destination vacations should mean stay-cations for your timepieces
Last summer, my family and I anticipated having an enjoyable time vacationing in Punta Cana - Dominican Republic. Well in truth, we were actually travelling to attend and celebrate my Cousin's and his beautiful Bride's destination wedding, but figured we would take advantage of the opportunity, and get some rest and relaxation in as well. Along with the essentials, I also planned to carry a few (well more than a few) of my timepieces along for the nearly week long trip. A bonus, was that a few of the wedding attendees, who were friends of the groom, fancied themselves watch aficionados as well, so I figured I would bring a long a few conversation pieces.
EXCUSE ME SIR, CAN YOU STEP ASIDE
I didn't really think twice, or give pause regarding bringing along my watches, as I've done this as a regular practice on all of my previous vacation getaways. However, upon landing in the Dominican Republic, I quickly learned the error of my ways. While attempting to clear customs, my bags were literally going through the final scanning station when one of the attendees flagged my luggage, pulling my luggage aside for one of the Airport Police Officers stationed nearby to inspect. In a flash I thought to myself, "the damn watches", and could hear the replay of my Wife's voice in my head during packing "why are you carrying so many watches?". The Airport Police Officer then began to ask me pointed questions, in very broken English, regarding the brands and costs of each timepiece in my bag, asking if I had declared the items. I tried explaining to the officer many times, that I did not declare anything. I was not carrying any cash over $10,000 US into the country, and the watches were all my personal jewelry items, not for resale.
I CAN MAKE THIS ALL GO WAY
After what seemed like an eternity of back-and-forth with the Airport Officer, mainly due to my language barrier; and mind you, this conversation between myself and the Officer was being held in plain view of other passengers waiting for me to finish the screening process, the Airport Officer finally cut to the chase. The Officer states that he can "make it all go away for $100 dollars US". I honestly couldn't believe I was in the middle of a shakedown by the local Punta Cana Airport Police. After pausing in disbelief from the Officer's comment, I stated all I have on me is $40 dollars US. The Airport Officer paused, then took the $40 dollars, and then proceeded to zip-up my luggage. I finally cleared customs and was on my way.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
Not many things can go right when taking more than singular quantities of fine jewelry and watches with you on vacation, if at all. There's the obvious potential pitfall of losing an item or getting the item stolen while on vacation, which could completely ruin your vacation experience. But then there is also the chance that straps, bracelets, or metals could be damaged by pool chemicals, salt water, sun, and extremes of temperature. Water damage can also be a consideration if a watch doesn't have the proper water resistant rating for the conditions being used, or heaven forbid a screw-down crown is not properly secured. Either of the latter scenarios could damage a timepiece beyond repair.
While my story ended-up being a hilarious story to share with my Cousin and his wedding party, it could've been much worse. In the future, I'll err on the side of caution, and take only my trusty Casio G-Shock, and save my additional Wrist Game for my home turf in the United States.