Monday, January 29, 2007

There and Back Again - Part 1

I have been missing for very nearly two weeks due to the fact that I was out of the country. In that time I had spotty connections to the internet and so I couldn't continue updating my blogs. I was pleasantly surprised to note that there were a number of visitors during my absence and that people continued to check in despite the fact that i was not updating the page at all. I decided not to update during my time away simply because I would then be able to share all my adventures (and some mis-adventures) after I returned home to the wonderful city of DC. I left on January 12th, the date of my last posting. I had come to the office to try and finish up as much as I could before leaving. Since we were still in that post-Christmas/New Year's phase, I was still not overly swamped with work, which was a good thing.

I had been looking foward to this trip to India since it would be the first time in a couple of years that I would be going there. I am what one can consider an excited traveller; that is to say that the prospect of travel (and in this case extended) air travel is exciting to me and I was looking foward to it. Packing the bags and then getting ready has usually been a fairly simple affair since I previously only had to look after my bags and that was it. Now that I have my own home, there are so many other things to worry about and take care of that there is more work in preparing for the trip than one realizes. The days leading up to any trip are fraught with taking care of the house, paying up the bills, ensuring that the plants are taken care of, making sure nothing is leaking and in general, ensuring that nothing major can or will go wrong in the time that you're not in the house.

Usually I have left on a weekend so among the last things I do is do a last walk-around inspection and then leave the house content in the knowledge that things are safe and sound but this time I went to work and then left from there. Had anyone seen my car that day they would have likely have been amused at the fact that my passenger on that day was my suitcase and carry-on bag. Still and all, the excitement of actually heading out was more than enough to allay my fears that anything had been left undone.

As I've always said, the journey via air no longer begins at the airport but from the moment you pack your bags and fill your pockets. I made sure to remove all banned items from my bags and then make sure that my carry on did not have anything unallowable either. I had dressed sans belt and shoelaces simply because I didn't want to worry about removing my belt while going through the metal detector and then fumble with my shoelaces. I kept my money clip in my carry on along with my cell phone. I wore a windcheater which I folded up and kept inside my carry on so that I wouldn't have to worry about removing that either. It's getting to the point now that if we remove anymore articles, you could think of this as a visit to a Hindu temple, albeit a highly secure one.

Passing through security in DC is easy once you have taken the time to learn what can set off the TSA and what won't. Keeping the guards happy is one way to ensure that you don't get caught up unnecessarily. Read the directions and have things ready for the inspectors. One of the great things about DC is the fact that so many guards and inspectors are there that if you pay even a bit of attention, you'll get through with very little trouble. There are the occasional folks who prefer to get haughty and end up drawing down the ire of many a TSA inspector but if you follow the rules and regulations, you'll avoid being the person everyone points at and thinks of being a difficult jerk. Of course not all security examinations are the same; indeed, some are downright ludicrous. In the next blog we shall examine the world of security screening.



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