When colourful skulls tumble out a suitcase

Rasha al Raisi – Malaga is the city where time passes slower than other places and its habitants seem to enjoy every minute of it. The Andalusians here are never in a hurry. You notice it in their walking pace, in their speech and even in supermarkets when the cashier gets up slowly from his chair to get you the price of a product, while you stand feeling guilty about the people queuing behind you. But in reality, people never seem to notice and carry on chatting and being busy on their mobiles.
The flight to Malaga this time took much longer than usual as we had to change the route. So instead of being the nice smooth 6 hours, it turned out to be 8 hours which gave me the time to finish a book and two movies (I strongly recommend My Cousin Rachel to anyone who’s interested in historical drama.)
When landing in Malaga, I had to wait in the baggage reclaim area that is designated for international flights. The place seemed empty from security when I entered. But when the place filled up with people and the belt started moving, two guards appeared and stood by the x-ray machine waiting for us to pass by. I was standing third in the queue, with a European man in front followed by a Latin lady.
The European seemed to be in his late 40s with a black t-shirt and a hair in dire need of a wash. He carried a medium size suitcase that he placed on the belt.
After passing the x-ray machine, the security guard eyed the man suspiciously before asking his colleague to check the bag as
there appeared to be skulls in the bag. My eyes opened wide in disbelief as I heard the word skulls in Spanish and the European didn’t react at all.
The guard opened the bag and brought out some t-shirts wrapped around something. I watched while my heart was beating fast as the guard unfolded the t-shirts and brought out colourful skulls made of ceramic. There were around 6 of them of different colours that made me think of why would anyone choose to decorate their house with such ugly skulls? The guard then asked his colleague to check the inside of the skulls. With what looked like a swiss knife, the guard poked the inside of one and pulled out rolled plastic bags. They were drugs of course and what made it worse was the huge needle found among his things, that reminded me of the needles used in my vet’s practice.
My heart was racing again as I watched the events unfold in front of me. I turned my head around to gauge other passengers’ reactions with my can-you-believe-this-action-packed-scene-right-in-front-of-us? look on my face. But strangely enough, nobody seemed to notice.
Instead they were puffing in frustration, for having to wait for that long because of Mr Drug Smuggler.
The drug smuggler had a poker face while the guard asked him if he spoke any Spanish. He didn’t reply and stared ahead instead. A European lady suddenly came in front of me and asked the guard in Spanish: what was the point of x-raying their bags when she was a Norwegian who had a Schengen pass? The guard took his time explaining the reasons while I put my bags on the belt and exited the place.
I shared the news with the driver who didn’t really seemed impressed or surprised. He shrugged and said that these things happen.
I decided to follow the driver’s suit and let myself relax into Malaga’s peacefulness and tranquillity.
Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of The World According to Bahja. rashabooks@yahoo.com