Thursday 14 August 2014

From The West

We arrived in Boston about 5 hours ago.  It's still yesterday here in Massachusetts.. The cool thing about Ireland having a most favored nation status is that part of the airport has ceded extra-territorial rights to the US Customs and Immigration.  Accordingly flights from Dublin to cities in the US can clear customs before they set off which saves a lot of time when you arrive in the States.  The disadvantage is that it adds another layer of queues.  We spent 4.5 elapsed hours in Dublin Airport this morning, mostly standing in warehouse sized rooms filled with long snaking lines of people - some hot-and-bothered; but most calm and friendly.  1. Check-in line 2. Airline security, remove shoes and hold trousers up with hand line 3) US airline security, remove shoes again line 4) Customs and Border Patrol line.  We had been led to believe that Aer Lingus were no longer serving meals on the flights - their booking website had offered us a sirloin steak for lunch at €17.50.  We declined and packed enough fruit, salad and sandwiches to feed us on board.

As a farming nation, US Customs are rightly concerned about importing agricultural pests. Nobody wants colorado beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) eating fields of potatoes.  As we approached the front of the final line The Beloved noticed a small-type notice itemising all the things specifically unwanted in America: including "fruit".  We asked, a tad ironically, if we would be required to declare two apples and the answer was "Yes" and "throw them in that orange bin" too.  That was surprising and sad because I woiuld have gladly eaten my appie while in line the previous hour.  But when I asked "What about this tomato?". I was told that I might keep that.  Quite properly, the US Customs are following the US Supreme Court on the big debate "Are tomatoes fruit or vegetables?".

In 3 hours on the ground we covered perhaps 100 crow-flight meters between the end of each line and the front.  On the plane that time took us halfway across the Atlantic. Aer Lingus did serve lunch, and tea, and even leaving out the apple, I ate more than was good for me.  That was bad, but watching Little Miss Sunshine again on a postcard-sized screen was good.

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