Monday, May 20, 2013

Two Trips and a Loss

As I previously stated in an earlier blog I spent two weeks in Israel in April. Now, it was an experience I can't find the right words to explain - it was so amazing, I'm left speechless.
I could try.
I could try and tell you all the highlights, but see...I would rather you go for yourself some day.

So instead, I present to you "Kelsey's Israel Blundering Confessional" - five posts over ten days for you to have a good laugh at the silly, embarrassing, or dumb things I did in Israel. Those are stories ANYONE can enjoy without understanding the location. There will also be a giveaway, so be sure to follow and comment on each blog.  To start us off, I'm picking one that isn't entirely my fault...the one that started the trip.

Without further ado:

Kelsey's Israel Blundering Confessional: Part 1

Traveling has never been a strong suit of mine.  I have the joys of getting airsick, or maybe it's land-sickness...I've never been able to tell.  All I know is my equilibrium is shot and I feel I've been on a boat for some time after.

And yet, that is not what I'm here to tell you about.

In April I was blessed to go to Israel through my work. I could take the next lifetime to tell you about each detail, but I figure by then you'll have already gone yourself!  What I will tell you are a few funny anecdotes that stick with me, and will continue to stick with me, when I'm old and grey.
Leaving in the wee hours of a snowy morning.

I am not the best traveler.
Yes, I get airsick, but it's more than that.
I am unlucky: the black cat, the broken mirror, and the number 13 have nothing on me.  Traveling with me is a danger.  A danger my coworker Owen learned on his own.  Of course, this story is his fault, so maybe HE'S just as unlucky as I am.

Security in my hometown airport isn't slacking, but there are stricter airports in the country. We set off on the first leg of our adventure and landed in Denver with the prospect of 4-5 hours layover.  Being that Denver is a major hub for us, my younger brother and I decided to walk lamely back and forth the length of Terminal Hub C.

We'd succeeded in a few rounds when we ran into Owen - bless his heart.  If you remember Owen from a past blog, you will know he's like an older brother/cousin to me, but the pair of us always leads to a good story.  Owen was on his way to a gallery with photos that used to be in Terminal Hub C but had been moved.  He offered for us to join him.
An Adventure!
My brother, from now on to be dubbed "Brosef", agreed at once and we trailed on down to the tram. The gallery was listed in a place called just plain "Terminal" that none of us had ever been to.

That should have been our first warning sign.

Along the way we joked about how we're safe as long as we don't go outside. We can just grab the tram back to Terminal Hub C when we're done at the gallery.
As we get of the tram, we take one of two escalators - both only going up.

Second Flag.
Here Brosef started to get curious, but I am a blind follower of these men I trusted so well and I question nothing.

Once we are now above the stairs and have passed TWO ARMED GUARDS, Brosef is concerned, and Owen is curious.  I stare out in search of the gallery while the two spin around and observe the place we had just left.

Do. Not. Enter.

"Huh," Owen said, scratching his chin in contemplation. "That's weird."
"What?" In hindsight I mentally slap myself for not catching on sooner, but I readily turned to Owen with bright eyes and positive thoughts.
"That sign above where we just left says 'Do Not Enter.' "
"Oh, well there has to be a way back down." I said, still naive and happy to be a part of the group.
"I don't know." Brosef eyed the space around us. "I'm thinking we'll have to go back through security."
"I think I've led us 'outside'," Owen chuckled.

I couldn't fathom that.  I HATE going through airport security. So I stayed positive (and got the picture above) while the guys went to the information desk to find out where we'd gone wrong.

As I approached them, they were laughing. Owen, rather guiltily, and Brosef like he'd heard the world's funniest joke.
Of course....
We have to go back through security.

Now, this isn't THAT big of a deal, so we traveled on through (after stopping at the gallery) and thanked our lucky stars we had all of our tickets and passports with us.  Laughing along the way, we pulled off our shoes, belts, and watches, dumped our liquid bags, and removed our electronics in preparation for security.

Again and again Owen apologized to us. Again and again we told him it's no trouble.
"We wanted an adventure, we're getting one. This isn't so bad." I smiled, knowing Owen always means well (almost always).

But of course.

As I put everything back together, a man appeared and asked me about my liquid bag.
The bag I'd successfully gotten through our airport with just a few hours earlier.
The bag that no flag had been thrown.
No problems.
No trauma or weapons or anything.

Mask and Cleanser? OF COURSE I brought it with me.

"Excuse me miss, is this your face wash?"
I'm already panicking as I looked up to see a squatty little TSA agent looking at me through basset hound eyes.
"It's too large for you to have in your carry on at 4floz. Can you put it in your checked bag?"
Immediately I launched into an explanation, "I'm from Chardeau. It got through there okay. I can't check it."
"I believe you, but you can't take it. Would you like to put it in your check bag?"
I tried again, obviously not clear the first time. "No, I can't. My checked bag didn't check in here."
Brosef, beside me, jumps in, "We accidentally got outside of security and have to go back through."
"I'm sorry. But you can't take this. Would you like to mail it to yourself?"
By this point annoyance and frustration have overruled all else. Airports do that to you, you know. I stared at him in disbelief that what was allowed in Chardeau isn't acceptable here - shouldn't all rules match? It was a brand new bottle! I have oily skin!!
"No." I sighed, giving up. "Just throw it away."
His eyes widened. "Are you sure? We have a post office and for just a few dollars you can..."
"It's only worth a few dollars. I don't care. Throw it away."

