Upon arrival in
Museums and More.
Then there was the usual mall tour. I took a friend of mine to DC from
I’d have to say that the highlight of the day was the Museum of the American Indian, which I had never been to before. I was really impressed with how closely the Smithsonian worked with tribal historians and curators to create the displays there. You had your “traditional” museum presentations with various artifacts on display behind glass.
However, I preferred viewing the multitude of colorful, multimedia educational presentations. There was a wealth of interesting information about native livelihoods in the displays, both historical and current. I would highly recommend spending at least a day there.
Then it was on to the Historic Triangle of Jamestown/Williamsburg/Yorktown. I drove in really late and had a horrible time finding my hotel in colonial
The way back home was when things started falling apart.
We missed the flight back due to bad weather, and ended up staying in a hotel in
We sat on the plane for over 40 or so minutes. I literally fell asleep, woke up thinking I was back home, and then learned that in fact we had not even taken off. It turned out that the security officials at
So after sitting in the plane on the runway, they ordered us to take our bags, get off the plane, and go back to the waiting gate. After a few minutes of milling around at the gate, about 15 or so TSA agents and police appeared at the gate and forced us into a “security corral” in the corner (above). Because we were “contaminated” we were not allowed to leave the area and had to be re-screened.
Reactions were mixed. Some people thought it was funny. Others were pissed and began arguing with airport officials. I was exhausted, and frustrated, since I had been trying to get home for 24 hours. One older woman – who only spoke Vietnamese – had no idea what was going on and became anxious. Fortunately, some other passengers called up a Vietnamese interpreter on a cell phone for her. TSA didn’t have any foreign language interpreters on hand. Another older woman wasn’t even a passenger on the original flight, but got caught into the “security corral” because she just happened to be standing in the gate area. TSA later let her go after learning she wasn't an original passenger, but by then she had missed her own flight. Nice job guys.
So we stood around for an hour or so in the corner of the airport surrounded by TSA officials, unable to leave the “security corral.” Then they decided to move us back through the boarding tunnel outside to the runway area and into a bus. The place was surrounded by TSA agents and those ubiquitous SUVs that “the feds” always drive in the movies. A moment after taking this photo, one of them started screaming at me to stop taking pictures and get on the bus.
One of the many pissed-off passengers who had been arguing with an airport official was removed from the bus by the agents for “being unruly.” It was bullshit.
Then they drove us to another area of the airport, escorted by more of those security SUVs. We were led off the bus, where we were surrounded by more cops, and then re-screened and searched. I had stopped taking photos at that point.
We were eventually allowed to go back to our original gate, and then re-board the plane after it had been screened. Everyone got a $50 voucher handed to us on the way in, and numerous scripted “we apologize for the delay” lines. One guy gave me his business card and asked me to email him my photos so he could complain.
I finally made it back home that evening. I called up the airline to complain. They told me they would send me another $50 voucher.