How to be a responsible traveler

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Everything nowadays seems to be done out of routine following a certain standard operating procedure aimed at maintaining order. In the end, things are done not because they are necessary but because the state loses its reason for existing should rational citizens decide that they’ve had enough of these rituals.

The check-in procedure before one could board a plan has so much to improve on. My brother and I reached Davao Airport an hour and a half before our flight schedule. Despite a handful of passengers checking in, it took us more than thirty minutes of falling in line, presenting our IDs just to make sure we were not some terrorists planning to bomb our budget carrier, falling in line again, submitting our luggage to the unforgiving scrutiny of the airport police, answering his serious queries about a suspicious looking bottle of herbal cure-it-all drink my mother sneaked in my bag, falling in line again, getting our boarding passes, paying airport taxes, falling in line again, and finally doing the most abhorrent part of all these: taking off my shoes and letting them see my unwashed pair of socks.

A staggering 60 per cent of all these, based on my conservative estimate was spent on doing a ritual instead of making sure that no terrorist or miscreant gets in the flight. The man who inspected our IDs merely held my passport without checking if it was really my picture pasted on the cheap paper. The guy who saw the image of a sinister-looking bottle in the side pocket of my bag did not interrogate me further as to the content of that breakable. What if it contains anthrax concentrate set by a timer to explode mid-air? He neither proposed to check the entrails of my bag nor felt my body for unusual bulges. What if I have a kilo of cocaine inside water-based condoms I ingested only to be excreted in the wash room of the airport in my destination?

And what is the point of showing them the holes in my socks?

But declining to submit oneself to all these is against the law. I have always been a law-abiding citizen. So I let them do whatever pleases them. I pay correct taxes on time. And in return the state has a responsibility to make me feel safe, or at least a semblance of security.

I boarded the plane and safely reached my destination, minus of course the kilo of cocaine inside water-based condoms.

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19 thoughts on “How to be a responsible traveler”

  1. my best friend just came back from a long vacation in laguna, she confirmed exactly what you said. in fact, she got so exasperated that her luggage had to be x-rayed 4 times because some metal thing was in it that turned out to be only aluminium foil wrapped around some tinapa that someone had sent for some relatives she told the airport people – kakanserin na yung kakain niyan. to the question why, she replied – eh nakailang beses n’yo nang dinaan sa xray eh :).

  2. whatever, ha ha.
    actually i don’t read blogs, i started after i found yours, googling for deriada, he he, and so discovered antwerp calling as well. he’s a funny guy, but he’s not happy with the whole fishbook affair either, he he. taken away his readership. still haven’t really explored his blog.

  3. hahaha. i look forward to that, but i heard there is a better native coffee shop at the central market in the city. let’s try that instead.

    i bet you are familiar with a blog about antwerp: http://antwerp.wordpress.com/

    please, do not bother disinfecting the book. hahaha.

  4. during the week, yes, and over the border in north brabant (netherlands) on weekends.
    and thanks for the invite, that’s something to look forward to, a cup of native brewed at a carinderia at the miag-ao market would be great :-).
    no worries, and i’ll be sure to iron any creased pages and spray them with disinfectant, and have it declared anthrax-free by the ministry of al-qaeda affairs before it goes off, ha ha ha.
    enjoy the rest of the week :-).

  5. it’s better to mention it in as many times as i can surreptitiously insert it in our exchanges so that there’ll be no chance for you to change your mind. kidding.

    hahaha. you’re in antwerp?

  6. hahaha, get your lawyer ready :-). blasphemy against the french language is worse than saying things against the pope, i guess, he he. and no, she was a dutch lady, but it was a french lit bookshop, sometimes they’re more snobbish than the original french, he he.
    dont mention it, hasn’t even arrived yet :(. nice evening there :).

  7. i miss the pink alien, but this purple one will do just fine.

    in the event your bookkeeper reports solvency and you decide to come home, we definitely have to have a conversation over a cup of brewed.

    i suggested you read that book first, annotate on the pages if you want. although i love reading freshly opened books, reading something someone has read and ruminated before me is even more intriguing.

    i got nothing to do with that heart attack victim. i am innocent!!! i was just writing here!!! noooooo… i need to talk to my lawyer.

    i wonder why frenchmen/women are so against the english (or american english) language.

    thanks for the book. i’m happy.

  8. as soon as i win the sweepstakes, hehehe. actually, am trying this summer, but that will have to depend on the finances. i’ll ask my bookkeeper if it’s ok, wahaha, yabang no?
    btw, your le clézio is in, it’s called wandering star, not the one i would have wanted to send ‘coz there’s a thicker one about mexico, but that’ll have to be next time. i went thru it, it’s translated by an american, the rhythm is definitely different and at one point he uses the word ‘phony’ where ‘false’ would have been better, but le clézio’s genius still gets thru.
    still have to slowly hunt for stuff i promised for family & friends, then it will be on its way in a couple of months. but if someone gets a heart attack somewhere on this planet, i’ll say it’s because of you. what happened is that saturday i told myself that my usual bookshop had a section called translated literature. so i went and asked if there were works of french authors translated to english. the lady looked like i had uttered some kind of serious blasphemy or something, she looked like she was gonna faint, wahaha. she told me off by emphatically saying – ‘no that doesn’t exist’, he he he. i bet she had to go see the shrink after that, ha ha.

  9. not going away, just remembered that you said on one of your posts that you usually take time off from your blog on weekends. nice week ahead :-).

  10. hahaha. because it happened one time. no twice. and your reaction was cute. thanks for the link.

    funny.

    when, by the way, are you coming back?

  11. hope that next time, this doensn’t irritate you too much anymore. it could be worse, you know :-). you might or might not like this aussie airport security measure:

    p.s. hoping here that it’s just the url that gets pasted and clip doesn’t embed itself, have to figure out still how to prevent that.

  12. ha ha ha, this is really hilarious man :-). yeah, what do you expect when uncle sam imagines itself as the police of the world and the pinas thinks it’s the sidekick :-). kaya kung anong style nang una, gagayahin naman ni pinas. kung sa atin pa, yung isa general, yung pangalawa drayber :-). tapos sovereign state daw siya.
    never mind, at least dumating kayo sa pinupuntahan, yun ang importante.
    so why don’t they apply stricter inspections on ferries during the christmas season as well if they’re gonna be strict with flights. or is that the govts way of reducing overpopulation, letting at least two ferries sink every year? mas hindi importante pala ang security sa ferry kaysa doon sa aeroplano.

    1. i’b, yeah. that’s true. i think i’ve written something about water transport in the country. hahahanapin ko lang. di ko na kasi maalala kung ano ang mga pinagsusulat ko doon… pero what you said makes sense, simply because most who travel by sea are proletariat….

      mossgreentrunk, i’ll consider you suggestion. it’s been a while. how was new year in bangkok?

  13. Hi Author,
    Your blog is very good to see it got some amazing stuff in this blog I have a draw on your pictures I feel very Ace …………..
    thanks

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