We’re high over the United States of Mexico. Its midnight and the only indication we’re over land are surprisingly regular wedges of light – electric pueblos dotting the black landscape below us. We’ve just begun the last day of 2012 which has proved a better year than 2011. 2013 is shaping up pretty well, given that we will be celebrating the turn in Santiago Chile.
Despite being a well travelled guy I’ve never been South of the Border. I’ve never even been to the restaurant of the same name! The airport in Mexico City offered a glimpse of the style and culture of our southern neighbor; the airport was stylish in its mid-century modern loftiness. The employees were gracious and sped us through to our connecting flight. Until they didn’t.
We had to get our luggage, recheck it, then go through security again (presumably because American airport security can’t be trusted, lets just say there have been incidents). This is always a challenge. Magda is carrying 41 rolls of medium format film that are potentially sensitive to X-Ray. What usually happens is that there is a stand-off between my wife and the mildly shocked security guards who aren’t used to being scolded. In most cases they cave in and allow for a hand check if the film. There is some wiping to make sure it isn’t some new ingenious scheme by Al Qaeda and then we proceed. Tonight we were rushing to reach our connecting flight and none of the employees seemed to had ever seen film much less hand checked it. Most were probably born after Kodak went out of business and think Polaroid is a filter on Instagram. As a gaggle of guards were drawn to the confrontation, there was much squawking into walker-talkies (which I thought had gone the way of film). Superiors were contacted, I negotiated on one side of the x-Ray with the squawkers, Magda fumed on the other. A man with a balaclava and a muzzled german sheppard appeared to watch. All came to naught, just as we realized we were going to miss our plane the word came through: bring them into the security office. No, I thought, that’s not the right way to ring in the new year. Mexico is rather famous for its security offices, and inside of a plane to Chile sounded better.
Frustrated, Magda sent the film through and we now pray the guards hadn’t turned the X-Ray dial up to 11 just to finish off the year with extra transparency.
Well played Mexico, but I assure you, you’ve picked on the wrong girl. Soon your national music will consist entirely of recycled Polka music. Oh wait, it already does. Game, Set, Match.