Wednesday, 23 July 2008


A friend told me yesterday that travelling through Australian customs with his military medals (quite a valuable collection both sentimentally and emotionally) his bags were rudely prodded and poked because the X Ray machine had picked something up.
"What's this?" said the rude little man; and when T went to get the medals out to show himhe was ordered to not touch the bag as that was his (the officious little inspector's) job.
This rather contrasts with some other experiences. We ourselves on a couple of occasions in our recent travels had to explain the contents of our bags, on all occasions only we and not the the official, were allowed to touch our belongings.
This is as it should be (at least in the first instance) since we are the ones responsible for them.
This did not stop proper investigation and actually allowed an higher level of accountability. What ever else you might say about the two Asian countries we recently visited, their regimens were always thorough and always polite. Australian official should take a leaf from their book.
And T followed up the story by remarking how different his experience when the same thing happened enetering the US, admittedly a little wiser he had the medals out his bag and ready to explain. The woman customs officer asked him to explain what they were and on finding out expressed the heartiest welcome to their land, and her sense of privilege at being shown the medals.
Like many Australian travellers we remark when we return that we could and indeed should do this stuff better if we are to be taken seriously

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