Grenze - Borders
From Live and Let Die Chapter One , by Ian Fleming. Bond arrives in the United States at Idlewild:
From the moment the BOAC Stratocruiser taxied up to the International Air Terminal at Idlewild, James Bond was treated like royalty.
+ BORDERS - GENERAL PRINCIPLES
- Mountainous borders and very difficult to secure. The method used universally throughout the world is to place a border control on the approach road at a place where the topography squeezes the road. This means that you can cross the first border post before the mountains and only cross the last border post after it. In places like Soviet Central Asia this could be fifty miles before the border but in those days there were checkpoints at road junctions in any case. You can still get around the border post on foot and then cross the mountains on foot, but the location of the border posts is designed to make it difficult for you.
+ BORDERS - THE SCORING SYSTEM
In scoring different borders I have used the inter-galactically recognized measurement system for measuring Evil. It is a quinary system, where five is the base, as opposed to a decimal system, where ten is the base. The SI unit of Evil in the real world is the 'Nazi'. However, in this document, which has inter-galactic coverage, the unit of evil in use is the Imperial Stormtrooper . Five Imperial Stormtroopers equal one Darth Vader . Just as there is no unit of force larger than a Chuck Norris , where one roundhouse kick from Chuck Norris equals the maximum amount of force in the Universe, there is no unit of Evil larger than a Darth Vader. Nothing could be that evil, right ?
1 = Evil, 2 = Very Evil, 3 = Super Evil, 4 = Über Evil, 5 = 1 Darth Vader
+ BORDERS - TRICKS & RUSES
Immediately after the surrender in 1945-MAY the Soviet zone and 'border' area was in chaos. There was no control, even by military police of their own troops. People could wander about freely because there was no one to stop them. As the border solidified into late 1945 the Soviets operated an invisible one-way border along their line of control. You could cross back into the East, but you could not leave. A number of people were caught on the wrong side and various tricks were used in the early days. In Hungary, a group of escapees staged a 'motorcycle race' where the competitors had numbers pinned onto their torso, front and back. As the first motorcycle arrived at the border, he briskly enquired how many competitors had already passed before him. Sure enough, the guards, not being au-fait with local customs just kept letting the motorcyclists through until all had escaped.
- Old Jedi Mind Tricks
- Deep Cover
- Concealment and smuggling
- Concealment in Automobiles
- Things to Avoid
From the Script of Star Wars (1977) & at www.youtube.com
Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification.
Obi-Wan: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see his identification.
Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification.
Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
Obi-Wan: He can go about his business.
Stormtrooper: You can go about your business.
Obi-Wan: Move along.
Stormtrooper: Move along... move along.
+ AIRPORT TECHNIQUES
- General Hazards #
In Ian Fleming's novel Moonraker (1955) Fleming describes Bond reading one of the office intelligence bulletins which details the use by US customs of a new inspection machine.
Thus we see the beginning of the end of carefree airline travel.
+ TIMELINE POST SCHENGEN AND PRE 9-11 #
- In general, the Swiss borders facing Italy and Austria are manned 24 hours. This is because of the flow of illegal immigrants from the Balkans and North Africa. They are run across the Adriatic in Cigarette boats by crime syndicates and landed on the coast of Apulia. Once into Italy they are into the EU. The Italian coast guard do not work that hard at stemming the flow because they know that most of the immigrants are welfare tourists who will head for Western Europe.
Überrennmeister Walter Rohrl shows how not to approach the Swiss border post. Swiss border guards are keen on turning back motorcycles (and sports cars) whose exhausts they deem to be too noisy. Some border posts seem to own hand-held decibel meters..
- SWITZERLAND - SCHWEIZ-ITALIA - MAJOLA PASS - ST MORITZ TO MILANO
This border is difficult to avoid. Like all Swiss borders with Italy, it is permanently manned. Coming from St Moritz, the road used to run through the village but in the Eighties they built a little road around the back of the houses. There is a canopy like a gasoline station forecourt over the actual border buildings.
- SWITZERLAND-AUSTRIA BORDER AT FELDKIRCH
Border: Switzerland-Austria at Feldkirch from Swiss Autobahn 13 to Austrian Route L52 direction (east) Feldkirch
Advice: Avoid when going Switzerland-Austria or vice-versa.
This is a nasty border, in second place only to the English side of the Eurotunnel. From Switzerland to Austria (Feldkirch) the Austrian border guards seem not have received the memo about the Anschluss being annulled. They check all passports of drivers leaving Switzerland. Things get worse in the middle of the night when they are bored and there is no traffic. They will ask of you your destination. If it is on a route which involves using an Austrian Autobahn then they make you purchase the Austrian Autobahn tax sticker.
If they ask you where you are going, just say Feldkirch, which is the town right in front of you. Or you can say Liechtenstein, which is just to your right.
- AUSTRIA to SWITZERLAND
Swiss customs tend to hassle Swiss drivers about what they have purchased outside of Switzerland and are therefore importing into Switzerland. They will also pull this on non-Swiss drivers, particularly if you have purchased duty-free somewhere. Austrian border is not usually manned when leaving Austria and neither is the Swiss at night.
