Close call in Mexico City: Suspicious Srixons
MEXICO CITY – I usually don’t count airport layovers as cities visited, but passing through Mexico City on my way to the Costa Baja Resort in La Paz, Mexico tonight warrants an exception.
As we arrived, our flight attendant announced that we were approaching the largest city in the world. Well, I don’t think that was entirely accurate, but Mexico City is big, really big. More than 21 million people live in Mexico City, which make it the largest metro area in the Western Hemisphere.
Seeing it from the air really drove that point home. Laid out amongst the mountains were more high rises than I’ve ever seen, and all the buildings seemed to be on top of each other. Cars were everywhere, and it was evident where the poor sections were – acres and acres of dilapidated dwellings.
I couldn’t wait to see the airport, and here’s the part you want to pay attention to if you ever fly into Mexico City:
I swear the walk to immigration was about a mile. Then there was the line to check passports. I waited in that one for 45 minutes before they took the second half of the line and brought them to a new area. Guess which part I was in? That’s right, in the middle of the line. It did go quicker after that, but it turned out the United Flight attendant gave me the old form, so I had to go back and fill out another one.
Of course, after that it’s customs, onto an Aerotrain to Terminal 2 and back through security. That went pretty smoothly until a young security officer spotted a dozen suspicious spheres in my carry-on. She asked me to open up my bag, and that’s when she came upon my yellow Srixons. She grasped a couple of them, inspected them, tossed them gently into the air to see what they were made of, and proclaimed “no pelotas.”
Yikes, even I knew enough Spanish to realize somebody’s about to confiscate $42 worth of golf balls from me.
I pleaded and made my case that I needed those in my work to review the golf courses in La Paz. Another fellow came over, checked out the balls, did some more consulting, and finally let me keep them. A close call. That would have been a first.
My guess is that the 21 million people here don’t see a lot of golf balls, especially when they’re not in golf bags (I elected go with a rental set on this trip.) In all, it took about two hours to get through customs and over to Terminal 2 to catch my connection. Good thing my layover is 3 1/2 hours.
I’m just chalking it up to another cultural experience – and looking forward to playing golf tomorrow in the sunny weather of La Paz, now that I’ve successfully smuggled golf balls out of the country.
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