I put together the rest of my things (now missing a hair tie as well) and wandered over to Owen and Brosef. Owen, mortified by the fact that he lost me my face wash, promised he'd buy me a new one and apologized again.
"But they let you get through Chardeau!"
"I think he's just cheap." I said, rolling my eyes. Brosef and Owen raised their brows in question, and I smiled.  "He just needed face wash, so he got it from me for free!"

We rode the tram back (seeing some scary neck piercing that I thought must hurt), and as payback for the misadventure, we indulged telling EVERYONE of how Owen led us astray. The cheeky devil. He didn't live it down for the rest of the trip.
"Are you sure we should follow you?" I might say.
"I'm not following him." Brosef would joke.
"Just don't lead me astray." I say once as he leads me back to the group after we'd been separated.

I physically shuddered at the thought of this piercing 

As for the face wash, I found a new, much more expensive bottle (cheapest in the store) in Newark that did wonders for my skin while abroad.
And though I denied his request to pay for it, Owen gave me the money anyway, because that's the kind of person he is.
I vowed to pay him back. Especially after what happened next on the plane....

Want to hear more about my adventures in Israel? They'll be more to come!  In the meantime, tell me your BEST airport security story.  What have they taken from you? What have they let you keep? I have a zinger when we get on our way BACK from the trip.

So tell me tales, spin me stories, share with your friends...
Perhaps when we reach the end of this thing there will be something worthwhile involved...all comments of followers will enter themselves to win something from Israel, as well as a hearty gift card to one of your choosing: Amazon, Barns and Noble, iTunes.


Bailey Karfelt said...

Haha I've come pretty close once or twice to going out the wrong door, but never actually done it! With my luck I wouldn't have any tickets or ID on me.
I have lots of strange airport stories, none quite as adventurous as yours though. My experiences tend to revolve around strange people and stranger conversations, or running like mad through the airport, or Terminal F, or stupid Philly, or stupid US Airways.
However, one amusing story for now, the bits I remember at least- lack of sleep will do funny things to your memory. I flew home the day after the Boston Marathon. I’d been on vacation, hadn’t slept in OVER 72 HOURS, had strep, an ear infection (AND what I now refer to as “the Mexican disease”,) had gotten to my hotel around midnight, had less than three hours in my hotel, and took a sketchy 3AM shuttle to the airport (driven by the hotel janitor/manager). Apparently the airport didn’t actually open till 430, so all the stores were closed, which was fine considering I had massive suitcases to lug about and was too sore to swallow. I was able to stay awake, eventually check in and go through security where my hair was patted down persistently (never know what I keep in there!), then sequester myself into a corner of the waiting area and pitifully cry while I tried to swallow a bagel. Some old ladies tried to steal my window seat- don’t mess with me when I’m sick and tired!- but then I did a lovely dead faint into my food tray while they hissed about me ever-so-quietly. I wake up when we land (never a good moment), drag myself to my next gate and begin to pass out again when a man (doctor) sits down next to me and strikes up a conversation. Mostly one-sided, mind you, because I definitely had no interest at that moment in the history of million dollar clubs, DJ music, or chapstick. And I definitely didn’t need to watch the videos of surgeries involving cadavers or live donors on his phone. Or hear about the family history of my seat partner on my last flight. I mean, I’m fine with meeting new people, but when I’m sucking down cough drops three at a time and crying over a bagel, have food-tray impressions on my face, am practically holding my eyelids open and breathing the Mexican plague…who the heck would be dumb enough to talk to me?!

Kelsey-plain and simple said...

Oh Bailey, thank you for that lovely Monday morning laugh. You have your mom's knack for telling a funny story. Pictured the whole thing!
I hate flying. Hate it so much. I feel nothing good ever happens there. Once had two large Germans sit behind me and kick my seat the entire trip because I was "jiggling her tray" while I slept.
I was 12.

Katie Cross said...

OH! Let me tell you MY airport security story!

As a single girl, I was a major traveller. So I was in line, on my way to the Bahamas to enjoy some sun and sand, taking the opportunity to people watch as I waited for the security line ahead of me.

Little did I know the nightmare that awaited.

I slid my computer into it's own container, pulled my purse off my shoulders and slipped my shoes off. Then I pushed the boxes towards the scanner and innocently waited behind the obese woman in front of me. She was wearing turquoise earrings. It doesn't mean anything, but I thought you'd like to know.

I'm pretty sure that was the point when red lights started flashing and a stream of Army Rangers came parachuting into the airport, all guns pointed at me.

All I could think as a group of very angry looking men escorted me away was: what had I left in my purse?

Security guards surrounded me as we walked, and I was taken into a back room. There was only one table and one chair. I'm pretty sure there was one of those two-way mirrors. I didn't even know they had those in airports!

