Borders, Grenzen

There aren’t many border crossings in Europe these days, but going into Switzerland can occasionally be a bit trifling. I crossed many times with the Bolshoi Bandits, which was always a fiasco, but on this trip we are warriors & know how to prepare.

Just smile, laugh, play airdrums while riding shotgun & act like you don’t even know a border crossing is necessary… If all else fails, make sure your driver knows how to perform the Jedi Mind Trick. NOT that we had anything to worry about — band policy is “consume or throw out all contraband before embarking to next town,” coz nobody wants to spread their cheeks for the Gendarmarie in France (the Pólice)– we just don’t need the hassle of pulling out bags & gear, plus the time loss resulting from an 8 person strip-search could set back our making soundczeck at the next gig.

Anyhoo, going in & out of Suisse via Geneva on the west side was hassle free… They just waved us through.

We did however get stopped & searched near La Havre on our way to conquer Rennes from Sittard the night before.

They took passports, pulled us out one by one, gave us each the pat down & reach-around & questioned us individually. This was my exchange with the customs officer(Cus):

Cus: Do you smoke cannabis?
Me: Uh, no, not really.
Cus: Do you smoke cannabis?
Me: Well, yeah, okay sometimes, but NOT in France…

Now, the tone of my voice & the inflection was that of “do you think I’m stupid enough to carry cannabis WITH me?”… & I like to think he was impressed enough with my honesty & non-chalance, but for whatever reason that concluded my interview. Then they brought out Bowser the dope-sniffing pooch to scope the van. Must’ve been an off day, coz if that dog was worth his salt, he’d’ve sniffed flecks & trace amounts of various Dutch goodies on our clothes & whatnot. A sigh of relief & the emphatic restating of the band drug policy ensued.

So again, we always seem to travel in the best weather, and today is no exception. We drove around the Val-du-Travers much to my dismay, as I would like to have seen the birthplace & heaven of Absinth, aber trotzdem the fall colors & valleys in France are breathtaking on the road to Marseilles…

Marseilles… The Atlanta of Europa. A port town on the Côte d’Azur in the south of France, full of criminals, thieves, charlatans, gangsters, rubes & other dodgy dregs of society. Even the gig is dodgy coz the French go-between promoteresque guy is a rib or two short of a barbecue, if you catch my drift. Natch, I’m looking very forward to tonight’s misadventures, in the spirit of keeping it weird. Saturday night in Marseilles… I guess there are worse places to be… & they’re probably being added to the itinerary.

The Customs Police near Le Havre in France...

The Crew: (L-R) Charis Halbtruthan - sound engineer, Kaptain Kurt - tour manager, Schleppel - The Merch Dude

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