Maybe the title of this article should be why the UK does not deserve to be in the EU. And why British citizens should get the exact same treatment that the EU citizens get when they transit the UK. Don't be fooled folks, Brexit is already installing its claws of death, so expect the unexpected when you venture into any of the UK's over crowded airports. Hopefully, the future will smash an apparently much needed breeze into the lives of the airport officials dealing with citizens from the EU. That is to say, if you are from the EU, do expect ridiculous questions upon entering the UK, so stretch your nerves and grab your sails, capricious officers ahead!
* Brexiters: Worry not officials, in case you haven't noticed yet, the quality of life in the UK is rapidly decreasing, and Brexit won't solve this issue. The EU is not the problem, you are the problem! The amount of tension in the city of London for example, is so thick you could braid noodles from it. The EU shouldn't even want the UK's hard headed arrogance around. So go on..bon voyage and never return! The EU standards & principles are too cool for you anyway.
Long story short, I returned petrified from a London trip. London is simply NOT what it used to be. No matter the pretty architecture, once you feel less safe, the quality of a place drops instantly. This is not the joyful London that I saw in 2016, in 2015 and in 2014. Life is definitely harder, and you can sense a high level of human distrust leaking from the grey clouds. It rains in London of course, though at the moment it can rain on your parade, especially if you pop in from the EU and you are not exactly Marry Poppins. To quote the famous actresses Bette Davis & Elizabeth Taylor: WHAT A DUMP!
I guess I was taken by surprise, when after a 17 hours long haul flight, I finally landed on London Heathrow Airport, just to be asked the same questions, over and over again:
Why did you come here Madame?
The purpose of your visit? Did you come here for work?
No..I'm just visiting.
Where will you stay?
Where will you stay during your visit?
By this time my blood was already on the rise, as opposed to the British pound..
I was in the mood of diplomatically shaming the insensitive, mauve lipped, Pakistani, London bred official...Oh my, I thought this lady confuses the UK border with the USA. But she wasn't. She was just applying the law...
Brexit is now in the warm up fitness phase, ready to launch its bulldog bite unto any goodwill citizen of the EU, innocently visiting. So she patiently and ironically launched her questions again. I patiently replied with the same things, plus emphasizing I'm not there to work on this occasion. Never mind is none of her business where I live on a 3 days trip, unless Brexit is the mother of all EU citizens and wants to know if you are safely tucked in bed after 12 o'clock in the night. Which I obviously doubt. What I did not doubt though was loosing my coach to Victoria Station due to the airplane delay and over stretching interview at passport & ID control on the LHR airport. I left dazzled to say the least and I do urge EU officials to take up the same "safety" measures against the peaceful British citizens, as after all... the attacks in Great Britain were not exactly operated by the EU citizens, isn't it? It seems at the moment in the UK, you are guilty until proven otherwise.
Once at the Victoria Coach Station, I got my luggage on the terminal's platform, to search for a lipstick. My lips were so dry and I was feeling so tired..when suddenly I felt a pair of eyes scrutinizing me. I looked up and saw a Black officer staring at my every move, and attached with his right index finger to the walkie talkie. I said to myself..oh my..this is really bad, he might think I'm about to drop ...the beat and set this place on fire...so let's go slow then. Let's go..slower than slow actually: 2 minutes lipstick search. When I finally got it out from the black hole that my luggage usually is, I could see him feeling released. I was not a terrorist. Just a bit of Arab or Turkish looks on me, otherwise plain Romanian. Like those guys that smashed the heads of the British psychos that found themselves on a killing spree in London half way through 2017. So, basically: has it really got down to this? Has the level of trust in the city of London reached a historical minimum?
Are police officers genuinely afraid when they see a dark haired lady chasing her lipstick in her luggage, freshly out of an airport bus? I'm asking because if it's really this bad, than I am obviously very sorry for the UK, but worry not Brexit backers, just hermetically close yourselves off because we don't want you in the EU...The European Union is built on peace principles and free movement of its people, so if you can't manage foreign wars and identity crisis backlash..stay closed. I bet too many human rights are favoring the bad guys, yet in the same time allowing full space to be suspicious of individuals that don't have anything to do with violence. Should I go on? I should...There are more police cars on the streets of London than I have space in my luggage. And I don't have space at all. If for some they mean security, I could argue it's a fear induced security: feel free, but you are watched. For your own protection of course. Feel free though..
