Sunday, August 22, 2004

could you please open your suitcase, ma'am...

Fuck. Oh Fuck. At the Hong Kong airport, I apparently look suspicious enough to warrant a random seach. Clearly, I'm carrying enough illegal knock-off handbags and jewelry to spend some time in the airpot security lounge, but this is compounded by the fact (or the felony, depending which way you look at it) that I was also smuggling some Cuban cigars. Really, why commit one crime, when you can commit two?
So, with my family nervously standing around attempting to laugh while knowing we could be spending a little more time in Hong Kong than imagined, I had to open my suitcase. The guard rifles through it.
"Do you have any matches or lighters in here?"
"No." I say, as box of matches falls out. (Seriously. That actually happened.) My credibility was shot. He pulls my dirty underwear and gold stilettos. He grabs at the bottom, where the following is stashed: 4 pieces of faux jewelry, 3 fake watches, 2 fake bags, 1 North Face huge backpack, 1 North Face ski jacket, 1 North Face fleece, 5 Montecristo Cuban cigars, and one long metal opium pipe. This took up about a third of the suitcase. I'm a goner.
He really takes his time, feels around, shuffles everything around. I mean, he's lifting and taking things all the way out. He's not fucking around. He's lookin' for somethig just to make his quota. I'm convinced I'm looking shifty eyed and try to make conversation. It' doesn't work. He's concentrating too hard on sending me to jail. I must watch and wait.

Nothing. He finds nothing.

Shaken, we get our boarding passes and head for The Red Carpet room. You see, this time, we all get to upgrade, and are on the 2nd floor, which I love. Prior to the flight, we all get to enjoy the never-ending buffet and open bar that is The Red Carpet Club. As we waited for our plane to board, dad ran into some cronie from Mill Valley. Jesus Christ. We're in goddamn Hong Kong. It never ends.
The flight was uneventful, save for the white trash psycho who refused to lower her shade when the in-flight entertainment started. What is that? Every other shade on our little floor was closed, creating the theater-like darkness I require to watch a film. But this dreadful beast forced us all to be plunged into sunlight, through my entire viewing of Miracle. A few hours into our flight, she chose to look out for the needs of her fellow passengers before her own, but until then, I looked back and shot her dirty looks every so often.
I read most of the book I'm now obsessed with, Absolutely American. Unlike the films I was forced to watch on the plane: Miracle, Jersey Girl, and 13 Going on 30, Ambolutely American had me laughing and crying all flight long. Written by a Rolling Stone reporter, it's the story of one class at West Point through their entire 4 years. It's amazing and I want to go out and find each of them.
We suddenly landed. It's amazing how Business Class makes the 11 hour flight seem so quick, and coach made it seem like we were travelling to the moon. Back home, I had to deal with both immigration and customs again, however the huge "INSPECTED" sticker on my bag may have helped us float through them both. Stickin' it to the man and overpacked with contraband, I'm home safe and sound, back at 916A. And, to top it all off, my stunning silk lamp purchased in HK and delicately carried across the Pacific, works. Mom predicted I'd plug it in and the lights of San Francisco would darken. Ha! My room is one step closer to being the opium den I envision.
I'm back! I'm back! I'm so glad to be back!