A watch, high stakes gambling, international drug smuggling, and 29 Swiss Francs.

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Dovster, Jun 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    Yes. This is a trip report. It involves travel from Lugano, Switzerland to Milan, Italy. As this trip generally takes less than an hour by car, it is not often that a trip report is written about it. This, however, was no ordinary trip.

    My UIG (Used Italian Girlfriend) lives in Milan. She also has a vacation home in Lugano and we went there on Thursday night (June 2). On Friday, I went to the casino in Lugano, played the slots and won 100 SWF (US $119).

    About 10 years ago I won $300 at those slots and decided to use the money to buy a Swiss watch. I wound up with an inexpensive Tissot. This time, I decided to take the $100 and put it towards the price of a more expensive one. I went shopping on Saturday and wound up with another Tissot, but this one ran 695 SWF ($827).

    Still, I was happy with it and even more so when I went back to the casino after buying the watch and hit big on the slots -- collecting an additional 600 SWF, which meant that the watch was free.

    That's where my good luck ended.

    I drove to the UIG's house, told her we were going to dinner to celebrate, and found myself forking out 100 SWF for a meal which did not even include wine. When we returned to her house, for some reason which I still can't understand, neither one of us noticed that I forgot to turn off the lights on her car.

    In the morning, the battery was dead. She called the Swiss Auto Club which sent someone to charge the battery. It took him about 30 seconds and it cost me 200 SWF -- $238! Then we got into the car to drive to Milan and I made my next big mistake. I stopped at the border to go into the Swiss Customs Office to get back my VAT (29 SWF) for the watch. If I had known what would happen, I would have passed on the money and driven right into Italy.

    While I was in the Customs Office, a bus pulled up next to our car. The Italian police brought a drug-sniffing dog to check in the baggage department of the bus. He found nothing but went bananas when he walked past our car. I was still inside but the UIG was in the car and soon found herself surrounded by 6 Italian police (including one plain clothes man) who were asking her a bunch of questions.

    When I got back, they had me take all of our suitcases (and we had a bunch) out of the car. The dog sniffed them, didn't find anything, and then went into the car (and its trunk). This dog kept insisting there were drugs there somewhere but couldn't locate any. The police pulled out the chairs and looked under the mats but still found nothing,

    Then they brought me and my bags into one room and the UIG and her bags into another. They searched through everything, while asking us questions. I knew we had no illegal drugs but I did get a bit nervous when they opened one bag in which I carry a lot of medicines. I was especially worried about one bottle which was not marked but had Metamucil capsules in it.

    I was very surprised when they just asked, "Medicines?" I said yes and they accepted it. They seemed much more curious about a container which had a travel shaving brush inside. They had never seen one before.

    Finally, after comparing the answers that I gave to their questions with the answers the UIG gave, they seemed satisified and wished us a good trip.

    Neither the UIG or I could figure out what that dog had sniffed until we got back to Milan. On Thursday, I had arrived at Malpensa Airport from Israel. The UIG also arrived there from a trip to China. She had broken her toe on the trip, was treated at a Chinese hospital, and was given pain killers -- which she was told to take only when she really needed them as they contained an opiate.

    She still had some left and, apparently, the dog was not a trained Chinese pharmacist who could confirm that the pills were, indeed, for medicinal purposes.
     
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  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Interesting TR Dov! Lots of drama! FYI When looking for a new watch, I'll hook you up with my guy below. He does business on the CTA Blue line:

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Gargoyle
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    I met that guy several decades ago. He had a good business; he'd buy cheap watches, $120/dozen,(this was before the really cheap "gold" watches started coming in from China, back when everyone wore wristwatches) and he had one real and expensive watch box from a big name store. He'd go up to people in the loop (downtown Chicago), flash a quick look at the watch and very nervously offer the watch; typically he would sell them for $20 to $30; he always kept the box.

    He had a peddlers license, and everything he did was legal. However, his customers all thought they were getting a great deal on a stolen watch, but he never claimed they were stolen; he let the customers imagination and greed do the job. Most of the cops knew him, but occasional a new cop would pick him up. He'd let them handcuff him, and wait until they'd driven three or four blocks before explaining what he was up to and having them check his peddlers license. The cops would laugh and let him go. He did that because he didn't want to risk having customers see that he was legit; seeming to get busted was good for business.
     
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  4. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    There was also a guy who drove around doing the same thing. He would stop at gas stations and strip malls. His story was about a bad day at Arlington Park and needing some fast cash. The box had a price tag of $350, I believe. He would ask for $150 for the watch, but would actually come down to $30. I bet he's still out there if you need a sweet time piece.:p
     
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  5. Gargoyle
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    And then there was the guy who'd bet you 25¢ he could guess within three days what day you were born. People would take the bet, and he's say "Tuesday". Almost everyone paid up.
    :p

    Dov could try these techniques next time he gets into trouble in Lugano. (not)
     
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  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Funny story. I drove through with a Rolex 15 years ago...didn't seem worth the uncertainty to stop.

    NB: Swiss Francs are CHF, not SWF.
     
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  7. Gargoyle
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    It's a currency conversion issue. We're talking Dovster, he tries to convert "Confederation Helvetica Fräulein" into "Single White Females".
     
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  8. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    100 Single White Females would definitely set you back more than US $119.
     
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  9. Gargoyle
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    That may be the case, but with Dovsters writing abilities the trip report would be a classic. thumbs-up.gif

    (that is, if he survives to tell about it!!!)
     
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  10. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    Actually, I knew that it is officially CHF but I use SWF when posting so as not to confuse anyone, (For the same reason I never write "NIS" when referring to Israeli shekels.)

    What I did not know was that for $119 I could get 100 Single White Females. Can anyone give me an estimate if I prefer them to be young housewives?
     
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  11. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I can tell you, but be aware of what you are getting at that price....
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Gargoyle
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    I presume you're talking about Nymphomaniac Israeli Senoritas? I understand why you never write about them, you want to keep them your secret.
     
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