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30DW2-2 - Day 18: Home At Last

For this one I'm digging into the old archives. Hey, first time during the challenge I've done this. The story just seemed to fit. I first wrote and published this in January 2011. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the misfortunes of others...namely me.

Welcome to the U.S. Eh?

To Serve And Delay

Why me? Why do these things always happen to me. Canada/U.S. relations hit a new low last night when I touched down in Miami en route to Orlando from Panama. I know our dollar's worth more than the American currency in the current economic smack down but, hey, do you have to take it out on me?

So let me back up a bit. We left the condo in Bijoa Tuesday morning at 11:15, well in time for the two and-a-half hour drive to the airport. We made good time, traffic was good, we didn't get lost. We were humming our way through downtown Panama when from behind us we hear sirens. So we move over to the right lane. All of a sudden three police motorcycles whip by us in the left then one, whish, two, whish, not three, four, five but six dark windowed SUV's whip by us...and I mean they were moving. I'm thinking they're either shooting an instalment of Criminal Minds in Panama or that's the President's motorcade. Well, bringing up the rear were two guys in army fatigues on a motorcycle with the guy on the back extending his arm, pointing at us to STAY BACK. Hey, who's gonna argue with some guy in sunglasses armed with a sub-machine gun.

So that was exciting. Little did I know it set the tone for what was going to happen later in the day.

The American Airlines flight departed on time from Panama on it's three hour flight to Miami. I deplaned all set for the steeplechase marathon of Immigration, collect bags, Customs, re-check bags, security (oh, boy a pat-down) and determine the gate of my next flight on to Orlando. Shouldn't be a problem, Hell, I've got three hours. How long can it take?

So I get in the "Visitors" line up at Immigration. Things are moving slowly but surely. I reach the agent, who's friendly enough. He asks me how I am "Fine, thanks, how are you?" He asks me where I'm coming from "Panama" Nice there? "Great but hot" Bringing any money into the country? "Not much" ...pause... sir, this is purely routine but would you step back against that wall, an officer will be along in a moment? I feel myself going down, down, spiralling uncontrollably into a dream - a nightmare. What did he just say? Wait a minute, what's this about? Shit!

It's not like I was singing ICE, ICE Baby as I approached Mr Customs Man. But maybe they're gonna bust me for that five pound bag of Panamanian coffee (Yeah, I said coffee) I've got safely stashed in my golf bag. Five seconds later a female agent escorts me to THE ROOM. I'm shocked when I enter. She tells me to have a seat and wait for my name to be called. Oh, sit in here, with these other 100 people?! I felt like I was in a holding tank. Remember Alice's Restaurant. Remember the Group W bench? Let me help you...

Yeah, mother rapers and Father stabbers!
So I sat there, not half-an hour, not an hour but two hours before they called me. Luckily they let me keep my clothes on, not like in Arlo Guthrie's story. The guy asks me if I know a place called Matinoba. I'm thinking what the hell is this guy about? A geography test? I tell him I've never heard of it. His partner corrects him "Manitoba". Oh, sure it's a province in Canada. "Did you ever go to prison in Manitoba?" What? You've got to be kidding. No. Never. "Ever been arrested in Manitoba?" No (nervous laughter). "Ever been arrested?" No. "Hmm...okay give me a couple of minutes." I guess they thought I was one of those Father stabbing rapers. But they seemed to clear things up in about five minutes and let me go. Not so much as a "sorry". I collected my luggage, hit Customs, re-checked the bags, got a pat-down (meh, nothing to write home about), and made my connecting flight. And I got to see the U.S. Immigration system - your tax dollars at work - up close and personal. Welcome to the U.S, eh!

Needless to say, after all this, I was happy to get home, at last, although not before a week of golf with my brothers in Orlando. Fly on over to Have You Any Cheese To Declare and see how the other misfits handled today's prompt.


Laughing Mom said…
Were you the meanest, nastiest father raper of them all?
nonamedufus said…
I think they thought I must have been. But in reality I'm the kindest, quietest, gentlest and most modest guy there is.
Ziva said…
Seriously, the US customs is such a scary place. When I went to New York, they did what they always do, ask you about your plans, what you do, where you live, that sort of thing. And they took my fingerprints. Only, after they'd taken them, the guy looked at me for a really long time, then said "There appears to be a problem with your fingerprints."

Oh shit.

So they escorted me to THE ROOM, sat me down to wait. And when it was finally my turn, they called me to a desk, had me sit there for a while as a huge scary looking man looked at my passport, typing away at a keyboard. He never asked me a single question, but ten minutes later, he told me I was free to go.

