I just quickly checked my email on the local free network, and thought I’d post this before I go see Lime for a bit, before my next class starts up.
When I arrived in Incheon this afternoon, I was (of course) stopped by the Customs Officers, but they didn’t just once-over my bag and wave me through. No, no, they asked me to follow them to a side room, and a long, confusing discussion that I couldn’t really follow commenced. At the end of it, I learned that, on that strange and perplexing evening when I first arrived in Korea, on December 30th 2001, and the Customs Official asked to inspect my saxophone, I ought not to have told her that it was worth roughly $1000.
It turns out that (a) the instrument was only supposed to stay for a year, at which point I was to carry it out of the country or tell the customs office it was staying longer (something I was never told, though I vaguely remember an unreadable letter at some point in 2003), (b) that having overstayed its welcome in the country, it is subject to a tax (of what seems to be about $40 a year), (c) that I owe this within the next couple of weeks, and (d) that saxophones are special musical instruments which, even if they’re in bad shape and worth less than the laptop I’m carrying in my backpack, need to be controlled by the customs office.
What was particularly annoying to me was this idea that after completing a year of work in Korea, I would automatically go to Canada again. Apparently I could arrange something with the customs office if I decided to travel elsewhere, but not knowing that any of this silliness was necessary to begin with, I just shrugged my shoulders.
What’s worse is the soprano sax that my friend Kim carried into Korea and never registered. I really have to wonder what they’d say about that one.
Right, gotta go, Lime’s a-waiting.