Today we traveled back to the Heimatland. Once again we stopped in Dubai, where we all bought cigarretes and booze because without the tax they are dirt cheap. A pack of cigarretes is less than one euro (or 1.50 dollars), whereas back in Germany they are 4 euros (or 6 dollars). This works out to a 300% tax in cigarretes that we could save ourselves. Chrissy also bought a water pipe for Phillip, with a pack of tobacco. Chrissy and Klaus were careful to buy only one carton of cigarretes each, because that is what is allowed for EU residents, but I bought two cartons foolishly thinking that as a tourist I had a larger allowance.
So we get to Germany, walk through the green lane, and a very nice young woman with the customs service stops us to look at our duty free bags. She looked, counted, and then informed us that my second carton of cigarretes and Chrissy's pack of tobacco for the water pipe were in excess of the allowance, and that we had to pay the 300% tax on these items, plus a fine for not declaring them in the red lane. A grand total of 90 euros (or about 135 dollars!). Chrissy said that we would leave them behind at customs, but no, we were informed, the fact that we had gone through the green lane had already earned us the fine and there was nothing else to do but cough up the money or go to jail. Ah, the joys of living in a Police State!