The Politically Incorrect Mom


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Home of the Brave....via Paradise.

I just returned from vacation and those who know me will be expecting my usual suitcase full of wise-cracks and sarcasm that trips outside the United States bring out of me.

My girls and I travelled to Jamaica and let me first say we had an excellent time and we will undoubtedly return. I love the Caribbean and what it does for my attitude...not to mention the tone of my skin. I'm not planning to rant about our was glorious!

This trip, we had the unusual ?luck? of being in Ocho Rios during the World Cup Cricket matches. Now, forget that I think cricket is a pansy game and forget that the hair stands up on the back of my neck when someone (like our airport shuttle driver) says, "it's just like baseball!" and forget that it's so boring that when forced to watch it I start fantasizing about using that club/bat/stick used to bunt the ball to crack people in a 1970's style high-school paddling. This really isn't about cricket - although I could go on all night. No - the only interesting thing about being in Jamaica during this tournament was that the Pakistani cricket team was there - playing this pansy game against the West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland.

So, the day we were leaving, I'm watching these sheep herders in their long beards and little pansy cricket helmets bounce balls to each other and while the camera is panning around the stadium I couldn't help but notice the crazy number of "fans" these people had with them and the thought occurs to me - how in the name of anything sacred are these people hopping on planes to go to Jamaica? I mean, at the risk of sounding like the politically incorrect person that I am - shouldn't it be really, REEEEEALLLLY hard for people from that region to travel the world right now? Excuse me while I clear my throat.......ahem.....and say, "YES!"

Suddenly I recalled the day we arrived and how incredibly easy it was to slide into the little island of Jamaica without so much as a baggage check. Immigration was nothing - and I do mean NOTHING. No scanning of our passports, not even a second look at my youngest daughter who looks nothing like her passport photo and certainly no questions.

Then, there was Customs.

Customs Guy:"How many bags, mon?"
PIMom: 5
Customs Guy: "Welcome to Jamaica"

End of Customs

And let me clear something up right now....
We might be three very white girls from Pennsylvania, but the olive skinned, Arabic speaking couple in line ahead of us got the same Q&A and freedom to cruise on into the country.

Fast forward past the sunscreen, the kayaking, the waterfalls and the countless banana drinks with little umbrellas....

Now it's the day to go home. The sky is blue and there is a beautiful breeze (of course there is because the most beautiful day of the year is always the day you're going home!). We pile our bags into the airport shuttle and take the 2 hour hike back to the airport. When we arrive expecting the usual scrutiny that accompanies leaving a foreign country and returning to the United States (I swear the airport people take it out on Americans), what do you suppose happened?? I'll give you a starts with N and ends with ING.....NOTHING, folks. A BIG FAT NOTHING. No baggage check, no questions, no forms, no x-ray machines....not even so much as a peek into my shoe bag.

So, I'm standing there watching the sheep herders bunt the little ball on the TV screen next to the "security check point" and it occurs to me......What a great way to enter the United And what a great place to be standing in line behind a bunch of people who look like "freedom fighters". Yeah - it's a beautiful day in paradise.

At least they can't actually GET IN to the United States, right?

When I returned to the Philadelphia airport, we went through Immigration along with a number of foreigners with passports that may or may not be legitimate (would the minimum-wage-earning immigration "clerks" really know the difference?) and then headed to customs, which is usually a zoo and a huge pain in the rear while greasy people paw through my luggage. Guess what, folks??? There was nobody in the Customs area. Just a couple of security guards standing in the hallway leading out of the area. One of them held his hand out for the customs declaration card we filled out on the plane while the other stared at my boobs. I never showed anyone my luggage. I didn't go through an x-ray machine, nor did my bags. I could have had a bag full of explosives, cash or Bob Marley smoke...and nobody cared.

It's nice to know that the good ole' boys at the Department of Homeland Security are "keepin' it irie". If I was curious whether we are doing enough to keep the bad guys out - I'm not anymore.


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