spock: logic is sexy

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The husband and I made it home from Nepal tonight. Barely.

See, the international airport in Abu Dhabi (where we had an overnight layover) has this fun thing called US customs pre-clearance. Some advertisements on the plane depicted this as a process whereby one might drop off one's customs forms early in order to avoid waiting in line in the United States, if one chose. It was a "service" provided for "passengers' convenience." HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS IS NOT TRUE. It is a harrowing, time-sucking ordeal that will release you approximately three minutes before your gate closes, thereby guaranteeing a panicked run while you contemplate if you will be forced to buy brand new, last minute international tickets because it is technically your fault that you are not on the plane.

Since this whole preclearance deal was depicted as a quick, optional, and hassle free process, the husband and I blew almost all of our time browsing the many enthralling duty free shops in the Abu Dhabi airport. We appreciated the many items that were not available in Nepal, such as chocolate bars that did not come with a layer of dust (inside or outside the wrapper) and wide variety of sanitary places to pee. Then we took a leisurely stroll toward our gate, whereupon we discovered that US customs preclearance means THE ENTIRE US SECURITY, BORDER CONTROL, AND CUSTOMS PROCEDURE. The line moves exceedingly slowly because many people are selected for extra screenings, myself included. I was escorted to a special x-ray machine by a series of guards who never let my passport out of their hands. My bag was scanned twice, whereupon I was led into a private cubicle for the most thorough pat-down of my life. I was wearing my Gigantic Sports Bra for the Complete Restraint of Gigantic Bosoms (TM), which includes an inner layer of cups with an underwire plus an outer layer with a zipper and an extremely thick elastic band. Apparently this feels like a very large bomb, which occasions a great deal of thorough patting -- but no one will actually let you SHOW them that it's just a bra, so you have to let them grope you until they've decided your boobs can't blow up the plane.

So anyway, we got to our flight just in time...to board and sit on the runway for an hour and a half while a sick passenger and their many belongings were off-loaded. This in turn made our connection in Chicago very tight, especially since moving between terminals required an additional security screening (and more boob-groping, because apparently my sports bra is fucking suspicious). Except that we couldn't GO through security because we hadn't been given boarding passes for the domestic segment of our journey, so we had to wait in a long line to get them... Anyway, after another frantic run we made the last leg of our flight just in time.

And now I am going to bed. In my own bed. For the first time in a month.
Apparently this feels like a very large bomb, which occasions a great deal of thorough patting -- but no one will actually let you SHOW them that it's just a bra, so you have to let them grope you until they've decided your boobs can't blow up the plane.

::dies laughing:: I'm sorry this was such an awful experience, but you've turned it into a giggle for your readers :) Can't wait to hear about the trip and see photos!!
It is pretty funny in retrospect, though not so much when I thought I would miss my flight.

I'm working on editing down my 1000+ photos to something other human beings might want to see...
Welcome home - can't wait to see the pics!!!

Oh, and welcome to my life. I do US preclearance every time I fly to the US from Canada ... Where it is available, it is not optional, btw, because the airline then spits you out some place where you don't get screened again. Not sure if that makes you feel any better, knowing you didn't make a bad choice ...?
You know, I did preclearance in Canada and it was basically a convenient service in which a disinterested dude stamped my passport in advance. It was all very quick and painless. This preclearance, however, was INSANE. I got the X-rays, the pat-down, then a full round of questioning by a customs agent...all of which would have been fine if they had told us in advance that the process would take forever, and we had planned accordingly.
Oh my word! I'm so glad you're home and I hope that your honeymoon was everything you hoped for. Sounds like an amazing experience!

But ugh! So sorry you were subjected to that crazy screening! I'm sure they're super hardcore coming from Arab countries these days. Maybe next time you can take off your bra and stick it in your carry on until you get past the screenings. Uncomfortable but it's a judgment call if it would be more or less uncomfortable than the invasive breast massage you got ...

Anyway, mostly I'm glad you made your flights and got home safely! I hope you're able to rest up for the next couple days. And eat all the toast you want!

(Oh-- did you find a wedding band on your trip? I remember you mentioning you'd be looking for a ring while over there.)

Welcome home!
It was a fabulous adventure! And we are also glad to finally be home - we were here for about 24 hours before we turned around to visit my sister in Dallas because she's moving to Belgium next week. And yeah, I think I will just not wear that bra on an airplane ever again. It's comfy, but not worth the hassle...

Sadly, no wedding bands. All the jewelry there was very bright gold, which is wonderful for the complexion of the ladies there. As a super-pasty white girl, however, it's not recommended. I am attached to my wedding ring now though, so I think the boy and I have agreed that I can have a pearl necklace, which I've always wanted but never would buy for myself.
Welcome home. I can't wait for the pics.

We barely made our flight home from Paris the first time. The baggage conveyor was broken (we were bringing home two suitcases full of books so we had to check luggage) and it took us two hours to get through that line alone.
Pics are being organized and edited! Of course, I have well over a thousand, so it might be awhile...

And yikes, what an experience with the conveyor belt...
Crazy! And good to know in the future as well. Can't wait to see pictures/hear stories! Hope you enjoyed your first two nights in your own bed :D
I enjoyed them very much indeed! Pictures with stories are forthcoming...once I edit them down from the thousand that I took (literally, I'm afraid...)
Welcome home! Already looking forward to the pics :-)

The boobs bomb was such a hassle to go through but the way you write it up makes it sound hilarious. Sports bra menace! *giggle*
I'm working on editing the pics down to an acceptable number. I took over a thousand...

And yes, lesson learned about flying in my sports bra!
at least you made it!

I once had to open my suitcase at the checking in desk at Hamburg airport (going back home... lots of loose, dirty clothes and underwear) because they asked : Why do you have a 7 inch knife in your case? It turned out to be the metal core of my plastic hairbrush in the middle of said underwear...
Oh my! The last time I had to open my bag was in Argentina. The first thing the guard found was my economy size box of tampons, and he turned red and left me alone...
so far they've not commented on my bullet shaped pleasure accoutrement (I take the top off and battery out)... still waiting for that one (stuff like was kept in front pocket of last suitcase... not sure where I'll put them next week)
Wow. What an adventure!

I have special traveling clothes that I've vetted as "non-suspicious". Every once in a while I forget-- and here comes the pat-down!

So glad you're home. Rest up!