And so my second trip to Afghanistan came to an end. Unlike the previous year, when I ended up crying most of the flight to Germany, I felt like the door was wide open and I could always return.
The airport was once again a ridiculous experience. My cousin drove us there and at a certain point, he and my dad had to get out of the car to be searched. We then split up to be searched a second time at two adjacent rooms outside the airport parking lot. Two female guards patted us down and went through our bags. A German woman stood in front of us and seemed very excited to be heading home. She told us she’d been here for 8 months and looked forward to seeing her family again.
As the security guard looked through my mom’s purse she asked, “Did you bring us any gifts?” which my mom ignored. She pulled out a tube of lipstick and asked if she could have it. I couldn’t believe how obnoxious she was being. Wasn’t she embarrassed to have her hand out like this when she was one of the few women with an actual job? My mom let her have the lipstick and we went back outside to meet my dad.
The men’s search room next door was experiencing major delays. The power had gone out and the x-ray machines didn’t work, so every single bag had to be opened and searched. This was causing long lines and frustration. My mom asked the female security guard if we could bring my dad’s bags in there to be searched. She agreed and my dad gave up his spot in line while we took the luggage cart inside. A male security guard came over and reprimanded us. We informed him the female guard had told us it was ok, but he insisted it wasn’t. My dad exchanged angry words with him about the lack of organization, and pointed out the absurdity of the airport losing power and having no way to keep the security line moving.
During this argument, I took two of the bags, walked past security and to the nearby parking lot. I didn’t even have to bribe anyone or flash an elite membership card. Nobody said a thing.
The power came back on and shortly after, my dad got through security and met us in the parking lot. He didn’t realize I’d taken his bag and thought it was ridiculous that they let me bypass security like that.
Past the parking lot, we were put through yet another security check. When we arrived at the main airport building, there was a long line and one of the luggage handlers approached us, offering to take us to the very front of the line for something like $2. Sold. He walked us to the third security checkpoint and then all the way to the check-in counter. We arrived with plenty of time to spare before our flight to Dubai on Safi Airways.
The flight was pretty uneventful. We were served breakfast, which was decent. The plane seemed new and the seats were comfortable. I was looking forward to relaxing stay in Dubai…and to finally booking a hotel once we arrived.