squeezed and sniffed

quite uneventful trip from saint louis to wellington – although there was one moment when i thought i was in for a treat. i always ask for an aisle seat but there were none available so i was assigned a window. i was one of the first to first to board and settled into my seat. then the mom with the sleeping one year old sits down in the aisle seat. not good but what can you do. then a gigantic rugby player looking dude asks “is this row 37?” oh no. so the mom gets up trying not to wake junior and gigantor tries to squeeze himself into the middle seat and then mom sits back down. i am now hermetically sealed into my seat – pressed up against the window. fortunately the purser felt pity on me the mum and offered her a seat further back that had empty adjacent seat for junior. this allowed the hulk to move over to the aisle and for me to exhale. from there it was easy.

while i was waiting for my luggage in auckland i watched nz maf patrolling for quarantine items with one of their dogs. it was amazing and quite entertaining. the dog was a small beagle with a maf vest. he would wander sniffing at each bag and then when he got a hit would sit down with his rear legs spread wide (hard to describe – gromit does the same and it cracks me up each time) and brush his nose against the offending bag and then seem to stop paying attention. the conversation between the maf officer and the passenger would always go like this:

“excuse me sir, do you have any food items in your bag?”
“no, but i had a banana in there yesterday. that must be what he smells”
“do you mind if i look?”
“no, of course”
the officer then starts digging. the dog is still sitting but looking all around having a great time and you’re sure that he is no longer paying attention, but when the officer gets near the item the dog leans over, quickly touches the bag with his nose again, and then resumes his looking about cheerfully. the officer then always pulls out a piece of contraband.
“oh!, i forgot about that half eaten snicker bar. sorry about that.”
“can i see your biosecurity form, please”
the form then gets marked with what i can only guess leads to a quite thorough search by the biosecurity agents.

i did get pulled aside by biosecurity to have a look at my hiking boots but was quickly sent on my way.

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