Coming through Customs

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Customs at Sydney Airport this morning was an absolute nightmare. Although my baggage came off reasonably quickly, there were still delays.

I have one of those new “electronic passports” which, strictly speaking, speeds up the process of coming through customs. You’re supposed to swipe your passport, stand in front of the camera, and have your photograph taken, and then the door opens and you’re free. This morning, however, the camera failed to work for both myself and the people in front and behind me and so we had to re-join the queue. The queue which had the stupidest people in the world, by the way. “So, you don’t know what flight you came on, or what city you got on?”, I heard the customs officer say – infrustration – to the people in front of me.

Going through quarantine we had four lines coming into one which had its share of frustrations, as you might imagine. Worse, since a lot of people didn’t understand the Sydney traffic custom of allowing each row to have access to the queue one at a time. I only heard one person get angry, but there was a great deal of tension as we made our way SLOWLY through customs and quarantine this morning.

I didn’t bother with a taxi, since the queue there was just as bad, preferring instead the extortionate price of $15.80 (it’s gone up again, hasn’t it?) of the train from the international airport to Central.

Finally I was home and wide awake. Wide awake. Well, until I passed out after a couple of hours. It’s funny how after a flight you go from completely perky to drooling on your pillow. I didn’t expect jet-lag, since it’s only a few hours difference from Beijing, and I slept reasonably well on the flight, but I sure as hell slept well for most of the day. And here was I thinking working might have been an option today. Wrong.

Late this afternoon I woke and called my friend Graeme. Co-incidentally, he had just texted me to see if I wanted to catch up for a beer. It would have been great, though we had simply crossed paths. Instead, I’ve found myself still a bit jet-lagged and enjoying pizza on a Friday night back in Sydney. I’ve also been listening to a bit of the Chinese pop I bought as a souvenir of my visit. I quite like Khalil Fong.

I also passed the hours in my jet-lagged state by making some sense of my photographs and offer you the following…

6 comments

  1. Loved the reporting. I lived in San Li Tun when I first arrived in Beijing but spent most of my two years there living at Chi Chi Yuan. Your photos confirm that apart from the Forbidden City and Tianemen Square the city is scarcely anything like the city I lived in 1980-82.

  2. Welcome home James, hope you had a great trip. Thanks for sharing your trip with everyone. Great photos and video clip.

  3. Airport departures and arrivals are such spoliers for holiday travelers today…….there is no fun/excitement anymore!
    At least you got through and we wont see you on Border Security….hehe :-)
    Welcome home James.

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