Friday, 7 December 2007
Charles de Gaule was a different story. Security there was a bit belligerent. The opening gambit was "You have a knife!" which of course I didn´t. That was before they´d even scanned annything. As soon I revealed I was carrying camera gear my rucksack had to be completely unpacked and each item passed through individually. I also had to remove my shoes and my belt. After scanning it all they stood and watched me carefully repack the rucksack before escorting me to a desk not five paces away.Here they made me unpack the rucksack again. Each item was checked by hand. There was a long debate in French which I took from the body language to be about whether or not the plates I have on my lenses constitute a lethal weapon. These, by the way, are beautifully-machined pieces of metal used to slide the lens quickly on and off a tripod head. They are blunter than the average baguette.
After that, without as much as a "by your leave", one of them picked up the rucksack - with my camera now back in it - and walked off with it. Naturally I was bit bothered by this. It turned out they just wanted to rescan it, because the hand search had not shown up everything they thought they´d seen on the x-ray. They just didn´t feel the need to tell me that.
After another long debate between themselves, I was finally allowed through. I still can´t decide whether they were genuinely concerned or whether it was just a slow evening and they were a bit bored.
The flight was uneventful. If I had been so inclined I could have inflicted serious bodily harm with the stale in-flight bread rolls. There was a beautiful sunrise over Brazil, and some stunning views of the Andes, and I´m now safely at my hotel in Chile. Tomorrow morning I fly on to the Falklands. Hurrah!