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I am not sure what the people at the airport in Lima believe travelers might have secreted on their person (or in their carry on luggage) between the first time they were xrayed and metal-detected and arriving in the airport for their international connecting flight, but it never ceases to amuse me to know that I must be rescanned. And by amuse, I am actually transmitting to you a sense of frustration, a what-do-you-think-is-going-oninness, an incredulity. But I am a sheep (much to my chagrin, see previous post), and I must stand in line and watch from a distance as my precious items disappear into xray land, as I listen to comments such as, “te juro que me compro una hebilla de cartón” (I swear, I’m going to buy a cardboard belt buckle), this as a man whipped his belt out of its loops and laid it in a gray plastic bin along with his laptop. No mention of a cardboard laptop though.

It all seems so random, when you get Xrayed again, when you have to take off your shoes, when your items must be in a ziplock bag (how happy are those ziplock bag people about this?) in three-ounce containers, and when they may float freely among your beach togs n whatnot, welcome to spill and frustrate and coat everything with your not-well-sealed toiletries. Not that this has happened to me.

It is rumoured that the liquids restriction is only about flights to the United States. I say rumored because I had my stuff rifled through before getting on the plane to New Zealand from Argentina, about which the only American thing on that flight was me. Signs in the Cancún aiport indicated that they, too, would restrict our liquids, and I considered, however briefly, going into the bathroom to tuck my toothpaste into the waistband of my jeans. It is four ounces, you see, and imported from the United States. I am fairly fond of my high-flouride content/sensitive teeth toothpaste and did not wish to lose it into that bin of scissors n such. But in the end I opted not to do the toothpaste tuck, for fear of starting an international toothpaste smuggling incident, which could occasion me being detained, or worse. I risked it, and it turns out that from Cancún to Mexico City, you neither have to take off your shoes nor segregate your liquids. They did ask me if my camera bag contained a laptop, which is a testament to how big and heavy my camera bag is. My camera is also not made of cardboard.

Which is a long winded way of saying I hope to never be in the air for so long again or take so many flights unless I am going someplace truly life-changing, though my family is pretty darn interesting and hilarious and oh! the inside jokes and get-out-of-my-brain and we are all pretty much cut from the same cloth even if we do live on different continents.

And just like that, she was home, and is spending all day Saturday in front of the computer and working, thankful (but somewhat embarassed) that her houseguest did some cleaning, and enjoying the smell of flowers left in the carafe part of her french press as a gift for the homestay. And looking forward to getting back to regular life, whatever that might be.