I moved to Oaxaca, Mexico in 2003 after quitting my job at Sandia National Laboratories after 9/11 took things in a different direction and dried up much of the work my department was doing. At one point was involved in border security while Sandia was designing and testing an explosives sensor–the one where you step into a phone booth sized box and high pressure air is sprayed onto you.
I basically quit flying in the US because of all the crazy security changes and waiting lines. I am fortunate in that I can fly to the Mexican-US border on a Mexican airline and cross the border into Texas or NM, and get to Albuquerque (where I grew up) without flying. Still, I did a short stint in 2008 in Kabul, where I flew to Dubai on Air Emerates out of Houston. When they served the meal, they gave us metal silverware, which I had not seen on an airline post 9/11 (no, I wasn’t in first class). Then I was further amazed in the Dubai airport, when we didn’t have to take off our shoes to be checked like we had in Houston. It was at that moment that I decided the terrorists had won.
Flying in Mexico is still like the old days, Thank God. I have numerous funny stories, but the best one involves a knife that had been sewn into a leather jacket that I had taken to a tailor in Oaxaca to repair a broken zipper. He somehow left a knife he had used for the repair inside the lining of the jacket and sewn it shut. The knife was discovered as I was late to board a flight in Oaxaca to Mexico City. At the x-ray machine the security officer told me there was a knife in the jacket. I searched the pockets and found nothing. He said “no it’s in here” showing me how there was something in the liner of the jacket. I quickly used the same knife inside the jacket to make a hole and remove it. All he said after that was “you can’t take it on the plane.” He didn’t even care about how it had gotten in there to begin with. I have always wondered how the same situation would have played out at a US airport.