Friday, July 21, 2006

To The Airport and Back

So, I said yesterday that I would be flying to Amman with Mom and sister this morning. At first I didn't think that I would be able to make it with them cuz of all my waitings for the Fulbright stuff, but after the last unpleasant updates I got I decided not to waste my time anymore with this and start to have some fun.

I packed whatever I needed to take with me and asked Attawie if I need to get this and that and what else to pack.. bla bla bla... I bought the plane ticket the next day after I decied to go. Somehow, my parents managed to get me the ticket on the same day of my Mom and sister's flight. It's hard to do so now cuz all flights are reserved till mid August, but as what The Kid said, "the wise and the willing finds his way!" ;) One thing though, my flight was supposed to take off at 4:30, while Mom and sister's flight on 2:30. I didn't see a problem in that but Mom said that we'd find a way to switch places with a passenger so that I'd be on the same plane with them.

Anyways, Friday morning came and we got ready and waited for the taxi driver to drive us to the airport. We had to get there early before the Friday stroll ban which starts on 11 P.M. Though most of the road we took was a high way, I noticed that it was a hellish and deserted one. It was as if we were passing by a battle front, there was nothing but us, checkpoints with armed soldiers, barbed wires and the remaining framgments of bombings on the street's pavement. Oh, and alot of garbage!

For me and my sister it was fun to be on the road as we haven't been out for ages, but Mom was more anxious and was praying and focusing on the road. Well, she's right. After all this is the Airports's road which is famous of its deadly accidents! We reached the checkpoint, the one with the sniffing dogs. The time I saw it I thought of starting to count the checkpoints, but alas, we already passed by a countless number of them, so I quit the thought.

On another checkpoint where we had to get out of the car and have our bags searched, we were asked to have our passports checked as well. The guards and some officers were trying to be nice and funny with people to ease their fear of the road, dogs and everything else. When Mom asked one of the guards where to check our passports, he said loudly "Ma'am, go to that dumb guy, he'll check them", and he pointed to a guy who was smiling at us. Mom felt very sorry for this guy and wondered how did he get to work in this place if he can't speak. He took our passports, motioned to us to take off the sunglasses so that he can see if our faces matched the ones in the passports' photos. After finishing, he lift a thumb up to indicate all was ok, smiled and said "Have a nice journey!". Later we found out that he was playing this sort of candid camera thing to make people laugh in this scary place.

Then there were some other checkpoints and more dogs sniffing suitecases. Two American dudes helped us with one of our bags which was a very heavy one. We said "Thanks" and they motioned "Not at all".. then finally, we're at the Airport's main hall. At the time we got there bomibings started rocking the place. Sister and I stared at each other with fear, yet laughing. Mom, having been to the airport before, said that we'd hear much of that during the coming time. The driver, who was with us all the way long, suggested that we check the stamps on our passports as they have been renewd lately. Thank God we did this early as it turned that we had a problem with them!

Dad renewd the passports about two weeks ago before he went to Germany on a business trip. So we thought that we were all up to date with it. But it tunred out that a new stamp has been used just a few days ago which we don't have on our passports, and that prevented us from traveling! Time was 10:40 and we had only 20 minutes left for the cerfew, so we had to act fast and go back home. Otherwise we would be stuch inside the airport till 7 P.M. with nothing to do but envying people who were happily leaving.

The road back home was worse. I had nausia cuz of the heat outside and my empty stomach. More checkpoints were filling the streets by this time, motioning for cars to drive faster before blocking the streets. The clock ticked 11 P.M. and we were still on the road. A few cars were stopped near some checkpoints already, and we were afraid that we'd be forced to stop as well. But we were allowed to pass cuz we were women in the car and they wouldn't lest us stay out till the stroll ban is over at 7 P.M.

We made it home safely at last. Sister and I were laughing at it but Mom was angry. The trip is postponed till next week. My shoulders got stiffened from holding and pulling our suitecases down the road. I thought I would be seeing Attawie today, we haven't met since October 2003 when she came to college the last time before leaving to Jordan. We've already made plans for tonight as she invited me to a party. I was going around teasing my cousins for going to see two Iraqi singers; Hussam Al-Rsam -that is a big hit now- and Kadhim Al-Sahir, a very famous Iraqi singer, in that party.

So... That was my trip to the Airport and back!

10 comments:

Melantrys said...

Uh, well, what can I say? Glad you made it back safely.
Does this mean you'll only be staying for three weeks now, or will you be staying for four weeks regardless?
Hey, you'll better make it on the next attempt or - lacking the courage to go to Iraq myself - I'll send the fierce n*t-kicking AnaRki over to punish you. ;)


odhapjo..... hm, might be the technical term for a soldier playing the dumb comic relief guy.....

Mad Canuck said...

Hey Morbido,

I've heard of bureaucracy before, but this case is just ridiculous. If your dad had renewed the passports two weeks ago, they should have been valid for some time, and not invalidated because they got some "new stamp". If they introduced a new stamp, the old stamp should have been valid for some time so that people like you don't have to keep going to the passport office.

It is frustrating is when you have government bureaucrats making nonsensical decisions like this without thinking about the effects they will have on people.

David said...

Wow Morbido, you certainly had quite a trip "There and Back Again"! It sounds like you had to pass through a bit of Mirkwood along the way! Sorry to hear your trip will have to be postponed. Passports that are only good for two weeks? I am very surprised to hear about that! When I got a passport to travel to South Korea some years ago, it was good for ten years. Also, South Korea loves Americans so much they gave me a five year visa good for multiple visits. It must seem like I live on a different planet to you! ;)

I am glad that you have decided to not worry about the Fulbright stuff for a while and have some fun. :) You deserve it! Good luck for flying next week!

izrajj...looks kind of Arabicy

Morbid Smile said...

Oh, yes, it's so frustrating! Our passports are still valid, but they won't let use them untill we change the stamps! With all those people leaving Iraq, it's hard to get to the passports office and have the news ones, and it's even harder to get plane tickets as fast as possible.

As I told David before, things like stamps are being changed every now and there here to prevent forging passports... but we're the only ones who suffer from this! Today, Saturday, is an off-day in Iraq, so we still haven't gone to the passports office. Many people suffer from this everyday in the airport and yet I think it's way better than traveling by car. You may reach the border lines and some officer would tell you to go back cuz something in your passport is invalid!

I wonder when is it going to end...

Morbid Smile said...

Mel,

I will be going for four weeks starting from the day I land on the Jordanian soil.. No need to send Anarki to punish me! ;) I'm going.. I'm going!!



fhzeag .. sounds like... nothing!

Original_Jeff said...

Morbido,
Ugh! I hope you can get the stamp-of-the-week and get a plane ticket to Jordan.
I am interested to hear your experience in Jordan. Zeyad at HealingIraq.com had some interesting observations about Amman--and how it seems like there are Iraqis everywhere.
Good luck to you and safe (eventual) travels.

Melantrys said...

Hehe.

cooper said...

I am happy that you made it there and back safely! Be safe! I am so worried about Iraq and Lebanon right now....

aNarki-13 said...

Ugh.
Bummer..
i felt so sad for you..
i mean, its one hell of a situation to be stuck in. damn all beurocratic routine..
hang on sis, you're gonna make it..

sorry i havent commented here since ages.

hoping to meet u soon, and keeping my fingers crossed.

Morbid Smile said...

Well, good news! I'm leaving on Tuesday! :)

Hey Cooper, long time no see! Thanks alot :)

Anarki,

Yea, that was such a bummer! Got your message from Attawie. Thanks, bro. and meet you there ;)