The day after my adventures in Argentina and shooting the WRC round in Cordoba I was on my way to Portugal and the island of Sau Miguel in Azores for a round of the European Rally Championship (ERC), unfortunately my lasting memory of Argentina would not be a positive one, after checking in and sitting down to do some work I was called to the counter, my first thought was ‘wooohooo upgrade time’ especially considering I had 4 flights to catch to get to my final destination Cordoba > Santiago > Madrid > Lisbon > Ponta Delgada and almost 30 hours in transit so an upgrade would have been perfect, how wrong I was.
I was taken away by security to a back area of the airport where all my bags were laid out, I was handed paperwork in spanish and told to ‘open bags’, the airport security then proceeded to pull every single item out of my luggage and I mean every single item, and scan through a portable scanning machine, I had no idea what they were looking for, my medication was screened and they wanted to toss it even with the letters from my doctor, eventually they pulled out an an aerosol can much like this (http://www.omega-plastics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/image-012.png) and said it was flammable and dangerous and I should not have it, funnily enough I arrived in the country with it and flew to Mendoza with it and had no problems at all, this is when things got worse, they asked me to take my shoes off, jumper and pants, this was turning in to someones unilateral wet dream, I started to wonder if I would even make my flight as it had started boarding. They (the security staff) threw a document at me and said ‘sign’, it wasnt in english so I refused and demanded a translator, nothing, they had my passport and phone and walked away, meanwhile I was putting all my belongings back together and getting dressed, they were huddled 10m away pointing and laughing and eventually after 10min came over showed me the document that had been signed by them, threw my passport at me and said ‘get out tourist’, up to this point Argentina had treated me well, I loved every minute and couldn’t wait to come back, after this experience however I would have to think twice, I made my flight, was last on and couldn’t believe what had just happened, I was in shock and disbelief, over the next 30 hours and 4 flights I decided to put the ordeal behind me and move on as I did not want it to ruin the next adventure, in hindsight I should have done something at the airport, but I really didn’t want to mess up my plans, I also should have taken photos before my phone was taken off me, needless to say I made it through and arrived in Azores in one piece.
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