So there we are having survived the ten hour flight from Gatwick to Goa courtesy of Thomson Holidays’ Dream Liner. Does anyone ever sleep on a plane? Do they even manufacturer enough Valium to make it possible?
So we’re dragging ourselves out of the airport and we get to this rag tag sort of customs station. The guy says “have you got any cigarettes or tabbacco”. We’ve got 400 Marlboroughs on us, bought on the plane. We only wanted a couple of hundred but they only had them in packs of 400. But we’re traveling outside the EU so everyone knows you are good for 200 fags each, right? Yeah, apparently not.
So matey asks if we have any, being as I’m thinking I have nothing to hide (don’t get me wrong, if I had known I would have been more than happy to hide them) I say yeah we’ve got these 400 in the Thomsons carrier bag. So he send s us over to see some guy at a desk. He gets out some printed pamphlet thingy and points out that we are only allowed 100 each!
Yeah, whatever, how much do you want? Do I have a receipt? Yeah sure, here you go. 103% in duty!?! You want what now? You want sixty odd quid?!? But you’ll let me off for £30 if I don’t want a receipt! Mate, what have you been smoking?
If it was down to me, I would have mashed the fags to bits and left him with the dust. But wifey is made of sterner stuff (because they build them like that in Poland) and even after a ten hour flat she ain’t havin it from some jumped up and bivouacs corrupt official. So in she goes all guns blazing. I don’t think she would have punched him, but he didn’t know that.
And then we get to the really weird bit. He says, it should be £60, but he’ll let us off for £30 or we can just not pay it if we don’t want to! Oh big surprise, we’ll go with option 3 and not pay it then.
I mean, it’s bad enough being a corrupt official, but being one that is too lazy to bother making sure you get the bribe is something else.
So off we went wondering just how weird this country and this holiday was going to get.