Monday, February 23, 2009

From Mexico to Ohio

Now I know why "snowbirds" exist. I left Mexico yesterday morning (Sunday) and went into a culture shock. First was the travel from the Mexico to the U.S. I chose American Airlines as they fly into Columbus, about 80 miles from Ada and Ohio Northern University. The flight was great into Dallas except for the sexual harrassment I received on the plane. That's right, I was groped by a female flight attendant.

The story goes like this. We took off from Monterrey at 6:20 a.m. Everyone on the plane was asleep. The cabin was dark except for the overhead reading light that I used to read the newspaper. People around me were drooling on their sleeves, bobbing motionless heads, and sudden jerking motions along with soft snores from nearby passengers. I saw the flight attendants preparing our beverages on the cart and thought a coffee would be good. I saw one of the flight attendants coming down the aisle with a ceramic mug and assumed she was taking it to her co-worker in the rear cabin. She walked by and I didn't look up. On her way back down the aisle to first class, I felt a hand run down from my shoulder to my chest. It really startled me as she came up from behind me. She started to ask me if I would like a cup of joe and continued massaging my chest. I didn't know what to say other than, "sure, coffee sounds good". She went back up front, I'm sitting in shock realizing I had just been accosted. I don't think it was intentional, but had it been a reverse gender situation, it could have been a big deal.

Arriving on time into Dallas, we were ushered into the immigration holding pool. Officers were just arriving as it was the first international arrival of the morning. Men in dark blue suits began to usher us up to form lines in front of the windows. As I approached the agent, he yelled at me to stop. Then came the fireball. He began a screaming match with one of the men in blue, accusing him of not following orders and allowing people to form lines in front of his window. I stayed quiet knowing this guy "really wore his uniform". My luck turned good as the officer behind him opened his window and asked me to approach. With caution I took out my documents and he asked me why I had marked "food" on my import ticket. I told him I had some "cheese". He commented that he thought I might have seeds or something of that sort. He stamped my ticket and told me to enjoy the cheese. I went on to the baggage carousel and picked up my suitcase laden with canned chilis and bottles of salsa for Juan.

Forming the line to have my documents and bags reviewed, I was given the okay to leave the immigration tank. On up the escalators I went thinking "this is too easy". As I got to the top we had to form yet another line to pass the TSA inspection. No carpet to rest my cold feet on as I took off all electonics, metals, belts, shoes, etc. along with disassembling my carry on of its laptop and gear. I passed the trays through the metal detector and began to wait. "We know that we don't say anything or upset our friends in uniforms". The woman sitting behind the belt was doodling on her latex glove with a pen. She finally realized that someone had come to upset her moring and she gave the belt some electicity and off went my things. "Uh oh". "What's in the shopping bag?". "Cheese". "Oh no, we don't allow cheese on the plane. You have to check it". "Immigration said that it was okay". "Well, this ain't Immgration, this is TSA". "How am I supposed to know?". "Check the website". "You can put it in your suitcase that you are checking, "if" you can retrieve it". Well, it was gone and so went the cheese. I told her, "I can't check the website". "Why not?". "Cuz we don't have internet in Mexico, so there".

I will be posting about the cold and snow over the next few days and I am soliciting ideas for travel in March and April.

The travel trailer is still at Texas RV Supply and has no tanks. I told them so but they insist they are on their way.

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