We all know that flying is a necessary evil. Pretty much no one enjoys it, but if we want to travel we all have to do it (unless you plan to confine yourself to long boat rides and overland trains). I could probably write a book about bad things that have happened to me at airports, but for the sake of brevity, I’ve gathered up a few of my ‘favorites’ for your reading…enjoyment?
Even though we all agree flying isn’t the most fun, its something we must do to see the world. So, since we must fly, hopefully we can at least find affordable airfare when we take to the “friendly” skies.
“Missing” our flight to Israel
I’ve talked many, many times about my amazing trip to Israel, but what you don’t know is that we almost didn’t make it. That’s because we missed our flight. No, we didn’t sleep in or get stuck in traffic. In fact, we arrived at Dulles International bright and early a full two hours early, checked our bags and got through security.
Normally I don’t check my bags, but we did this time and you’ll see why that’s important later. Anyway, we grabbed some breakfast and sat down at the gate to wait. Two hours later, our plane was delayed and we were still waiting. Our first flight was from DC to NYC on a small plane and it was one of those situations where several commuter plans were boarding out of the same gate. So, while we waited a steady stream of people boarded and departed from planes out of our gate.
Eventually, we started to wonder when our plane would be leaving, only to find out that our plane had already left! We had literally not left the gate since an hour before and now our plane, with our luggage was on its way to NYC without us.
We approached the gate agents only to be told that they announced our plane and we weren’t at the gate. They maintained that we must have left the gate and that’s why we didn’t hear any of the announcements. One gate agent even got on the intercom to publically mock our hearing issues:
“Can everyone hear this announcement? Because these two girls claim that they were at this gate and didn’t hear an announcement”
Unfortunately for them, their story started to fall apart pretty quickly. I asked them “Did you call our names?”
“Uh, yeah…well, we called the flight”
“Well what about our luggage – aren’t you supposed to remove that if we aren’t on the flight?”
Pretty soon they realized they had screwed up. They had quickly boarded a flight to make up for late time without checking to see who was or wasn’t on the flight. Suddenly they were ready to play nice…unfortunately all the flights to JFK for that day were booked solid.
After some computer searching and minor freaking out on our part we had vouchers in hand to take a cab to Regan National Airport 45 minutes away. From there, we flew to Newark and then took another cab to JFK. Luckily we had a long layover and were able to make our flight to Jordan with time to spare.
Getting the Shake down In Fez, Morocco
As I mentioned in my previous post about Marrakesh, the souks of Morocco were amazing and filled with fun and interesting souvenirs. I ended up purchasing a traditional Moroccan wooden writing board which is a polished wooden board used as a desk surface for children in school. The boards are usually decorated with paintings and hand written Arabic poems. It was pretty and I thought I could hand it on my wall at home. I had bought it for a few dollars, stuck it in my pack and forgotten about it.
Then, as I went through security in Fez to get on the plain home, my bag was pulled off the conveyor built and searched. The board was discovered, unwrapped and brought out for inspection by the agent. The first agent brought over another agent for a consult and then turned to me and said in French ”What is this? Do you know what this says?” (My friend Andy was able to translate the question into English for me)
Since the writing on the board was in Arabic I did not what it said and had to shake my head. I was getting a little nervous now. The agent seemed concerned and began reading the board carefully, translating it into French.
Sadly, Andy’s french knowledge was not extensive enough to explain what the agent was saying. Not to be deterred the agent inquired if there were any French/English speakers in the crowd around us and solicited the services of an older English gentleman who was behind us in line . At this point, me and my friends were detained on the side, surrounded by a few agents with my back unpacked around us.
Things seemed to be grim. I assumed the board was some kind of drug packed brick designed too look like wood. Maybe it was some treasure antique and I was in trouble for smuggling?! For all I knew the writing all over it just said “this contains drugs.” I was for sure going to spend the rest of my life in a Moroccan prison. (I probably watch to much locked up abroad)
The agent began reading the Arabic words from the board outloud. The next agent then translated them into french to our new English friend. Then, the English guy would translate the words into English. This game of international telephone, combined with the differing grammer structures of the three lungagues mean that I was mainly hearing scattered English words and phrases that seemed to make no sense.
What the heck was going on? It seemed like my writing board contained some kind of gun related Arabic threat letter that I had unwittingly carried into an Airport. It wasn’t looking good.
Finally the translating party came to an end and the English translator turned to me to sum up his findings.
“It’s a love poem about how heart breaking it can be when you have unrequited love. It’s like being shot through the heart with a gun.”
Love Poem? What? Excuse me? Apparently the agent had been moved by the beauty of the poem and thought that it was important that I understand its meaning before I took it with me back to America. Satisfied that I had been enlightened, he carefully wrapped it up and placed it back in my bag. With that I was dismissed to board my plane.