Thursday, December 4, 2008

Suspicious baggage

The trip to San Miguel de Allende can be long. In this particular case, very long. I won't bore you with the ugly details except to say that American Airlines delayed our departure from San Jose long enough to cause us to miss our connecting flight on Aeromexico in L.A., consequently we had to spend the night and arrived in Mexico City a day later than we planned. We arrived weary but exited in Leon, Mexico in the middle of our second night of travel, claimed our baggage and took our place in line at the customs inspection site. The woman in front of us showed her passport and was instructed to press a large button on a glass panel that is used to randomly select persons for further scrutiny. She did so and the window lit up green, (the all clear sign) and she passed through with her possessions. It was now our turn. We showed our passports, handed over our forms claiming that we had nothing to declare and then took our turn to press the large button. Unfortunately, the panel turned red and we were escorted over to the stainless steel table used for inspection of baggage. The thought crossed my mind earlier as we stood patiently in line, that it may be difficult for me to explain the multiple bundles of powdery substance and miscellaneous scientific instruments if discovered with my socks and underwear. My strategy, joke about how awkward I'm going to feel when they see what I have. "No, this is not cocaine, ha, ha,". To a degree this worked and soon I was explaining the basics of beer making. The supervisor was called over to consider some steeping grains sealed in a ziplock baggie. He pinched a few from the bag and smelled, "esta toastada?" he asked and waved a discounting hand at the inspector, all is o.k.
Dry malt extract, not drugs.


Matt Rolland said...

What ingredients did you bring over the border? I was considering carrying some hops and dry yeasts on my last trip down here, but decided against it because I was afraid the yeasts would be considered agricultural cultures. Considering you already went through the gauntlet and had success, I'd be curious to know what they were concerned about and what they weren't for my next trip down. Thanks - MR

Beer Diary... said...

Hi Rolland,
Last time I flew down I took multiple batches worth of dry malt extract in my suitcases which customs didn't bother with, they were more concerned with the specialty malted grains. I brought a couple pounds of crystal 60 and some aromatic. They were concerned that it was raw grain, so using my broken english and the help of my wife, we were able to show how it was processed (malted) and not a problem. I also had 10 or so sachels of us05 dry yeast in my pocket that no one noticed. Regarding hops, I wouldn't attempt to carry those with me but had no trouble ordering from the states and having them shuttled down using a mail service. Finally, if you go to the side bar on this blog, I have listed some sources for ingredients in Mexico. Good luck and stay in touch.

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