Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rob And Laurel's Bogus Adventure

Murphy was an optimist.

After a really nice reunion with my old friend Ken Felton and his wife Lynn (and two boys Casey and Quinn) last night, we were faced this morning with the crushing realization that checkout time was 11 AM, and we had no place to put the Dirty Dozen, or to the uninitiated, the 12 bags we're carting about with us. Laurel and I were faced with having to go right to the aiport and hang out until the checkin opened for Singapore Air.... at 8:30 PM. Then I had the brilliant idea of seeing if the proprietors of this little crack den would lock up our stuff for the day for fifty bucks.

Putting on my most charming smile, I pitched this idea to the person at the desk. A negative nod of the head was about the only response I was getting. "Can you cash a travellers check so I can pay the cab driver?", I asked. Another nod to the negative. "Sorry, no cash. Come back tonight when owner here..." So there we are, out on the pavement with all our stuff, waiting for the cab to come at 11:30. No cash and the prospect of 15 hours or so in the airport.

Then a flash of inspiration. I went across to the street to the neighbouring hotel, which happened to be run by Indian people. I explained my predicament, and they not only cashed a travellers check, but they let me store all 12 bags in a secure locker for 20 bucks. To boot, the proprietor said "If you are going to India, you must look up my cousin, who runs a heritage hotel. Wonderful food. If you mention my name they will look after you like royalty". She starts writing all the info out on a business card. I had to resist the urge to kiss a stranger. Suddenly, everything was looked after, our stuff was safe, and we were free to go wander about the town again, which we happily did.

So here we are in the departure gate for the flight to Singapore. We board in an hour and a half. American airports have the most absurd theatre going on for security. At the check-in for Singapore, the dude says that the carry bags cannot exceed 7kg, and we're only allowed one each. Of course every bag we had was overweight by a kilo or two. He actually made us take out the field mixer, some of the medicines, and some books, and then produced what looked like a blue shopping bag. We filled that with almost 7 kg of loose stuff! So now we have 5 carry on bags instead of the requisite 4. We got through security, after taking out three laptops and vials of medication, removing stinky shoes and divesting ourselves of loose change. My Pelican case of wireless mics, which must look like a Taliban detonator training kit, went through unquestioned, as did the two bottles of scotch in my camera case. Once we cleared the scanners, we took all the stuff out of the shopping bag and put it all back in the original containers!

If someone can explain to me why this happens, I would really like to know. It makes about as much sense as having us all hop on one foot, and rub our tummys and pat our heads while singing "Rule Brittania" at the top of our lungs. To be ritually humiliated by sparsely trained minimum wage workers in the name of national security is incomprehensible to me. And the PA just informed me again for the 20th time this hour that we are on "Homeland Security Orange Alert".

Anyway, we're nearly on the plane, we have all our stuff, and its nearly time to tuck into the scotch. It's going to be a long 20 hour flight...


jcree said...

Ok, I'm very quickly getting addicted to my evening fix of your hilarious antics. The Taliban starter kit is too much! I cannot believe you got through with 2 bottles of scotch. I nearly got put away for trying to smuggle a few mandarin oranges onto my last journey via the states.

By the way, Gabriel is very suspicious of the 2 car seats still resting in the back of my truck. He looks really cute parked between them.

Chris said...

Security sometimes has you take stuff out of bags because it can really mess up the images on the scanners. Especially if they are scanning strange things like pelican mics and laptops, anything extraneous just becomes a confusing mess on the screen.

That's been my experience anyway. I once had a complete luggage strip down for a guitar capo that was flotaing around in my bag.

Miss Mara said...

Okay, I give. I am an adict and therefor now an official subscriber.
love to you all.