If you have travelled to Australia, you have probably experienced our strict and daunting customs and quarantine regulations. Even as a local, I find the whole customs process to be close to terrifying.
The airport is filled with security guards. Sniffer dogs roam the baggage collection points. Attendants will literally open up your bags, rip open packets of tea, and cut open Chinese Moon Cakes in search of illegal substances!
And they’re not looking for drugs – they’re looking for egg yolks!
As a general rule, you can’t bring in food products, or objects made of wood, plants, animals, egg, shells, soils or anything biological into the country. And being the good citizen that I am, plus the fact that I’m terrified that one of those cute sniffer dogs will turn on me, I made sure I had none of the above.
So imagine my blood curling alarm, as my bag went through the xray – something close to nuclear sirens screamed from the machines and a security attendant came hurtling my way.
They whisked my bag away, slammed it onto a table, and asked me a zillion questions.
I was trying to be calm. Cool. Composed.
They kept asking me if I had any plant material. I kept saying NO.
But I could feel every pore on my body prickle and break out into a sickening sweat.
They dug through my bag, and behold, my illegal LEAF was immediately found.
The customs people had a good old yuk yuk yuk about it, while I stood there, trying to mend my frazzled nerves and scoop my stomach off the floor.