Border expierence or a headlight for crossing
written by Frieder in Albania on Sunday, the 10 September 2017, last update on Tuesday, the 12 September 2017
We decided to camp just three kilometres in front of the border between Albania to Marcedonia. We had only to climb about 100 metres more, but there was no sense to arrive at the lake of Ohrid after nightfall. We would only have to pay for a campsite which we would have to share with caravans and cars. Up in the mountains, we had instead a view over the lake and even found a perfect camping spot far away from the main road, camping about 300 metre above the lake. Next morning I catched up some random bottle that was laying in the grass and put it in on one of our three trash bags hanging on the tandem. Then we continued to the border. We passed all cars, as we are now used to do on borders. But this time we also passed many plakats on them was to be read "Corruption aktiv and passiv" followed by a scarry foto with a dark cell with two hands holding on to some bars of a cage. I felt confident about not having to bribe anybody on the albanian side of the border.
We stopped, having only two cars in front of us, but an officer told us to take over the last car as well. Fine, we had only to wait 30 secounds. Then we were checked and thought it would be done, as we have been always waved past. The officer, who checked the passport, told us instead to follow the first officer. He brought us to the place, where the trucks were checked to find something illegal onboard. We were brought to some desk and had to unload bag by bag. The first fun for the officers were our five packs of condoms containing each 36. The officer had so much fun exploring these bag, is was nice to watch. I tried to tell and show on the packag, that the correct size isn't to easy to find and he seemed to understand. As he continued with asking us if we have marihuana, cocain or tabac with us. We told no tabak, no cocain, only cooking equmipent. He asked "cocain?" We answered no cocain, no maruana. He did not check the food bag carefully.
As another officer came, told the first one him he should have a look at the condoms, but the new one was a bit more bored about his job and did not check out the condom bag I hold out for him. The first officer found in the meantime the headlight of Elisabeth und put it on his head to search more or less careful some other bags. He did not open the innerbags anymore. But he had fun with the torchlight. Immedately finding some 50 Euro, but making a gesture of not being aloud to touch it. "Corruption aktiv and passiv" - it makes sense that he did not like to touch money.
The first officer skipped the last three or four bags and he walked unnoticed away with Elisabeths headlight. Even I was not noticing, the question was in the room: "Did we just allow passiv corruption?" The first offcier, not noticing that he just took the headlight as a bribe, not even thinking that a bribe is not only money. But he came back, talking to another officer proud that he did not take any money from us (that we never offered anyway). Then I saw the headlight again. I told him and waved with my hands to make clear that I want that headlight back. He looked sad about it, but handed it back over.
He told us, for sure not in English, that we shall leave the trash with him to through it behind the office on the small trash hill.
Background information: The albanian gouverment want's to join the EU and there for goes hard aggainst marihuana. That's why the maybe checked all foreingers by leaving Albania on that border crossing between Elbasan and Ohrid.