Monday, June 11, 2012
A Trying Return Trip
How many hints did I need that, perhaps, I should have stayed in the West Indies:
1) I was stopped and seriously questioned by a rather stern official checking passports as we entered the security area at the Georgetown airport.
2) My carry on bags were "selected" for a complete going through (dirty underwear and all) at the security gate.
3) I was then summoned to the "Immigration Interview Room" to have my checked luggage gone through. Having nothing to hide aside, scenes from not so friendly movies suddenly ran through my mind. (When I asked if this was necessary, the answer was, "If you want to re-enter the United States.") This was where I erred in not taking my bags, politely thanking the kind security folks, and returning to the beach.
4) I was declared not to be a threat to the traveling public (ie not a terrorist) and was able to board my flight. Naturally, I was then seated next to a fussy two year old.
4) As I entered the line at Customs and Immigration in Charlotte, my mind raced with thoughts of "What now?" But the kind gentleman questioning me set my mind at ease - at first. That was until he looked up and asked, "Are you traveling alone?" I replied with a smile, "No, I was with three friends. But they are on a separate flight." "Really?" "Yes," I said with less confidence. "They are from Richmond?" "Really?" "And, I see this is your third trip down there in 17 months?" "Yes."
Do I look like a drug runner, a mule, or maybe someone carrying enormous amounts of cash for off shore deposits? (Honestly, my life is just not that exciting.) Is my passport on some list? Why me? Then the gentleman smiled, handed me my passport, and said, "Have a nice day. Safe travels."
With a sigh of relief, I left Immigration, turned left and headed down the hall. There was another line. Oh God, Customs. What now?