I love watching Border Security – the documentary series that follows the events at the border both at airports and on the road. Having spent so much time in airports myself it is just fascinating to watch what people will try to take into another country. It’s not just the drugs but the other stuff – like weird food or tens of thousands of dollars in cash packed in your checked luggage ????
But come on! Have you ever brought anything into Canada when returning from a trip that you didn’t declare? What about that fancy purse you bought in Vegas? The one where you cut off all the tabs and filled it with your personal stuff and then ditched the old one at the hotel? C’mon – you know you did it!
Just filling in the declaration form on the flight is bound to bring tears to your eyes when you jot down a list of what you spent. This can’t be right, you think to yourself.
Just say you do get stopped at a “random” check. OK so you’re clean. But what the heck were you thinking about when you bought that apron in Florence for your best friend? You know which apron I mean – the one with the close up and very very personal picture of David?
Or why would you have 10 individually wrapped bars of soap in your suitcase as well as eight shower caps, six bottles of shower gel and two coathangers? Really? Not to mention the three cans of olive oil and two tins of truffles. These are not generally a problem (except maybe to the hotel from whence you filched said coathangers) but you really run into problems with some food items.
Talking of smuggling food reminds me of a time back in Swaziland where we had a Cholera epidemic. The Swazi authorities decided to ban all fruit and veg from coming across the border in South Africa. Well the fact of the matter was that most of our fruit and veg came from South Africa and nothing was coming into the Swazi shops. I’m talking lettuce, cucumbers, apples. Those who had green thumbs were to be envied and if you went to a dinner party and there was a lettuce salad you were the bee’s knees!
So…. we went shopping in Johannesburg and I confess I could not resist the package of Granny Smiths green apples. I just had to have them. Now the border guards were pretty thorough and would search the cars for evidence of edible contraband. Clever me though had an idea. Let’s put the apples in the engine under the hood just before we get to the border and then we can stop around the corner and take them out again. Easy peasey! Until the very friendly Swazi policeman asked for a ride into town. Oops! We drove and drove and I could just picture in my mind my lovely packet of apples bumping along next to the battery under the hood.
FINALLY – we dropped him off with much thank you’s and clapping of hands as the Swazis do….. whipped around the corner and stopped to open up the hood to find…… yes – a very large soft package of stewed apples.
That will teach me!