May 30, 2009

New rules and navigating the Philadelphia airport

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, USA - I re-entered the U.S. without incident last night in Phoenix, not even raising any eyebrows from either immigration or customs. I am usually not that lucky.

At immigration, I stayed and chatted with the officer for about 5 minutes (an eternity at passport control) because the amiable fellow wanted lots of details about living in Mexico and, he asked, did I think it would be a good place for him to retire?

But early this morning, here in the City of Brotherly Love, the Admiral and I ran head-on into the rules.


Yes, rules. You know them, the stand-behind-the-yellow-line kind of stuff that doesn't seem to exist in Mexico.

We headed from our Phoenix-to-Philly flight to a shuttle bus, a bus we have taken at least a dozen times over the past few years. But today we ran afoul of two new rules - and some serious bad attitudes on the part of the enforcers.

The first rule was that in order to board the bus, passengers have to wait in a tiny holding pen - an unmarked holding pen where passengers must stand until a very self-important person, wearing an orange vest, says it is permissible to board the bus.

The Admiral and I, not seeing the invisible signs (Damn these old eyes!), simply stepped out the door to the waiting bus, only to be turned back rudely to the pen by Ms. Orange Vest.

Moments later we were freed and allowed to board.

Then we got to our destination - three terminals away - and ran into New Rule Two.

New Rule Two is that although the bus has three very large automatic doors, (front, back and middle) all passengers need to traverse to the front door of the bus to disembark - even if they have gotten on at the rear door with all their luggage.

No signage on that either, but the bellowing of the driver (directed at another passenger who dared to attempt to dart out the middle door) made it clear that this is serious stuff, taken seriously, at least by this bus driver who goes back and forth from C Terminal to F Terminal all day, one trip every fifteen minutes.

One last flight awaits us, from Philly to Elmira, on which I intend to buckle my seat belt right away and get my tray table folded up.

Those rules I know about, though no doubt in the six months we have been living in Mexico there are other new rules lurking to ensnare.

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