Thursday, November 27, 2003

The Journey So Far (Part 3 of ?)

Now, there are two things that seem to always happen to me when travelling internationally:  I get an Immigration Officer with a sense of humor; and my transport from the airport will be f'd up.

Looks like things were going true to plan.  When I got to Immigration, the place was empty.  Big switchback lines with nobody in them.  Just two agents waiting at the counter, one of them helping one passenger... and me.

The switchbacks were arranged so you could pretty much walk straight through them to the counter.  As I approached, the second agent pulled the barrier on the last open one so now I could NOT walk directly to the counter.  I looked to both sides, but both paths looked to be cut off at the end.  I looked again.  Could not see how to get to the counter without jumping the barrier, and that seemed like a bad idea.

The other passenger had now left and the agent at the counter started laughing.  "If you can't figure out how to get to the counter, you can't get into the country," she laughs, "It's a test."  I'm giving her my best "Look, I've been travelling for 20 hours" deer-in-the-headlights look, but, really, I'm laughing my butt off with her.  This should not be difficult.

Eventually, her partner says, "go to your right."  Sure enough, at the end of the line to my right, it did loop around -- I just hadn't seen it -- blame either my tiredness or my lack of depth perception.  So, I followed the loop around and got to the front of the line, where there's a red line painted on the ground that you're supposed to wait at until the next agent calls you.

Now, remember, I'm the only one there.  But still, I'm big on following rules (especially with agents of a foreign government) so I pull myself to a halt at the red line.  My momentum keeps me going and a kinda trip forward over it and pull myself back -- like I was almost stepping off a curb into oncoming traffic.  Agent -- still laughing -- waves me forward, and we get through the transaction in giggles. 

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