No caddle prods, meat cleavers or spear guns allowed
Day 118: No man’s land
Well, apparently you just can’t have anything useful in your baggage when you fly these days. In fact, if I can’t leave home without my spare meat cleaver or my cross bow, why, I shouldn’t go anywhere! You should see the pictogram list of restricted items while you wait in the first of 3 security checks at the Bogota airport. As soon as you disembark from your connecting flight (where they check your passport before letting you go down the stairs onto the tarmac), you must queue up for another security checkpoint just to get into the airport when you are scanned and patted down.
Before you know you’re finished there, you find yourself being pushed forward into another search where you must empty the entire contents of your baggage onto a table before a scary looking military grunt who is obviously highly disgruntled to have been put onto such a lousy shift. We only have dirty laundry and sneakers… and lots of tiny, annoying hiding spots for tiny annoying objects….and some really weird stuff too…tiny llama talisman in a tiny pouch wrapped in toilet paper. Weirdest of all they choose random items to smell!?! For instance, Saben’s hackey sack which has been in more disgusting places than we could ever imagine, or Lin’s journal. What you could keep in there I have no idea.
After that mess was finished and we were waved through our same-sex searcher lines, we met back up and had to again pull everything out of our packs to repack them in the only way to make everything fit. Quite a task and equally frustrating to do on the floor of any airport but especially so in one where there are more military personnel and fat drug dogs than actual passengers. No wonder no one wants to fly through Columbia! I understand wanting to take necessary security precautions but sheesh! That was intense!
Unfortunately, the ‘’secure zone” of Bogota’s airport is nothing but airpoirt waiting rooms, patrolling police and military personnel, and 1 little snack stand with terrible, nearly inedible food (really; and we’ve eaten some pretty inedible things before). With 5 hours til our connecting flight to Madrid, we could do nothing than just sit…and sit…and sit a little more. We sat for hours, eyes glazed and drool swaying from our lips hoping the time would pass more quickly than possible until we got kicked out of the waiting room. One more security point before we could even technically go into the waiting room of our gate!
Finally, we felt like we’d made some progress–we were only the plane! But an hour after take off, we landed for a pit stop to pick up more people. We were told it would be an hour and a half and that we must stay on the plane. We were so hungry we could’ve eaten our complimentary blankets! Apparently noticing our ribs protruding through our shirts and taking pity on our sunken in cheeks from obvious starvation, the flight attendant took pity on us and gave us crackers and a juice box! Woohoo! It was like striking gold.
From there, just a boring flight with dinner and lots of movies and our vehement refusal to take proper anti-jet lag measures thus causing our bodies to feel the 7 hour time difference when we landed in Madrid at 10AM the next morning.