Considering traveling is a big hobby of mine and I ONLY hold a Jamaican passport, ample research has to be done before traveling. With the one week gap I had in my plans Mar expressed interest in Croatia but moreso going to Plitvice. So color me surprised when I google mapped my way from Dubrovnik to Plitvice and realized that the borderline had ended just north of Dubrovnik. Essentially a tiny piece of Bosnia and Herzegovina obstructed the coast of Croatia; I guess every country wants their coastal real estate! Interestingly this obstruction splits Croatia into two parts and we would have to do a border crossing (to be exact we had to cross two times going and two times coming for a total of 4 crossings)! Now I had to do it, provided I could. Border crossing meant ticking off one more country off my list regardless of how little time we spent there. I figured there would be a story to write about it no matter what.
We flew directly into Dubrovnik and jumped in our rental car and headed towards Neum, the town in Bosnia and Herzegovina that we would be passing through. The first crossing doesn’t even need its own sentence as we waited in a line that said ‘all passports’ and without saying a word to us our passports stamped and we were sent on our way. We had planned to have lunch in Neum just to do SOMETHING in the town but instead, we opted to drive down to the beach and touch this newly discovered land with our own feet, take some picture proof and be on our merry way. In less than an hour, we were stamped back into Croatia.
Two days later having explored Northern Croatia we were on our voyage down south. Again we crossed into Neum and in less than 10 minutes (that’s how small the Bosnian side is) we were in line to head back over to Croatia. Getting frustrated after waiting in traffic I muttered, “why do they even have this border crossing, it’s so ridiculous, they let everyone go through anyways”. I musta have forgotten the traveler’s rule: thou shall not tempt fate! Driving up to the second officer he surprisingly showed interest and then asked ‘what will you be doing in Croatia?’. I think the surprise alone of someone speaking to us was enough to frighten me. I answered the question and explained our travel and that we had in actuality already landed on the other side that he was now questioning our authenticity for. He asked if we had anything to declare and we said no. Then he stamped us in and instead of handing us back our passports he gave an intense look and told us to go park our car in a garage a few feet away. I could tell he made the decision to search in a split second as he was practically handing us back our passports before he decided otherwise.
I parked up beside the garage having no other option and got out of the car where we were again asked if we have anything to declare. Again we said no and so he took Marina’s backpack and started searching. Less than one minute of searching and he pulled out a bag of pills which Mar told him was Melatonin and Benadryl. He looked at her funny and I just thought to myself ‘ah crap, this is it, we going to be sent away to some broken-down palace in Bosnia and i can’t even spell the other country name to rass’! And all cause Marina can’t go to bed without sleeping aid!
At some point in this entire interaction, another office fresh off of another car search joined giving us undivided attention by both officers. Officer one now accosted us, saying he was sure he asked if we had anything to declare. I can’t remember my exact words but I’m pretty sure I wanted to say “when you asked if we had anything to declare I thought it was like the questions on those airport cards, unuh, the ones about if you have drugs or weapons or been within 3000 feet of a farm and happen to have picked any fruit! I didn’t realize you were looking for Aleve and Nyquil; My bad!”
It seemed like we were going to be there for an hour or more as both officers searched through the entire car, and who knows what worse could even come of this. But then Jesus threw us a bone as officer #2 got a personal call and decided we just were no longer a priority in his life. And just like that we drove off into the promised land of Croatia. The takeaway? Nothing we were doing caused us to be singled out and almost cavity searched while nothing we did caused them to set us free back into the world. So do yourselves a favor and don’t tempt fate cause anything can happen at any time for any reason!