Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Airport Stories

The alarms went off just before we were due to board the Lombok flight. Everyone was ordered to evacuate the building. This was not going to happen in a hurry as the emergency exits were all closed! Lily became distressed, the noise of the alarm sirens were deafening as well as the broadcast message being loud and unnerving. In the event, the emergency turned out to be a drill. What a strange way to start a holiday.

Getting through to the departure lounge was interesting. No sooner had I arrived at the first security gate, I had to throw away my toothpaste because the security officer said it was “too big”. I think it was her first day on the job because she didn’t know my 100ml bottle of handcream was actually in a registered container. I showed her where it was embossed on the bottle. Next, I was frisked by a security officer using an explosive detector wand. This is quite an interesting procedure whereby the wand is passed over clothing etc. and then placed in a machine – I guess a Geiger counter of sorts? I was in the clear but nevertheless, my cabin luggage was opened and rummaged through.

Next stop, the duty free shop. I purchased my allotted amount of alcohol to pick up on my way back from holiday plus a couple of small bottles to take with me. Unbeknownst to me, the check-out operator gave me an extremely large Toblerone chocolate. I found it when I sat down with the family to wait to board the aircraft, so I put it into my cabin luggage.

The flight was uneventful and we arrived at the Lombok airport in good time. I was sitting away from the others so made my way through to the Customs desk. Praya (Lombok) airport reminded me of the old airport in Salisbury but with wooden carvings and Indonesian artefacts here and there. I bought my Visa ($25 US) and walked straight past the baggage collection to put my hand luggage through the X-Ray machine. Once again I was frisked (by hand this time). Having passed through, I suddenly realised I had left my suitcase behind. I went back through to fetch it (no problems there) and passed through the security check. I was standing, waiting for the family when one of the Customs officers asked to check my cabin luggage. He showed me on his monitor a strange looking shape in the suitcase. I didn’t know what it was so we opened up my case and scratched around. He picked up the huge Toblerone chocolate bar – this was the culprit. I showed him where it was a gift from the duty free and we both laughed and parted as friends.

In retrospect, I wonder what made me a suspicious looking old woman and the only solution I can come up with was the brightly coloured cotton jacket I wore. I bought it at the op shop (thrift shop) especially for the trip and it does stand out.
The Jacket!
More to follow.

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