It alllll started on my last day in Machu Picchu…
I had some time to kill before my train left to Cusco so I had lunch and then walked around the market. There were a lot of spas around the area for people who hiked to Machu Picchu and, normally I wouldn’t care to spend travel money on a massage but they were so cheap and my back was aching! So I booked a half an hour back massage. Well, soon I was lying on a comfy spa bed and the lady came and and at first, all was well, the neck was feeling much better and so were the shoulders. Suddenly this tiny woman climbs on the bed and is massaging the living daylights out of my back!! I am pulled and prodded until somehow I’ve turned into a pretzel yoga pose!! I tell her “too strong señorita” and she says “too soft? Sorry señorita I do strong!!” From there on I almost thing I slipped in and out of consciousness as my once healed back had felt like it had gone back to square one!! A half an hour after, I paid and ran out of that beast of a spa and headed to the train. I was so exhausted from the massage that I was happy to get on the otherwise uneventful and slow train ride back to Cusco. I was hungry but decided to skip dinner and assumed I will have time to eat the next morning before heading to the airport to go to Bolivia!!
Well clearly that did not happen. The alarm failed to go off and before you know it I wrap my hijab put on some tights and decide there is no time To change my pajama top as I’m 30 minutes away from boarding time on the international flight!!!! Wait…it gets better.
Finally reach the airport and I tell them at check-in that my flight is about to board and I need to check in asap! “No problem” they said. “Passport please”. I give them my luggage to put on the scale. “Señorita your luggage is too heavy”. Ughhhhhhh. Oh this is not even close to the climax.
Suddenly I notice 2 men and a women surrounding my luggage. “Señorita this is the police. Please follow them” and they did not look like happy people!!!!! A few years ago I would have thrown a tantrum and told them I don’t have time for this and that my plane is about to leave!!! But, I have aged. The last thing you want to do at an airport is put up a fight which will make things worse. As I walked with them one of them let me know not to worry and all I was thinking was “this is it. My family is going to shoot me if I end up in jail here!!”
“What is your name?”
“You are from Canada”
“Yes! Here is my passport” flirty smile of course.
“Señorita before I open your suitcase, do you want to tell me anything?”
“No you can open it”
“Do you have cocoa”
“Yes” I reply “do you want it?”
“Señorita you have cocoa?”
“Yes! I have needed it the whole time
I’ve been here! I have it in my purse I can show you!”
Suddenly the other officer steps in.
“Miss Ahmad he does not mean the cocoa candy for your altitude sickness. He is asking if you are holding cocaine.”
“Ooooohhhhhhh myyyyyy Godddddd” literally that is how it came out and suddenly I am sitting on a seat “no no no no way!!!!” “I do not have any cocaine at all I have never even seen cocaine!”
They all look at each other seriously.
My heart is pounding. I’m going to jail for sure. My family is going to kill me.
They all burst out laughing.
“It’s okay señorita we just have to ask before we check”
They open my suitcase and suddenly I realize why the suitcase is so heavy!! All of my fathers Arabic books are stacked on the bottom of my suitcase to give to the mosques in each country!!!!!!! I break into a sweat. They find the books.
“Señorita what is this”
“My papas books”
“This is Arabic?”
“Are you Muslim?”
“You believe in Allah?”
“You believe in Jesus?”
I’m thinking at this point for sure they are analyzing the books, my scarf and the whole 9 yards and now I am going to jail yet again. My family is going to kill me.
“Señorita this is good.”
They put my stuff away and tell me I am free to go.
I run to catch my plane which, honestly I don’t know how, was still there and got in the plane.
In all honesty I really believe this wasn’t some sort of racial profiling. I can’t say for sure but even if it was, it is not my country and the last thing I would do is get on the defence in a country with different laws I may or may not understand. Plus I needed to get on that plane!!!
On the plane it hit me that I hadn’t eaten for about 20 hours. Suddenly I felt shaky and weak and I thought “it’s okay, just a couple of hours and I will be on land again.”
Well my friends, the turbulence hit and it hid HARD. Soon we were flying left, right, up, down, diagonal!! Everyone was nervous and the flight attendant let us know it was normal. Well my stomach did not think it was!!! I was reaching for any plastic bag I could find but u hadn’t eaten and so nothing was there to come out!!! Oh man this is graphic!!
We landed and my body was now taking full control of my mind. I was dizzy, tired, hungry, and mad!!
I get to the immigration area and they keep tossing me from line to line and I don’t even know why!!! Mind you they were switching others too but I had just had enough! Finally I just gave the police officer that look. You know that look you give your spouse when you say “do I look fat in this?” And they say “well…” The police officer understood, turned on his heel and walked away.
Got through immigration and finally saw a sign held up with my name by the airbnb host. I didn’t care who he was I literally slumped when I saw him. He knew I was in bad shape so we headed to the airbnb, which is the best one I’ve been in so far by the way!!
Oh no!!! It’s time for me to sleep!!Buenos Noches!!!!