Auckland International Airport, New Zealand

I’d been here all of 10 mins before this highest of dramas kicked off.

Stage 1) Code Green
I roll off the red-eye from Chile. I get to Immigration.

Me: “Hi please would you stamp my passport on a page that already has stamps on. I only have 8 blank ones left and I need them all for visas. Thanks.” It’s not a big ask is it.

Littlerayofsunshine man: “I’ll stamp wherever there’s space.” “What are you doing here?”

Me: (What at the airport? I just got off a flight funnily enough) What I really say:  “Just here for tourism.”

LROS: “What do you intend to do here exactly?”

Me: (Thinking he was just making conversation) “Not sure yet, no plans.” (Yawn, can I go yet please.)

LROS: “ You are making it very difficult for me to let you in the country if you don’t know why you’re here.”

Me: (In my head) Oh let’s see shall we, I’m here maybe coz it’s on the way to actual nice places like Fiji/Australia… or maybe I just couldn’t resist 3 weeks of hearing your irritatingly whiny Kiwi accents… grr.

(Although I didn’t think this would go down well)

He stamps me in but obvs flags me in the system as trouble as 2 mins later…..

Code Amber
Lady with a hushpuppy sniffer dog comes-a-sniffing. “Do you have any food items on you?”

Me: “Yes, I think I have some dried pasta, but I declared it on my arrival card. I’ll throw it if you like?”

Her: “Do you do drugs?”

Me: “Err no?” (Who on earth is going to answer yes to this?) Plus, I’m pretty sure I said pasta, not crack cocaine?

She repeats the entire why are you here? What are you doing? Where exactly are you going?

Me: “Ok, what literally am I doing for the next three weeks? –(thinking it better to play along) Well, let’s see Snowboarding, Rafting, Bungee Jumping – No, course i’m not – but insert your own Kiwi cliché here. I’ll probs travel down to Queensland South Island…”

Her: “Well you are in the wrong country then” (scowls)

Me: (Correcting myself) “Queenstown?” (Give me a break it’s 6am! Queensland is in Oz but whatever.)

Her: “What are you studying? Do you know anyone here? Have you booked your hostel? How much do you earn? How much is in your bank account? What’s your bra size?” (You get the drift.)

Me: “I’m not studying, I just wrote student on my entry card as I don’t have an occupation, I’m travelling, and it’s what everyone does. Sometimes when we are being really hilarious we put astronaut, clown, Digital media Evangelist. So glad I reigned this in today.  Yes I know a girl Rachel, she’s a day behind me arriving tomorrow, No I didn’t realise it was illegal to not book hostels, and mind your own business you silly bitch!” (Ok, this has merged into fiction. I of course answered her in my most pleasant tone, inwardly seething.)

Am I the first backpacker to set foot here???!!!!

Her: “Wait here.” (She was clearly not feeling my sarcasm) “Someone official will be searching you in room 4.”

Hang on, what????

Code Red
Starting to get slightly worried now, I meet Mr customs guy 3. He is kind of cute, so I decide to switch tactics and see if I can flirt my way out of the sitch (A long shot looking dog rough after 14h’s in the air).

He then proceeds to get EVERY SINGLE ITEM out of my backpack. (We are talking underwear, tampons, condoms) The lot. MORTIFYING. He even flicks though my diary?! Which was soo nearly game over!

I attempt to look nonchalant and innocent. Like Catherine Tate’s ‘Am I bothered’ Lauren meets Hannah Montana.

Turns out, rummaging through my entire life takes a while, so he starts some small talk. I’m not entirely sure whether this is stealth question trickery. Although he doesn’t seem that bright. He starts giving me snowboarding advice. We also cover football/surfing. There is lolling, I’m starting to wonder if by the end of this we’re gonna be lifelong facebook friends.

Then he drops the bombshell.

“I’m going to need to confiscate this feather. It’s life stock.”

“Why, the rest of the parrot is not still with it, it’s an earring” I giggle.

Till I realise this is NO laughing matter. Apparently it hasn’t been treated, so might trigger some kind of epidemic. Err, melodramatic much?!

I give him my best Bambi/puppy eye look, and tell him some (true) sob story of buying it off some orphaned tribe’s child in the Amazon.

It must have pulled at his heartstrings, or maybe he realised he’s have to wrestle it some my dying clutches, as he caves and lets me keep it.

1 hour later, I am free.  I’m not enamoured so far. Welcome to New Zealand.

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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