Knife crimes and do-overs

airport security failFinally, it was time for a holiday.

Being on our Thai Airways flight was like being in a mobile amusement park, with games like Super Mario Bros. and Tetris on our seat back TVs, along with a selection of movies that outclassed my own DVD collection.  Back-to-back, I watched ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife,’ ‘Julie & Julia,’ and, embarassingly, ‘Fame.’  We were fed constantly, suprisingly tasty Thai food which was soon to be eclipsed by the real thing.  But during our nine hour flight from  Sydney to Bangkok, we didn’t know, and enjoyed it accordingly.

It was when we went through the x-ray machines during our transfer from Bangkok to Chiang Mai that things got a bit hairy.  Jared was waiting patiently by the conveyor belt, waiting for his backpack, when there was a minor delay.  A uniformed Thai woman beckoned him over to an isolated table to the side, the table reserved for drug smugglers and international terrorists.

“You have a knife in your bag?”  she asked.

“Not that I know of,” said Jared.

I lingered nearby, not wanting to go to the bathroom for fear that he would be dragged away and thrown in prison.

As Jared dutifully pulled out the contents of his bag, he revealed a small, plastic Stanley knife, which he uses for work and had not realized was being transferred across foreign borders.

The woman took the knife to a different table, one manned by an extremely severe-looking Thai woman in a more elaborate uniform.  As she did this, another traveller was escorted to the table.

“It’s my swiss army knife,” he admitted.  “I forgot it was in there until I was on the plane.”

Both of us had come from Sydney, where security had neglected to catch the knives.

Jared eventually had to sign a piece of paper giving his name, address and passport number, making him a marked man when it comes to airport security.

We laughed about it as our plane to Chiang Mai taxied up the runway, gaining speed for takeoff.

Just as the wheels were about to lift into the air, the aircraft came to a grinding halt, causing all of the passengers to grip their armrests and look about in consternation.

The pilot drove back around and parked on a strip of runway before giving a lengthy explanation in Thai of what had happened.  In broken English, he explained that the indicator light for the wing flaps did not appear to be functioning and needed to be tested first.  Jared and I had front row seats to this testing, as we were just by the wing and watched as the flaps were extended and retracted, making an unsettling groaning noise as they did so.

As we discussed how much it was going to suck if we had to go back to the airport and have the whole plane checked out, the pilot geared up for another takeoff.  This time, the plane surged into the air, and we were in Chiang Mai in less than an hour.

The adventure continues.

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