Last week I went down to my basement to check on something. I don’t go down there often – to be honest it is a bit of a mess. I totally forgot what I was looking for because there I saw my travel collection of bags. Small carryon with wheels for just an overnight trip, backpack for the plane, medium size case which has become my go to and an oversized mammoth of a case which I have no idea why I bought. What was I thinking of?
Oh – I was so sad. I sat down on the carpet next to the bags and had a chat.
“How are you guys?” I asked. “It seems like forever since we travelled together.”
Mammoth case “Well you got that right, lady. When was the last time you ever picked me for a trip. I don’t even know why you are hanging on to me.”
“Well you know Mammoth – you are a big lady – you might come in handy one day if I decide to emigrate – AGAIN! After all it is becoming a bit of a habit now. Emigrate from England to South Africa – emigrate from South Africa to Swaziland – emigrate from Swaziland to Canada – maybe a retirement emigration to – I dunno – Barbados – might not be a bad idea. Especially in view of the weather today.”
Of course medium sized fairly new bag couldn’t help but chime in. “Oh I remember our trip on Silversea Cruises. It was so amazing. The luggage crew with Silversea were so gentle and carried me up to your suite and laid me out on the luggage table so carefully. I felt so special and just sat there waiting for you to come into the room (which was amazing). I can remember smiling smugly to myself while you exclaimed with joy and ran around the room checking the bathroom and walk in closet and the balcony. My goodness, you were like a 5 year old at Disneyland.”
“Oh shut up” said Mammoth. “I am so sick to death of hearing about your special trips. You have only been part of this family for 2 years – wait my friend until you become old and tatty and then let’s see you get taken on a luxury cruise line!”
Medium bag sat and said nothing – probably sulking.
Backpack meanwhile chirped “well I go on every trip now that Mom has seen how much better it is to travel with a backpack on a flight rather than a stupid little bag on wheels”.
“Who the hell are you calling Mom?” said small wheely bag. “Let me tell you when she goes on a carry on only trip I am the one! So shut up! I have done a whole two week trip to Ireland and it was only me – all the way. Boy oh boy she had those clothes packed in so tight – my jaws were aching. But I did it. I was so proud of myself – and of her. Mind you I did notice that I never saw those clothes again. Rumour has it downstairs here that they ended up in the bin.”
Oh yes, travel memories. The excitement of which bag to choose, which clothes to pack, what to wear on the plane. Dammit – I miss it!
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!