Monday, June 02, 2008

Welcome To The Occupation

Los Angeles International Airport

The first thing we saw, walking off the jetway, was a dirty hallway.

We turned and moved down a different hall, one without a ceiling but with exposed wires and tubes. A line and ropes ran down the length of this hall, forcing us into a single-file line on the right side.

An officer of Customs and Border Protection stood in the middle of the hall, scanning the line, visibly and purposefully unfriendly. About twenty feet later, we passed another CBP officer; his German shepherd sniffed us as we walked by. Then more officers, all looking stern and eyeing us.

We spill into the customs hall at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. It’s crowded and dirty. The officers ask intrusive questions, and those of us who are American citizens have it easy.

This is the first impression of the United States that international visitors to Los Angeles receive.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul, you should know from your book research that the U.S. is the country that has been occupied, resulting in the probing questions, guard dogs and stern eyes you describe. If anything, this country is like a battered child finally learning to stand up for itself after years of abuse. Awkwardly? Yes. Necessarily? Yes. However, regarding LAX, you are absolutely correct. It's a filthy, ugly hole.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...but it's still prettier than JFK

8:07 AM  
Blogger Don Qua said...

2 weeks ago I got off of a flight from Taipei to LAX and what I saw is exactly as described. What a awful and filthy first sight of the US for a foreign national and what an embarrassment for us US citizens. The bags from our flight was strewn all over, it looked like Godzilla was on luggage duty.

The day I passed through LAX the Border Patrol must've had the day off and Customs was a breeze.

I've been all over Asia and seen modern, (mostly) clean airports. What a chaotic, embarrassing eyesore LAX is. I was just passing through to a domestic flight, I was glad to get out of there.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don, for most of those Asian countries, that may have been their first major airport and built within the last 10 years. The current incarnation of LAX is more than 50 years old and is a hodgepodge of new and old. It's like an old Hollywood actress who's had too many face lifts. That said, however, there's no excuse for it being so filthy.

9:19 AM  

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