All five checking stations were open when we arrived at 5:30, the lines were relatively short, and they remained so even when one of the checking stations closed for 10 minutes between 6:30 and 6:40. It seemed that fewer people than usual came to the checkpoint this morning – perhaps due to the very cold and rainy weather during the predawn and dawn hours – but that is only an optical impression. At all events, no one approached us for help or to register a complaint.
The Humanitarian Gate was opened at 6:18 by the non-commissioned officer from the DCO, who arrived a few minutes earlier but told the women waiting at the gate that she would not open it until more people turned up – and then reversed herself shortly thereafter and opened it. (The policy of waiting for a buildup at the gate before opening it changes from one DCO representative to another and renders the people waiting by it totally perplexed.) The NCO closed the gate and left at 6:40, when the lines going through the “cages” grew short.
We joined one of those lines at 6:55, when the “cages” were half-empty, and exited the checkpoint less than 15 minutes later.