I do not like being controlled, which is why I hate immigration and customs checks. I have nothing to hide, but do not like to be made to feel guilty. In my years of travel around the world, the worst offenders are in the United States. I always feel like a criminal, because I do not know the latest rules and regulations. I have had an easier time entering communist countries.
Our recent trip has been a perfect example. At each stop, immigration was a breeze, no questions were asked, and our bags were never examined. The longest wait was in Singapore--three people preceded us in the line. At each stop in Vietnam, an official stamped our immigration card upon leaving the ship, because passports and visas had been checked while we were in bed. We had to endure no lines. In Hong Kong, we saw no immigration official, but rather were handed our stamped passports by a ship crew member. Immigration officials had boarded the ship at the same time as the harbor pilot and checked documents on the way to the dock.
The contrasts to arrival into America could not have been greater. I recall arriving in Ft. Lauderdale, after a three day cruise, and the immigration official barking at my wife and me, although we followed the same procedure as when we arrived at Miami Airport. Consistency is not a feature of immigration into the US, because we are treated differently at different points of entry.
Upon return to Germany, an official merely glanced at my resident permit and waved me through. No officials manned the exit from baggage area, so our bags were not checked. We had nothing to declare, but someone on the full flight from Dubai might have carried something suspicious....
Obviously, all the countries we entered are less paranoid that one country I could mention...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.