Of course I was so anxious to get home that I forgot that my so diligently written and stamped postcards are still in my carry-on and not mailed in Amsterdam as they should have been. Well, damn. I guess it had to happen at some point.
I’m on my flight home. My last flight from Europe this year and it feels a little weird. This is only partially because it also happens to be the tenth anniversary of 9/11. What a day for air travel. The security leaving Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport definitely felt heightened a bit. At AMS, they have small security stations at each gate instead of the massive security setup you find at many airports. It makes it so much easier and less of a hassle and stress. Today, I arrived at the airport three hours before my flight, part out of anxiousness to get home and part because I had no idea what to expect flying today. Busy at baggage drop but the airport felt a normal kind of busy. At the gate, they usually have the normal scanner and TSA patrol but today an extra step. From our line at the gate, a TSA agent would allow you through the belted divider then ask you to stand at a podium. They scanned your passport at a computer located at a different podium before joining you and giving the usual Q&A about your baggage. From here, you were then allowed to the usual scanner but today, everyone was required to go through the full body scanner, followed for many, by a pat down. I’ll sacrifice the time for safety even though I have mixed feelings about the scanners. (I have after the fact been informed that this type of security is normal for AMS.)
Finally on flight, I listen to an older white American couple complain to the flight attendant about being seated next to a gentleman in a head wrap and his wife, obviously of Eastern background. He pleads to her to be moved to other seats if any are available after the flight is boarded. The attendant responded that the flight was full and asked if he wanted to be put on the next flight. He declined and sat back uncomfortably in his seat. Eventually, the couple was able to move seats. For the life of me, I hope their children, if they have any, are not of the same naive mentality. The Eastern appearing couple were both carrying American passports and even if they weren’t, why the prejudice? This drives me absolutely insane and saddens me greatly. It’s these people that I apologize for when I travel. The Americans (and I’m aware they exist elsewhere in the world too) who prejudice by stereotypes and bulk labels. It makes me want to apply for an Iranian passport. By birth, I inherited from my father dual-citizenship with Iran. I have no intentions of traveling to Iran any time in the next 10 years but it would serve as a recognition of my family and my background. Which has nothing to do with terrorists. These instances are simply infuriating to me. It took every ounce of me to not ask the older man what the problem was.
It’s almost 2PM in Europe and approaching 8AM on the East Coast. The man sitting next to me on my flight somehow managed to step on and break my glasses? My belly has been fed, my heart a bit heavy and the ignorant out of sight. My first order of business upon returning to Atlanta is to acquire a Willy’s burrito and lay down in Piedmont Park. It’s suppose to be a lovely 84F today and Europe does not have good Mexican food, i.e. my one of my lifelines. I will spend the next two weeks seeing family and friends, finding as much random short-term work as possible, driving to Houston, Texas to acquire my visa for India and a thousand errands, before heading out to Asia. It will be very nice to be home.