Just a quick update everyone. I'm back from Asia and I didn't post while there because I forgot the cable for my cam. I also really didn't take a lot of pics since I was really just there to spend time with my grandmother.
I did want to say that TSA and Customs did not molest me ONCE. I went through TSA in Phoenix - and they barely gave me the once over. I went through TSA twice in Honolulu - and even when I was selected for a "random" search all they did was take a cotton pad run it past my hands and check for chemicals. I went through customs in Manila and all they said was "welcome" and wave me through.
So on the way home yesterday I decided to make it interesting. There were 4 of us traveling. We stopped at the duty free on the way there and the way home. Our "duty free items" included a big bottle of cognac, an assortment of beers, 18 cartons of cigarettes, a danish knife that is a gift for Mr. Man from some friends. All of this but the cigarettes were arranged in 11 of our checked baggage. We also had 4 pairs of hardwood hand turned fighting sticks, 2 huge wood statues, 10 bamboo rainmakers, 4 louis vuitton purses, 3 tory burch purses and a couple prada bags add to that the cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, virgin coconut oil and assortment of dried fruit and powdered coconut cream, plus more random crap and the tshirts and such we had. Total to claim should have been at least 4000USD. In my purse in 5 separate areas I had a variety of 4 oz moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, contact solution, face serums and lotions. I purposefully did NOT take these out and put them in ziploc bags for inspection.
We left Manila late afternoon - one lady asked is that Lotion? I said yes. She said go ahead no need to check it then. Once we arrived in Honolulu a man told us - you will have to pay a $10.00 tariff per carton of cigarettes because it is limit 1 carton per person. I said really? He said yeah - I said would you mind following behind us - because I bet you a carton we won't pay. He said deal. Lol. Customs said do you have any seeds, meat or produce- we said nope. The customs agent looked directly at my 3 duty free bags and said do you have anything to claim? I said nope. He said may we xray 2 of your baggage - I said please select what you would like to peek at. Then he waved us through.
International TSA asked what the glass bottle in my purse was - I said face serum - they said ok and waved me through. Domestic TSA asked if I had lotion in my purse. I said yes. They said next time please separate it - and the 2 women waved me through.
That's the brunt of it. Even when I pushed the envelope they waved me through with barely a glance. This is how it has been for me before 9/11 and after 9/11. Perhaps the TSA and Customs are like muggers or rapists - they know how to pick a victim that will cave in more easily. I have been traveling since I was in preschool - it does not phase me. Truth be told I think Customs was a lot more strict before the dogs and xray and all that. People are constantly saying that we are being subjected to some shit that I have yet to be subjected to. All I'm saying is - if your swagger is strong they probably won't mess with you.