Galapagos Islands 2015 Vacation (INCA Tours)

Day 12

May 17, 2015

Our day in (almost) painful detail

2:30am Alarm went off.  Yikes.  Way too early. 2:50am I am ready (just a couple of things to throw into the suitcase) and waiting while Barbara gets done preparing for the day ahead.  We hope to be able to find the correct place for the all night breakfast dining room near the lobby.  On the way in we found the wrong place but managed to eat anyway.  This time that restaurant won’t be open for hours. 3:50am We are still in the room.  We are both packed and dressed. 5:45am We are in the airport.  We found the right place for breakfast and had an enjoyable meal.  We were picked up on time by INCA and had a nice ride (very few cars on the road this early) to the airport. Barbara has just been nabbed for a suitcase inspection.  There were about 6 people who were taken away to the baggage handling area for an extra security check.  I will ask her to explain what happened in her own words when she gets back.  If she gets back…. 6:55am Barbara returned just as boarding was starting.  We had to wait until we were in the plane, in our seats before she could really tell me what happened.  Barbara relates her adventure: Barbara heard her name called on the speakers and went to the desk to ask what was up.  She was informed that she had been selected for a security check.  Her and about 5 others were escorted to the other end of the airport and then outside.  It was the place where they load the luggage onto carts to bring it to the airplane for loading.  The police had small metal tables set up.  She had to wait her turn and when they finally got to her it really was John’s suitcase.  When we checked in our suitcase we had put them both on the scale and the agent had put the tags on the suitcases.  Seems she put Barbara’s tag on John’s suitcase.  Barbara pointed out that the suitcase belonged to her travel companion but they only cared that the airline tag had her name on it. Some of the other people had almost everything removed from their suitcases.  If they found what looked like food the officer would push a pointed stick into the item and then smell the stick.  They did a very thorough job of looking into some of the luggage. John’s suitcase, they removed the underwater camera from the case, picked up a few articles of clothing and looked underneath, didn’t empty the suitcase and were done.  A very cursory examination.  While she was still in the bowels of the airport she heard some barking and watched as a German Shepard type dog was led around smelling the luggage.  It must have gone around 4 or 5 times.  He never stopped or indicated an issue.  Then everyone was led back up to the gate area, not long before boarding time. 7:00am Still on the tarmac.  The ramp has been pulled away.  Seems all the luggage has been loaded and the safety demonstration is over.  We are being pushed back from the terminal and should be in the air very soon.  Below are all photos taken on flight from Quito, Ecuador to Miami Airport. 2:10pm We are in Miami on the plane that will take us to Laguardia Airport in NY.  It was quite the fiasco.  There is no direction on where to go or how to get through customs.  I think they expect everyone to know instinctively what to do.  We asked someone and they are amazed we didn’t already know.  First you HAVE to get on the skytrain and get off at the right place.  Then you have to find the correct computer terminals that will allow you access to do your customs forms.  We tried some that would not allow us in and when we asked she pointed to other computer terminals like we should have known.  No signs that we could see and no help in the area for guidance. After entering the right data into the right computer we got a print out and then it took us a couple of tries to find the right line.  Again we saw no signs pointing or explaining what to do.  After waiting on line and someone glancing at the form we had to run to find our luggage which was not nearby. Even with all that we had a twenty minute wait for baggage.  Then once we had our luggage we had to get on a very long line for customs.  After being online for ages we get dragged off the line because I had my camera around my neck and this was a restricted area.  I could have taken hundreds of photos before anyone noticed or corrected me but he had to drag me out of the line to put the camera away.  Now, back on the line, luckily it moved pretty fast. After customs we had to almost run to the check-in counter for the next flight.  Now back in line for security checks.  After all that then run to find our gate and make the flight.  We made the gate with just a few minutes before boarding started. 7:15pm We are now at Barbara’s house.  Our trip to the Galapagos Islands is officially done.  How sad.
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