Didgeridoo Farewell Serenades and the Bovine Afterlife

By Amy Chavez
For The Bali Times

In March of this year, the rules changed at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport regarding carry-on luggage. Stricter carry-on rules are a concern for tourists here, especially for those who do their souvenir shopping in Kuta, perhaps the largest outdoor shopping mall in the world.

Here are some FAQs regarding the new rules.

Q: Will I be allowed to carry this souvenir cow skull onto the plane?

A: No doubt, cow skulls are in. With large horns and squiggles carved into their foreheads by Bali’s famous artisans, these skulls are all the rage in souvenir shops in Kuta. Size-wise, as long as the cow skull is within the allotted 56 x 36 x 23 centimeters, you should be able to carry it on the plane. Despite the vendor’s claims that “You carry on plane, no problem. Cow bring you luck,” don’t be afraid to ask them to saw off the horns a few centimeters, or shave higher cheekbones in the name of bovine beauty to comply with the carry-on dimensions.

However, if a vendor sells you the whole cow skeleton, in the form of a life-size bovine jigsaw puzzle, for example, it will have to go as check-in baggage.

You should also be aware there may be rules about bringing livestock into other countries, especially with recent concerns about BSE. What I wonder is — Can you really have dead livestock?

I’m no expert in the bovine afterlife (other than dinner plates and wall mounts), but perhaps dead livestock refers to when cows are flying in airplanes, since 12,000 meters puts them at that in-between stage between heaven and earth. If so, you could always claim you were a spiritual medium, accompanying the cow on its ascent to heaven.

Q: What about a didgeridoo?

A: The Indonesians, never to miss a business opportunity, have realized that Bali is a stop-off for those traveling from Australia to the rest of Asia, and have considered that many of those passengers will have forgotten to bring their didgeridoos. Since nail clippers are considered a potential weapon onboard, I imagine a didgeridoo would be considered a lethal musical instrument.

Therefore, I recommend you claim your didgeridoo as sporting equipment. With Garuda Indonesia, you may bring a surfboard, golf bag or scuba diving equipment as additional checked baggage as long as it does not weigh more than 20 kilograms.

Especially with Mattel Inc. having just disclosed plans to bring out Barbie golf clubs next year, and thus pushing the limits of what can be designated as sporting equipment, I don’t see why you couldn’t claim a didgeridoo as a specialized golf club. One used, for example, in that Australian sport called Cane Toad Golf. You could add that in Cane Toad Golf, each round ends with a farewell didgeridoo serenade.

Q: I have a floor lamp I’d like to carry on as it is too fragile to check through. But it is too long to fit the carry-on dimensions?

A: If you are flying Garuda, no problem. Carry-on rules allow you to take onboard umbrellas or walking sticks, so your best bet is to convert your floor lamp to one of these items. To make a walking stick, simply discard the lamp shade and claim you have one of those new-fangled lighted walking sticks, a safety measure for walking at night. If you prefer an umbrella, replace the lampshade with the head of an umbrella and explain that this is a special umbrella for very tall people. It is also handy because it allows you to stand the umbrella on the sidewalk when you want to stop and talk to someone, or if you need to rummage through your handbag for money or your train ticket. If you get away with this, expect to see various versions of lighted walking sticks and stand-alone umbrellas available on the streets of Kuta on your next visit to Bali.

Q. Garuda’s carry-on baggage allowance is one piece of luggage not more than 7 kilograms, plus a handbag or laptop computer. I have a baby who weighs 7 kilograms. Is he considered a carry-on?

A: It’s a wonder that babies, who can’t even walk, are not considered carry-on items. So the good news is that, presuming you have three hands, you should be able to carry on the baby, one piece of hand luggage and a laptop computer.

Do be aware, however, that you can no longer carry on more than 100 milliliters of liquids, aerosols or gels (LAGs), so if you are a rock star, especially a rock star with a baby, go light on the baby’s hair gel. If not, be prepared to pass the baby through the screening detector.

But if you buy your LAGs inside the secure area of the airport, such as the duty free section, you can carry on as much as you want. Because of this, I expect that some day they will increase the borders of this section of the airport to include, say, all of Kuta.

Filed under: The Island

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