What the fuck?
Tami Von Zalez said…
I was so laughing at this, I had to hold my broken-ribbed side to keep it from hurting.
nonamedufus said…
I know, eh? Damn Customs. Totally bizarre. I now live in fear every time I travel to, or through, the United States. Bastards! Now security is another matter. The pat down's the most excitement I've had in a long time!
nonamedufus said…
These things always seem to happen to me. Why, I don't know. But at least I'm still here to share them.
Ziva said…
Damn, I'm jealous. Now I want a pat down.
nonamedufus said…
I really don't know how I should respond to that.
Linda Medrano said…
You just have that dangerous aura, Dufus. I'm not at all surprised you had to go to "THE ROOM".
nonamedufus said…
Oh, but you need to ensure your layover is 2-3 hours so you can manage to get through customs and security. It's crazy.
nonamedufus said…
It's nuts, I know. You've really got to book a 2-3 hour layover in order to deal with customs and security.
Linda R. said…
We have been pulled aside and wanded, etc. and that was embarrassing enough. Never had the kind of treatment you had. Not even flying overseas. Makes me think maybe I should just stay home.
Indigo Roth said…
Hey, coulda been worse matey. Remember Chevy Chase singing "Moon River" in FLETCH? ;) Indigo
Cheryl said…
I occasionally get pulled aside for an extra pat down but never have I had any of that over-the-top treatment. Either I look too dull to be a threat or other people look more menacing at the time I am going through.

nonamedufus said…
It really is going overboard. 9/11 was a long time ago.
nonamedufus said…
Oh, I'd expect dinner and a movie before submitting to a cavity search.
P.J. said…
Hey, we have to watch for shady characters here in the U.S. Look at the bright side -- you could have ended up in Cuba.
nonamedufus said…
I'd love to go to Cuba! Wait, are you calling me a shady character?
Nicky said…
Hah, you dis my poem and then repost. For shame, Dufus. Now, tell the truth. You're the one with the eye patch, aren't you?
Shawn Ohara said…
I have been frisked and searched many a time crossing the border. And this was all before 9/11. I always set off their alarms, always due to my long hair. Which I no longer have.
nonamedufus said…
Hey you told me to "lie like a rug in the comments". I notice I'm the only one who followed directions. Yes that's me in the patch. They told me this was how to quit smoking. Sorry, I haven't got an answer on the repost thing other than you said there were no rules to this challenge.
nonamedufus said…
I think US border guards have a thing about Canadians.
AWWWWWW!!!! I want a pat down!!!! No fair!!!!!!

This is an awesome story.

I have to say you are my hero... "five pound bag of Panamanian coffee" That is something I would have done, but then I would have told on myself because I am SO BAD at keeping secrets. Then I would probably be arrested. So yes, you are my hero.
nonamedufus said…
You'd love flying out of Panama, Katherine. They pat you down at security. Then they pat you down again at the gate.
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mikewjattoomanymornings said…
I would've been severely disappointed that they didn't give me a full body pat-down and cavity search after all of that. Seems like there ought to be some reward for having to wait 2 hours of your life in a room with 100 other people.
mikewjattoomanymornings said…
I'm Panama bound.
mikewjattoomanymornings said…
Volunteer, you idiot. She's practically begging you.
Nicky said…
So you mean you don't really like my knockers? ;-)

And I'm teasing you about the repost. I was tempted to do the same, to tell the truth!
nonamedufus said…
She'll have to make do with a virtual pat down. alas, so will I.
nonamedufus said…
Oh, no I haven't changed my mind about your knockers.
nonamedufus said…
Why do you think I go every year.
nonamedufus said…
I might have drawn the line at the cavity search. I don't think it's all it's cracked up to be. Know what I mean?
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KZ said…
It sounds like it got tense there for a while. I love the reference to "Alice's Restaurant" and the part about father stabbers. I'm glad they cleared up that mess by the end.
nonamedufus said…
That's exactly what this room made me think of...the Group W bench!
Ziva said…
A virtual pat down? That's all? Bleh.
nonamedufus said…
Aw, don't spoil the dream.
Boom Boom Larew said…
Just as great the second time around, Dufus! (Having sat on the Group W bench myself in days gone by, I can relate.) Makes me want to jump up and start yelling, "Kill! Kill!"
nonamedufus said…
If I'd have done that I never would have gotten out of there.

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