Than...the number of adds close to the parks, where generally you go in to relax is equally disturbing and directly proportional to the number of police cars. On the adds it says: Criminals, know that if you cause any type of offence, this area is watched with security cameras. Great! Now I know there are criminals lurking by and my Highgate Wood trip might end in the Highgate Cementary. Terribly uncomfortable to know that. The park was sunny though, and the sun was shinning over everyone's heads, be that criminals or innocents, we are all under the same sky.
In hindsight it is even sad. Probably every capital from the West struggles to maintain security right now to the point of going paranoid.
Photo C : Roxana Berezoschi
On fast-forward, trying to get out of London via Stansted Airport, proved to be even more unsettling than the attempt to get in via LHR. I was liable for an extra bag of make-up products ( actually creams I use to decrease the pains I have in my shoulder due to a recent accident). An overly zealous black woman was trying to throw away some, so I told her to leave them where they are. Typically, on Stansted you are only allowed with just 1 small transparent bag of cosmetics ( that you get from inside the airport and move all your cosmetics in).
It was not long until the over zealous lady lashed out at me:
Madame, on the other side of the Security Gate they will throw your extra cosmetic bag anyway.
So she attempted once again to pick and throw some of them.
Do NOT touch them, I told her.
And I turned at the queue where I made a friend while waiting and asked him to help out with one of my bags.
Over zealous lady turned into a mad dog: MADAME WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU ARE BREACHING THE AIRPORT'S SECURITY!
And how is it that I'm doing that? I asked.
IF THE MAN IS NOT TRAVELING WITH YOU AND YOU HAVE TOXIC SUBSTANCES THEN HE WILL BE LIABLE AS WELL..
she turned to the man and let him know that I might be a terrorist. The man laughed. Then she turned to me, my face was blank, and she said: Madame, I do not want to argue with you.
Neither do I, leave the products there, I will manage it at the security gates.
At the security gates, a blonde female officer with chubby legs and a skirt shorter then her underwear, asked me : How many persons are traveling? 3?
No...just me..3 in 1.
Asked me to throw away some of the products I was having, at least I did that on my own which is a plus, with no one sticking their gloves into my business. Ironically, after she asked where I'm headed, in that very moment she found I have extra-liquids in my bag.
I do not have any extra liquids, they are all outside!
No madame, there is something liquid in here! Puts her gloves on, searches my bag. Finds black tea, turns rainbow in her face. Calls for another security officer to thicken the lines.
Great I thought, now there are 2 nuts in the tree!
Madame, why do you have tea in your bag?
Uhm...because I drink tea?
Oh that's a fair answer!
They started to laugh. For some reason I was not feeling too amused. I just tried to get back my bag.
Madame, remain calm!
You need to be calm, I said, that's just tea and i'm losing my plane!
You should have come earlier to the airport!
Really? Well, as a matter of fact I did, but turns out National Express should be National Snail instead! They had an 1 hour delay to the airport. Gladly I would have told her, her mouth is bigger than her brain. You gotta love officers on duty, since times immemorial, they did drop their brains.
Let's not forget though, that historically speaking, Rome & Constantinople collapsed from their own center, after receiving way too many savages that butchered all the refinement that surrounded them. Is Brexit an attempt to limit history? Perhaps..The city of London does not need anymore robots to follow orders, it needs people that can think on how to solve all the security issues, without going paranoid over EU citizens. While the tea episode is not unique, and you do end up with issues if you transport tea in your bag on other airports as well, I just feel the denial of the English tea in my bag, goes hand in hand with Brexit. So now I'm all in for Tea-exit. And this is how I got to my plane 7 minutes before gate closing. I doubt Brexit pays for lost flights. Don't worry...be happy..there is still honey in the EU.