Sunday, October 02, 2011

Jamaica Revisited

Wow! I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted my first post-Jamaica post. I finished the last post by promising to fill you in on the joys of being selected for Special Security Screening. Before I do that, I want to share a few more photos.

The trip began, naturally enough, with a flight from Washington, DC to Montego Bay, Jamaica. As you can see, we had beautiful weather for flying. These are two views of the Caribbean Sea from approximately 7 miles above the earth.

Our resort didn't lack any amenities. This swimming pool features a billiard table and a swim-up bar.

A neighboring resort features massage tables on the beach.

Here's a closer look at a swim-up bar at a resort.

This is a view of Booby Cay from Seven Mile Beach.

This is Dave walking along Seven Mile Beach. One of these days, I'm going to persuade him to walk the whole length of the beach with me - all the way to Negril.

Not surprisingly, water sports are popular diversions at the resorts.

This is a view of a beautiful sunset over Long Bay.

If you want to see more photos, you'll have to come back for my slide show. Which I promise will be complete before the end of the year. :)

Now, about Special Security Selection. If you're lucky, you'll never have to participate in this dreary bit of Security Theatre.

On the morning we left Jamaica, a security officer informed me that I had been randomly selected for Special Screening. This consisted of three phases. The first phase was the usual security procedure of walking through the metal detector, being wanded and mildly patted down, and having my suitcase x-rayed. Once that process was complete, I had to sit in another area and wait for the second phase. When my name was called, my suitcase and I were led to a room where my hands were dabbed with a chemical that was analyzed for the presence of explosives, and my suitcase was searched. The third phase occurred two hours later, as I was about to board the plane. Before I was allowed to board, my hands, suitcase and clothing were dabbed with chemicals and analyzed for explosives, and my sandals were removed from my feet and inspected for explosives. Presumably because I may have met a bomb-toting accomplice in the airport, or perhaps retrieved a bomb planted for me in the Margaritaville ladies' room. By this time, I was thoroughly annoyed with my role in Security Theater and had great difficulty conducting myself civilly. I managed not to get myself thrown out of the airport and into a Jamaican jail - but just barely. There were about 280 people on my flight, and 12 of us were specially screened. One of the lucky ones was a lady that was at least 80 years old. Good Lord! She was carrying a purse that may have been large enough to hold lipstick and a paper bag that may have contained a couple of t-shirts. I know these searches are supposed to be random, but it seems like common sense should kick in at some point. This was utterly ridiculous. The net effect of that day's Special Security Screening farces was that 268 passengers didn't feel any safer after the process than they had before, and 12 passengers were thoroughly peeved. On the bright side, I suppose the TSA successfully justified its existence for another day.

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