We Left Cebu on a Wednesday Night
What happened was a shocker!
So, it has been a while I have left you hanging about our trip to the United States. I apologize, the problem is that I did not have a computer to use to write on! On my last article, I was using the PC in the business center of the hotel where we were staying, but the next day the computer was not working anymore.
So, when we arrived at Mactan Airport, the new international terminal, we were early, but that was our intention. We did not want to have any problems with our departure.
When the proper time came around, we headed up to the counter to check-in for our flight. There were 3 of us traveling, Feyma, Chris, and myself. As the agent was checking us in, another agent (supervisor?) came up behind him. They were speaking Cebuano, and probably thought I could not understand them, but I could. They were talking about a problem with one of our passports.
What kind of problem were we facing?
When I heard the agents talking, but not being specific, I asked them what the problem was (in Cebuano). They were kind of shocked that I could understand. I don’t think they were supposed to alert us to the problem, but they didn’t know what to do, so they told us.
“Sir, when we scanned your passport, a problem came up. You are wanted for questioning in the United States. They will take you aside when you arrive.”
Wow! Questioning for what?
For the next 21 hours, which is the amount of time between our departure and when we landed in the United States, I was worried. Nervous. Scared. What had I done that would require that I be questioned upon arrival?
Before leaving the USA, I had to have a background check by the police in order to get my resident visa in the Philippines. My record was clean. I have never been arrested for anything in my life. Since my record was clean upon departure, what was the problem now that I was going back? It really worried me. I called a few friends and discussed it with them, wondering if any of them could think of any problems I might be facing. One very close friend and I came up with a few possibilities, but nothing really bad. It just had me wondering for quite some time.
Layover at Incheon, South Korea
We had a short, 4-hour layover in Seoul, South Korea, and I was still wondering what was up. When it came time to board our flight to the USA, they scanned my boarding pass and red lights started flashing, and sirens were going off! OMG! What was going on now? I immediately figured that this was related to the “wanted for the questioning thing”, but it turned out that it wasn’t. I had simply been chosen for additional security screening.
So, I went through the additional screening, everything was smooth and easy, and I boarded the flight.
We arrive in Dallas
When we landed at DFW airport, it was time to face the piper. I would finally find out what I had done, or why I would be pulled aside for questioning. I was worried, as anybody would be. I had not figured out anything I had done wrong.
So, we to the Passport Control kiosk, and on to the counter where we would talk to a person. I tried to be very, very friendly. I told them “I am returning after nearly 20 years out of the country.” I wanted to see what their reaction was. Nothing. They were just curious but friendly. Not a problem, they just welcomed me home. Feyma had no problems. Then it was our son, Christopher’s turn. Boom. The agent called a supervisor because the computer had an alert. Apparently, the airline agents in Cebu thought I was Chris, not myself. LoL
When they looked at the computer screen concerning Chris it turned out to be very simple. When the airline agents in Cebu entered Chris’ name into the computer they did not put a space between his first and middle names. That is all it was. All of those hours of worrying and being nervous, and it turned out to be nothing.
Out into the wilds of DFW Airport
So, we finished at customs, got our luggage and headed out into the rest of DFW International Airport. We had a meal at Chick-Fil-A (which was delicious), and walked around the airport. We had a 7 hour layover, so we needed to kill some time.
Our time in Dallas was not what we thought it would be though. I’ll tell about that in my next article.
Is that Philippine drama, or “as the world turns” drama? It would definitely keep me in suspense.
It kept me nervous, Jack! I suppose “as the world turns” since I was worried over several countries and on two continents!
Wow i would be scared too!Glad that it wasn’t really as bad as what you thought😄Anywayz, Welcome back again!
True, it did not turn out bad. But, all of those hours of worrying! LoL
Scary stuff!! Glad that it turned out well!! 🙂
I feel the same, I can’t tell you how relieved I was when everything turned out well.
What a great relief, I taut something happened with you and your family. God bless
Thank you very much!
Bob New York
Welcome back Bob, glad all worked out OK when you arrived. I have used several airports for stop overs to and from my visits to Philippines and I found Incheon / Seoul Korea to be the best. Very clean, everything functional and the cleanest rest rooms. Plenty of food stands and restaurants, smoking lounges and more. U S Dollars accepted for purchases.
Hi Bob, thank you for your warm welcome. It was a lot warmer than what I got when I arrived in Indiana. LOL
I totally agree with you that Incheon airport is the best. Very beautiful, clean, with all the amenities.
Right on bob.im in Michigan and it is cold but not as cold as last week.tomorow is freezing rain.iv been in Vegas from 1992 so this is almost a new experience a d I dont know what to do.go to work and risk my car?call in and get a point against my job? Winter sucks here@!
Haha, good luck on that decision.
Good ol’ security checks. I had something similar. In LA heading for Incheon/Seoul, there was a problem at the gate getting my boarding pass.
Then the agent said something about my carrying alcohol in my luggage. The only thing this reminded me of was earlier, when I was first coming through the metal detectors.
There was some European man who was very drink, and, apparently had a number of bottles of liquor in his carry ons, and they were holding him. We all had to wait until security finally came and took him away.
I mentioned that incident, wondering if they had accidentally tagged my luggage instead of his. Nope, that wasn’t it.
Then the agent said something about medicinal. I finally realized he was talking about a harmless bottle of isopropyl alcohol in my checked luggage (NOT my carry on. Apparently, for whatever reason, TSA on Los Angeles decided to removed it.
From there everything went smoothly. The one thing I was upset by, however, was the piece of paper TSA had left in my luggage informing me they had searched it and removed something.
But, instead of it saying they removed a bottle of rubbing alcohol, they wrote that THEY HAD REMOVED A CIGARETTE LIGHTER! I do not smoke (NEVER HAVE!), nor do I carry, or pack cigarette lighters.
Unfortunately, knowing how things are in post-9/11 USA, I’m sure my name is now on some kind of list… 😉
Wow, Interesting, Skip. And, yeah, it reminds me, as well, of my Cebu to Dallas experience. 🙂