Last year when I arrived in Nepal I came to the international airport in Kathmandu. B had already been in Nepal for two months so we were really missing each other very much. He wanted to come meet me at the gate but that’s not allowed of course, so he has waiting outside the airport.
The first thing I noticed that was different about this airport compared to many others I’ve been to was that it was built with bricks, not concrete. The airport seemed quite small for an international airport but it had a nice feeling.
At the immigration checkpoint there were long queues and a bit confusing about which form to fill out. I started talking to a woman who had been to Nepal several times before and chose the same form as her. We stood in line together and talked a bit and when it was finally our turn the immigration officer said we had filled out the wrong form. So just had to start over again and find the right form.
While I was waiting again a man came up to me and asked if I was Alexandra and handed me a mobile phone. On the other end was B, I was so happy to hear his voice. The guy handing me the phone was his friend who works with security at the airport, B told me to follow him and we would meet outside. I finally got my arrival stamp in my passport and followed my new guide to the baggage claim area. We chitchatted a bit while waiting for my bag and then headed out. I took my big backpack and tried to keep up with his fast pace.
I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do so I just followed him as best I could. When we got to the security and customs area he didn’t stop and just continued past everyone who was waiting. He didn’t say a word either so I was a little unsure about if I really should just follow him through and skip the xray machines or if I were supposed to stop. I decided to keep following him, if it meant I didn’t have to stand in line there then I would see B sooner, so good for me.
After having some time to think about this it seems more wierd than when I experienced it. Sure it was nice for me to get through fast and easy without any hassle. On the other hand it doesn’t seem like the security is so good and security on an airport is important. Sure this was on the way out of the airport and we didn’t get the same easy guidance on the way in when leaving the country.
It was a good way to see some of the major cultural differences between Sweden and Nepal. Even if you have friends who work at the airport here I don’t think something like that could happen, at least I hope not. We are a bit more strict with security and following rules. What I’ve experienced in Nepal is that connections matter much. If you have friends or family in good positions things can go easier, like here in the airport. There’s of course positive and negative things with both sides.
Sometimes I wonder what the people who were waiting in line in the customs area and xraying their luggage thought when I was almost running by them carrying my big bag and following the security guard. I bet they though I had done something wrong or was getting checked extra for some reason. Not even the other security personnel even looked or said anything, so perhaps it wasn’t the first time it happened.