Monday, 4 February 2008

Barcelona 2 - Paris to Barcelona

So we landed at Paris CDG after the flight from heaven. Walked up the umbilical cord to the top where there were 2 police people, a man and a lady. They were checking passports.

Oh, did I forget to tell you? I was travelling with a colleague from my school who happens to be from India. But it's no problem, he had an official invitation from the course organisers to attend and he had a Shengen visa issued by the Spanish in Abu Dhabi. So we got to the front, I passed over my EU passport, it got a cursory glance and I was past the policeman - my colleague did the same with his Indian passport, the policeman put the passport in his pocket without even checking it and said "Wait there." He then checked the passports of every other passenger on the plane and managed to treat two Indian ladies in the same fashion.

This was my colleague's first visit to Europe and I thought it better to wait with him.

When the final passenger had passed the inspection and the mobile phone belonging to an American passenger who came running back to tell the policeman that he had somehow managed to leave it on the plane had been found, the policeman gave us an explanation for his actions.

"Are you two together?" (directed at me)

"Oui, monsieur."

"Where are you going?"

(Good of him to keep asking in English 'cos my French isn't up to much!) "Barcelona."

"Why?"

"Nous etes proffeseur du mathamatique. Nous avvez une course."

"Follow me, I have to do a computer check."

So off we went, to his office, all four of us so that he could do a computer check on my colleague and these two ladies.

Eventually he pronounced himself satisfied and bade us well on our journey:

"That way!" points in the general direction of what I assume is Barcelona.

So off we go.

Now CDG is an odd place, when you transfer there you actually have to go out of the terminal! Dunno why. Especially as we landed at terminal two and were taking off from terminal two - but you do.

So we arrived at immigration.

Usual cursory look at my EU passport.

The full song and dance for my colleague.

Shengen visa notwithstanding. Police computer check no longer valid apparently.

Where are you going? Why are you going? Have you got proof that this course exists? Have you got an invitation

I don't know how my colleague put up with it... if it had been me<

Where are you going

You've got the f&*$ing boarding pass in your hand mate, are you having a larf or what?

Why are you going

Why does anybody go on courses?

Have you got proof this course exists

What about the f&*$ing visa - do you not think they checked before they issued it?

Have you got an invitation

See previous answer.

I was stood behind the immigration booths and getting well pissed off by now. My colleague just put up with it.

So we get past there. We approach the area where our boarding gate is and there is the cabin baggage check.

To me "blurby blurby blurb blurb blurb blurb blurby blurb?"

"Escuzes moi, monsiuer, je ne comprend pas, je suis anglais"

"Do you have any liquids in your bag?"

"Non."

OK, go through.

To my colleague "Open your bag, take off your shoes, stand still while we search you!"

I'm sorry, it was bloody embarrasing. Total Absolute Racism. My colleague had two problems, he has the wrong nationality and he is the wrong colour.

Eventually we got all the bloody racist checks out of the way, boarded our flight for Barcelona, endured the most firghtening take off ever then I fell asleep and woke up as we began our descent into Barcelona.

2 comments:

Keefieboy said...

Outrageous!

kat said...

I totally identify with your colleague. I don't know what it is about me, but I'm questioned and my bag is opened when I'm waiting in line for check-in, then again when we go to the gate, then before I'm allowed in the waiting area, then before I'm allowed to board the plane. On the layover, it starts all over again. I'm petite, white, American and normally quiet. Getting upset doesn't change anything, it just makes it worse. (Some people think it's the American thing on Lufthansa).

I did become angry once, however, when they made me give up my carry-on because "there was no room on board," then I found several empty compartments and they let a woman with 6 large carry-ons and a cat carrier sit next to me.