Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cancun ~ The Rest of the Story

When we were preparing to go on the trip to Cancun, we had to have our official birth certificates, not necessary to enter Mexico, but to assure our re-entry into the US. I began hounding hubs about 3 months early, to make certain he had the proper papers. I got mine and the two children's papers together.

In the Atlanta airport, as we were about to board the plane, the airline people were checking our papers to make sure we had everything we needed. Hub's papers were in order; he had gone to the birth records office in NYC and stood in line for hours to get his. The children's were in order, I had collected their stuff. Then, we came to mine. Would you believe that for all the years since I left my parent's home, I thought what I had was an official birth certificate. No, no, what I had was a "certificate of live birth". What the exact difference is - I cannot tell you - but I was told it was not good enough to be able to get back into the US. I could not get onto the flight unless I could prove I was who I said I was.

So, tell me.......how does one prove who they are in the middle of an airport in Atlanta, when that person was born in WV and resided in NC? At that point, my husband was red with anger and frustration, and I was red from fear and embarrassment. We looked like Mr. and Mrs. Santa, and it was August.

The flight attendant said I would have to go to some office, I can't remember the name of it, and let them take a photo of me and affix it to an affadavit, which I would fill out and sign, swearing that I am who I am. Now if you are familiar with the Atlanta airport, you know that NOTHING is close to ANYTHING there. I was at the extreme end of Concourse C and this office was in Section A, which was about 3 miles away. I had to run to the end of the concourse (past about 30 gates), run down an escalator, catch a train to the other concourse, run up an escalator, locate the office, get the photo made, write the affadavit, get it stamped, and run back to the original gate - all within 15 minutes - or I risked being left behind. Mind you, I was doing all this while trying to run in thong sandals, through crowds of people hauling luggage, who were not the slightest bit interested in getting out of my way! I had the extra problem that my hubs was so mad at me he threatened to go to Mexico without me, and I believed he would!

As you know from the previous post, I did make it back to the gate in time, running all the way. I thought my heart would give out before I got there, and I was staggering and gasping for air. The photo that the officeworker took with a Polaroid camera, is barely recognizable. I was so drained of energy after all that running, my face was as white as snow. I don't think I have ever been that colorless before, and I am typically pale anyway.

As soon as we boarded the plane, I asked for a Bloody Mary. For a person whose only form of exercise prior to this experience was lifting a cup of coffee to my mouth, I was exhausted from the run. Oh, I forgot, the thong sandals I had on were so bad for running that I took them off and completed the run to the office and back barefooted. I wonder what all those people in the airport thought about me that day; running wildly through 2 concourses, hair flying, clothing disheveled, no shoes and no luggage. Actually, I don't think I want to know what they thought. I just hope no one else remembers!

15 comments:

srp said...

After I took the time to get a passport for Nyssa and one for me, traveling became so much easier. Then when we traveled and she had to have a photo ID but did not have a driver's license yet, we just used them for almost everything.

It would have been my luck that the courthouse with my certificate had burned down. When I went to med school we had to have official birth certificates so I've ended up with about ten extra.

What a LOL funny story...at least funny for us....not so for you.

sophie said...

Glad the story had a happy ending! Since Atlanta is home (for a few more months) I am way too familiar with the challenges the airport presents.

Did you climb the pyramid??

Lucy said...

Its a wonder the security guys weren't chasing you. You must be in better shape than you think.

sophie said...

I climbed it--and though I am not usually afraid of heights--I thought I would trip and fall down and break my neck. I climbed down on my hands and knees/feet first--like a child down the stairs. I was sorry not to see more of the ruins, we had limited time. When I had more time to read about the sites, I realized how much we had missed.

Lisa said...

Its almost enough to make you want to never leave the house again, isn't it?

I hope the Bloody Mary was a double. ;-)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Lord, that was like the Perils Of Pauline!!! What an adventure, Judy...I think I would have just thrown in the towel and gone home....too hard! Good for you!

Weary Hag said...

I must say - with your writing what it is and the story was IT was, I could just picture you whipping past me with these forms in your hand, hair flailing in the wind, and barefoot as a newborn. Sometimes, you amaze me!!
Excellent story, Judy. Poor you. And perhaps this is just one more reason why I don't care to travel via plane, train or boat ... in addition to that, I've ALWAYS had this secret fear of being stopped at a border somewhere and never making it back home.

Great post! Happy Thanksgiving if I don't 'talk to you' beforehand.

Peter said...

I'm exhausted just from reading about it Judy, I think I may have just said you go on without me, I'm going home for a bex and a good lie down.

Sonia said...

Thanks Judy for checking into my blog and taking the time to comment. I always appreciate yours comments!
Happy and lovely Thanksgiving!

mar said...

Oh, paperwork, certificates,signatures, it is a nightmare.Sorry you had to go through that in Atlanta! Thanks for your kind comments, since I have lived over 20 years abroad in three different countries I make sure ALL our papers are ajour. Our current difficulty is that both father and son have nationalities belonging to the European Community. I am the odd one and I sneak in the wrong line at airports with the argument that we are a family...Nationalities issue will change on january 13th, I will be posting. Oh, this is getting long, sorry: I have been changing my blog's name for two months now, since the beginning, sort of searching for an identity. Ten days ago I thought of Maremagnum and it is the name to stay. Thanks for asking and have a nice day!

brendalove@gmail.com said...

I've never been outside of the U.S. Now I remember why it just didn't seem worth it.

I HATE PAPERWORK!

Plumkrazzee said...

Hi kenju, michele sent me today. What a story! Mexico scares me, and this is mainly why. I have some crazy fear i'll get stuck in a stucco prison, and spend my days staring at Geckos. =)

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Damn. To think hundreds of people got to see you, and I wasn't one of them.

(Thanks for your wishes on my site, Judy. I love you, too.)

Karen said...

I know all too well the nightmare that is the Atlanta airport! I lived in Atlanta for several years. One word to help your journeys - passport. They are good everywhere.

Badaunt said...

When I read this sort of thing (and stop laughing) I wonder how many actual terrorists are deterred by this sort of security measure. "Oh, no, we need a birth certificate. Let's just give up."