Local Heart, Global Soul

February 10, 2017

A Short Trip, Great Views But The Commentary Inside Drives Me Crazy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch needed to take a break from extended family obligations in 2016, get some fresh air and recharge their batteries.

We took the opportunity of the Easter long weekend to visit one of the Dutch Wadden islands: the largest of which is Texel.

On board the ferry for the short trip over, I am puzzled, amazed and horrified to hear that the person welcoming visitors on board in the English language commentary over the intercom pronouncing the name of the island incorrectly.

Dutch native speakers always pronounce the word “Texel”  as “Tess ell” but on the loudspeaker system on the boat, it’s being pronounced as “tex ell” !

It is a complete and utter mystery to me why the islanders (who in recent years have taken over and now run the ferry service themselves) perpetuate the error,  especially because the word “Texel”  is one of the most corrected words in non-native speakers learning the Dutch language in the Netherlands. It’s very windy, so I take a look around both of the front sides of the ferry as we leave harbour. It’s interesting to now look back on the photographs and know that our friends were soon to be at the end of the queue that I see forming on the other side of the ticket check-in area. By their account though, they were a long way back around the corner, so their vehicle isn’t by coincidence in my photographs.

The distance to Texel isn’t far, we can see the buildings of the far harbour in the distance. I take my time walking back to the car deck and only minutes after I get there the bell goes that summons passengers back to their vehicles. Soon we are on our way up the ramp and making the transition to dry land. Texel awaits.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 9, 2017

Make Allowances For A Long Wait In The Queue…

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Thursday evening before the Easter weekend, saw family Kiwidutch and friends head towards to the Dutch island of Texel.

We are travelling separately from our friends, and we know from communication earlier in the day that they will be leaving later than we did.

As soon as it becomes apparent that traffic for the boat has built up not just in front of us but also now stretched out far behind us, we phone them to tell them to expect a long wait at the ferry.

They change their plans slightly as a result, electing to travel up in one go with their small children and spend any down-time for their kids to stretch their legs whilst also waiting in the queue here.

As it turns out they manage to get the sailing after ours so are pleased because then they can just make it to the accommodation in daylight hours, so everything works out perfectly. We have hired two different houses of different sizes so they are in the same rough area but not together. Eventually the line of cars move and we find ourselves through the check-in area and driving on to the ferry. Our long vehicle is squeezed into the far end… time to get out and look around.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 8, 2017

Out From Below The Depths, …And It’s Not Yellow!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Den Helder is the small port city in the far north of the province North Holland that also contains the ferry terminal to the nearby island of Texel.

At the beginning of the 2016 Easter weekend, Family Kiwidutch were in the town, about to board the ferry.

Before you reach the terminal however, there is an unexpected object nestled between nearby buildings: a submarine!

It’s far bigger than we all thought it would be, everyone in the car exclaimed out loud at it’s discovery… that it stands big and hulking, a glimpse of something that we usually only see in books, TV, movies or the News.

None of us have ever seen a submarine like this up close (I am not counting the small yellow glass bottomed tourist boat we went on whilst on holiday in Cape Verde because that was a tiny pleasure craft: what we are seeing here is the real thing). It’s an eye opener, and according to the billboard close by tells us that it’s open to the public.

It’s discoveries like this that make having a camera on hand an excellent idea. These photographs are a compilation of ones taken on the away and return journeys, in order to try and get photographs from as many angles as possible. I manage to get photographs as we go past it simply because traffic has suddenly reduced to a crawl, it seems that after a fairly straightforward trip up here, we are in a traffic jam right within sight of the ferry…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 7, 2017

Den Helder Is Full Of Marine Vessels Of All Shapes And Sizes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Arriving in the North Holland town of Den Helder, we make our way towards the ferry terminal.

The road we are on follows alongside a canal, the large blue and grey building that stated to come into sight in my last post turns out to be for “scheepsonderhoud“, which translates as “shipping maintainance“.

Judging by the way it is situated on the water it looks like it’s a covered dry dock, where ships can sail in and then the water is pumped out of the dock so that work can take place on the hull of the vessel.

This waterway is an extension of the outer harbour, so we see various boats and ships in all sorts of sizes and shapes, from leisure craft, coast guard and various waterways department, fishing boats to tall full rigged sailing ships. The buildings along the canals also vary in age and styles, I’m most taken with the older, more decorative brick buildings and even there there are glimpses into modern non-traditional fishing-village life: we sight a ferris wheel, the “kermis” (fun fair) is in town.

The buildings clearly house activities associated with fishing, but also water sports, proving that Den Helder is that quirky mix of modern and traditional Dutch town, some traditions remain as they have done for centuries, others have long since moved on.

