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Sunday, November 9, 2014

HOW TO SMUGGLE

ESCAPE FROM TUNISIA

Got up at 5:30AM to get the bus from Hammamet direct to the airport.  I should have gotten up a bit earlier but managed to get a seat on the bus which left at 6AM - as opposed to 6:30AM as I'd been told.  I advise getting there early as it becomes standing room only.

Most of the people actually get out at one of the three stops before the bus station.  It takes about an hour to get to the airport.


At the airport, exchanging the worthless Tunisian currency for something I could legally take out of the country was a priority.  Although they don't have any advertisements notifying people their Tunisian currency can all be seized if they try to remove it from the country, it is a rule.  Fortunately there are several banks in the airport.

They want a receipt from the place you got the money.

Because I know this trick, I'd kept all of the ATM receipts and just loaded them on to the bank guy.

There was no large signs telling people to get their 'solidarity stamp'.  This is the 'sting in the tail' Tunisia hits travelers with as they leave the country - for no reason other than 'we want your money'.  It is a pain and many people were getting turned away from passport control to go find where these things were sold.  I'd already visited the Office of Finance and bought one.


Dollars in pocket, I waited until the Emirates guys showed up for work.  They checked me in for the flight then I hung out with them for an hour or two chatting.  Though I'd been promised by the people who sold me the ticket they would get me good seats, check me in and so on I'd known the promises were bullshit.  Just like the wake up call I'd been promised.  When traveling budget, unless you get something at the time you pay, don't expect it.

Fortunately, the Emirates guys hooked me up with a good seat for both flights.


During the flight, I was chatting to a flight attendant.  Working for Emirates Airline (which has no taxes for businesses), all of the employees are required to live in expensive Dubai.  "You either love it or hate it." she said.

The Dubai airport is what happens when someone with no taste gets hold of thirty three billion dollars.  Want a burger, fries and a drink?  Plan on $30 or more.  I waited for the in flight meal.

Despite everything I'd read on the internet, nobody asked me for proof of onward transit.  This made me a bit sad I'd spent so long forging an airline ticket but better safe than sorry.



SOUTH AFRICA!

After a lot of thought, I'd decided rather than working my way up along the coast, I wanted to come straight to Johannesburg and hang out with Guy and DD.  It wasn't possible without paying more money to switch to the cheaper plane ticket so I hopped a bus straight after landing.

In Cape Town, they have a bus called My Citi.  You buy something that looks like a debit card and take money from that.  Since the card doesn't have your name, it makes a great fake credit card for your 'steal me' wallet.

After taking the My City bus to the bus station, I checked out the lines for the two buses which had been suggested - Translux and Greyhound.  The Translux line was very long.  At the Greyhound counter it transpired that one of the ladies there was a driver for the bus to Johannesburg.  It normally left a couple hours earlier but was running very behind schedule.

The only other passenger on the bus repeatedly contacted my host in Johannesburg (Guy) to let him know of our progress.  Very nice of him.  He said it was extremely lucky I caught this bus.

Although the bus was suppose to arrive at 6:45AM, it actually got there sometime after 9AM.



INITIAL IMPRESSIONS OF SOUTH AFRICA

Within South Africa, they have several shanty towns (aka 'shanties') where people live in extreme poverty.  These can be a very short distance away from an affluent neighborhood where all of the properties are surrounded by spiked walls, electronic fences and armed response security details.

Twenty kilometers outside of Johannesburg, we passed a sign that said "Hijacking spot".  What a well organized country!

Despite this level of paranoia, the people I've spoken to have been very kind to me.

On some levels, it is a lot like being in Asia.  I'm still very much the white minority but instead of everyone being Asian, everyone is black.  I don't care so long as I get fed.



JOHANNESBURG

After arriving here and doing some light shopping, I got to attend a drag party (see videos below) at the place I'm staying.  Sadly, I did end up crashing about an hour before the party ended but no real sleep for a couple days had wiped me out.



HOW TO SMUGGLE

Despite the title of this section, for legal reasons I am forced to suggest not doing illegal things.  Do not use my teachings for evil.

That out of the way, here is one way to discourage those annoying searches by the border guards when you go from country to country.

With a 'top loading' bag, the dirty clothing should always be on top.  The more disgusting the better.

While an actual biohazzard should be avoided the guards are human.  They don't want to dig through smelly disgusting laundry.

Aside from the ability to smuggle a couple extra packages of cigarettes, you can avoid having strangers dig through your pack and needing to repack everything.

Most searches are extremely cursorily in any case.  Most of the time it is about body language and not looking like you are freaking out.



VIDEOS

Bus out of Tunisia
Drag Party
The Last Supper (since I was the token straight guy, I got to be Judas)



BIG BAG WEIGHT

12.4 KG.  This is pretty much everything aside from my computer stuff.  Which is heavy.



PRICES

MyCity bus pass one way far enough for the bus station, about $5.

Greyhound bus from Cape Town to Johannesburg one way, about $70 - $10 more for 'business class' which I got.  This was worth it as it is a long, long drive.

3 comments:

  1. I read this and thought "that's not travelling, that's just popping out to visit"
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/themes/62947474/the-18-signs-youre-obsessed-with-travel.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I agree. After reading that I said 'meh'.

      Delete
  2. I was listening to this https://archive.org/details/CrotchlessPantiesAndTheGimp and feeling nostalgia.

    ReplyDelete

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