At the Croatia-Bosnia borders...
Officer: “You’re from Iraq! Are you a terrorist?”
Me: “Umm, no”
Officer: “You drove here from Iraq?”
Me: “No, I drove from Slovenia”
Officer: “You’re Slovenian? You live there?”
Me: “No I just ren...”
Officer: “So where do you live?”
Me: “Umm well I’m based in the US for my job”
Officer: “So you live in the US? But here I see you have Permanent Residency in Canada”
Me: “That’s correct”
Officer: “I’m confused. So you’re from Iraq, driving a Slovenian car, coming from Croatia and going to Bosnia, and you work in the US but you have residency in Canada?”
Me: “That’s right”
The officer asks me to hand him the keys and leave the car. He takes me to a room where three Croatian officers search through my bags and ask me to explain every item.
Officer: “Why do you have a Russian flag and police badge?”
Me: “Ahh it’s a long story, I was in Russia for the World Cup and...”
Officer: “They give football fans police pins? We ran a search on this badge and it belongs to an old secret Russian police”
Me: “Uhh yah I didn’t know that. An officer on the street gave it to me”
The officer looked increasingly suspicious as I desperately tried explaining this story. In a hopeless attempt to convince him (and his supervisor) I wasn’t just making it up, I pulled out my phone and showed him a Facebook post I’d written about my time in Russia. He read it carefully, then he smiled and said “those crazy Russians”.
He eventually handed my stuff and the car keys back.
Me: "Man, thanks for understanding. I'm always nervous about entering a country that may hate a country I previously visited"
Officer: "Don't worry. Here in Balkans, we like Russia and Putin, just like your new president in America"
Me: "Ahh well I'm not Am.."
Officer: "Anyways, enjoy your time. We have wild parties and beautiful women here."
He forgot to mention the breathtaking views of the region, like this pristine Albanian coast that goes on for hundreds of miles: