Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Remember when travelling was an adventure and getting there really was half the fun?  Times have certainly changed and not in a good way.  This e-mail excerpt from my sister-in-law made me chuckle in the way you chuckle when you are just relieved it wasn't you:

  •  Just a heads up, Sarasota Airport has one of those body scan machines. Even if they tell you to empty your pockets and you think you did, double check to make sure there isn't the tiniest wad of tissue way down in your pocket. You may be subjected to the pat down around the time another agent is pulling your luggage aside because an odd bomb-shaped jar of marmalade is making everyone suspicious. All the while your spouse is sitting smugly off to one side, pretending not to know you.
The first time we went to the Bahamas, we had bartered antique Harley parts for at least part of the weeks rent on a villa.  This must have been late 1990's.  The cost to ship to the Bahamas, plus the duty on the imported products, was so high that it only made sense to wrap up the parts (gears. shafts, fly wheels, wires--who knows what all--though Mike could tell you exactly) and pack them in the suitcases along with our bathing suits and flip flops and bottles of sun block.  With effort,  we placed the very heavy suitcases on the scale by the airport check-in--then paid no extra charge for overweight baggage, endured no suspicious looks nor embarrassing searches of body or luggage.  Upon arrival in Marsh Harbour, we were asked by the Bahamian customs officer if we had anything to declare as he watched me straining to pull my suitcase through the check point.

"No!"  Mike startled me with the conviction of his reply.

The customs officer kind of raised an eyebrow, but waved us on through.

Can you even believe it?  Now, a jar of orange marmalade, bought as a thank-you gift for the neighbor who fed your cat while you were gone for a few days, puts officials on alert.

Incidentally, on the return trip from the Bahamas, motorcycle parts had been replaced with massive quantities of conch shells.  At U.S. customs the two women in front of us were asked if they had anything to declare in their luggage.  They responded, "just sand and sea shells."

"Huh...sand and sea shells?  Step over there and we'll have a look."

My turn came, "Anything to declare in here?"

Having  learned the value of bold-faced lying,  I quickly replied, "No, sir."


  1. I had one of those experiences in Israel. When asked if I had visited in the home of an Arab I boldly said "No," which was a lie. I knew, however, that I had done nothing wrong and was not about to be harrassed by the Israelis over it. Travel very much and you learn the benefits of lying.

  2. I like the poker face look!!! Yes, I agree, traveling really isn't much fun anymore.

  3. no, it's not much fun but I'm finding myself wanting to do it.

  4. Now you can't get away with lying about stuff in your luggage. They can spy the lie with x-ray vision. Takes all the fun out of it.

  5. Boy am I glad I don't fly. My last plane trip was to the Bahamas on the rickety Macky air lines that had an engine blow out in mid air.
    I'm with marcia though and would rather they go to all the trouble to be thorough.


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