As part of the preparations for our sailing adventure (and because it’s a wonderful place to go when the weather in the U.S. turns frigid), Cindy and I spent the last week basking in the Caribbean sunshine on beautiful island of Jamaica. In addition to some serious beach time and rum-drinking opportunities, the trip also offered us a chance to scout out life in the Caribbean, see what items we can easily find in the local economy and what we would have to learn to do without and see how we enjoy mixing with the locals. Suffice it to say, a good time was definitely had.
However, upon our return to the U.S., we ran afoul of another facet of the Transportation Security Administration’s ongoing campaign to confound terrorists by ignoring logic at every turn. After having undergone a thorough, U.S.-style security screening upon our departure from Montego Bay, complete with body scans and shoe removal, we naively purchased liquid products in the duty-free shops…a bottle of Brazilian cachaca for me (rarer than the proverbial hen’s teeth in Alabama), and a diet Coke (or Coke Light in the Carib) for Cindy…secure in the belief that now that we had passed through security, these items would not be an issue.
Imagine therefore our chagrin when, upon our arrival in the good ol’ US of A, we were informed by the TSA that ALL liquids in our immediate possession would either have to be thrown away or would have to be packed away in our luggage (which we had had to reclaim to go through customs) before we passed through a second security screening. All protests as to the illogic of this policy were for naught …apparently Jamaicans were not to be trusted to be as thorough, dedicated and observant as our own TSA anti-terrorism heroes.
So there we were, squatting on the floor in the customs area of the Atlanta airport, struggling to remove the plastic (because it’s been proven that terrorists are utterly defeated by the sight of plastic) security tie from our luggage (note that these ties can be removed just by twisting them continually in one direction) so that we could stash away my bottle of cachaca. However we thought about our fellow gringo travelers whom we saw in the Montego Bay duty-free liquor store, stocking up on six or eight bottles of cheap booze while they had the chance. If they didn’t have a nearly empty bag (and who does!) in which to pack their liquor away, they were going to be out a lot of hooch.
So be forewarned…if you are traveling outside the U.S. and are thinking of stocking up on cheap liquor from duty-free on the way home, you will have to pack these bottles away in your checked luggage or lose them once you arrive at your U.S. port of entry.