Coming back, to avoid this border post, retrace your route through Liechtenstein to go south.
To go north, I have found it better if traveling a long distance in the middle of the night to just remain on the Autobahn, which goes north and passes close to the Swiss border and the Autoroute for Zurich. This way you can just stay in afterburner until your junction comes up and cross the border at one of the small border posts to the north of Feldkirch which are not manned at night.
- At Google Maps
- SWITZERLAND TO AUSTRIA
- St Moritz (CH) to Innsbruck (A) via Naunders (A)
In his book The World According to Clarkson , English automotive journalist Jeremy Clarkson writes circa February 2001:
A small tip. The border between Switzerland and Austria may be marked with nothing more than a small speed hump, and the customs hut may appear to be deserted, but whatever you do, stop. If you don't, your rear-view mirror will fill with armed men in uniform and the stillness of the night will be shattered with searchlights and klaxons. I'm able to pass on this handy hint because last week, while driving in convoy with my camera crew from St Moritz to Innsbruck, a man suddenly leapt out of his darkened hut and shouted: "Achtung." I have no idea what "achtung" means, except that it usually precedes a bout of gunfire followed by many years of digging tunnels. I therefore pulled over and stopped, unlike the crew, who didn't. The man, white with rage and venom and fury, demanded my passport and refused to give it back until I had furnished him with details of the people in the other car which had dared to sail past his guard tower.
Merano (A) and the Vinschgau to St Moritz (CH) via the Val Mustair (CH)
- SWITZERLAND - FORNO GLETSCHER CH -> I
This is one of the quiet low-traffic border posts which is permanently manned. Borders with Italy are usually manned by France / Switzerland / Austria in order to keep back the flow of illegals from the Balkans and North Africa.
Leaving Switzerland is not really a problem, but entering Italy the border guards can suddenly take an interest. Exactly why this happens when Italy is already awash with the dregs of the Balkans and North Africa I do not know.
The problem with all the small border posts is that the border guards have nothing to do, any factor which is slightly out of the ordinary any excuse to busy themselves with something and they will.
- GERMANY TO AUSTRIA AT SALZBURG
- Like the Swiss-German border at Basel, there are German Grenzschutz (border guard) in unmarked cars (usually dark German-made saloon cars) who wait for cars from vantage points on the hard shoulder and then chase after vehicles they want to stop. German Grenzschutz like many border guards are telepathic and can easily see inside a moving vehicle at a great distance. Basically they just chase any car that is unusual.
- SKI BORDERS
- Zermatt - Cervinia, The Ring at Avoriaz in the Portes du Soleil, Chamonix - Courmayeur.
The backbone of the Alps around Mont Blanc. Until the advent of the Mont Blanc Tunnel and the Grand St Bernard Tunnel the Val d'Aosta on the Italian side was unreachable from France or Switzerland in winter.
In the map above you can see the ski-resorts of:
- Verbier (CH) visible on the Swiss approach to the Grand St Bernard (up to the east of Sembrancher).
- Courmayeur (I): At the head of the Val d'Aosta in Italy
- Val d'Isere (FR): on other other side of the Italian Gran Paradiso Nature Reserve. (bottom edge of map)
- Chamonix-Argentiere (FR): On the north side of the Mont Blanc Tunnel in France.
- Les Arcs (FR) to the west of the Petit St Bernard Pass, in France.
- Many smaller resorts.
- SINGEN ROUTE
- Once upon a time called World War II, border crossing became a sport. Escaping Allied PoW's attempted to make it to Switzerland. The crossing German-Swiss border is either the Rhein in the east or rolling farmland in the West. The best place to cross as accidentally revealed by a German officer at OFLAG IV-C, Schloss Colditz, when de-briefing a couple of re-captured escapees. They told where they had been making for and he accidentally blurted out that the best place to cross was at Singen .
Achtung ! 100m Schweizer Grenze. Halt !
+ FRANCE - ITALY
- Mont Blanc Tunnel
-- Low risk. Do not recall seeing any checks apart from the French border control check on the Italian side, designed to stop illegals crossing in from the Italian penisular. No checks exiting France.
- DOVER - The low Sixties era building against the cliff as you stand in the parking lot between the gas station and the ferry booking office hall contains cops. They are positioned behind the reflective windows to observe vehicles arriving and parking here. This happened after 9-11.
- UPDATE AT 2013: That low Sixties era building with the metal window frames has been demolished and so has the gasoline station in front of it. The gasoline station was really useful but it is almost certain that it was removed as a resulf of a 'security' review.
