Friday, 27 June 2008

International Security Advisor

Hi punters, I'm back. Did you miss me? Of course not, because you probably hadn't even noticed I'd left.

Anyway, after a hot run through South East Asia with absolutely no objectionable goods strapped to my lower intestine I'd like to give the run down of the following customs and immigration angles.

Darwin (leaving) - Four fat blokes and a woman all with moustaches. Absolutely no idea what was going on

Singapore (arriving) - For a country that is exceedingly keen on necking people for bring drugs in they're also exceedingly lax in actually checking if you have any. Once you get past immigration and collect your bag there are, as always doors for "Something To Declare" and "Nothing To Declare". Once you walk out of the Nothing to Declare one you're out of the terminal and have gotten away with it scot free. No thought of a sniffer dog? No putting the heat on just a little bit? No, they've got absolutely no interest whatsoever. Hillariously airlines still wait until the seatbelt sign has gone and landing has commenced before they remind you that carrying gear leads to a death sentence.

Singapore (leaving) - Even going out on a bus they showed far more urgency for departing passengers than they did arriving ones. Loss of the pissy white piece of paper they give you upon arrival will lead to interrogations and near misses of your bus.

Malaysia (arriving) - No interest whatsoever. Sure it was a bus station, but still they could afford to put some excitement into the process. Once more as long as you didn't crack up you could quite easily walk in the door with an AK-47 and 12 pounds of heroin. Barlow and Chambers my arse.

Malaysia (departing) - Even less interest. We were ten minutes late for our flight and they couldn't have been any more helpful in just letting us wander straight past the counter with nothing but a stamp.

Thailand (arriving) - More what you'd expect. A few guys with machine guns and a dog here or there. They want to give you the impression that they're really keen to bang you away in a roach infested prison for a few years.

Thailand (departing) - Relatively pissweak. No real interest other than just stamping the passport and sending you on your merry way.

Darwin (arriving) - Hello Guantanomo Bay! I'm all for national security and border protection but this might have been just a little bit over the top. Firstly they opened one counter for Australian passport holders (80% of the flight) and three for everyone else. Cue a bit of "bloody foreigners" sentiment amongst the tolerant waiting Aussies.

Then once we got past there we were bailed up by the first customs officer for a bit of an informal chat. Where have you been, what have you do done, are you up to anything even slightly dodgy etc.. As I had a shitload of pirated CD's in my bag I was moderately concerned at the last statement, but soon realised they couldn't give a toss. Downstairs and we were immediately bailed up by the next customs officer for the same drill. "No sir, I do not have 30,000 ecstasy tablets inserted in any unmentionable orifice - may I go now?" Yes you may, about five metres before you get the same routine AGAIN. They weren't even pretending to be subtle about it now. Then the Quarantine guy did the same and went through my bags. Well, opened it and had a look in anyway. Everyone else seemed to be going through an X-Ray machine but after he'd had a cursory glance inside he waved me on. I even offered to X-Ray it but there was no interest. Remember, if you're up to something dubious in Darwin make sure you declare some pissy wooden picture frame so that you can get away with all your other scams.

I suppose they've got a point. If you were going to come back with something dodgy on you you'd probably think that Darwin would be a safer bet for getting away with it than Melbourne or Sydney. They had pretty much everything that you'd get in the 'big city' except for the sniffer dogs. Keep this in mind if you're "up to something" kids.

DISCLAIMER: TSP does not encourage you to be "up to anything" anywhere. When we travel to Bali we shop at Denpasar Boogie Boards - where you get 10% more every time.

1 comment:

Keri said...

Strange. When I was in Malaysia last time they frisked me six times before I could get on the flight - and that was just a 8 hour stop over. Was it KL airport?

Then again, when I stayed in KL a month later, they didn't even look like it had occured to them to check my bag.