Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fr. Russell at GAFCON: Security check, please!

From SanDiegoAnglicans.com, on-going posts from Fr. Russell Martin, St. Timothy & St. Titus, as he goes to GAFCON [boldface mine]:

Days 2-3 of My Pilgrimage to Israel and GAFCON June 17-18, 2008:

. . . As I was nearing the gate, I heard a public address announcement reminding all El Al passengers that they would have to have additional screening by the Airline’s Security prior to being allowed to board the plane. After presenting my passport and being asked a whole series of security questions in a relentless staccato. Then the question of my “orphaned” checked bag came up (why was it with me etc.). To which I recounted my tale of lines and a unexpected night’s stay in New York and that the airline had never returned it to me. I was then informed that I would be required to have my carry-on items searched. So Benjamin returned my passport but held on to my boarding pass he then instructed me to wait until I was called. He continued by telling me to take my carry-on bags and be seated until I was called back up for my search.

About 15-20 minutes late, a nice young man named Damien, also an Airline security agent ask me to follow him and bring my bags for their search. We went into a secured elevator and then down through several locked doors and all the while getting farther and farther from everyone else. I will confess I was a bit nervous and would have totally freaked out except that I had seen Damien checking in other passengers. After being led out of the terminal and out near the tarmac, we skirted a portion of the building to arrive at baggage security area and reentered the terminal several levels and blocks from where we started. I was then ushered into a tiny room where once again I was asked to open my bags and then told to go get seated another anteroom while their team went through my bags. So I sat reading my book and waiting. Several times I was asked to come explain some item or another and then told to return to my seat in the other room. About 45 minutes later I was told everything was fine and that I should repack my bags and prepare to return to the terminal. All my stuff was haphazardly strewn over a large counter so I began to repack for the third time that day. I really did not mind them searching everything but I was a bit put off when they then told me to hurry and kept asking me to move things so they could use a part of the counter. I will confess that my thoughts were a bit less than charitable and inwardly I was thinking, “If you had not made such a mess of it, I would not be taking so long!” I simply smiled and nodded. It was as I was repacking there unsupervised that I noted, somewhat ironically, that they had left a box cutter strewn about on the counter well within reach and nearly mixed in with my things. . .

Read it all - and read Day 1 here.

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