The Autoroute did not reach Calais until mid 1980s. Before this, the last kilometers to Calais and Boulogne was still on the original RN1. Over the rolling hills on poplar-lined roads. Usually in the dark and rain. #
- CALAIS 2015-JUL: Illegal immigrants attempting to board trucks heading for Calais-Dover infest the Autoroutes of northern France. Trucks are advised not to stop within 100km of Calais. Tanking with fuel at Diesel Ally in Calais is dangerous because of the number of illegals there. It is decades since I hitch-hiked across Europe to Calais-Dover but I imagine that trying to hitch rides anything north of Paris or West of the Belgian border is difficult. Illegals attemting to cross from Italy to France at Ventimigila-Menton seem to prefer the train but you would be well advised to cross the border at northern Italy with caution.
In the happy-time between the removal of borders within the EU and 9-11 there were was no security presence here at Dover, other than a cop manning the exit gate from the truck park. Entry and exit onto the ferries was trouble free especially at night in winter. Post 9-11 a security inspection garage was added to the route from the ferry booking office to the lanes where you stage to go up the ramp. This is manned by an un-uniformed security 'officer' who is in fact a sergeant of police, a time served beat cop. Before you reach that there is a pair of French police who ask to see your passport. They were stationed there in the 1990s when the tidal flow of migrants which France had shipped through to the UK where they could draw on the socialism in that country, started to return. Migrant destroy their passport on arrival in their country of destination because that ensures they cannot be shipped back. Thus the migrants are unable to regain entry to France. Just before the security inspection garage there is a ferry terminal employee who is meant to pick out 'suspicious' vehicles, which because minimum wage security operatives have the IQ of a lamppost means any vehicle which does not look like all the other vehicles. Remember that it was at this security check that a woman was prevented from boarding the ferry because she was carrying a set of golf clubs in her automobile. The security functionary decided that these could be used as deadly weapons with which she could take over the ferry.
2001: You will be pleased to know that there are no such security checks on the French, Belgian or Dutch side ferry terminals.
Entry into the UK at Dover ferry terminal is usually trouble free. The primary focus of UK customs is on people smuggling through large quantities of cigarettes, despite the fact that EU law states that any quantity of cigarettes might be transited across EU borders for personal consumption.
2013: The swam of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the UK from all angles means that border controls on both sides of the channel have been increased. You will need to acquire up to the minute intelligence from internet sources.
The Eurotunnel system, built from new always had higher security and surveillance than the ferry terminals but again, (2001) there is no security on French side by the English side is full of cops who cannot mind their own business.
Decades ago, on journeys to England, there was always much discussion of how a road tunnel would make the journey so much easier. All were agreed that a drive-through road tunnel would be greatly superior to the ferry system. But that shunting vehicles through the tunnel on a train would be no improvement whatsoever. Alas it came to pass. There was initial novelty in using the train with an automobile but the irritation caused by Eurotunnel company on the English side was so great that I quickly reverted to using the ferry. On the English side (a) the Eurotunnel company make the journey expensive (b) try to keep travelers in their "duty free" terminal as long as possible and (c) for some reason have intrusive and irritation security apparatus. None of this is evident on the French side (2001+), which is free of both security and security goons.
2012: The flow of illegal immigrants is from France and Continental Europe to England because of welfare tourism. Hence it is not in the interests of the French to detain anybody going to England. After a tighten-up of welfare tourism in the early 2000s, the French placed border guards on the English side of the water to prevent the ebb-tide of welfare tourists from making an exodus to somewhere with better weather.
In transit from England to France, when landing in France there are neither passport controls nor border controls and never have been at least as far back as the Sixties.
Eurotunnel: There is an idiotic private contractor 'security' operation on the English side checking England->France, but none French side checking France->England. This particular outfit once told me to move an ice-axe out of the passenger compartment of the automobile and into the trunk because 'it could be used as a weapon' in the same way that the bottle of whiskey could not, presumably.
2001: Cross-Channel Ferry: There is an idiotic plain-clothes police manned security check operation on the English side checking England->France, but none French side checking France->England. It was this particular outfit who prevented a traveller from boarding the ferry with a set of golf clubs because 'they could be used as a weapon'. Presumably tire irons, and bottles of wine cannot be used as weapons.
During the London Olympic games, 'security' if you can call it that' was increased and the function of security was expanded to all manner of reflective plastic jacket individuals who would have exceeded the level of their competence if they had been put in charge of a shovel. 'Security' was everywhere. You need to take this into account if similar events are staged.
With all information on this page, check with up-to-date sources for current intelligence on the operations of the Forces of Fancy Dress and their mission to drag the world's I.Q. back into primordial ooze.
- 2016: If you have a Syrian passport stamp in your passport within the last five years, you have to apply for a special visa. Normal procedure is to have two passports. Use one passport to visit Israel and the United States, and a second passport to visit any Middle Eastern country or any country with squiggly writing. You will not be able to enter Israel with a Middle Eastern passport stamp in your passport. There is no central system which records your visit to Middle Eastern countries so the goons at US immigration have no idea that you have visited them. Remember that you will be dealing with people whose knowledge of foreign travel is leaving Oklahoma for the the Big Apple after they could afford their first pair of shoes. It is a fatal mistake to imagine that somewhere, someone intelligent is in charge. The opposite assumption is correct. Islamic terrorists are smarter than immigration goons and they know that all you have to do to enter the US illegally is to fly to Mexico and cross the Rio Grande with everyone else.
