Oaxaca mural

Oaxaca mural

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Return to Ohio

On Thursday I returned home to Ohio.

My flights were on time and uneventful.  Now, at least when flying into Houston, U.S. citizens no longer have to fill out a customs form on the plane.  Houston has automated terminals on which returning passengers answer the questions which would have been answered on the customs form.  At immigration there was a much longer line than I have experienced in the past. (On my last couple trips through Houston I had no wait at all.)  However, the line moved quickly, and I passed through immigration, picked up my checked suitcase, and went through customs in less than a half hour.

When I then went back through security there was no separate "TSA Pre" line. (I have never applied for it.  However, perhaps because of my age or the frequency of my travels, I almost always have "TSA Pre" on my boarding passes.)   In spite of that, I did not have to take off my shoes or remove my computer from my carry-on.  A TSA employee told that it was because we had been sniffed by a dog prior to going through security.

However, I had my carry-on searched after it went through the x-ray.  The inspector removed much of what was in the suitcase.  I was silently upset because I had a number of pieces of Mexican pottery which I had very carefully packed to avoid breakage.  However, the gentleman repacked my carry-on with equal care.  I thanked him for that, and he said that he always repacks suitcases as if they were his own.  I hear so many complaints about the TSA employees, but, in my experience, they have always been courteous and professional.  

When I was back home, I found a note in my large checked piece of luggage, saying that it had been opened and inspected.  I had purchased an obsidian letter opener in Mexico, and that had been confiscated.  

The weather back in Ohio was unseasonably warm.  In fact yesterday the temperature rose to over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was warmer than in Mexico City.  I took advantage of the nice weather and cleared up the remaining leaves in the yard.  Today, however, the temperature has dropped.  It is raining, and we may get a bit of snow tonight.  (Not enough to use the snow blower.)  

I will be home for the holidays, but in January I return to Mexico.  


  1. Welcome back to Gringolandia. I am sorry to hear that your obsidian was confiscated, but like yourself, I have nothing but good things to say about TSA and customs officials.

    That being said, I've queued at IAH for as long as one hour before. Guess it depends on the time of arrival....

    1. Thanks, Scott.
      I too have experienced some long lines at Houston airport, but it seems (knock on wood) that since they put in the automated terminals that everything moves much more smoothly.

  2. Your obsidian letter opener was stolen, not confiscated. I'm sorry it happened. I had two pair of sunglasses stolen out of my luggage by TSA some years ago. I even discovered this fact when I arrived at the airport of my destination, complained to the airline, but no one could do anything.

    Government bureaucracy at its finest!


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we wonder why those guys aren't under security cameras.