Friday, December 23, 2011

The US Passport

Having a US passport sometimes feels like having an Amex Gold card.  I go through the customs lines faster and I am treated with respect from customs officials, but the passport also symbolizes something 

In my travel experiences, many have commented on being an American and labeled me as having money and being rich. Next to a country like Cambodia and Laos, I am rich as their income is so low.  With this said, customs officials feel it is okay to take advantage of a "rich" American girl.
Leaving Laos the first time from Vietnam, I technically did not get stamped back into Laos so I stayed in the country for 3 days illegally I guess.  The customs officer at the Laos border decided to fine me $100 for this even when the situation was explained to him in Lao. I did not stay over my visa and even if I did they charge $5 a day, according to Lonely Planet.  My friend from New Zealand at the border was trying to help me out by talking to the officer in Lao, but the officer was not budging.  He had his mind set that I would pay $100 and I bit the bullet and just paid it. 

As I got used to going across land borders, airports, and ferries with no problems-I guess I was due for a bit of corruption.  Thanks officer for taking $100 from my bank account and straight into your pocket.

                       Life throws us curve balls and I cetch them and just keep moving PRIS

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