When we boarded the plane in Detroit – there were three customs agents standing there. They were picking people at random and frisking them. Ashley was so scared they were going to pick her. She clutched her stuffed dog and her bag and proceeded through the line of people. When we got to where the customs agents were – one of them (a lady) looked at her with a straight face and said, “may I see that dog please?” Ashley turned pale white – looked at me – and handed the lady her dog. The agent frisked the dog, handed it back to Ashley and winked at her. As we were walking away – the other agents were laughing. Apparently they like to freak kids out.
When we got to Germany – we walked off the plane. We got our luggage. We looked around. We actually asked a security guard where we should go. He pointed to the exit. No frisking, no declaring, no customs anything! We were dumb founded. We had prepared for anything and everything – and nothing happened. NOTHING! Until we came home – to our country of citizenship – where we have lived our entire lives. I tell you what – this country does not mess around in the airports. We should feel very safe.
When we walked off the plane – we entered a large – empty room. The only thing in there was 5 customs agents and 3 dogs. We were instructed to form a single file line against the wall. Every single person was looked up and down from head to toe. The dog sniffed every single person. If the dog sat down next to you – it wasn’t because he liked you. We only saw this happen to one person. He was asked to step forward – the dog sniffed him again – and this time the dog moved on. PHEWWWWW!
When we got done with that – we got in a line to declare our purchases. We had everything itemized just like we were supposed to. We handed the papers to the customs agent – they stamped it – and we moved on….. to the next check. That went just as smoothly. So after three customs checks – we were able to leave the airport. Quite a difference from just a few short years ago when we pretty much just got our luggage and left.
There were a lot of other things that were different too. Look for part two of this post for that. My fingers are getting tired!