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Happy international customs day!


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Today is the day we celebrate the thankless work of customs around the world for their tireless work in keeping our borders safe from menacing outsiders and Johnny Foreigners!

To celebrate this year, you can read a thrilling report called Data Analysis for Effective Border Management, or build a long, expensive wall in your back garden to commemorate the spirit of discord and otherness.


If that doesn’t take your fancy there’s also:

International Fisherman Day
International Freedom Day

and some other minor celebrations that I’ve forgotten about. Let’s celebrate by sharing our favorite customs story 🙂 I’ll start!

Um… actually, being in the EU I kind of don’t have to deal with them anymore. Also the UK has a weird computer customs thing now so IDK.

Never mind! I’m sure someone here has a great story involving “would you come this way please sir” and the alarming pop of surgical gloves being snapped on. Right?

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I was about to fly from Jordan to Switzerland and I had souvenir bottles from various tourist sites. The bottles contained an ounce of water from different countries we’d been, so I had water from the Jordan river, the Sea of Galiee, and some old well in the supposed garden of Gethsemane. They were marked and sealed and had given me no trouble until this one customs guy stopped me.

He dumped out my bags on a big table, ran his hand through a box of cookies (in case of contraband) and took a picture of the floor with my camera to prove it wasn’t a fake camera. Then he said that to keep the souvenir water I would need to drink a mouthful from each one to show it was for drinking.

I explained it was not sanitary or for drinking it was souvenirs from famous places. Another customs guy had already written what the contents were in 5 languages and stamped a checkmark. The new guy would not budge. Drink half of each bottle or pour them in the trash. They were not great souvenirs anyway… 🙂

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Ferry from Calais to Dover.

Shady looking guy: got cigarettes?
Us: No.
Guy: do me a favour, take one package for me?
Us: NO.

Waved out on the other side, lose ~4 hours of precious vacation time while car is being searched.

Happy customs day!

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