The traffic increases the closer we get to the harbour on the far side of town, it’s apparent that we are not the only ones to have thought that a long weekend away in Texel for the Easter weekend would be a good idea. It’s no surprise either that Little Mr was very excited to spot naval and coast guard vessels, that said, all four of us let out an exclamation when we rounded a corner a little further on…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 6, 2017

Taking A Much Needed Break From Everything In The Hague…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

2016 was a difficult year for Himself and I as far as travel opportunities were concerned.

My Mother in law was in failing health, a long drawn out series of dips and rallys that gave us hope one moment then dashed them the next as the next chest infection or illness set her back just a little bit further than where she had rallied to before.

She had been at least mentally active into her 90’s, but the physical excursions were getting slowly harder and harder. It was already testament to her constitution that she was still living alone in her home until she was 93 years of age.

She was lucky to not be suffering with anything like dementia, but like a well travelled vehicle with parts worn out, thinned and rusted from sheer old age, her hearing, eyesight and eventually memory started to falter.

Once remained of things she would quickly remember what she had forgotten, often putting the pieces back in remarkable detail but even in her good moments it became clear that the assistance that family hade been giving around the clock would have to be taken over by professionals.

Himself visited daily, I often did the lunchtime “slot” as we took turns, we both did weekends, but eventually the time that we were skipping at home with our own family and Himself’s work time started to catch up.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Clients, kids and their teachers understand when you need to drop everything for a family emergency, but not if that state of emergancy starts to be come a permanent situation.

Added to that, Himself and his two sisters were starting to suffer from burnout, stretched between home needs and that of their mother.

Just before Easter it became clear that my mother in law would be heading back into hospital again as another crisis hit.

After a while she was well enough to leave hospital but not well enough to come home, so a place was being arranged in a care home that had facilities that was between the two.

Consultation with his two sisters, both of which had arranged holidays in the following school holidays bought about the idea that we also deserved a break from this stressful and emotional situation, and with his mother in the full time care of a hospital environment, and his sisters on visiting duty and standby, we ended up taking advantage of the long weekend holiday that Easter offered to go to the island of Texel with friends.
In order to make the most of the weekend, we are ready and packed on the Thursday afternoon, heading away as soon as Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr are home from school.

We head northwards past Schipol airport, past aircraft taxiing over the air-bridge that goes over the motorway. The journey takes a while due to the usual evening rush-hour traffic but soon we are arriving on the outskirts of Den Helder…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The tiles under the air-bridge look like aircraft when viewed from a distance…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Dredging the cannals…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Outskirts of Den Helder…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 5, 2017

Clearly Shanghai Has Less Of A Taste For The Ornate…

Filed under: ART,China,Manhole covers / Street grates,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Back on the twenty-first of January 2017, I started featuring a series of manhole covers that an Aunt of Himself took whilst visiting China.   In this post we saw just a few of the examples she and her husband found whilst in Beijing.  These next examples are from Shanghai and Xintiandi, and it’s interesting to note the differences between them.  Of Xintiandi there are sadly only two: pity, because these are by far the more decorative of the two, the Shanghai style keeping to very geometric forms. They may not be quite as pretty as the others but the examples they found in Shanghai are all different, and a collection can not only be made  entirely of the most decorative examples. Once again all kudos goes to “Tante I” for capturing these photographs.  I find it very interesting in that they did not find one that strayed significantly from the geometric style: clearly Shanghai has less of a taste for the ornate.
Touring China, …Man Hole Cover Style!

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

Xintiandi…

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

(photograph © “Tante I”)

February 4, 2017

No One Seems To Be Sitting On The Fence…

Filed under: Calais,Channel Tunnel,FRANCE,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After the funeral service of one of our friends in Folkestone, England, we visit our friend’s wife at home.

We know that there will be some time needed before she will feel like a holiday abroad, but make it known that she is always welcome at our home in The Netherlands.

She made several visits with her husband before, we know that the first one without him will not be easy.

We have a very early start the next morning because we have to be back in the Hague in time to pick the kids up from the locations where they have been billeted.

The journey on the channel tunnel train goes smoothly, and soon we are exiting the Calais area.

At once the tall barrier fences everywhere become obvious: needed because of the constant stream of refugees and people seeking a better economic future in the United Kingdom are risking life and limb to cross the channel by getting into the channel train tunnel.

They also try and gain access to the Port of Calais, board tourist campers and vans, and commercial trucks, and we saw on this trip and previous one, pairs or groups of people walking close to the fences, looking for a way through them or around them. It’s a sad statement about the inequalities of not just standards of living around the world but also the huge variations in political stability that forces people to be desperate enough to make these dangerous attempts.  These fences have grown and grown in recent years, so now we can be even quite a way out from Calais and we see the fences starting. They are a sign of the current times… whatever you think about the situation that makes them necessary: opinions are usually starkly divided: no one seems to be sitting on the fence.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 3, 2017

A Good Way To Gear Up For A Difficult Day…

Filed under: Accomodation,ENGLAND,Folkestone,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wards Hotel in Folkestone, England was the place that Himself and I selected to be our accommodation when we needed to be in the city for the funeral of a friend.

