US Re-Entry

I know it’s kind of after-the-fact but I think I should say something about my recent re-entry into the US. It was my first trip to the US in a year and my first couple of hours were “interesting”.

The first thing that hit me as we traveled was just how damn close Miami is to Cancun. I swear the plane just took off and then it was landing. Kiddo and I didn’t even have a chance to finish the puzzle in the back of the airline magazine.

When we got there we had to go through US Immigration. Why was I nervous? Why does law enforcement in my own country make me nervous, but in Mexico the cops don’t worry me at all?

The Immigration agent did the usual test for kidnapping thing on my kid, asking her who she was traveling with and what my name was. She’s been through this test enough times now that she knows to use my name, the first few times she’s would tell the agent she was traveling with Mom and then the agent would have to ask what mom’s name is. Now she tells them exactly what they want to hear…none of that kid stuff. Immigration agents don’t intimidate her…

Once we cleared Immigration and Customs we had a long layover in the Miami airport. Somehow this warranted the acquisition of a pack of gum. So kid ran off to get some. I gave her a dollar, which had been in my wallet for a year, but it was not enough. The only pack of gum she could find was $1.75. I told her that unless it was made with gold dust I wasn’t giving her more money for gum…so we skipped the gum in favor of another American favorite…overpriced pizza! Somehow it was easier to justify $5 for a personal size pizza than $1.75 for 10 pieces of gum. At least it was supposed to be food.

After we got over the sticker shock issue we settled into the airport layover routine. For me this involved getting a headache right away. I quickly realized that the reason for my headache was the fact that I had to filter out lots of background babble. You see, here in Mexico, most conversations I overhear in public are in Spanish. Which means, since my Spanish sucks the big one, that I can easily IGNORE them! Returning to the US means that all of a sudden I can understand the crap going on around me! What an invasion I tell you! I don’t want to overhear some uptight guy on the phone rescheduling an appointment with some deadbeat client…and I don’t want to understand when some mom is trying to cajole her children into saying thank you for whatever it was they didn’t appreciate! Jeez, just writing about it gives me another headache.

In fact the only thing that saved me from going mad in a red hot minute was the fact that this was, after all, only Miami. Miami is a bilingual place and fully half the overhead conversations were in Spanish. Imagine if I had landed in some other, more white, more English, more American airport. They would have had to take me out on a stretcher…swear to god.

So we waited around for 3 hours in Miami and then we took another flight to Orlando. That trip lasted all of 37 minutes, a real thrill I tell you, all the danger of taking off and landing and none of that middle part they call flying. Forget the puzzles. Forget the drink service, just keep that seat in the upright and locked position for the whole trip.

The Orlando airport was a hoot. I have NEVER, in my whole LIFE, waited longer to get my bags! What in the world did they do with our bags? I sure hope our bags had more fun than we did. You know those boards they have that are supposed to tell you which baggage carousel your flight’s bags are on? Well in Orlando the person responsible for updating those boards has Alzheimer’s…one carousel was marked for our flight, and I personally saw (1) bag from our flight doing the round trip there. The next carousel over was not marked for our flight, and I saw (2) bags from our flight over there. Well, after a full hour our bags finally showed up, 3 carousels away from the one marked for our flight. I’m just glad I noticed…otherwise we might still be there.

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3 Responses to “US Re-Entry”

  1. JoyceJ
    June 2nd, 2006 23:48

    Yay you blogged.

    Welcome to my world. Really makes you appreciate the bedlam that can be Cancun when you come back here. And I truly laughed out loud (as opposed to just an lol) at the part about the “authorities” here making you more nervous than those in Cancun. I was a wreck when Janet and I landed in Ft Lauderdale. It’s really no wonder.

  2. RiverGirl
    June 3rd, 2006 08:04

    It’s irrational I know, I mean the cops and immigration agents in Mexico detain foreigners every day. And their lock-ups are no fun at all. But in the US somehow the law enforcement officials just have bigger egos or something. They take themselves more seriously maybe.

  3. Elizabeth
    July 14th, 2006 09:49

    I’m reading late but I just got back from my trip in Vancity and I went through a whole drama in Texas and when I arrived in Vancouver. You are totally right, these agents do make me feel nervous and like I did something wrong. Apparently living in Mexico and travelling back home once or twice a year is a sure sign that I am transporting drugs! What a relief when I arrived back in Cancun. Was far less stressful!

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