Dear Blog Reader, since it's just the two of us here, allow me to put you on the spot. Have you ever brought contraband or iffy stuff home from a trip overseas? Okay, maybe not you, but perhaps a friend (wink-wink)?
Recently I was hurrying through Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and in the international terminal were the Buyer Beware exhibits of travel treasures confiscated from passengers. And I thought of you, dear blog reader. And you and You over there. And I knew you would want to see all this. So I bit the bullet, ditched my beloved extra-large iced tea and fished out the camera. Because this contraband is so interesting. And because you have the right to know.
Does any of this look like stuff you might like to bring home? Does it look like stuff that you would try to bring home? (Double-click on photo to enlarge.)
Let's zoom on in and check out those boots. Hey, they're made from sea turtle, the label says. And I'm wondering about those eggs there. . . any ideas what those might be?
Oh lots of pretties! There are those shells and all that coral-y stuff. Might you have a place to display any of that?
Hey, how about some athletic shoes made from stingray leather. Well la-de-dah. Apparently there's a market for such. . .
A little further down the hallway more confiscated stuff awaits us. . .
Here's the wide view. . .Let's zoom on in for a close look at the poster on the right.
Okay, when in doubt, don't buy. The small print lists these reasons: Many souvenirs are made from endangered or threatened species. Many countries do not allow the export of wildlife or wildlife products without a permit. Many items may require a US permit. And right there, dangling by the sign is a necklace made from pirana teeth, which indicates they're quite serious about all this.
Moving right along, how about a snake-head fish? Might add a special touch to your bookshelf. Nyet?
And then there's the exotic butterfly collection. Butterflies are free, someone said. But probably not these ones. Oh, wouldn't you just hate to have to turn those over to the customs guys?
How about a blow gun with fancy feathers? Or the classic, pirana-tooth necklace? Perfect for a gala evening.
So here's a crocodile up closer, spiders, various insects. There are people who are into flora and fauna.
You know, this brings back memories of treasures I brought back from Australia in 1978 and didn't think twice about it. A fetal shark in formaldehyde, shark jaws, a kangaroo leather belt and pillow made from hide. Is there a shortage of kangaroos or sharks? Not likely. . .
How about you dear blog reader, have you any interesting experiences at the border? I've got stories for you, myself, but all that can wait. First I want to hear your stories!