Monday, June 29, 2015

Left Italy, Interrogated in the US

Well it was finally time to come home. Time for the obligatory pictures through the plane window!

Lydia was still coming down from her nutella experience so I got us both these little snack packs that even included a drink. Fun!

We again booked the cheapest flight possible and ended up on Meridiana, an Italian airline. It reminded me of the Transaero flight that started this whole adventure: decent enough food but pretty outdated plane. How would you like to fly a transatlantic flight on a plane with no air vents?!

This poor guy looked like a guy who was dressed as a pilot for Halloween.

This awesome little dog and owner sat near us. It was funny because he was unleashed during takeoff for some reason and started sliding down the walkway and nearby passengers had to sort of push him back to his spot underneath a seat. We were on the plane together so long that we're on a first name basis. His name is Caesar.

We landed and got to the Global Entry kiosks which are awesome. We are almost to the customs door when I realize my little printout has a huge X through my face and reads "see an agent" or something threatening like that. Ruh roh.

I show an agent and he asks me lots of questions. He asked me if I'd been to any of the three or four countries in Africa on the Ebola list. I said no, but I saw him holding up my passport to compare the stamps to those of the Ebola countries. Ok. Then he says he needs to take me somewhere else where they are going to ask me more questions.

I'm walking along side of him and he stops to talk to someone and he grabs the top handle of my backpack to get me to stop. He's holding my passport at this point so it's not like I'm going to make a run for it.

Nameless Homeland Security man drops me off in this waiting room looking place with more guards at computers, but they are high up and looming, like at a pharmacy. One calls me over and proceeds to go though my passport and ask me about most of the stamps in there, which as you can imagine took some time. He asked if I'd been to Iran or Syria. At this point I have a pretty righteous beard going so I'm wondering if they think I've gone extremist or something.

Both this guy and the last guy had an annoying way of asking the same question twice like trying to trip me up or something. Like:

"Did you travel to Africa?"
"Yes, but just to Egypt."
"Did you travel to... Liberia?"

"Did you travel with anyone?"
"Yes, my girlfriend."
"So she's not your wife or anything?"
"Argh! You caught me! Death to America!"

Well eventually they let me go and Lydia and I had an extended laugh over the whole thing. I honestly felt kind of cool like I traveled so hard that I broke a government computer somewhere.

Well we were on our Southwest plane out of New York and everyone was seated, just about to roll when they call Lydia's name. They ask her to bring her bags with her and the TSA get her and take her back to security and run her through the deluxe treatment because she's "been flagged as a security risk". Lydia said that once the TSA lady saw her get off the plane she turned and said "she's not a security risk" into her radio. It was pretty funny. Lydia and I are definitely on the naughty list for some reason.

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