It was 9 AM, flight was on time, i even went through immigration in no times, a first.
It can usually take up to an hour or more to reach the counter. Even with 20 queue line.
Heading to the baggage claim area, i then got my luggage as usual. An extra thank you to the person who was nice enough to cover my suitcase with moisturizer, she feels rejuvenated.
Exit on sight !!
Indré was already back in Paris for a few days, i was coming back from Asia and had to go to U.A.E for 2 days only. Some of my belongings from the time when i lived in Dubai needed to be picked up before heading to Europe. We did our regular shopping session in Bali prior to that.
Coming from Bali with less than 48 hours in the country, may ring a bell. The Flip-flop look and tattoo might have put a red dot on my forehead as well. Next time i will put on a shirt.
– The Customs Officer – ” Good afternoon Sir, do you have anything to declare ? “
– Me – ” No,nothing. “
– The Customs Officer – ” OK, please follow me for a regular random inspection.”
By regular, i mean Drug Sniffing Dog and Puffer Machine. But, by regular, they meant checking every trouser seam, turn any single pocket inside out. Asking me the precise use of each medication, and unfolding every pair of socks I had prepared so meticulously.
And here comes the drama.
We are used to bring back seeds from our trip, the legislation in France isn’t being as tough as the Australian one for example. One full bag of various seeds, from 30 different trees.
– The Customs Officer – ” What is in the bag ? “
– Me – ” Just various seeds. “
– The Customs Officer – ” Ok.”
That went well … I really didn’t see myself searching on google what species of trees it was, and maybe how many inches of water per week was needed.
But then he found it. A little zip bag with some suspicious grass.
Actually, it was 2 ears of rice that we picked the day we got engaged on Gunung Agung. By the look on his face, i knew it was not going to be easy to explain, why on earth, i was bringing this back. The Officer put it aside and called his colleague to come check on it.
And then started a more thorough inspection of my suspect suitcase second half.
Bringing something extra to my friend who hosted me two nights was mandatory, and i have to admit, i kind of did it at the last minute.
What is the best thing to bring back from Bali to an old friend you used to work with will you ask ?
- Spices ?
- Batik ?
- Sarong ?
Having a tough choice , knowing he has already been there a few times, i took a ridiculously smart decision. And decide that my best option was a 50 cm wooden penis shaped bottle opener. And since i was going to visit another friend in France after that, i took two of them.
Smart, right ? “Love does not count the cost.”
At that exact moment, having already lived there, if i was giving it a second thought, i probably would not have done that.
Comic show then started.
They first start by asking me what it was for, and why i had it. I preferred to say it was for somebody in France instead of someone in Dubaï. Safe precaution. I don’t see myself explaining to my friend, why, because of me, the police is going to interrogate him on a possible Sex-Toy cartel.
I then got a reminder of the UAE rules to follow. All the officers around came to check what their coworker found. Seeing how much attention my bottle opener were getting, i risked myself to ask something more. Since they will keep my carved penis, could they, at least, put it in one of the Plexiglas box you could find in every airport. The one with knife, grenade, American fist and everything you cannot take on board.
Ok, fair enough.
After 2 hours and a half waiting, and a pleasant repacking of my suitcase (thanks to the custom lady who helped me refolding my clothes) i am now the proud owner of a Dubaï Customs certificate.
This one stating that “Two Sex Object are taken away from me and are now going to be destroyed according to Emirati law”.
To the Dubaï customs Officer and any person that my behavior have shocked. It was a moment of inattention. Be sure i learn my lesson and it won’t happen again.
To all of you who read this, and i am sure, eager to hear about the main subject of this story.
Yes, i got my ears of rice back.
In a nutshell:
Duty-Free items, know your limits :
- Up to 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 500 grams of tobacco.
- Up to four liters of alcoholic beverages or 48 cans of beer of no more than 355 ml each.
- There is no limit on how much cash you can bring with you, but cash, traveler’s checks, jewelry, or precious metals amounting to more than 100,000 AED must be declared to customs at the airport by filling out the appropriate form.
Items to declare :
- Plants, trees, soil.
- Medicines of all kinds.
- Films and books.
Forbidden items :
- Any kind of drugs and a lot of meds, you can bring up to a twelve months supply of prescription medicine with you into the country, but you will need to have the original prescription. Even perfectly legal in your country, some medications can only be brought into the UAE with special permission from the Drug Control Department of the UAE Ministry of Health.
- Anything comming from Israel.
- Sex toy, pornography, defined as any printed materials, photos, sculptures that are considered immoral or contrary to the teachings of Islam.
- Illegal computer software.
- Used tires …