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D-town Departure A.K.A. Panic in Detroit

Detroit, United States


So at long last and much waiting in Michigan I am all set to board the Boeing 747-400 for a quick(fourteen hour!) jaunt over to Narita Airport outside of Tokyo and another hop on a smaller 747-200 over to Gimhae Airport in Busan. This is where I will be calling home for the next year and I have been ready for quite some time to make this flight.
The morning of my departure I woke up about 6:30 – 7:00 A.M. and got ready. Two huge rolling suitcases. Check. Laptop and bulging duffle bag that is beginning to burst at the zippers. Check. Seven sticks of deodorant, seeing as I have read that it is not the same or in short supply over here. Check. I wasn’t entirely sure what to bring but had a pretty good idea that with this much luggage I’m pretty sure I won’t be in too dire of need.
After my parents and I are all set to make the drive to Detroit Metro Airport we load everything into the car and take off. I haven’t really felt nervous the whole time I have been planning and waiting for this trip to commence and I believe that it was the right time to do something like this. Too step outside of the aching normality back home to see something else for once. I occupy myself in the back of the car with thoughts of the fantastic going away party that my friends threw for me. It was Mardi-Gras Masquerade in theme and turned out to be one of the best times that I have had since coming back to the Coloma/St. Joseph area from Kalamazoo.
Along the trip my parents asked me a few more questions about Busan and Korea in general. I answered as best I could but felt that I wouldn’t truly know what was going to happen or what things were going to be like until I got there. We arrived at the Detroit airport and began the process of checking in my bags…
And so it starts. I thought I had navigated the Northwest Airlines website well enough yet as it turns out this was not the case. I had misread the luggage requirements and thought that you could bring up to one hundred pounds in each piece of checked luggage. In reality NWA would accept up to one hundred pounds with no charge up to fifty pounds, a fifty dollar charge for up to seventy pounds and a three hundred and ninety-five dollar charge for anything over seventy pounds.
Seeing as I had a bit over seventy pounds in one case and around fifty in my smaller case I was in a world of hurt. We had a cardboard box brought so I could shed some of the unnecessary items for my parents to take home. Then began the nerve-racking game of Tetris. Shuffling items from one case to the other in hopes of balancing the scales. Shoving odd pairs of socks into my carry on luggage, hence it’s near bursting state as I carried it toward the departure gate.
I must take a moment here to completely denounce the security staff at the Detroit Metro Airport. What a surly bunch of ass-hats they were. I shuffled through the roped off walkway after I said my goodbyes to my parents. Like a rat in a maze, nearly falling over trying to steer my huge carry-on luggage around the corners I shuffled up to a podium. There was a man standing behind it turned the other way leisurely chatting it up with a co-worker.
It was pretty well apparent that I was there, I had made some noise in approaching and it is not as if the worker facing me couldn’t see me waiting to board. So, I cleared my throat and said excuse me, the man turned around with every once of incredulity he could muster in his sneer and glare. He just stared at me… and I at him… I began to sweat. Was this part of the security screening process? A good, old fashioned stare off? Do terrorists usually cave after thrirty seconds under this man’s gaze? I shifted, eyes darting around as I avoided his stare and began to shift my bags uncomfortably.
“Boarding pass…”, He stated. Not “May I have your…” or “I need your…”. Just a simple noun. I was perturbed at his rudeness, I didn’t see any sign around that said have your boarding pass ready. Eh, forget it give the clown his pass and continue on to the security check.
Again, I am met with a worker that is more concerned with talking to a co-worker than instructing me on what the current procedures are. I place my first bag on the conveyor, empty my pockets into one of the buckets that they have and send it through.
“Do I put my laptop through?” I ask.
A rolling of eyes. “Yes.”
I begin to push the case through.
“Naw, take it out.” He snaps his brow furrowed with disgust.
I begin to mumble curses about this man’s mother under my breath and roll my own eyes and then realize if I get shitty with him he can deny me entrance. Nice, so that’s the game, eh? I take the laptop out and send it and the bag through. I take off my jacket, pass it through and then go to step through.
“Naw, take your shoes off.” He burps.
I think this is probably currently, not so much a safety measure but the lazy airport workers way to stick it to you if they think you are some backwoods rube. I take off my shoes and pick them up and begin to walk through.
“Naw,” again… “If I wanted you to take them through the metal detector I wouldn’t have told you to take them off…”
What an insufferable prick. I bite my tongue, place my shoes on the conveyor and leave this uninviting douche-bag behind. I wave my goodbyes to my parents and gather up my dignity, put on my shoes, gather my bags and find my gate.
Luckily it was right by the security entrance and I took up a seat to wait for the boarding announcement. Shortly thereafter I got in line and boarded the plane…


permalink written by  Native_Kurtz on January 29, 2008 from Detroit, United States
from the travel blog: South Korea - Busan - Teaching Abroad
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