- If you do not have two passports then make sure the passport stamp from the country with the squiggly writing goes well toward the back. To do this, you need to
- (1) Keep an eye on the passport clerk with the stamp. Tell him not to stamp the page opposite your face and ask him to stamp a page toward the back.
- (2) If you have stamps from countries on the Axis-of-Evil-Squiggly-Writing, then, using a large size paperclip (5cm) or even a small bulldog clip, take your boarding card (and previous boarding cards), perhaps with other official looking small paperwork or a printed copy of your itenerary or similar information, and place the boarding card on the page opposite your photograph. Then paperclip the rest of the passport pages together with it. This stops them randomly leafing through out of curiousity. Nosy airline desk clerks will do this, as well.
- (3) AN OLD JEDI MIND-CLICK: When you hand over the passport, you need to keep the mind of your interrogator focused on what you want them to focus on, not on having fantasies about you being a terrorist and international man of derring-doo. To do this, you have to take up his band-width. While he is looking at your passport for the first second to two he will be taking in the information and forming an opinion. If you ask your question while he is doing this, then this will limit his bandwidth available for jumping to dumb conclusions, furthermore, his mind's eye will have to jump to the image you have just produced in his mind. This means that he cannot focus on jumping down the track which has been triggered by looking at your photograph. Ideally, you have several questions ready so that you can ask successive questions. Appear to be agitated about some aspect of your journey, connecting with an onward flight, something which draws his mind's eye to focus on some aspect of your travel which marks you out as mild-mannered-Clerk-Kent who is just trying to back in time for Thanksgiving.
- Camouflage Passports #
- - #
|Harich||Hook of Holland|
+ FERRY APPROACH
- If you are experiencing mechanical difficulties on your way back home and heading for the ferry then you can find help at Kent High Performance Cars in Maidstone.
- AVOID: Avoid at all costs any branch of the auto chain 'Kwik-Fit'
- 2014 - Kent On-line - Non UK drivers escape speeding fines from speed cameras in UK
+ NORTH AMERICA
The major centers of gravity in determining the characteristics of the borders in North America are (1) illegal immigration across the Rio Grande and (2) national paranoia about anything Islamic.
(1) The almost non-existent border security along the southern border of the United States has meant that people from South America have gradually flooded into the United States. This would not have happened if the United States had installed the kind of border security that East German border featured. East Germany was a much poorer country than the United States, the world's wealthiest country, so what was the problem ? The reason lay in the domestic politics of the United States. In theory illegal immigrants would never vote because they are not citizens. However (1) there were various amnesties offered to illegal immigrants, who became citizens (2) Although you were required to present identification to purchase alcohol, you were not required to present identification to vote. Further more state welfare programs meant that US citizens were being paid not to work, which reduced the supply of labor and increased its market price. This meant that illegal immigrants could be employed at below market rates to do menial jobs. This created political conditions whereby the Democratic Party (the left) did not want to construct proper border security because the influx of illegal immigrants, who voted illegally, would provide them with votes. The weaker political party, the Republican Party (the right) benefited from illegal immigration because it supplied labor at to the market at the actual world market rate, which was much lower than the artificially inflated US market rate, the floor of which was supported by the US taxpayer. With the Republican Party the weaker of the two parties, no action was taken on border security. If illegal immigrants voted Republican, then the Democratic Party would have built a mine-field from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific. The result has been a spectacularly porous border which is one of the easiest illegal crossings in the world. The migrants from other South American countries who must transit Mexico to reach the US border are usually shaken down by the Mexican cops and relieved of any cash or valuables they are carrying before being allowed to continue on their way.
- Post 9-11.
In terms of media, on 9-11, the United States media and its readership discovered the rest-of-the-world ("ROW" or "O-CONUS"), overnight. Not only that, they discovered what the rest-of-the-world was about: There were two parts to it: (1) The Islamic part, and (2) the non-Islamic part. And it was the Islamic part which was trying to kill them. Muslims were terrorists.
Suddenly, the United States discovered Internal Security ("IS"). In Europe, terrorist activities from the 1960s onwards led by groups like the Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof Gang), the IRA , Basque separatists , Italian Communists/fascists , and various Middle Eastern terrorist organisations , meant that counter-terrorism security was strong, particularly in airline travel. 9-11 would have been unlikely to happen in Europe, although I can remember boarding a flight at Karachi bound for Geneva with a Swiss Army Knife on my belt. Not even in my carry-on luggage. I certainly carried knives in my checked luggage but I do not remember giving it any thought. Seems strange now.
