As, many of us have travelled across the countries, and the layover is more than 4 hours during transit or more how exhausting it would be. Now the topic here is not about the layover or transit time but the end minute problems that the customs put forward. Most of them are very strict in nature and they would not mind handcuffing you for not following the protocols. cbut there were certain situations where I got into. I personally have many, mainly issues due to my green passport of Nepal. Here below are some of the most hassle bearing situation I have been in.
If you haven’t visited Singapore Changi airport then you are missing something big. Voted and chosen as one of the top airports in the world, it has everything. It is like a small world that you are in, the airport has so many amnesties that you literally want to get lost and stay there. Whenever I am in the Airport sometimes just to kill the time after the boarding pass has been issued, I usually browse at the duty-free section. One thing I noticed more was the people flocked more in the liquor department than others. Then a young lady approached me as asked if I would like to try the limited edition Hugo Boss, with a headphone as a gift. I was surprised by her product knowledge and I ended up buying it.
Now, the real problem came with the boarding box where a passenger was kept until the plane arrives. I saw people throwing their water at the nearby place. After that, they had to check all the belongings. When my turn came and I emptied the content, they spotted the perfume and said it is not allowed. I said to them I had just bought it through the duty-free w. I urged them I just bought it and I am not leaving without it. This went on for around 10 mins and I was worried it might make a scene. To my luck, the guy who was checking had a crush on the lady who was also checking on the same desk. I approached the girl and said -it was gifted to me by my girlfriend and it holds value for me. She then had a chat with the guy, after a while he said I can take it and if I get caught mention the name of the girl. He was flirting with her. I took off without any hassle but nearly lost HUGO BOSS
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)- Manila, Philippines
The Philippines talks the language of cash, I had returned from deep-sea diving that didn’t go that well as the weather was not with us. There were some people back to where I worked before asking me to bring some souvenirs. I met them at the airport and didn’t ask what it contained. Later when I opened the bag to arrange it. It contained some mangoes, some hair cream and some snacks. I opened my handbag and kept some snacks and the rest I kept in the luggage.
After a while, as I was sipping coffee nearby, I heard my voice through the transmitter to immediately come to the customs room. My first thought was maybe it was a mistake, but when they called more than three or four times I must be it. I had no idea what was going on. Did somebody plant drugs in my suitcase or did someone managed to sneak an exotic pet? With all the thoughts rounding up, I manage to reach the customers. Thankfully I had more than an hour left for my flight to take off.
The customs officers were not so friendly, they asked me if this is my luggage. I said yes, they replied by telling me to open it. Having watched lots of episodes banged up abroad I was having the same feeling. I guess anyone would feel the same, even you have done nothing wrong. I opened the luggage, they start the search. I had very little stuff. Then they found plastic bags wrapped around, it was like 4 or 5 of them. The officers said to me to take that out of the luggage, I knew what it was. All along the way, they were filming me. Then a guy appeared behind me and said, what do these contain. I answered simply it was mangoes, the officers looked puzzled and told me to open some. I did what I was told, after talking to each other for some time they said I can go but the mangoes will remain in the country. I tried to explain to them what it is and for whom it belonged. They refused and took all the mangoes. Later, after this drama I was sipping a cup of coffee, a policeman came to me and said he can put back the mangoes again if I wish to, with a small price tag. I said thank you but I don’t wish to be interrogated for mangoes again. As he was about to leave I asked him what is the problem with the mangoes. He answered me it is not the mangoes that are the problem but it was a national security threat. Just recently they had caught a guy in possession of some explosives in his luggage. He said that during the x-ray the mangoes resembled grenade. I am still amused till today when I recall that.
Tribhuvan International Airport- Kathmandu,Nepal
Being a Nepali, myself I really hate to say this but among all the countries I have visited Nepal has the worst infrastructure, worst custom officials and unimaginable nightmarish experience. Now coming back to my thing, I had many problems before mostly every time.This time was different, I had brought along a pet dog with me. The words spreads out quickly among the staffs. One came to volunteer to put the cage in the trolley, I agreed as I had other things to carry as well.Then two female officials came and said to me I had to fill in lots of paper works. I kindly excused them saying I will come as soon I get all my other incoming luggage in order.
I had done my homework, there is nothing to be paid until 2 dogs and 3 cats are brought into the country. These airport officials are trying to frame me into a trap. Later I came to realize that many had fallen into the trap. Now after that I had to pass the main exit point of the customs, where the main villain stood. Dressed in proper Nepali attire, seated with a desk, a chair, some files and a secretary like a person standing behind him. He refused to let me go with my dog. I showed him all the paper works and even explained to him that the other side of departure won’t let go if I hadn’t completed all the procedures. The guy was insisting that my dog have to through quarantine and only after that he would be released o top of that I had to pay a hefty fee for all these abnormal procedures. He was inventing the rules in front of me.
I had enough, I realized that my soft spoken words are of no use. I handed him my passport and when he realized my surname matched the minister of foreign affairs at that time. I also started making my own stories.I stated him I had left my apartment, car and everything cause of urgency to come but could not leave my pet cause he is a certified service dog. I showed him the identity card of the dog and warned him. He had a very long and stressful flight, and he has to poo now. If they did’t let me go I will open the gate of the cage and warned them if he bites anyone in the way I am not liable for that. Seeing they cannot draw any amount from me his last words were- the dog is smelling so bad so just take him out and release it for a while. I simply walked out of the airport with my beloved pet and other luggage and did’t return back.It was a challenge but I had to accept it.
Apart from these, I have many experiences such as liquor in the airport in Karachi, Pakistan. Jack Daniels at Batam island in Indonesia, a toy gun at Abu Dhabi airport and so forth. All I can say to fellow travellers is never take somebody else’s luggage in yours even you are giving a helping hand. You never know what might be in it.