a 500 Euro note, which I had never seen before.  Apparently the cashier hadn't either, as he had to call over his supervisor.  Comic confusion ensued when she saw my 7 Euro block of cheese on the counter and thought that I was paying for it with the 500 Euro note.  The cashier clarified the situation.  The supervisor verified that the legitimacy of the note, and the customer went on his way with a large bag of cheese.  

Passing through customs once we finally landed at home, the customs agent asked my husband and I "Oh, you live in baladelba7th--do you speak loghatelba7th?" Normally, this is a question I am happy to answer in the affirmative.  In an encounter with a customs agent, less so.  We reluctantly said yes, fully expecting to be hauled off for further searching and a criminal investigation.  "Oh, you speak loghatelba7th" the customs agent repeated, but this time in loghatelba7th.  "I'm studying it too, it's a wonderful language."

Ironically, although I am terrified at each home customs entry when asked about baladelba7th and loghatelba7th, the only other time I've really been pressed for details was similarly positive.  Four years ago, my bag was randomly searched, and the customs agent pulled out some loghatelba7th movies I'd taken to watch on the plane.

"Do you watch these?" he asked.
"Yes" I mumbled.
"Where do you live?"
"Baladelba7th"
"Where in baladelba7th?"
"Downtown"
"No, where exactly?
"Ah, ism el-7ayy" I mutter nervously.
"Ism el-7ayy! Wonderful! My grandfather lives there!"

Granted, I'm sure if I actually looked like I was from baladelba7th, or had a foreign accent in my native language, things would be much less pleasant.  Nevertheless, it makes me happy that the questions that scare me the most so often turn out to be rooted in curiosity rather than suspicion.  

2 comments:

  1. Glad to hear you made it there safely and easily. The European airport news is absurd. It's just icing on the cake that you didn't get detained by customs! :D

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  2. A five hundred euro note? *boggles* Not that I wouldn't want to buy that much cheese, just, you know.

    I'm glad you got in safely! I'm always a little nervous when I fly (even domestically) with lughatelba7th things on my person, since one does hear shitty stories. But there's a certain protection that comes from being Not From There; I don't like that it exists, but I'm not terribly upset at being the beneficiary of it at moments like that.

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