Instead of sitting, I began to pace. I was physically sick to my stomach. What happened? What could I have left in my purse? They must have made a mistake.

Then the door creaks open and this huge man walks in with a not-welcoming expression.

"So..." he said, throwing a paper bag on the table. "You're the girl that tried to bring this into the airport. You think you're smarter than us?"


Just kidding.

I don't have a cool airport security story, at least not as cool as yours. I think I had a security guy try and flirt with me once? So I had to make one up.

And I've never been to the Bahamas, or even tried to go.

Kelsey-plain and simple said...

Katie, that was beautiful! I was so intrigued and wanted to know what happened next.

I wonder what it was you would have brought.

Actually, something not as bad as that DID happen to me because I left a metal card in my wallet ("Ragged Edge Edition"). They kept scanning it and asking me what could be in there. They searched everything and then it donned on me.
I don't bring that with me anymore...

Garrett Heide said...

My only exciting thing that comes from flying is that I cannot sleep on airplanes. So when I went to East Asia over this last Spring Break, I was up for 30+ hours straight both ways. Excitement held me over for the trip there, but that same enthusiasm was not around on the way back.

Needless to say, after far too much flying we had another 3 hour drive home from Missoula. I had been up for around 30 hours at that point, and the fatigue was slowly pulling me under to the point where I was hallucinating things on the windshield as we drove back. Big crawly millipedes that had no business being on a Subaru windshield in a blizzard were making their way across the window until they disappeared when I tried to focus on them.

I also would start to pass out if I stopped singing along to the music in the car, so I stayed in a half-singing, half-dozing off state for about half the trip. One minute I'd be belting out harmonies to a random worship song, the next I'd be catching my head as it fell down from exhaustion. I'm sure it was quite odd for the driver to watch me drift in and out between lyrics.

I wish I had some cooler stories like you all, though! That sounds equal parts nerve-wracking and fun!

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Hahaha, Katie Cross,you totally had me going - and I'd super appreciate it if you'd make up an ending for me now. Garrett - as I read your tale I was freaking out thinking "Was he driving?!"

Once my DH saw batman one lonely night when we were driving through Arkansas, but I digress.

Half the time I go through airport security I get a pat down on my calves. I have unnaturally large calves. Now I blame this on the fact that I'm a runner, but the fact is I've always had them. I do not know what they think I'm packing in my calves, but fly easy knowing you are safe from my He-Man calves.

Since I fly often, I get impatient with the whole process. Especially when I'm being scanned like I'm at the hospital and a bunch of guys, who work inside, are going through their own private doorway - sans screening - with their man purses and their bums hanging out the back of their trousers. So I don't always feel so cooperative, and I dangerously leave my banana flavored hand sanitizer dangling on my purse instead of sticking it inside the plastic bag, and I try to sneak toothpaste in too. Because you have to pay $6 to buy it inside, and I NEED it with me.

But the worst thing I did was give my son his backpack, go through security way ahead of him, and watch him get stopped because I'd left several bottles of water in it.
Oopsie. Mother of the Year I am not. I did rush over and confess the whole thing. They were very forgiving fortunately. So was my son, luckily.

Anonymous said...

Coming back from London, we queued up at the security check. Long line. Bailey and I had distributed the weight between our suitcases, because of all the souvenirs we had. We had gone back and forth a few times between our rooms, distributing various items until we had to rush out to get on the bus. So standing in line, waiting my turn for the highly anticipated patting down (hey I'm single, it's been awhile,) I remembered a tiny little brown bag with assorted items we purchased the night before. In that tiny little brown paper bag were two contraptions, combination knife-fork-corkscrew-machete type fold up thingies. My heart fell to my feet! Holy Bangers and Mash, I was going to get arrested! So I pulled them out and handed them over to the guy behind the counter with my saddest face. "Here, I was supposed to put these in my suitcase and forgot." He looked at me funny, opened the sack and peeked in. Looked at me again, showed them to the lady at the x-ray machine and handed them back to me. "It's okay." My mouth flew open and I started to protest that they would allow a machete on the air plane (okay, I think it may be critical here that I fess up and say it was about a 2 inch long by 1/2 wide machete, but still a machete is a machete, right?) Before I could school him on his lax attitude toward his job, I snapped my mouth shut, took the sack and went on about my business. I decided then and there, I had the most powerful pout in the history of woman kind. LOL. Good thing, I didn't have to go through Denver, though. I don't know but they are immune to pouting powers.


DM Kilgore said...

Wow. I don't fly, thus I have no stories to tell. I do however have a powerful urge to write a novel about a young woman who takes over a plane with a 4 oz. tube of face cleaner... news at 11. o.O

Call Me Heretic said...

I've never lost anything, but I have forgotten to take out my liquids on several occasions (and not been asked). I've also passed forgotten pocket knives a few times. One of those times they searched my wallet (apparently the RE card shows up on scans), but not my luggage. Another time I got a partial pat down because my two - very small crosses might have been concealing something lethal. (Those crosses have gone through multiple airports without incident before and since.
Oh, and one time they swabbed my hands for hazardous materials. I don't recommend flying when the alert level is orange. :P