Malaysia Airlines to …
Sought recommended autobiography of cancer-stricken atheist Christopher Hitchens at this airport bookstore; the only one around. Surprise: Didn’t have it.But Hershey’s Kisses, a comforting bit of home, were in abundance.
More than seven hours later (hey, that’s a short trip!), after this plane landed
in Melbourne, Australia, I got special treatment from customs and immigration. I found myself assigned to a line behind some guy who supposedly had a gun. Whaaa? (No pictures here; I didn’t dare.)
Why was my sweet little Vera Bradley bag getting such hardcore criminal treatment? I was quizzed about my travels so far. Though my odyssey started less than three weeks before, it seemed much longer, especially in my exhausted state. I smiled as I focused on trying to sound coherent.
The female customs agent whose toughness belied her friendly demeanor explained the India visa in my passport sounded the alarm. Plus the fact that I was a lone female, and an American one at that, arriving from there with a one-way ticket. That was all pretty unusual.
Apparently India was a source of lots of illegal stuff, including drug trafficking. After Vera was roughed up and then repacked for the umpteenth time, and my laptop x-rayed, I was cheerfully sent on my way for a night at a friend’s house before heading to Tasmania.