Monday, February 21, 2011

Lost and Deported

I lost a bag, was refused entry into a country, was cut off from internet and the cherry on top, was pulled over by cops! Sounds like a fun week, right? In truth, it actually was!!

Let me enunciate each part of that sentence.

I lost a bag at the Munich airport. I usually carry a backpack as my carry-on and one of my girl(y) friends suggested that I carry a small hand-bag (gender woes…grrr!) for my passport, cash and cosmetics. I did, only I forgot to pick it up after the security check. Since I had a whole line of my items coming out the x-ray (from belt to shoes to laptop), I conveniently forgot the seldom used hand-bag. Fortunately, I had my passport and cash in the backpack (God bless the force of habit). Unfortunately I realized I left the bag only when I got into the shower at the hotel in Spain and realized I had no shower gel or shampoo.

Happy ending: On my way back, I picked up the bag from the “lost and found” at the Munich airport
with a twist: I had to pay 5 bucks to get it back since they had “stored” it for me. They actually have a list that says how much you pay for retrieving your item from the lost and found !

I was refused entry into Gibraltar. We were staying along the Spanish coast and Gibraltar was just over an hour’s drive from the resort. Since the checkpoint gets fairly crowded, we got up early (which is a herculean task for me esp. during a vacation) and got there before 9am.

Officer: Do you have a visa to enter Gibraltar ?
We smugly flashed our schengan visas
Officer (with an “I am not impressed” look): Gibraltar is not a schengan country
Us: Blank stares…..
Officer: You have to go back to Spain (and then he points to the U-turn)
Us: Blank stares turn into disappointed looks
Me: Does being in Europe for long and having a PR count?
Officer: No
Ashok turns the car around, reaches the U-turn and a sudden wave of genius hits me and I force him to make an illegal turn to get back to the port of entry.
Officer (now impatient and annoyed) walks towards us.
I had remembered that Gibraltar is a British territory and both Ashok and I have UK visitor visas. With a triumphant look, I flash those visas.

Officer: I would have let you in if you had a British PR but a British visitor visa does not count
Me: Are you sure?
Officer (exasperated): Madam, I am the head of immigration, I think I know!

Unfortunate ending: For the first time in my life, I was denied entry into a country (thankfully no “denied” stamp in the passport)
with a twist: we still saw the rock of Gibraltar
and a resolution: to go back with a visa and am keeping my fingers crossed about meeting the same officer (cat one time, elephant also one time).

To be continued…..

PS: I know the heading is exaggerated and misleading. Oh..man, I really should stop visiting rediff and times of India pages !
Hit Counter
Website Hit Counter I had decided to have a counter only after I hit a 1000 views and since it happened last week (as on 14 Dec 2009), now is the time to see some stats :)