I honestly believe TSA agents got their ideas for how to clear Aruba-based US Customs from The Maze Runner.
That shit was nonsense. I just have to say it.
It left me disoriented, exhausted, and crying.
As I posted earlier, I was hop-scotching across the Caribbean to make it home for Christmas.
After a four hour delay in Venezuela that almost made me miss my connecting flights, I made it to Aruba.
Aruba was supposed to be the turning point. It was here that I would board a US-bound plane with a different airline carrier.
My time in the Aruba airport, the tropical paradise, made the four hour delay in Venezuela (with no A/C) look like heaven.
Let me just list what happened because writing about it will physically drain my body all over again.
Upon arriving in Aruba, I…
- discover that my luggage has been left in Curacao as a man plays Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds on the steel drums. The irony is not lost on me as I report the luggage and keep moving. I have a plane to catch.
- I get to Delta just to discover my plane has been delayed and over sold. I start wiping away tears as I click “Hell no!” to giving up my seat and check-in.
- I keep walking to Customs while wiping my tears because I don’t have time to go to the bathroom, wash my face, and then keep moving. I have a plane to catch.
- Good thing I kept it moving because as I turn over my shoulder while a man regales people with Aruba’s soul-crushing lines, I see one that is snaking out of the building and down to a different entrance.
- After clearing Customs…or whatever the hell this is for a second time in the same damn airport…I head to a security check point (check #3 on this journey).
- I’m starving so much I’m beginning to shake. I see a food court…and a monstrous line at least 100 people deep leading to all US-bound gates. Surely the gate must be right there, but something tells me not to stop for food. I have a plane to catch.
- I get in line and enter The Maze aka a huge room where people are reclaiming their pre-screened luggage and then waiting in, you guessed it, another line that wraps the room’s perimeter in order to drop. that. same. damn. luggage. back. on. a. conveyor. belt.
- I cut the line. I can’t lie. With my neon orange shirt and darkest skin in the room I say F*** it and do how we do in Venezuela and ignore all protocol. I have a plane to catch.
- I stand in another zig-zagging line where I have to scan my passport again, get my picture taken, and interview with a border agent. He notes my lack of luggage. I tell him it’s lost. Eyebrows are raised, a nice joke is exchanged, and I keep moving. I have a plane to catch.
- I walk through the ever-changing Maze and then…there’s another security checkpoint (check #4).
- By this point, I’m pissed. The agents are super-friendly and smiling and good thing because the air is saturated with frustration. This is the epitome of what friends have crudely termed a cluster F***. I’ve never used the term. But now I understand it.
- I do the NYC power walk to make it to the terminal’s far end, ignoring my screaming stomach as I bypass food stands. I have a plane to catch.
- The plane’s not boarding. I confirm that this is what’s happening because I very well could be hallucinating at this point. Nope. It’s happening. There’s not even a plane at the gate.
- I hustle back to the terminal’s entrance to get food and then back to my gate. I’m paranoid I may miss my plane.
- As I eat a Supreme pizza, my hand shakes like an 80 year old who has lost her fine motor skills. My stomach is rioting, flipping, and karate-kicking me. It’s rightfully pissed that I ignored it all day. It ain’t having my pizza and Sprite-filled apologies.
- As the food hits my body, I can feel myself stabilizing. Thankfully, I’m not a diabetic or I would’ve been in even worse shape.
- When finally aboard the plane, I fall asleep before takeoff. This is a rarity for me because landing and take-off give me low-level anxiety.
The worst is over, right?
Continue traveling with me to find out what transpired next during my bid to make it home for the holidays.