I wish I could say the tuna wrap I had for lunch at the London airport was the most exciting part of my day... but that is definitely not the case.
The day started out mostly uneventful. Woke up at 3:30am, caught an early morning flight out of Dublin to London. Hung out while I waited to check in and grabbed lunch. Walked down to the airline desk and... from there it got crazy. At check in, you have to go through a small questioning session about the purpose of you visit, duration of your stay, what you do for a living, etc. I think it is supposed to only take a few minutes. Supposed to. I was called up and "interviewed" by a layed back twenty-something year old guy. It went smoothly and then his supervisor walked up. He asked me all the same questions. I gave all the same answers. Then I was informed I would get to go through a random search. This would include all my bags including my carry-ons so I could take whatever I wanted for the flight, but would have to hand the rest over to them. Also, I had to answer more questions. I must have a sign on my forehead that says, "I'm really bored. Please please please security people make my life more interesting!"
So I was escorted back into a little room. Answered the same questions and more to another person, and waited for further instruction. In the meantime, I was able to get my first interrigator talking about his favorite parts of Israel. Throughout the whole thing, I was never nervous. Which really surprised me. Then they gave me a five pound note to use anywhere in the airport! Gotta love that!
After about forty-five minutes, I was set free and told to arrive at the gate early because there would be more questioning and they would look through the purse and book they let me take out of my backpack. Yay.
I got into the terminal and found a coffee shop. I needed it after all that. My mocha and I then proceeded to the gate even though I had two hours before the gate opened. There I found out the flight was delayed.
Hours later, the gate opens! I then go through more questioning (the same ones, just to someone else!), my bags get scanned, and I get a complete pat down. Awkward. I'm just glad it was a girl doing it. Then we continue to wait for the flight. And wait. And wait. I strike up a conversation with another security guy and we have a nice half hour chat about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his reaction to Osama bin Laden's capture. It was really interesting.
Finally, three hours late, we get on the plane and take off! I end up next to a couple- the guy is from the Middle East, but the girls is from a town really close to Taylor! We had to laugh at the connection. When the flight landed, it was 1am. I cleared passport control pretty easily, found my bags, was given a cart by a nice Israeli guy who was a little too disappointed to hear I wasn't staying in the city, and met up with my contact. We made it back around 3am and crashed into bed... The adventure continues today as I get a crash course lesson in the workings of this organization! I just hope I catch on quickly!