430 Bolivares for Arduinos in my luggage

I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel and work or teach.  I very much enjoy it.  Recently (the last few years) I have been traveling with Arduino kits in tow in order to expose my students and clients to the potential of working with sensors and micro controllers.  I have taken these kits, to China, Lebanon, Israel, all sorts of Europe, Canada, Brazil, and most recently to Caracas.  I have only once before been stopped, I think on my way back from China in Schipol Airport, Amsterdam.  It was a brief stop, and in the end, I was never taken into a room, just one supervisor was called over and eventually he let me be on my way.

The most surprising trip was to Tel Aviv.  This time I brought five ASKits with me.  Traveling to Israel means getting questioned and searched for three hours before you even check in.  The ASKits never phased the people questioning me.  While I was there I even visited a commercial center where every purse and bag is checked before one can enter.  The guy checking opened my bag, removed the kits and set them aside without flinching, searched the rest of my bag, and put the kits mack in a matter of seconds.

Looks Suspicious?


And then there are the Venezuelans.

Upon my arrival in Caracas on Sunday, my bags were scanned before leaving the airport, as are all bags.  They saw something and called a ‘supervisor’ over.  She said that what I had is out of the typical things that people travel with, and that I would have to pay a fine of 430 Bolivares (appx 80€) to leave the airport with my passport.  Here is a picture of what I had with me:

So yes, I paid…what other option did I have?  I asked to speak to a supervisor and to see where these rules were written, but she said that I would not be able to see them…in other words, they were bogus.

Anyways, I still get to expose some workshop participants to the joy of Arduino.

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