“Are you cool?,” the Hong Kong customs cop asks
as he rifles through my luggage to find five packs of cigarettes.
“Are you cool?,” he asks again as he looks at my press ID that carried even less clout here than it did in Manila.
I learned too late that Hong Kong only allows each visitor to bring in 19 cigarettes. More than that, and I had brought much more, would mean paying import taxes. Or a less than friendly welcome.
“Yes. Yes, I’m cool,” I say with a hopeful thumbs up.
“What airline? Pilot? What cool? Follow me,” he says, leading me away from the safe crowds and into a deserted area of the airport.
I was not very crew after that, let me tell you.