Saturday, December 26, 2015

What I Know Now I Learned From Airport Security

I’m sitting on a plane right now traveling from Washington, DC to home. This is the second leg of our journey from Costa Rica. I must say I have learned a lot today and must credit the airport security for these lessons.

Before I get to that let me back up and say that Punta Leona Resort is phenomenal. This all inclusive resort offers something for everyone and is truly a family friendly place. The resorts surrounds two beaches (Playa Mantas and Playa Blanca). It has many restaurants and just as many pools. There are kids areas, daily activities, pool side bars, and even a mariposario (butterfly sanctuary). The property even has a supermercado (supermarket) and a hospital (hospital lol). There is a shuttle to move you around the resort if you aren't up for walking. I recommend the walk. At least a walk to wherever you’re going and a ride back to your apartment. Speaking of apartments, ours was perfect for us. It contained two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, a bath, and a patio that overlooked the next neighborhood over pushed into the lush green rainforest and a front door that opened up to a view of the pool below. I would highly recommend this resort with one caveat… you should have a basic understanding of spanish. There were only a handful of people on the entire resort that was capable of communicating with us. We didn’t mind as it forced us out of our comfort zone and forced us to recall all of those spanish lessons we have taken. But if you are not comfortable trying to speak spanish or have no idea where to even begin with speaking spanish this resort may not be to your liking. This place was definitely a tourist spot but a local tourist spot and not a foreign one. I would most certainly go there again. In fact, I’m already planning on it. When I return for my birthday next year however, I plan to be a fluent spanish speaker.

Some shots from our ride to the airport:


Okay, back to the lessons learned by airport security. 

Lesson number one, no two airport security checkpoints are the same… ever. We were surprised that the San Jose airport allowed us to bring drinks through security. I wondered how that would work when we area in the states. I found out shortly as we boarded the plane. Along the corridor walking to the actual airplane was a row of tables with security posed behind them. As we walked to the plane we had to place our carry on bags on the tables where the security agents proceed to rummage through it. They removed liquids… and not just the drinks we had from lunch but all liquids. My heart sank when she grabbed my leave in hair conditioner. It was in a 3oz spray bottle for goodness sake. She must have seen the concern on my face and heard me gasp because she set the small bottle on the table instead of on the floor behind her like she was doing the rest of the bottles of liquid. She took out a small sandwich bag (from her pocket maybe? I don’t know, I missed that. To me it just magically appeared), and placed my leave in hair conditioner in there and then proceed to take my already pack in a plastic bag toiletries out and place them in her readily supplied plastic bags. Hmmmmmmm. Ok. Not how the airport security did it in Charlotte, or Houston for the matter but it’s ok.

Lesson number two, just because it’s duty free doesn’t mean you get to carry it on the plane. So I know I’m probably late here and this is common knowledge but forgive me as I’ve never shopped duty free before. So, I thought that since it was bought duty free and bought inside the airport that it was deemed safe and I could carry it on the plane with me. I was wrong about that. once we made it through customs the security before we reached security informed me that I would need to put the bag inside of one of my checked bags. When I informed them that I have no carry on, yay #teamnocarryon, they politely informed me that I do now. So the lesson learned here is that duty free does not me safe and carry on friendly.

Lesson number three, even souvenir wooden machetes count as weapons. I stood there as the people behind us passed by us happily on their way to their next destination. I stood and watched the security agent rummage through my son’s back pack. I watched as he pulled out my boys machetes a lay them on the table. I then watched as he said “hold on, wait right here, don’t tough anything in or on your bag.” before he walked away. I continued to watch s he came back with the machetes in his hand and another guard following closely behind him. I listened with my face twisted in a mass of confusion and annoyance as he explained that I could not go further with these wooden machete souvenirs. My face twisted in even more confusion as he explained it was for our own safety so that we wouldn't get shot by the agent on the plane if we pulled the machete out on the dark plane and he mistook them for real. Not sure why we would be pulling the machetes out on the dark plane, but even more concerning is are these under cover agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later? If that’s the case you guys can check all my bags. I’d hate for my pen to be mistaken for a weapon (only half sarcastic and slightly annoyed). So I said fine, we’ll check the bag and we did but not before we were tested for drugs.

Lesson number four, salt is not worth saving. Similar to the souvenir machete incident a similar thing happened with a small bag of sol (salt). I packed the back of salt just because I had only used a little bit and didn’t want to waste it. Had I known that that 300 colon or roughly $0.55 bag of salt would cause me so much trouble I would have gladly left it in the apartment for the next guest to use. The salt had to be removed from the bag and a sample poured out, which the agent managed to get everywhere…well, because it’s salt. She got enough on the sample paper and the agent holding our wooden machetes began instructing her on how to test it. I continued to insist that they could just throw it away so we could get going but they ignored me and continued to watch as the sample did not react… well, because it was salt.

After they were satisfied with the results the gentleman still holding our wooden machetes kindly walked us back to the check bag area where he turned over our souvenirs as everyone watched me pack them away. The bag was checked and we were off to the security gate where we had to report the process all over again. This time we passed!

The infamous wooden machetes and my bag of salt

Lesson number five, the security agents are just doing their jobs trying to keep us safe. I have no hard feelings toward the agents or the process. I respect the individuals doing their due diligence in keeping me and my children safe to fly the friendly skies. While our situation was annoying and somewhat comical I have to add that it is sad that this is the world we live in now. My children will never not know airport security and the anxiety they produce like I did as a child. They think it is a fairy tale when I tell them that growing up we could walk right into at the airport and straight to our gate the airport, sodas in hand and everything.

All in all, my children took the situation in strides and where right along with me as we dashed through the airport, onto the airport shuttle, down the wrong corridor, back up the corridor to the correct corridor, then down that corridor, to a Smash Burgers we passed, grabbed us a burger, then dashed to our gate where they were already boarding.

The perfect exhilaration to a very exhilarating trip.

Until we see you around the globe or speak to you again… Peace, Love, and many Blessings! Pure Vida!

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