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Thread: From my travel diary...june/july 2017. First leg...

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    From my travel diary...june/july 2017. First leg...

    Immigration:

    How long will you be in the States this time, madam?
    3 weeks or thereabouts.
    Thank you.

    Elasped time…2-3 minutes.

    Security:

    Any electronics? Liquids? Food items?
    No.

    Please walk through.
    A female security person did another hand scan.
    Thank you.

    Collected, my carry-on. To the gate.

    Elapsed time…5 minutes max.

    14 hours later, JFK, International, Terminal 4, Domestic arrivals, NYC, NY.
    Collected luggage from the carousel.

    Greeted 2 of my brothers, waiting along the the arrivals barrier.
    In the car. Headed home.

    Elapsed time…From aircraft to car…around 30 minutes.

    Beautiful day in NYC. My kind of town.
    And yes, it was a marvelous flight..slept most of the way.
    koffee & kamera
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    Re: From my travel diary...june/july 2017. First leg...

    Thanks Will.


    A few days in Miami. Then a flight from Miami to a country in Central America…..

    Short flight. Uneventful.

    Immigration:

    Good afternoon, I said. Handing my passport to the lady behind the counter.

    A nod of the head. And she started going through the passport pages. I have my old passport attached too; it has valid visas to other countries.

    Where is your name?
    In the front, with the photo and all.

    Another ruffle through the passport.
    Americanos?

    I looked around..No, I said.
    The lady was not conversant in the English language. I was not conversant with the Spanish language.

    Momento!! She turned and waved to some officials with uniforms having all sorts of emblems..and maybe medals. And sidearms.

    Buenas Tarde señorita!
    Señora , I added quickly.

    Could you please come with us. I was led into a room with seating. And that is about all I can generously say for that place.

    Madam..decent English, how many passports do you have?
    One current one, and one expired attached to the current as it has visas.

    Your name, please.
    I opened my passport, on the first page. From the left...normal for us.
    Ah!, yes. A sheepish smile from one of the officials. A look at my photo, and then at me. I was not in Hijab!!
    This is you, no?

    How does one answer a question like that? Yes or no.
    I just nodded. Hoping it was understood that the passport and the photo belonged to me.

    You say you are not American. What have you been doing in America for 5 years?
    I wanted to fly back to Miami!! I swear.

    I have never stayed in the USA for more than a month or so, I said.
    But it says here 5 years. He was looking at my American visa.

    That is just a visa, valid for 5 years.
    But you have been many times to America, no?

    Every few months. My family is there. My grandchildren. Brothers. Sisters.

    A hushed conversation between the officials. They left the room.
    Please wait.

    Half an hour goes by. It is hot and humid. The officials return.

    What work do you do?
    Nothing. I don’t work.

    More conversation took place.
    You go to many countries?
    Yes.
    Why?
    I like to visit other countries, meet nice people like yourselves.

    Elapsed time 1 hour..maybe a little more.

    Momento señora.

    They returned.

    You do not have a visa for ( this country )…said with satisfaction and authority.

    To be continued.
    koffee & kamera
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    Re: From my travel diary...june/july 2017. First leg...

    You don't have a visa. Yes sir, Will, that's what they said.
    You have to go back, where you came from!!

    Go back to Miami?
    Yes.

    But I do not need a visa to visit your country!!
    This went on. People came in and went. Hot and humid..it was.

    OK, I said. Put me on a plane to Miami. I had had it.
    No planes to Miami today. Maybe tomorrow.

    I will call my embassy. I want to tell them what has happened. How I am being treated. ( As soon as we land in a foreign place, our telecom sends us an sms with the details of our Embassy, emergency contact numbers 24/7 ).

    The lady and one officer went out. Brought in 2/3 staff of the US airline I had traveled by ( one of the big three US carriers ).

    Very courteous and pleasant.

    What's the issue?
    You have to take them back. They have no Visa to come here.
    The airline staff: Can we see your passports please.

    They do not need a visa to come here. Definitely not. If there is any other issue, they have requested to contact their embassy.
    Please do that now.

    Silence.

    People went out. They returned. With another officer weighed down by the ribbons and medals on his chest.

    Tardes Senorita! Señora , I said.
    Can I have your passport please.

    I handed it to him. The room was getting crowded and smelled of acidic sweat. I wanted to go back to the US.
    I want to talk to my embassy.

    The Senior's tone changed. He went out with the passport/s. The airline staff brought water and some sandwiches. Kosher? Just cheese, they smiled.

    The airline staff was called out. The senior officer returned with them after a short while.

    Señora, there has been a mistake!!
    No, you do not need a visa. You are our most welcome guests. There has been a misunderstanding..language you know.

    How long do you want to be our guests, he asked.
    First plane out of this place. And I shall definitely tell your embassy back home and my friends.

    Señora, we have a car waiting to take you to the hotel.

    Suddenly, a red carpet was being offered. The airline staff..lovely people. I thanked them.
    They returned our passports with a slip attached. What's this, I asked..

    When you leave señora, you won't have to wait in the que. And you can use the VIP lounge.

    I can do that anyway; but thank you.

    Stayed the night. Got the first flight out to Quito, Ecuador.

    I shall never visit this place again, nor recommend my friends/family to spend one dollar here.
    koffee & kamera
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    Re: From my travel diary...june/july 2017. First leg...

    Red tape binds the universe together. (Forget string theory, red-tape theory has more evidence supporting it.) Oddly enough, the border I have the most trouble with is usually my own.

    Looking forward to your stories from Ecuador...
    Will

    http://www.hakusancreation.com
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    Re: From my travel diary...june/july 2017. First leg...

    I love travel stories, having been to over 80 countries in my time, many of them far from the more normal destinations, I am always open to unpleasant situations. My worst being Iraq which involved waiting overnight for my passport to be stamped in a really nasty room that was crazy hot. Taking a flight in to Darfur was horrific, landed in a completely different city to the one we were meant to be landing in and being forced off the plane at gunpoint was nice. Amazingly, I have flown in to Afghanistan a couple of times and it has always been incredibly efficient, Kabul airport was amazing, off plane to out the door in 15 minutes! I like the rural airports like in the North of Mali where the check in was a bullet ridden glass room within a falling down warehouse, interesting to say the least! Boarding a Ghana Airforce military jump plane with no windows and net "seats" down the sides which then did a near vertical takeoff forcing everyone to fall down the plane on top of each other, ha!

    Safe travels Rayyan

    Mat
    http://matrichardson.com/
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    Re: From my travel diary...june/july 2017. First leg...

    Will, Mat thanks for stopping by.

    Mat, you have had more ' Locked and Loaded ' experiences than we could possibly want or have had !!

    Will, there is a saying:

    "No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow."

    Thank you and safe travels my friends.
    koffee & kamera
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