Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another Bureaucratic Waste of Time, Doggie Do and Addictions

Well, seems like the red tape and time wasting business is big in the U.S. I often thought that developing countries were the worst abusers of regulation schemes, but they must’ve learned pretty well from their colonizers, just as we did.

On Friday March 2nd, 2007 I took Doggie to get her groomed and then in the afternoon to the vet. Got her transport papers and fretted all weekend as to how I would get them back in time. In 2003 we mailed the papers into the State Agricultural Department for the State Veterinarian to sign. We ended up having to stop in at the state office, on the way to the airport (J.F.K.,) because they did not arrive in the mail in time. The rule is you are required to have the dog seen, by your vet, within 10 days of international transport and then apply for the State papers. I just decided to go straight down to the office myself, and have the paperwork signed on Monday morning. This way I would not be getting ready for the trip and worrying about the paperwork all week. I have been tempted to just say, “fuck it” to the paperwork, but there will always someone who will want to go through the formalities, like customs does when you bring a dog back to the U.S.

Amazing things can happen to a bureaucracy when you show up in person. I put enough change in the parking meter for 40 minutes, thinking, “these asses will take forever.” Well, it took no more than 5 minutes - bada bing, bada boom! So I then went to Target, got a new folder to re-organize her papers, and printed out a photo of her to put inside the front cover. Doggie has more stamps in her passport (folder) than the rest of us, cause she doesn’t have to get hers renewed. I also made sure to have her AKC registration, front and center of the first page, since a website said Egyptian authorities will want to see where you bought your pet.

At U.S. security, Number 1 son accompanied the dog, while I paid all the extra Lufthansa fees for Doggie and extra baggage. U.S. security asked, as usual to take Doggie out from her crate. Why - we don’t really know. The last time, they x-rayed the crate, this time nothing, except for one strange comment. The security guy picks up her tail (which is docked,) peeks at her butt and says, “good thing she’s got short hair or we’d have to do a body cavity search.” (Say what! They want Gate Rape my Doggie!) I can only guess that they put her through the same type of explosives scanning machine that I went through the last time. Is this because she had a one way ticket? It's the only logical excuse I can think of, but we all know Homeland Security's logic is highly questionable.

Doggie was not drugged and has not been given travel drugs for a while now, due to the fact that drugs totally mess with her – body and mind. The drug is meant to relax her, but I have never seen a dog try to pry a crate gate off with her mouth like she has or bounce off it's walls either. Drugs just make her angry and bad-assed, so we have decided on tough love. Besides, they don’t kick in when they’re supposed to and it takes her several days to recuperate. She was actually quite relaxed when we saw her at Frankfurt, being picked up and put onto another flatbed – you know, like “Yeah, I’m the Queen.”

No one from Lufthansa asks for the transport papers and no one in Cairo asked either, or for the AKC papers. Cairo customs did ask me what I had in one duffel bag, which had a tube of posters, carpet tape, weather stripping and miscellaneous household type supplies, half of which I couldn’t even remember. I must admit I threw in an unopened bag of Greek Oregano (on the vine), which I bought in Houston, and put into a zip-lock bag. I did think, "well this could get me into trouble, but only an idiot would think it's an illegal substance." Greek oregano is the best and I really have a hard time living without it. I’m Younani (Greek) and it is an addiction. That mixed with lemon juice and olive oil marinating on some meat and well, I got my own little souvlaki thang goin’ on. And that’s going to be happening real soon, now that I’m back in Cairo.

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