The insularity of the Continental United States, where around 10% of citizens own passports (used mostly for travel to either Mexico or Canada) meant that the perception of the Rest-of-the-World was governed by what they read in the press, which was written by people of equal insularity. Incredible garbage could be written and passed off not only without any one noticing by with the readership actually believing it all. There are too many instances to list but one remains in my memory:
The author fancied himself as a foreign policy analyst. He had gotten himself his first map of the world. He had plotted the present location of all US military deployments (this was at the time of Gulf War Two) and listed them: Bishkek Airport in Kyrgyzstan, Kabul in Afghanistan, Baghdad in Iraq, bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. He and he alone had determined that, wait for it, the United States was trying to surround the oil region. Of course any one who knows these places knows that this is like trying to surround Planet Earth by planting bases in galaxies adjacent to the Milky Way. It is almost physically impossible to reach any one of these locations from the other by traveling overland and the United States already has airbases which are distributed throughout the region which are no more densely distributed than anywhere else on earth (Remember that with the advent of strategic air post WK2, the British policy of world domination by maintaining strategic naval bases throughout the world gave way to the US policy of world domination by maintaining strategic airbases throughout the world.) Then of course came the Bin Laden publishing industry, which is another story.
The result of the domestic insularity, fed by an equally insular press, anxious to feed the paranoia meant that no story was too gruesome, too fantastic to tell. Partly because there was no danger of contradiction. Just as Dvorak's "New World" symphony Leitmotif was used to signal the arrival of the shark in the motion picture Jaws (1977) ("der-de . . . der-de. . . der-de der-de der-de"), even the smallest appearance of Islam, be it Islamic writing or Islamic dress, would be enough as a Leitmotif to trigger in the observer the terror of shark attack. There are too many examples to list but a few which stand out:
A man of Middle-Eastern extraction who had worked for the State Department for years upon mentioning that he was a Muslim was asked by a colleague who had recently arrived on the same GWOT project "... but, I mean, you're not one of those terrorists, though ?"
A friend of mine arrived back in the Continental United States ("CONUS") and the US immigration officer noticed on the back cover of his passport a small green sticker with Arabic script on it. His face took a set and, he turned to the bearer of the passport and asked him what the Arabic script said. He replied that he did not know, it was a passport sticker which had been applied when he changed planes in Dubai.
A friend of mine who was a journalist found himself being hauled off a flight as it stopped at an intermediate airport to discharge passengers. Immediately post 9-11 he had been writing about 9-11 on his laptop while the plane was in flight. An "air-marshall" had been sitting directly behind him reading his screen. He was escorted off the flight by the air-marshall who had a couple of FBI goons meet him on the jetway. The air-marshall announced that he had caught my friend writing about Islamic terror. The FBI questioned my friend, who explained he was a journalist. The FBI read the material on his laptop and took a note of all his email addresses. They graciously allowed him to re-join his flight.
The result of (1) an almost complete lack of land border security in the South, and (2) national paranoia about anything Islamic has meant that we have entered a situation of supreme paradox: That any terrorists could walk across the southern land border with every one else and proceed to commit acts of terrorism, but any ordinary individual, W.A.S.P. , US citizens included, who dares to land at a US airport after doing nothing more than changing planes at Dubai will be treated like they may just be working for Al-Quada.
- Procedures for re-entering the United States.
For frequent flyers, use two passports. Use one passport for visiting the United States and Israel. Israel is reluctant to admit any bearer of a passport which has stamps in it from the Middle Eastern countries. Using your US-Israeli passport to enter the US and Israel means that you do not trigger paranoia in the border control. If you have only one passport do not allow any of the Middle Eastern countries to stamp your passport on the page opposite your photograph and details because the border guard will then see the Middle Eastern passport stamp and you will be taken through into interview suite and told to confess everything, before being sent to GITMO.
In general, the best policy is to obtain a large paper clip, about two inches long and place it over the paper pages of your passport which contains your visa. Then place a sheaf of boarding passes under the paperclip, facing the photograph page. The top boarding pass should be your current one and the subsequent boarding passes should be for flights to G7 countries or benign destinations which do not feature in GWOT demonology. If you are lucky, then this will prevent the border guard from accidentally casually viewing that fact that you have visited an Islamic country. In order to increase the chances of this process working, immediately you hand over the passport and the border guard looks at the photograph, ask the border guard a question. When you ask him a question, this fills up his bandwidth with your question and prevents his mind from following along paths which have been triggered by the sight of spooky squiggly terrorist writing.
