Dear Family and Friends:
I am back from several days in Hungary and new Yugoslavia with fresh stories of amusing border incidents. The Hungarians rival the American customs agents for their thoroughness. On our way to Budapest, our train was stopped by the obsessive Hungarians who search everything. Fortunately, we had a customs agent with a sense of humor. "Good afternoon!" he said in a melodious voice. "Do you have any shotguns, drugs, explosives, or weapons of any kind?" He searched all of us in my compartment, making us open every bag. "This is good!" he announced cheerfully as we unzipped our backpacks and briefcases. "No shotguns, no drugs, no explosives and no weapons of any kind!" He stamped our passports with that enigmatic wheel design which bears no indication of its origin or purpose. After crossing in and out of Hungary six times, I grew use to the long waits as the customs agents painstakingly examined every passport and looked us up in their little green book of undesireables.
Crossing into Yugoslavia was not as bad as people might have thought it would have been. When I arrived, several custom agents refused to take my passport. Finally, the man who spoke English arrived and when he saw my name, he stopped and laughed very loudly. "Is this really your name?" he said, barely containing himself. "Sex?" He was even more excited when he saw my Croatian and Slovenian visas. This generated substantial interest for everyone in the customs office because few of them had ever seen either of these. My passport was passed around several customs officers as they stopped to gawk at the visas from the new countries. Once the curiosity subsided, I was granted a visa in as many minutes as it took to write my name, address, and passport number in a book.
Coming back into Croatia was no problem. The customs officer just looked for my Croatian visa and stamped the book.
Just a short letter for now since I have to write a lot of reports about this most recent trip of mine. Had a great time with the Romanians and Hungarians who accompanied me to Subotica, Yugoslavia. Lynn and I have several invitations to see various parts of Eastern Europe now.
Hope we can come again soon.