Akilina's Travels

Breaking Through UK Customs

On October 27, I headed out towards the UK, knowing that I may not possibly pass through border control, due to my lack of funds. I took a bus from Charles De Gaulle in Paris to London Victoria Station, It was quite a nice ride, lets recap the night before I hopped on the bus…

Due to the people Marina and I were couch surfing with, we needed to rush out as soon as possible (the people had new plans), so I headed to Charles De Gaulle to catch the last bus to London, while Marina stayed behind to find a new host for herself. Needless to say, I didn’t make the last bus. Each pass from Paris to Charles De Gaulle is about 10 Euro, and as I had quite little money, I decided not to go through the fuss of transfers and such, as my new bag is yet again breaking down, the Paris transport is insanely confusing and often unmarked, and just plain not caring where I would sleep that night.

So the night of the 27th, I ended up harassed by French immigration, who decided I was okay, and should sleep at the airport…which I ended up doing. I slept a couple hours, and awoke to a large crown of people speaking Arabic. I decided to check out the buzz, it was about 2 a.m. on the 28th and people were gathering to meet loved ones, who were apparently coming in from a flight from the East. Dates, figs, and other Arabic goodies were being passed around, as well as tea, and were shared with me. I guess I became excited for these people, who had created their own welcome party, complete with food and music, in the terminal I decided to sleep in. At about 5 a.m. they were gone, and the terminal was empty and quiet again.

At 7a.m. the ticket office opened, I could now finally buy my ticket to London, which the bus would leave in an hour. I get to the office, and find that they only accept cards, and I only have cash. Imagine my disappointment when I realize that I may have just slept very little and uncomfortably at the airport, only to find out there may not have now been a reason for it! An airport took pity on me, and offered to help, giant weight lifted from my shoulders!

My next issue is worrying about British customs. We get through the French border with no issues, and climb back off the bus to enter into England, just before the tunnel under the Channel. Americans were separated from the rest of the group, and while everyone else was ushered through, no questions asked, Americans had to fill out paperwork, and go through quite rough questioning.

With my luck, I got the harshest officer. I watched as all of the other Americans passed through the line smoothly, while I was being held behind, being pulled through harsher and harsher questions. It was then that I decided that I would be okay with being stopped at the border; that may mean a ticket home for me. For some reason that day was the day I had chosen to not lie to customs at all, poor lady probably didn’t know how to respond to someone being so painfully truthful.

“How much money do you have in your pocket?”

“How much at your disposal?”

“How long will you be here?”

“With whom are you staying?”

“How do you know them?”

“Why did you spend one month in Romania? Three months in Turkey? Two months in Slovakia?”

“What kind of work do you do?”

“How have you funded your trip?”

“Look me in the eye, and promise me you wont work in the UK.”

“Stop smiling and promise you wont work here.”

Can you believe it? I answered every question truthful, and the bat let me through, I was shocked, but I think it may be partially due to the fact that my Schengen visa would expire in a couple hours. Or I had a friendly smile? 😉

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8 comments on “Breaking Through UK Customs

  1. Jamie
    November 3, 2013

    Smiles go a long way. Welcome to England!

    • akilinaskovil
      November 3, 2013

      I love it here! People are much nicer than I was told!

      • Jamie
        November 3, 2013

        That’s great, I hope it continues like that. Certain parts of the UK are really beautiful and more friendly than others. I recommend Cornwall, (parts of) Norfolk, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and the Scottish Highlands (to name but a few).

      • akilinaskovil
        November 3, 2013

        I was told about cornwall! I may end up in Ireland soon though, cant find any hostels here!

  2. daniel
    November 16, 2013

    this post really put a happy tear in my eye. I have not really been travelling since I came back from Japan and now live in Germany. The travel bug has got me but I have a steady job …

    • akilinaskovil
      November 16, 2013

      its hard knowing that one must enter into the “real world” again…im a bit scared, i really got used to messing around, even though I had no money!

  3. Suzanne Foster
    December 7, 2013

    They sure tried to put you through the wringer!!!

    • akilinaskovil
      December 7, 2013

      they really did not want me in there…the funny thing was was that i lied to her about only being there 2 weeks, then would leave…she asked how i would leave, and i said i didnt know…
      turned out that i was only actually there for 2 weeks, and hitched over to Ireland from there

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