The TSA cavity search cartoon guidebook for six year olds and above
+ FLYING; commerical airline travel; www.seatplans.com
- TSA procedure: Take with you a pillow case and a sock. When you come to TSA inspection take off your wrist-watch and insert it into the sock, then place the sock in the pillow case along with your wallet, cigarette case, coins, and any other metallic item. The pillow case then goes into the plastic tray and then into the scanner. The TSA have operatives who are so bold in their pursuit of theft that they will lift cash from your wallet if you become separated from your belongings, so retain line-of-sight to your belongings at all times. If you are selected for the secondary shake-down, then some TSA operatives will attempt to take the tray from the desk in front of you in order to 'put it through the scanner again'. Stop them doing this and tell them that they can put it through the scanner after they have finished the second pat-down. Gur GFN: Gubhfnaqf bs Fphz naq Nffubyrf
+ SOVIET UNION
In the Forties and Fifties, it was Vienna which was the crucible of the Cold War. Later that transferred to Berlin. In 1961 the Wall as constructed as an 'Anti-Fascist Protection Barrier', in order to reduce the hemorrhaging of East Germany's population. Most of the Reich's agricultural land was in the East but most of the industry was in the West. This meant that in the first two difficult years after 1945, East Germany could feed itself but West Germany could not. East Germany was broke as an economy, it was not viable. The loss of population further accentuated this process. The result was a mine-field and a death-strip which ran from the Baltic through to the Adriatic. This was the border to end all borders. Escape across the East German border was possible but it was extremely difficult. I knew people who were caught and jailed several times before they made a successful attempt.
- Vienna: The Third Man (1949)
- Soviet Union - China: Transsiberian (2008)
- Soviet Union - China: Knight without Armour (1937) ;
- Iron Curtain: - Enns Bridge ; The entrance to the Soviet Zone at Linz, on the Danube, Austria.
- Funeral in Berlin (1966)
- Berlin Express (1948)
- The Spy who Came in from the Cold (1965)
+ UKRAINE - ROMANIA
- Current MO at 2009 is to place bottles of spirits in the trunk on top of luggage. As you lift the trunk lid for inspection, you pick up a bottle of spirit and hand one over.
- Under Tito
- Yugoslavia was a Communist country but it enjoyed an advantage which no other Communist country enjoyed: It was governed by Tito. Tito was pragmatist and various measures he made contributed to a Golden Time during his premiership. He recognised that tourism was an earner of huge quantities of foreign exchange and opened up the country to tourists from the West and Warsaw Pact alike. To an extent, this meant that Slovenia, Croatia and Dalmatia subsidised the rest of rural Yugoslavia. In the Sixties he realised that allowing Yugoslavs to work abroad would bring back even more hard currency. Special trains were run to deal with the ebb and flow of guest workers from the Balkans to Europe. This meant that Yugoslavia was an enjoyable country to visit. Warm, relaxed, and with lots of cheap Slivovich.
- Transit to Greece, Turkey and points beyond that in the Middle East required transit of Yugoslavia. Throughout the post-war period Tito constructed the Autoput - four-lane highway - across Yugoslavia. In the early Sixties roads were pretty much like they were in 1945. The pass over to Austria at Maribor was still without asphalt.
On the Autoput just north of Belgrade was a lay-by which was on a small section of the old road which had been by-passed by the Autoput. The lay-by was always choked with long-distance traffic because one of the waiters in the restaurant in the lay-by his brother worked in the Bulgarian embassy and he could get transit visas cheaply and quickly. The route to Istanbul crossed Bulgaria, behind the Iron Curtain, which cut out 1000km of route through Greece. That restaurant was a hive of activity, where inteligence on border crossings and route conditions between there and Iran, there and Syria, the oil-drum road across Saudi Arabia, and at the time the route to Basra in Iraq, across the marshes, through the war-zone of the Iran-Iraq war. Trucks who made the dash to Basra under the gauntlet of Iranian artillery would place a bullrush marsh reed across the front of their radiator grille to show that they had successfully run the gauntlet. This intelligence gathering and dissemination would have been reason enough to invent the internet, which would have made this work much easier. It is with melancholic nostalgia I remember all the faces from these places. The names. All have gone. Many are dead now. That's the past for you. At the time there was only the future, which lay a long way ahead over filthy dusty roads and stench of spilled diesel, hot lubricating oil. Odd that a journey brings you to a destination where you think only of the place you left, the place you wanted to leave.
- Kellys Heroes (1970)
- The Wannatou Westerns
- Battle of Neretva (1969)
- After Belgrade the route overland to Istanbul went via Communist Bulgaria. There was a restaurant on a hillside above a narrow gorge with a river running through it where every one used to stop for refreshment. In summer people would swim in the river. Crossing into Bulgaria was trouble free, even for hitch-hikers. There was a large shop at one of the truck stops and you could buy duty-free cigarettes. Most drivers would buy 200 or 400 Marlboro and then sell them in Turkey at a much higher price. I have no idea how this scam worked but I guess Marlboro were sold to Bulgaria at the tax-free international rate. At one truck stop there was a large plantation of cannabis plants which truckers had planted to save themselves bringing weed across the border. Finally you reached the Turkish border at Edirne and everything changed. Your wait on either side of borders would be measured in days, at this border and at every border between here and the Indian Ocean. Edirne was particularly busy because Turkish Gastarbeiter would drive back from Germany bringing with them as many goods as they could carry and all of this would have to be cleared by customs. The place was seething with greasy, hawkish customs agents all offering to clear your way through customs for payment. They looked like most of the supporting cast of Midnight Express. The border ran close here and Turkish conscripts patrolled the fence line with Heckler & Koch G3. Turkish officials looked for the slightest excuse to press for Baksheesh. Any failure to dot an 'i' or cross a 't' in paperwork. There was a lot of beefing about how Turks were portrayed in the motion picture Midnight Express but why ? That's what the place was like. Onward to Istanbul and across the Bosphorus Bridge.Truckers would often pause at Istanbul and stay in a cheap hotel but this could be fatal. Stealing from loads was common but with the driver in a cheap hotel, he was easy to bump-off during the night and not only could the load be stolen but the much more valuable rig and trailor could be stolen as well. One of these cheap hotels was redeveloped in the early 1990s and they found upwards of twenty bodies buried in the basement, all of them missing truckers.
