Thursday, November 22, 2007

Security overload.

I could not feel any kind of excitement about going to Chicago in September, it seemed like a dream and we would find ourselves back on the Malaysian Airlines flight with the sweet girls in saris and the pilot announcing ‘Point Point!!’ (I think it translated as Ladies and Gentlemen!) and we would wake up in the balmy twilight with palm trees and mosquitos around us…and our condo and our wonderful maid, Aimee, waiting for us…

But in reality we were booked on the 31st August day flight to Chicago, right in the middle of a major security alert involving, by some nasty twist of fate, England and America. Security was on bright red and before our bags were even looked at, we had to empty out any non-essentials before check-in. That included kids toys, extra clothes (what if they are sick or spill something?), make-up, deodorant and of course the bottle of water the suspect was planning to blow up the bomb with.

It was tense at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and the kids were twitchy and over-excited at all the fuss. Nina cried and I screamed at her. In the departure lounge I was pulled over and body searched just as we boarded the plane, with my heart beating that I might be left behind while Jacques and the children left without me…

The flight was awful. The American Airlines attendants were grumpy, furious that Gabriel ran about with his socks on (he might cut his feet? On what? I asked nastily Did you drop something?). Rules and regulations were everywhere and I felt threatened and nervous. Getting into Chicago was as difficult as getting onto the plane, more security checks, pointless thumbprinting (what do they do with all those prints?) and a search for a taxi big enough for us and all our luggage.

Our house was not ready yet, and our furniture was somewhere between New York and Chicago in a container, so we went to a hotel in the city…we had four days to get over the jet-lag and acclimatize before school and our new life really started…..

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