East of Paris Bookstore

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Off-line, On-line, and Re-entry

Staying on line while traveling isn't easy.  Besides the busy days seeing new things or revisiting favorite spots, there's the hassle of getting on line.  While on our cruise, the ship's Wi-Fi connection was both extremely expensive and unreliable.  One of our number brought along a hotspot-creating MiFi® device.  When it worked, at a cost of $15 per day, six of us could use it simultaneously.  Not bad.  

While we love to travel, the actual to-and-from experience is hard.  May be it's like child birth [or so I hear] -- once it's over, you forget the pain. This month represents 40 years since I started traveling extensively and internationally.  But, yesterday's re-entry into the US at Newark was "painful" -- time-consuming and intrusive.

Mr. Wonderful was detained for a secondary screening at passport control.  That meant that I had to get the baggage on my own.  Lot's of baggage since we packed for warm and cold weather and, not having taken a cruise before, we took causal and formal attire.  As Alexandra Stoddard says in her book, Things I Want My Daughters To Know, we "travelled heavy."

Next, we had our luggage checked at customs ... first we waited for an officer to appear, then the officer went through my purse and our carry-on luggage bit by bit, even reading the notes in my notebooks, the printed itineraries, hotel invoices and what not.  He even checked the 700+ photos stored on my Nikon D5000 camera.  After some questions [Mr. W and I were questioned separately], he decided not to go through our mountain of checked baggage.

Then, when we went through security screening again at the domestic flight terminal, Mr. W got the full treatment.  After he passed through the x-ray machine, they checked his carry-on manually and subjected him to a pat down, followed by what looked like a foot massage. Weird, but I gather this is to make us feel [be?] safer.

We got home in one piece though exhausted. Now, it's back to blogging, catching up on sleep, and savoring all the good parts of travel. 

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