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Jan 04 2006

International travel fun!

Another sunrise over Amsterdam and for the 2nd time this trip I got to be felt-up by airport security staff at “Shithole”. I’m not sure the screener ever determined what I had on my person that set off the metal detector, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying.

But it could have been worse. Dr. Darling was randomly selected for a very thorough pat-down in Chicago and was even offered the opportunity to have it conducted in a private room. But even more amusing to the Swede was the running commentary of the NST employee who described everything she was touching and why. At one point the screener emphasized that she was only using the backs of hands on”sensitive areas”… which appeared to include all of the rivets on Dr. Darling‘s new Levi’s.

The Dutch screeners offer no such niceties or explanations. In fact, their technique is more along the lines of “wham, bam, thank-you Ma’am.” And in both cases this trip I felt like somebody should have been buying me dinner afterwards.

But even the over-zealous frisking at O’Hare was a mild indignity compared to the electronic mugshot and fingerprinting that the Swede was subjected to both entering and leaving the country. WELCOME TO THE USA!  Where our laziness and institutional incompetence in identifying actual terrorists has lead us to treat all foreigners like criminals!  But hey, at least we’re equal-opportunity insulters.

So we’re home now and exhausted as neither one of us slept much on the overnight flight. I managed to remember to request seats in an exit row and we ended up sitting right over the main cabin door with no seats in front of us. This was terrific in terms of leg-room, but it was also a spot where many other passengers gathered to stretch and talk over the course of the night. (I should have realized this as I always do it myself on long flights.)

But other than the personal space violations from airport personnel, it was an uneventful journey … and best yet, all four of our bags turned up on the luggage carousel in Copenhagen. Sweet!

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Feed my ego!

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