The friends widow was also located close by, in a house that the couple had moved to in a down-sizing exercise once it became clear that the husbands cancer was inoperable and his life expectancy was short.

We also found out that  due to the large number of attendees at the funeral, the wake would also take place in the Wards Hotel.

The hotel staff start preparing things soon after the breakfast guests have finished having breakfast. Himself and I chose to have hot typically “English” breakfast, Himself having the plate with the mushroom,  I have the one without since I am allergic to them.

After breakfast we are of course busy with funeral related activities for the day:  the church service, then the graveside one, the wake, and later in the evening, a visit to see our friend’s widow because we need to leave early the following morning to head back to the Netherlands.  The breakfast is nice, we especially enjoy it because it is so different to a typical Dutch bread based one and a treat. It’s not the sort of thing that would be healthy to have on a daily basis but as a special indulgence… well, a little bacon and egg is a good way to gear up for a difficult day.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 2, 2017

Wards Hotel, A Restful Spot To Spend Our Stay…

Filed under: Accomodation,ENGLAND,Folkestone,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last year Himself and I crossed the English Cannel via the Channel Tunnel in order to attend the funeral of a friend.

In the past when we came to Folkestone we would stay with these friends, but on this occasion, with the husband having passed away, the wife is busy hosting family who have travelled from outside the region.

Also, they no longer have the massive house that they raised their six children in, having downsized to a smaller place since our last visit after it became clear that his cancer was in an advanced stage and that nothing more medically could be done.

We hear that the new house is packed with guests, many sleeping on the floor and added to that, there are a constant stream of visitors because her husband was active in many aspects of not only the local community but also in a small but UK wide specialist organisation as well.

Our accommodation whilst we are here is the Wards Hotel, handily located just a street or two away from our friends home. The bedrooms are on the first floor and there is no lift, but luckily I will only have to use the stairs once each way per day. This a family run hotel, the family and the staff are friendly and as is often the case in the UK and western European hotels these days, many of the staff are made up of eastern European migrant workers.

Our room is on the quiet side of the hotel (not facing the road) therefore there is no view to speak of, just an interesting piece of roof line from another part of the building. There is an attached bathroom and whist the room is not huge, it is definitely big enough for our needs. The location is in a quiet street off one of the main roads in one of the older established neighbourhoods of Folkestone, it’s leafy and remarkably quiet. Tired from our journey here, Himself fetches fish and chips from a local take-a-way and after a picnic dinner in our room we get an early night.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 1, 2017

Always Speak nicely To An Officer With A Gun…

Filed under: Calais,FRANCE,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Heading towards Calais, Himself and I needed to cross the channel via the Channel Tunnel in order to attend the funeral of a good friend.

We got close to where we need to board the  train, but first we have to clear French and United Kingdom Douanes (Customs).

As citizens of the European Union, travel between member states is usually just a formality, but the UK does have it’s own additional checks.

The French “Douane” (pronounced “do- arn- nuh“) officers wave drug detecting wands into the car, use mirrors look under the car and we drive past barriers that house goodness what kind of machines for detecting smuggled goods or people.

One thing is for sure, they are not giving away their secrets. Our passports are checked rigorously, casual questions asked. Both Himself and I reply in French, happy to oblige. On this occasion we are through quickly, but the previous Summer when Himself travelled alone to the UK to attend a meeting and fundraise for the charity we support, he was delayed by French customs for more than fifteen minutes. He was questioned at length about the duration of his stay, why he was travelling alone and a myriad of other things.

He had no idea if he was the “lucky winner” of a random check or if a man travelling alone in a large car,  carrying boxes of things to be sold for the fundraiser was taken as being suspicious, either way they were very interested in his movements and intentions. On this occasion we just answered the questions, had our passports checked and were directed to the United Kingdom’s own customs stop under the next set of canopies further along.

We don’t mind the checks,  believing that it’s better to check too much, than too little these days, especially when we are about to travel at high speed on a train through a tunnel under the sea for thirty-five minutes.  Ditto aircraft: better safe than sorry. As some of the border agents left, others arrived. Because of the possible queues here our travel advice is fairly simple, have all of your necessary documents up to date and ready to present to the douane officials when requested. They have a difficult enough job without waiting for you to unpack your car so that you can get your passport out of your suitcase. Also, they carry guns. never joke or mess with an officer with a gun.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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