Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Airport Experience aka “The Tar Story”

As of late I’ve been rocking some skinny jeans with a big tar stain on them. Nora, why don’t you wear other jeans? Reader, why don’t you come over to my house and unpack, because for now, I’m still rotating Rwanda clothes. Anyway, people sometimes ask about the stain or else I point it out and insist on telling this story. I do warn listeners that it’s a longer story, but I may, or may not, have sat down each girl at work explained the story, causing some of them to hear it about three times. And this, my devoted readers, is the tar story:

Rwanda apparently had a hard time saying goodbye, and I have had a really hard time not being in Rwanda (minus the mosquito net, because seriously that is the most GD annoying thing ever). So when I first got to Kigali they ripped up my road. Three months later, they finally paved it – welcome to Africa time. Naturally, they were paving outside of my street, making it really hard for my boss to pick me up to take me to the airport. I therefore had to carry my two heavy suitcases, backpack and purse up my dirt road and down the main road that was being paved. Now when I say “I” did this, what I clearly mean is two of my male roommates. I haven’t been hitting a Kigali gym or anything (but I have in the US FYI). So over the wet tar we went and into the car I got. Of course, there are no construction zones (one time one of those big scoopers almost knocked me over…like really…of all people? You can’t see me?). Anyway. So you can walk on the wet tar. So I finally get to the airport, and I’m a bit panicky because I get nervous when I travel. That did not bode well for anyone.

I walk in and read a sign: one carry on for Brussels Airlines. Excuse me? I have to lift my own suitcases through security (and that I really did do myself) before waiting in some sort of line that has the suitcase rule. Well. Did I move through quietly? Obviously not. Ummmmmm I know that I’m allowed to bring two suitcases. Blank stare. Well, when I came here three months ago it was two suitcases, so I’m not paying for an extra one – sassing my way through this check. Ok, great, well I have nothing to do with that – sassing the wrong person. Up to the person who was about to get sassed I went, putting my two suitcases up to be weighed. One was under and one was over. Grand. So then I had to do the old switcheroo in public, to even them out. I did it though – and the guy at the desk even congratulated me! But before I got too excited I looked down at my arms and legs and wondered, what the hell is that? I was covered in tar. Tar all over my jeans and all over my exposed arms. I tried to rub it away, but tar is sticky and does not go away and it sort of spreads when you anger it. Omg I have tar all over my arms and jeans – from the suitcases from my road. Get me to a bathroom.

After successfully getting my suitcases checked for free. I ran up the stairs (walked quickly) aiming to stop at the next available bathroom. Ugh. Customs. Really? Fine, filled out the form that I’ve filled out a million times and went to the next available guy. And that is a convo in itself.

Customs Guy (CG): Nora Elizabeth, that is a very pretty name

Me: Thanks (In my head: tar tar tar tar)

CG: Where did you stay in Rwanda?

Me: With friends (It’s EVERYWHERE)

CG: I wish I had met you when you were in Rwanda

Me: [Awkward smile] (You don’t see there is tar ALL over me?!?!)

CG: I could have showed you all around Rwanda. When are you coming back?

Me: Ohh one day maybe (SERIOUSLY?!?!?!)

CG: The day after tomorrow?

Me: What? No maybe one day (Really? The day after tomorrow I wouldn’t even be HOME. Do the math…rookie)

CG: Ok well let me know.

Me: BYE. (What?! Ok focus – BATHROOM!)

That really happened. Then I went through another security checkpoint and ran into the bathroom. It was there I realized tar doesn’t wash off either, and of course there were no paper towels, so I used toilet paper to try to rub it away. I left with red marks up and down my arms, and just assuming no one will ever notice the jeans – they’re dark. I then waited at what I hoped, and assumed, was my gate. I opened my bag and realized…uhh I never took out my computer. That really saved time for me at least, but what? Ok. Anyway. I got on the plane, watched almost all of It’s Complicated, but passed out right at the end, never finding out if it really remains complicated or if things get less complicated or is life always complicated? I’m starting to think yes.

I then wrote this in the Brussels Airport, after having spent literally more money there than I did in one month in Kigali. Why? Because I could finally use a credit card (cash ONLY in Rwanda), so I splurged on Starbucks and water. No really, it was $10 for a water and juice. Ridic. I had 6 hours there. Did you know if you’re a transfer you have to go through weird security – the guy asks you questions about your bags and whatnot. Everyone in front of me had no electronics, but I had to explain I’m carrying a laptop, camera, iPod and two cell phones. Hello American.

And then! I got “randomly” selected to be screened, which meant literally, literally taking all of my belongings out of my carry ons and then putting them back in. Well, jokes on them – it was packed, and I did not help them reload it. Hello American.

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