As I flew to Miami from Buenos Aires I could not help but think of the many miles that I had traveled over land on my motorcycle the last five months, and now I was traveling over some of that area in just a few hours by plane.
The flight was smooth; however, once I stepped off the plane and headed to the lobby of my arrival gate I started to have issues. Immediately a US Customs officer asked that I step aside. It seemed that the Touratech bag I had with me looked suspicious and they needed to inspect it and question me. After I had a chat with the US Customs officers I convinced them that I was not threat. So I proceeded to the immigration desk, handed over my passport and the form given to me on the plane. One of the questions on the form was “What Country (ies) did you visit since leaving the US?” Since the form only had room for 5 countries I only listed 5 countries. The officer asked if I had visited all the places listed, I replied that I had, and that I had visited more countries but there was only room for 5 countries and I could not list the other countries I had visited. He reviewed my passport and his eyes started to squint. He asked “You have been to all of these places?” “Yes,” I replied. “How long were you gone and were you working?” “No, I am not working – just enjoying a vacation,” I replied. “Vacation for 5 months!” he replied. At this point he drew a RED circle on my form and asked that I fellow the red line. Here we go, I thought to myself. Just like having to deal with Peruvian police, I prepared myself for the personal attacks.
I did as directed. I followed the red line to the next US Customs Agent and we started all over. “Where have been? How long have you been out of the US? Were you working? Where were you?” When I replied that I was on vacation, he cut me off and said, “VACATION!!! Who takes a five month vacation?” “How much time did you take last year?” he asked, in a condescending way. “Who do you work for?” he asked. “I am not working – I lost my job,” I replied. “You do not have a job?”, he said, and proceeded to review each page of my passport. His eyes were squinting on each page as well. He would review a page and stare at me with his squinty eyes.
I finally told him that I had been traveling by motorcycle. I showed him the paperwork for the GS. He grabbed the paper out of hands and told me “wait here.” After some minutes he returned to his desk and started typing on his computer. He must have been typing a book report because whatever was entered took him quit a few minutes. Finally he returned to me told me “You can go!” “Great!” I said, and off I went.