Why Did the Chicken Cross the Airport?


It’s the little things in life. They are what make you believe in a Higher Power. Within hours of writing “I prefer traveling to places where the currency is counted in chickens,” the roosters come home to roost.

The chickens arrived at The Tarmac at Dulles International Airport. And I didn’t hear that from some lonely deadpan blogger wandering Asia without friends nor fact checker. The news is straight from the venerable Washington Post, one of the few big stories they didn’t attach the suffice gate to. The Post, bringing it home with news we can use.

This is about chickens. Here’s the story. A passenger arriving from Vietnam (let’s call him Wayne) is packing a cooler. Customs sees this movie all the time. Guys like me dream of one day opening a beer-and-bait shop down on the bayou and we’ve already got the beer.

But it’s a slow day at customs in Dulles. Like maybe only 400 people in line and some rookie agent pulls Wayne over and opens the cooler.

Whoa, dude, are those chickens?  The rookie calls for backup, a Vietnamese-speaking agent.

You should know that the 20 chickens were fully intact, but de-feathered, with dark-bluish-grey to blackened skin and feet. (It’s the feet that are the delicacy, the tail’s worth more than the heads in this currency.) Did I mention the chickens were dead and in Ziplock bags?

The only question now is how many chickens it’s going to cost Wayne to bribe his way into the country. But we all know customs is all business. (And after this swing through Indonesia I really appreciate that fact. God Bless America!)

Wayne is speechless. And chickenless.

The Post reported “a few drumsticks tucked inside a carry-on is nothing new to customs agents.” But 20 chickens? They also report “customs said the passenger … may have made an honest mistake … [and] let him go without having to pay a fine.”

See, there was no bribe.

Is that barbecue I smell coming from the TSA locker room?

Side note. For so many years, while living in Washington D.C.’s Burleith neighborhood, Dulles was my home airport. Sure Reagan National was closer, and still my favorite Tarmac in the U.S.A., but a man could stretch out in that $100 cab ride taking you halfway across Virginia for a flight out of Dulles before getting on a cramped low-cost flight for a ride across the country that costs less than cab fare.

And if you sweet-talked your wife into driving you to Dulles, well, it was like a free flight, but you still got Rewards’ credit. That’s almost like two free flights.

What’s that worth in chicken currency?


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