From the sounds of it, it might have been better if he stayed home *g*:
So I got to the airport this morning, just about 2 hours before departure, and waited in line a full 45 minutes for them to process one, 1, I repeat, one single passenger. After an hour in line, I finally get to the ticket agent who wishes me good morning, and asks for my tickets. Now, do you think that F@@@ travel agent ever got around to actually sending me tickets? Not in this lifetime. So... twenty minutes and $900 later, I now had a freshly printed set of tickets in my hot little hands. Then I remind the ticket agent I have a pistol in my luggage. He wants to see it... I gotta tell you how much I love pulling a gun out of my bag in an airport. It really gives me that warm, fuzzy comfortable feeling. Right.... It is now about 6:30, my flight leaves at 7:00, and I still haven't made it to security and US customs yet. Fortunately, everybody else has already gone through international security, so I was able to get the X-ray person's attention and warn her there was a gun in the bag. She thanked me for that... Then we started working on what was required to get me through security. Apparently, not a lot of people fly through the Ottawa airport with guns. Finally, several security people later, they decide to call a US customs dude over. While friendly, he wasn't real familiar with the ATF form 6 Non-Immigrant Alien firearms import paperwork. After disappearing for a few minutes, with all my paperwork, he returns and decides he wants to check the serial number. Out comes the gun again. Only this time, the guy wants to make sure it isn't loaded. My open gun, because of the laser sight mount, and a safety that tends to engage if not held down, is difficult to rack if you aren't familiar with it. So picture this guy struggling to pull the slide back, me trying to talk him through it, all the while he is waving it around just about over his head. Honestly. With visions of SWAT teams followed by an experience with latex gloves dancing through my head, I tried to hide under the counter, but there was just no where to go. Finally, he gets it open, satisfies himself all is ok, and the gun goes back in the case. Next stop, US customs... This actually went pretty smoothly. The guy who had checked the gun and my papers, met me at the counter and explained the whole thing to the guy there. Through quick. They wish me luck at the match.
So... it is now about 10 to 7:00. I'm at the gate, plane is about 5 minutes late. All is good in the world. I had a nice smooth flight to Atlanta. Now I just have 6 hours to kill waiting for the flight to Bogotá. Now I only have to make it through Columbia in one piece, and hope my luggage makes it sometime this week. I mean, what could go wrong?
Ok, so that was written at the Atlanta airport. To answer my question of what else could go wrong…
The flight to Bogotá was about 2/3 full of Columbian orphans, all who looked about 8 to 12. An organization call Kid Save Intl ships them all off to El Norde (the US) for the summer. This was their trip home. Anyway, the airline needs someone over 15 to sit in the exit rows, so I volunteer for a seat change since the exit rows have more leg room. A few minutes later, we board the plane. Now, when you board there, they scan your boarding pass with a bar code reader. However, when I get there, the woman recognizes me from the seat change and gives me a big hello, and doesn’t actually scan my pass. About 45 minutes later, we are still at the gate, and the pilot announces they searching the baggage hold for someone’s bags who didn’t get on the plane. But the thing is, the plane is absolutely full. I mean, not a single empty seat. Can you see where my mind is taking this? Just whose bags they are removing? Sigh…
After an hour and a half at the gate, we finally depart. Did I mention I have a two hour lay over in Bogotá? Enroute, we lose another 15 minutes. After I finally get off the plane in Bogotá, I have less then 10 minutes to find my gate. Did you know no one, and I mean NO ONE speaks English here? What’s the matter with these people. EVERYBODY speaks English these days. Hasn’t anyone told them that yet??? Anyway, after waving a boarding pass accompanied by lots of hand gestures, a heavily armed, (but she was CUTE, there is something about chicks with guns…) Columbian soldier points me in the right direction.
When I find the gate, sure enough, the sign says Guayaquil. But the departure time is right now. There are a few people in the waiting room, but no airline staff, and no plane in site. With a sinking feeling, I settle in to a chair hoping someone from the airline show up. No such luck. However, people are slowly trickling in to the room. I check the sign again, it still says the right flight info, but the departure time is way past. No one looks concerned, so I figure airline schedules are just a suggestion here. Finally a lone employee shows up. But he has this really disconcerting habit of walking to the window every few minutes, and walking away with a really worried look on his face. I’m really starting to get worried. I don’t want to try to clear Columbian customs with a gun (assuming I have luggage) to spend a night here. It is now a full hour after the scheduled departure, and a plane finally rolls up to the gate. After an uneventful boarding, we push back for departure. The stewardess welcomes everyone on board, and mentions the current time is 8:20… oddly enough, my watch says 9:20. Do you think they might have put up at least one clock somewhere in the airport so I could have caught the time zone change???
After a short flight, we land in Guayaquil. Immigration is a breeze, they just scan the passport. No questions at all. Now into the baggage pickup are and the big question… Did my bags make it? YES!!! I have all my bags 8-) Okay, I admit it. I worry way too much. But you have to agree this trip has given me lots of cause to worry. It is midnight here, but there are lots of people here for the match. The army has a room off to the side to inspect our guns, no problems there. I grab a taxi and off to the hotel. The taxi driver drives like me on my bike! I miss my helmet….
Anyway, so far there has been no sign of anyone from the match. They were supposed to meet us at the airport, and didn’t. There is supposed to be a rep here at the hotel today, there ain’t. None of us have any idea how to get to the range. And finally, as for our ammo. It isn’t here. Did I mention there is a UN arms embargo on Ecuador right now and airlines won’t ship ammo here? Sigh….
The saga continues…. ;-)