….and what a fantastic vacation it was. More on it, of course, with pictures, but here are my bullet points from yesterday’s day o’ travel.
– Reward travel sucks, because they put you on the killer flights, as in, 7:25 a.m departure, so you are getting up at 3:45 a.m. for a shuttle.
-Cancun Airport TSA would like the world to know that KNITTING NEEDLES ARE DEADLY. The very dour Julia told me to go put them in my checked luggage as they could absolutely not go on the plane. (Addi Turbo Lace circs, #4s, about as deadly as pencils or a belt, but ok.) FYI, one’s luggage is not sitting around waiting for you to put it back in, but thanks for the hike, Julia. Also, FYI, if you try a different security line with your knitting needles, they will still take them. I thought I’d try it, since Julia was also extremely concerned about my bar of Christopher Elbow chocolate (made me open it to show it was, indeed, chocolate.) So I initially thought she was being a gigantic beyotch and thus upon seeing the second security lane open, thought, ‘What the hell’. Told JWo after the fact “I had a plan,” even though I really didn’t, I was going to feign stupidity and confusion, I think. In the back of my mind, I knew that $15 needles were not worth ending up in a Mexican prison over (nor were they worth spending $50 to check them!) Please recall the time of day. JWo felt bad and bought me a bottle of Bombay Sapphire at the duty-free shop. Along with four other bottles of booze, because criminy, duty-free airport booze is CHEAP. (Kahlua – $13!)
-Gotta love my honest husband who told the customs agent as we were funneling through after retrieving our luggage that we had 10 bottles of booze. (Five more we’d packed in our luggage, purchased prior to the airport.) Turns out we’d gotten into the Very Anal Customs Agent line, and even though we told him some of the bottles were small (they were!), he said something about seeing just how small they were and made us go into the Here We Search And Grill Ye Customs Department. There were approximately 75 people in the non-residents line, and as we entered with our carts of luggage, we were beckoned straight up to an agent, since we were, quite obviously, the only US Citizens in the HWSAGYCD.
-I will not use this agent’s name, but let me tell you, he looked like he could send us to Pound Us In The Ass US Prison without blinking. A BMF, for all you Pulp Fiction aficionados. James handed him our declaration form, that VACA had scrawled over with red ink, indicating we were here because we had ten bottles of alcohol. This very intimidating agent seemed to be struggling to contain his amusement. “Ten bottles of liquor?” We nodded. We were then informed that as Missouri residents, we were only allowed to bring in EIGHT bottles (four apiece), and as we sort of gosh-gollyed stammered our responses, he continued, informing us that Texans are only allowed one. Continuing to half-smile, but looking like he was trying not to bust out laughing, he informed us that yes, he could collect some tax from us, but really, that’s a lot of paperwork and that’s not what his purpose was, his job there today. I also got the impression that perhaps he was a bit irritated with the Very Anal Customs Agent for having even bothered him with something so trivial. He waved us towards the exit and we gushed our thanks. Oh, Julia? You could learn something from this man.
-As we exited, we found ourselves flanked by some returning military folks, and at the sight of them, two grandma-type volunteers, dressed in red, white & blue, waving patriotic pom-poms began whooping and cheering. I smiled, because I thought that was pretty cool, but then as we started to turn to the area to re-pack our luggage, I looked back and saw the grandmas were in the airport section, but beyond them was a big room, with a double door, and lined up inside were all the families waiting for their family member, pressed up as close to the door and one another as they could be, eagerly waiting for the soldier they knew was coming (thanks to the whooping grannies) to round the corner to see if he or she belonged to them. I get a lump in my throat just typing about it, because it was such raw, aching joy and love, palpable even from 20 feet away. We got an even better perspective when we arrived home in Kansas City, standing by the baggage carousel – one soldier on our flight was waiting for his bag, and he and his girlfriend were entwined, he finally just picked her up and held her piggy-back style, holding her legs, her arms around his neck. Turns out he’d been in Iraq, and they hadn’t seen each other for four years.
Happy Independence Day, indeed.