- Most people forget that the interior of Turkey itself is mountainous and the mountains are snow-bound in winter. It is cold enough that you have to leave the truck engine running all night. The Turkish cops spend their day looking for foreign trucks to shake-down for Baksheesh. To shake them down you have to find them at truck-stops or stop them. Turkish cops know that you cannot stop a truck which is barreling along at 110km/h so they wait at the top of steep hills, where the trucks have been crawling up the grade. The mountains mean that radio contact is poor. Baksheesh means that Turkish cops work alone so they do not have to split the pay-off from their victim. This is a bad combination. Lots of Turkish cops would 'disappear' during shake-down attempts. Usually down one of the ravines, together with the cop-car. One cop I saw was locked, still alive - just, into the trunk of his car, and the car was pushed over the precipice into the ravine.
The Turkish police force was just a licensed, uniformed, graft operation as far as I could ever see. There entire waking moments were spent looking for people, especially foreigners, to shake-down.
Lunatic driving styles set in during the Balkans and are firmly established in Turkey. Not just cars but trucks. This means there are a lot of crashed trucks by the side of the road or down a ravine, together with spilled loads. The spilled load every one dreams about is a truck carrying cigarettes. Word spreads like wildfire and the entire load will be looted within twenty-four hours. I will never forget coming around one bend and seeing a 4x2 with its wheels in the air down below the road in the fields. The driver was sitting on a rock with his head hanging in his hands. He had, probably, lost everything he had. Ice would sometimes build up on the mountain roads during the winter and was particularly dangerous, forming large sheets. Many died this way, including a close friend of mine.
1971 Richard Burton with Tito and Madame Tito during filming of the Battle of Sutjeska (1973) Richard Burton was dressed as Tito in order to play him in a motion picture.
From The Richard Burton Diaries by Chris Williams:
The President is surprisingly small and delicate. Little short arms and legs and a small head with little features. He wears slightly tinted glasses and I can't really tell the colour of his eyes. He has quite a pot-belly but the rest of him is slim no bottom and thin chest and legs. He walks slowly and with short steps. When he sits down behind a table he seems most formidable. I'm slightly put out by the nervousness with which the servants serve us all. They live in remarkable luxury unmatched by anything else I've seen and [I] can well believe Princess Margaret who says the whole business makes Buck House look pretty middle-class.
+ https://www.youtube.com/ - Typical driving on the Autoput, mainly by returning Turkish Gastarbeiter
+ http://www.rundfunkmuseum.at/ - A collection of vehicle wrecks on the route across Yugoslavia.
- After Tito
"I am the leader of one country, which has two alphabets, three languages, four religions, five nationalities, six republics, surrounded by seven neighbours, a country in which live eight ethnic minorities" - Tito
- Baksheesh and the Turkish Cops
- Weather and Terrain
- Transit to Iran
- Transit to Syria
- Bandit Country: Kurdistan
+ MIDDLE EAST
Baksheesh starts the moment you enter Turkey and reigns supreme until you reach the Indian Ocean. Only post-revolutionary Iran abolished Baksheesh, which was achieved by executing all of the Shahs corrupt officials. After this, you never had to so much as hand out a cigarette between leaving Turkey and entering Afghanistan or Baluchistan. In Turkey, you needed Deutschmark, which were the de-facto hard currency. Other countries accepted US dollars.
- Fuel Smuggling
- Saudi Customs
-- Saudi Arabia has one of the great borders. In short, they just do not admit visitors, tourists. You can get a business visa and in some circumstances, you can get a transit visa. Until recently there was no such thing as a tourist visa.
-- In Saudi Arabia the modern state was constructed on a deal between the ruling elite of modernizing reformers and the large hinterland of backward, insular, rural, conservative populace. The ruling elite wanted oil production and the rural conservative populace wanted to maintain a world in which they were at their center, and which they controlled. This meant they wanted an environment which did not change. It was far better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven. One of the features of the this deal was the overlay of religious law, Sharia law, on top of Civil Law. Uniquely, there was also an overlay of religious police to enforce the overlay of religious law. Prayer five times per day is enforced by the religious police, who go around shops reminding them or forcing them to shut and hurry to the mosque. Your mileage may vary and I know an American woman who lived in Jeddah for many years who walked about without an Abaya, uncovered, and was only pulled up by the religious police once. Within the military there was a story that at one of the airbases, nuclear-armed aircraft were being guarded by US Army personnel. Nuclear-armed aircraft are subject to procedures which involve a no-lone-zone: No single individual is allowed to approach the exclusion area around the aircraft. Authorized personnel always work in pairs. For some reason the Saudi religious police were on the base. One of them observed that one of the US Army personnel standing on the apron around the aircraft guarding it was a woman, a woman who was not wearing an Abaya. This being contradictory to religious law he walked over to harangue her about it and instruct her to cover up. This was unfortunate because after she shouted a warning, and he failed to stop, she shot him. I had heard plenty of stories of people nearly getting shot at West German airbases, but never a story about some one actually getting shot.
