When one travels overseas, there’s always the odd occasion when one can be interrogated at customs, particularly when travelling with The Artist who refuses to shave before a flight and can often be mistaken for a terrorist as he breezes through the airport with his sunnies and singlet on. Add a beanie to that and you have a match made in terrorism.
However, in a bar off Queenstown’s beaten track. Not so much.
After a day on the slopes, our group – six adults and five children met in a bar for dinner. In New Zealand there
isn’t all that bullshit aren’t all those very strict rules – like the child has to stand 200m away from the bar. [Yes – I’ve been crapped on from Kiama to Kingscliffe in that regard]. Settling the kids at one bar table, I proceeded to get ourselves organised and was requisitioning fish and chips for five and mulled wine for six.
While waiting to pay, a man leaning against the bar asked me what I was doing. My first thought was that he too wanted to order food for his kids so I happily informed him that he could order food from the barman if his kids were hungry as mine were off their faces having skied for six hours prior. Hmmm, comes the reply, off their faces. Nope – he wanted to know what I was doing. So again – I happily told him I was ordering wine for everyone – we too had skied for six hours. He then went on to inform me that he was with The Australian Government.
I had a bit of an “oh shit” moment. Just a natural reaction to being confronted by a “government official”.
Was he judging me for having my kids so close to the bar counter? Was he judging me for having my kids in the bar at all? Was he judging me for drinking? Again, turns out no- on all accounts.
And then the conversation got completely weird.
He wanted to know if we were there on an Australian Government Grant. Say what?????? Yup – wanted to know if we were on some grant program. I told him three times that we were on holiday. He persisted. On an Australian Government Grant? To be honest – if any of us had known about such a thing we would definitely have applied.
I strongly suggest you look into it next time you plan your skiing trip to Queenstown, New Zealand because clearly there’s something in the offering.
The interrogation continued. He wanted to know if all the children belonged to me. [I think I look bloody fantastic having birthed five children – four of which were all born within a two year period. Separately.]
Then came the deal breaker. He asked if they were “like homeless or something”. W.T.F????? He’d clearly been at the mulled wine for a while. I stupidly continued to explain who belonged to whom whilst wanting to brain him with a snowboard. I’m polite in extreme situations if nothing else.
And just to clarify matters one last time, he disbelieving-like asked me again, private holiday? No government grant?
Seriously dude – I wish I’d taken your name and phone number because I really want to apply for that grant come July next year.
Give me the customs guy any day. Asshole.
I want it noted that no-one came to rescue me from the interrogation and that I was left to fend for myself entirely.
Where’s a terrorist when you need him?