Wednesday, April 04, 2007


By 5:45 AM the dock lines had been secured, but by 8:30 we were still waiting, as the voice on the loudspeaker told us, "waiting for a security perimeter to be established."

As far as I know there is no war being fought on the streets of Fort Lauderdale and Port Everglades is not likely to fall into enemy hands any time soon, nor is it all that likely that there are many passengers who having paid over $150,000 for a world cruise were likely to be carrying WMD's in their Louis Vuitton.

"Welcome to America" said I to the Welsh couple sitting next to me watching the endless stream of container ships enter and leave the port; loading and unloading uninspected containers without any noticeable security perimeters. They explained to me that this was likely their last trip to the US. They were giving up their second home in Naples because of the difficulty they continually experienced in entering the US. I would have suggested that they would have an easier time coming in illegally, but I suspect that like me, few people have much of a sense of humor at that hour.

Still, I was grateful to be waved through by US Immigration. The last time I entered the US at JFK in New York, it took nearly a half hour while they passed my passport around, muttering and typing things into computers. The mostly wealthy Europeans however, all had much more waiting, questioning, fingerprinting and physical searches to endure.

America's increasing fear and loathing of foreigners (but not their manufactured products) must be harming Florida's tourist industry. When El Presidente told us back in 2001 to go to Disneyland or the Tareists would win, he wasn't talking to Britons or Germans or Frenchmen. Of course the governments of those countries are no longer making it easy for US citizens either and I believe it's for no other reason than retaliation.

Driving away at last from the seaport, I marvelled at the uncountable number of shipping containers being piled up, put onto trucks and rail cars to be carried into the vastness of America. Hardly any of them will be inspected.

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