All’s well that ends well
All five checking stations were open when we arrived at 5:30, and the lines were contained within the shed for the soldier in the Aquarium let the entire line through each time he opened the turnstiles. But then the soldier simply nodded off, the lines grew long, and it proved very difficult to wake him. Nevertheless, in a “joint action” together with the people on line, (meaning through their loud shouts and our banging on the bars with coins), we finally managed to awaken him, and the soldier did his best to rectify the situation by allowing many people through each time he opened the turnstiles. The situation temporarily deteriorated again after the 6 a.m. change of the guard, when the new soldier had difficulty opening the turnstiles. Only after the security guard took charge was the problem solved. Thereafter, for most of the morning, the lines never extended beyond the shed, and the pace of movement through the checking stations was satisfactory.
At 6:00 a DCO officer (whom we saw for the first time) and a soldier who appeared to be learning the procedures came out to operate the Humanitarian Gate. After checking the papers of the people waiting there, they opened the gate at 6:05 and thereafter each time a handful of people gathered before it. Much to their credit, they continued to operate the gate for women and elderly men even after the lines through the cages had shortened considerably.
At 6:55 we joined a line in one of the half empty cages were out of the checkpoint by 7:05.