The result of the overlay of Sharia law was prohibitions on alcohol, prostitution, pornography, as well as prohibitions on Saudi women driving vehicles or on Saudi women being in public place in the company of a man who is not her blood relative or relative-in-law.
- Kurdistan - Syria
See Cola Cowboys for truckers' tales of the Gulf Run during the 1970s and 1980s.
The beauty of Third World countries is that any transition of a border may be smoothed by producing a little cash. If you want to travel without paying bribes, then you may have to argue a little longer "Today there is an processing charge to enter Tanzania" , "No there isn't", but if you want to break a lot of rules, then all you have to do is bribe the official in question.
- It is useful to watch Blood Diamond as a warm up before a transit of Sub-Saharan Africa.
- See Also:
- Mad Mike Hoare & The Dark of the Sun (1968)
- White Soldiers in Black Africa by Hans Germani : With Mad Mike Hoare in the Congo in the Sixties.
- Bob Denard
- Black Jack Schramme
- Fireforce by Chris Cox : The Rhodesian Bush War
- Bwana Game by George Adamson
Antarctica is at once both peculiar and normal. While it is a land-mass, it is not a nation-state. Because it is not a nation-state, there is no jurisdiction of Antarctica, there is no law. If you kill some one within a nation-state, normally because of the jurisdiction and the law which applies within it, that act of killing is classified within that law as murder. If you kill someone in Antarctica, they are dead. That's it. In the mid-Seventies three scientists were left in a hut for the duration of the winter. When re-supply reached them in the Spring, there were only two. There had been an attack of cabin-fever and the other two and shut the third one outside, which killed him. The two scientists were sent home. No law, no murder. It also means that scientists and technicians stationed there tend to keep large stashes of recreational drugs. New Zealand, through which rotating personnel frequently transit, as rattled its toothless saber and said it will prosecute evil-doers. This is, of course, impossible due to want of jurisdiction. The only law which operates on Antarctica is the Law of the Jungle.
- International Law and Relations between states
- War Crimes and the Laws of War
"Avoid being seized by the police. The cops are not your friends. Don't tell them anything."
- Hunter S. Thompson, giving advice on 'adventure' in Men's Journal
From the Script of Mad Max (1979) , wherein the cops are referred to as "the Bronze" on account of their bronze badges. "The Toe Cutter" delivers a speech to his motorcycle gang on the beach :
The Toecutter: Cundalini, put her [the dummy] against the post. We have a problem here. She is not what she seems. Bubba Zanetti has it on good authority......she's sent by the Bronze, full of treachery. The Bronze, take our pride...
Johnny the Boy: If you're gonna waste the Bronze, you gotta do it big! [steps forward and prematurly shoots the dummy with a shotgun]
The Toecutter: [annoyed] You just don't have the style, do you, chicken shit? [Goes to Johnny the Boy.] It's all right. It's okay. Just remember... ....to keep your sweet......sweet mouth shut!
- Hotels and indeed every one else is keen to get their hands on your passport whenever you pay by credit card. This is so that they can verify your identity. However , mostly, you are not required by law to present it. For instance it is not necessary to present it when registering at French hotels of Swiss hotels. If asked if you have your passport, reply "No."
+ AUTOMOBILE HIRE AND AIRPORTS
- Note that in all countries, hiring an automobile from the airport is a lot more expensive than hiring an automobile from the nearest city depot. This is partly because the car hire company has to lease business premises off the airport operator and then have them manned twenty-four hours per day, three-hundred and sixty-five days of the year. Car hire companies also inflate their rates for those who have not booked in advance. Where convenient, it is cheaper to take public transport into the city to the car-hire depot there.
2014-DEC-14: At last, a "cop detector": The Target "Blu Eye" I was discussion this with other interested parties last year, but using a different approach involving the GPS transmissions which are used to track cop cars. This system listens for the blip signal of the encrypted radio links used by cop cars and cop radios. Unlike radar detectors, it is fool proof. Get yours before they ban them. Anything this good must be banned.
- http://www.rdforum.org/ - Thread at Radar Detector Forum
- http://www.target-automotive.nl/en/target-blu-eye/ - Target
Journey to Vienna by Mrs Robert Henry 1946 - Austria under partition at the time of The Third Man (1949)
+ SEE ALSO
+ EXTERNAL LINKS
- http://dutchparisblog.com/ - Border Crossings
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