Bad Trips

Idiocy Reaches New Heights in the Unfriendly Skies

I didn’t mention in my previous post about the travails of travel that there was a Victorinox Swiss Army Card (above) in my carry-on bag. Caused consternation at Sydney Airport. After conferring with her superior, the lady border person decided that my toothpick, nail file and one-inch-long scissors had to be confiscated. I said what about the knives and forks on the plane? They shrugged. Unwilling parties to idiocy but what could they do; made to be jobsworths by the powers that be.

It was my fault at Manchest Airport. Travelling light to Budapest and, therefore, just took my carry-on bag. Had to take out my laptop of course and put my toothpaste and scent and liquid laxative (another imposition of travel due to time changes and changes in diet) in a plastic bag. I assume in case gelignite or nitroglycerine is present. Then of course comes taking everything out of one’s pockets and removing one’s belt. I was wearing cargo pants and forgot that my mobile phone was in a leg pocket.

Oh dear! Thought for a minute I would have to bear a strip search. Was scanned in one of those intrusive machines, patted down thoroughly, asked whether I had artificial knees or hips. Surely if I were carrying a deadly weapon it would show? When I was eventually cleared and was putting myself together, I said to the chap next to me who was putting on his belt, “quite a fuss, hey.” He replied, “it’s for our own good,” or some such. I said, “I’d rather take the risk.” And I would. Find it a bit depressing that others are evidently in want of being protected at whatever inconvenience.

Finding that Hungarians speak Hungarian. Whether, as Quentin Crisp suggested, they speak English behind our backs I do not know, but I expected rather more English fluency than I am experiencing. Can you speak English, I ask? No or a very little is the overwhelming reply. Even most of the hotel staff are seriously wanting and could do with a rigorous refresher or even beginner’s course. That is the penalty, I suppose, for personal failures down the decades landing me now in non-five-star hotels. Mind you, it is a Novotel 4-star, so I am not exactly slumming.

No air conditioning working. Unusually hot here; 24°C during the day today (April 13). Heavy doona on my bed. Slightly chilly without it in the night; sweating profusely under it. I am paying for this discomfort.

At breakfast next day. Felt hot. It was 26°C in the dining area. Why isn’t the air conditioner switched on? It does not come on until next week, I was told. Did God ordain that, I asked, earning a bemused look. It is forecast to be 29°C tomorrow (April 15). My heavy coat is entirely redundant. Must be global boiling. They are probably saying that on TV. I don’t know, it’s in Hungarian.

Made my way onto a bridge across the Danube, from Buda to Pest, to the Hungarian Parliament building. A very impressive structure but the tour was full. Could I book for tomorrow, I asked. We don’t do advance bookings, the lady at the counter said. Apparently, you must turn up at 8am, or close to, to book a spot for later that day. That kind of early start hardly suits me.

A pleasant (English-speaking) Hungarian lady who was also interested in the tour explained to me that it was always heavily booked. Conversing, I made the point that I admired Viktor Orban. It seemed apropos as we were by the parliament. She expressed surprise that Orban was liked by an Australian or by anyone. I explained that I thought he was doing his bit to uphold Western civilisation. I doubt she took that in.

Normally more calculating than menfolk, lots of Western women everywhere do not seem to know which side of their bread is buttered. When Christian culture has been thoroughly subverted, they will discover the cost of choosing the wrong side. Too late. Burka on or get a beating. Ditto, incidentally, for “Queers for Palestine.” To be fair, my niece and her longstanding female partner had difficulty getting their heads around that one. Most gay people are not stupid or suicidal.

Meanwhile, Hungary fights the good fight. As reported in the (English language) Budapest Times, Barn Pal Zsigmond, from Hungary’s ministry for European affairs, says that Brussels is threatening Hungary over the EU’s Migration Pact, which is due to come into force this year. “The Pact recently adopted by the leftist majority of the European Parliament seeks to make Hungary accommodate migrants with greater force than ever…Hungarians don’t want Hungary to be a migrant country,” he was reported as saying. How terribly refreshing is that!

Úr Zsigmond obviously disavows the delights of multiculturalism. The Hungarian government might represent Western civilization’s last stand. Surrounded by an overwhelming force of Europhiles, let’s hope it isn’t a case of Little Bighorn reprised.

8 thoughts on “Idiocy Reaches New Heights in the Unfriendly Skies


    That Swiss Army Card is like a Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and proves that security staff are trained to perceive it as a potential weapon of mass destruction rather than an object of good. An equally valid and more positive perception would be that every one of the card’s contents could be used for a life-saving intervention on an injured fellow passenger.

  • whitelaughter says:

    Have also had my swiss army card seized! Seriously, if I wanted to threaten someone and was holding the blade from the card(designed to cut threads) I’d dump the blade and use my bare hands.

  • Tricone says:

    The confiscation has been a great success.
    Incidences of plane hijack by passengers armed with nail scissors are down to zero.

  • Tricone says:

    I’ve had my multi tool confiscated twice. I mean, the one my wife gave me was a present and its replacement that I never told her about.
    In each case, I had used it to break down an exhibition stand before chucking it in my laptop bag and running for the airport.
    Seriously, the whole business of airport security on travellers is a huge cost that goes without comment. Regardless of what people would like you to believe, it’s *entirely* down to Islamic terrorism, since previous threats did not involve deliberate suicide attacks.
    After IRA threats and the (Islamist) Lockerbie bomb and others, checked baggage security and scanning was updated and tightened but it was 9/11 and subsequent Islamist terror attempts that turned the focus onto hand luggage and the actual traveller.

  • Tricone says:

    There is a shortage of hospitality staff throughout Europe, although Brits are prone to blaming it on Brexit. High wage Scandinavian countries tend to use fewer staff and have more DIY , self checking-in etc. .
    Having said that, there is also massive young person unemployment in Italy, Spain, Greece in particular, and you often will find graduates with perfect English waiting tables in those countries. (And the same young people on working holiday visas down under now, too)

  • bomber49 says:

    Somehow the shape shifting box cutter Stanley knife has taken on the guise of Swiss Army Card. Many men and women can kill and maim without a weapon

  • Sindri says:

    Hotel beds with only a doona (no top sheet, no optional blanket) are a pet peeve. Freeze without it, boil with it.

  • Lo says:

    Leaving Ho Chi Minh at the airport many years ago I had left my 8″ splinting scissors in my carry on luggage. I was called out of the line by an imposing Vietnamese fellow waving my scissors. They’re expensive as scissors go and I knew I’d lose them.
    He waved them at me, wagged his finger and gave them back to me. There is kindness everywhere.

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