Kingsford smith airport was crowded that afternoon. There were people dressed in all colors, but all I could see is a time lapse effect of people moving. I shook myself deliberately to come back to reality.
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The harsh reality sunk in, I was in a different country... in a different continent and I saw a long (must have been a kilometer long) queue. I checked out my luggage and joined the queue as the 1000th person. I was exhausted, I couldn’t feel my feet, my mouth was all dry and I was starving. I saw people running here and there with a bunch of papers in hand. I too carried my passport, tickets, and my immigration form. When my turn came, after the far-reaching –never-ending queue faded, I was facing a Chinese customs officer. I was relieved as I wouldn’t have a hard time figuring out what’s been told. I was wrong.
That very moment, time came to a screeching halt. He was speaking a different language. I didn’t know Mandarin or Korean, not even Assamese. I started to panic. But then I realized that’s of no use as the officer was looking straight in my eyes. I cooled down a bit, looking around for some comfort. He said it again, “Can I see your Qua-Ran-Tine please?’ and this time a bit slow. “Sure”, I said and hurriedly started digging my handbag. I saw the officer clearly was upset with me. I looked at him with a bland – blank – pale expression. It was kind of the officer to point out something and say “Over there lady, get the form, fill it up and come back”.
I heaved a big sigh of relief and walked back half a kilometer to fill up the quarantine.
Sometimes life throws such tantrums at you.
Coming back to the queue to another officer, he sealed it and my entry inside Sydney was confirmed, so I thought.
The next queue neared the security check. I was confident this time around. I walked briskly to one of the officers and produced my documents. He asked me what kind of food items I have in my luggage. “Chocolates and biscuits”, I said. He waved asking me to take the exit. I pulled my trolley cases and walked near the exit when a tall Australian officer stopped me short. His height scared me. He quizzed who asked me to exit without approval. !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I pointed to a counter and said “that officer …” He looked around and called the officer, the angel waved his hands and this tall angel let me go.
"Thanks Mate", I murmured!!!
I stepped out and got a taxi.
Tips for those travelling to Sydney:
- Fill up the quarantine form and keep it ready
- Luggage checks could happen to anyone and anytime so don't lie in the quarantine
- Be awake when you enter the airport
- Don't panic, it only leads to trouble
- Don't carry old shoes and soiled items
- Choose your taxi wisely