Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Camping In Airports

My nephew just landed in the UK this week for a year's stay, bless his heart (and open his eyes, he's 20). It reminded me of this experience from 1985 when I was on my way to Ireland to cousin Dave and Cathy's wedding. The other relatives were flying into Shannon from Boston, but I had the pleasure of flying into a London airport from Madrid with a three day stay before moving on to Limmerick and meeting up with the wedding party.

I don't remember who was on the plane, but what struck me immediately was the LINE to get thru Customs. It was at least a quarter mile long. And the people in line were probably 99% Mideastern, Indian, and Asian. Actually, there were two lines. That one and one roped off alongside it for UK residents.

Well, being one of the few western girls around, Rubia here attaches herself to a group heading that way (making a mental excuse that I didn't see the signs), wondering where is this Customs counter. It was quite a long walk, and soon became apparent that London had more-than-they-could-handle Immigrants coming in. Had to be in the hundreds, and their line didn't appear to be moving.

Sure 'nuf, getting to the head of the line was easy, and didn't take my whole three days in London as I suspected the other was taking. And presenting my US passport was no problem for the agents who didn't seem to care much or even realize I was in the wrong line which was for 'All Other Countries'.

I remember this vividly because of how long the other line was and that they were sleeping on suitcases and COOKING on sterno! Bless their hearts (and minds) for bringing supplies. Now I realize that camped out on luggage at the airport can happen to anyone, but it never fails to remind me of immigration issues anytime I hear of the UK 'being owned by Moslems'.

Someday I'll tell you about the Iranians in Paris. (If you enjoy street food, they make the best crepes around.)

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