Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

$200 for an apple!

Smart Suits, Shelbourne Road, South Burlington, USA
Burlington is a beautiful town in Vermont (USA) 55-km from the Canadian border. Took an hour’s drive to reach. On Friday, while entering border the immigration officer after clearing the entry asked, “Are you carrying any fruit.”
I said “No.”
While I was entering Montreal, a lady officer at the customs after the immigration section saw an apple in my hand which I had picked up from the airport lounge at Frankfurt. She asked for the apple and told me it was not allowed. She said that since I was not hiding the apple, she was sparing me this time from fining 200 dollars.
I asked the lady officer – “Why so?” She said, “We don’t allow apples,” and gave me a cold look that made it obvious that she wasn’t used to being questioned. I thanked her for not imposing any fine on me and resumed my journey.
Wow! A 200 dollar fine for carrying an apple across the border - I was speechless. We hear so much about globalisation, global citizen and no borders on one hand and on the other hand you can be penalised for carrying an apple across the border.
I remembered the world-renowned intellectual from South Korea, U Gong, who had given me the honorary world citizen passport. He has a One World vision free of borders.
It was raining the whole day at Burlington as spring is in the air with the trees beginning to bloom. Burlington is a `Toy City’ with banks, offices and restaurants housed in small toy-like houses.
With no multi-storied apartments or high rises, the houses resemble old British houses in style. In fact, it was the British who first came in here to start the trading in this part of the world. Burlington is the main city of Vermont with a population of just 38,889 people. The total population of the whole state is 6,21,760 as per the last census.
Walking on the road reminds you of the lower hill stations of Europe. The city holds much for the tourists’ interest including lakes, museums and farms. I visited the lakes and the University of Vermont (pictures).
Got few calls from Kolkata mostly inquiries of my whereabouts. Few of my friends who knew of my travel plans via Europe were worried having heard about the cancellation of flights in Europe.
ess bee

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