“Gooood doggie! Want a treat?”
It was obvious this was NOT a place to apply humor…not even the kind to ease angst. I have just entered the Twilight Zone. When bags are ripped open with knives and personal articles are sniffed by dogs and officials alike you know you'd better not blink. There was no touching of my person but somehow having my lingerie dumped and sniffed really did feel invasive. Don’t get me wrong, the times we live in require absolute vigilance in travel security, but, give me a break...
“If you would please just check the computer I’m sure you will find I am quite legal and that I am nearly through the process of becoming a resident.” I suggested, smiling innocently.
“No hablar Ingles, Senora.”
Oh, this isn’t going well. Do I get on the plane? Do I get on the van and return to Cuenca? Three weeks of visits to family and friends are on the line. I can't NOT go but my husband and my life are here in Ecuador and not being able to return for six months was unacceptable.
I went. As soon as I arrived in Dallas I contacted Jim and shared with him my/our problem. He said he would be on it as soon as the sun came up. I had a sudden feeling of calm that all would be righted and my return to him would be without trouble.
“Just hold your hands over your head like the picture.” Time to exhale.
“Now please stand over here and place your feet in the yellow footprints.” No sweat! But why are these other people going on through and I’m still standing here.
“Madam, are you wearing a money belt?”
“Duh! Doesn’t everyone?” I thought.
“Oh, PAALLEEAASSEE stop calling me that.”
“Madam we are going to have to take you to another place.”
My head started pounding, my face flushed and I wanted to scream, “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING. AM I PURPLE OR GREEN OR BLUE? DO I HAVE LITTLE ANTENNAE STICKING OUT OF MY HEAD WHICH, BY THE WAY, IS ABOUT TO EXPLODE."
Heart beating. Heart pounding. Breath shallow. Breathe deeply.
"Don’t call attention to yourself."
“Yes, here is my passport.”…thump, thump, thump…”No, I haven’t been issued my Cedula.”….thump, thump, thump…”Sir, here is a document issued by the acting Minister of the Interior regarding my visa status. My husband is outside with the original.”…THUMP, THUMP, THUMP…”I will get him on the phone. He speaks much better Spanish than I do."
"Yes, I will wait here."
I dial. “Jim, I am going to have to call Galo. They aren’t going to let me through.”
Just as suddenly as he tells me to "call esposo” he looks at me then waves me away and says in Spanish what I understand to mean I can go. OMG! I have always believed in the possibility of divine intervention and I have no doubt God worked out the details in this scenario. As I exited the customs area all I could see was the face of my beloved Jim ahead of me and the “I Love You” balloon he was carrying and I knew, "This is what really matters."