ma’am, would you like to check your knife?

Posted by susan on September 15th, 2009. Filed under: travel tech.

In the Spring of 2004 I spent a really long Spring break trekking around Europe with Lisa. From Ireland we went to Brussels to Amsterdam to Paris to Rome, which included a quick visit to Florence, and then headed back to Ireland to take our final exams, after which, we would fly off to London before coming home.

While in Paris, after a very long day of walking the entire city, we decided to grab a cheap baguette for dinner and a bottle of wine, and an enjoy an evening sitting on the Seine River – the Eiffel Tower glowing in the distance and Notre Dame Cathedral at our backs.

We walked up and down the river to find a discreet place to settle down and once we did we realized we had a big problem – neither of us had a wine bottle opener! Assuming we’d be able to find one as a cheesy souvenir, we immediately got up and searched for a tourist trap. Finally, we found a swiss army knife key-chain that had a cork screw.

After we opened the bottle, we put our new souvenir away in Lisa’s backpack and it was out of site, out of mind. Over the next few days, we set off on a train to Lyon, where we would pick up a bus to Rome. No, that was in no way the most efficient way to get to Rome, but you live and you learn. Once we arrived, Mike picked us up at the train station and we got a tour of his campus, grabbed dinner and spent the night hanging out with friends. The next day, while Mike was in class, we made our way through the city as tourists. One of our first stops was the Vatican.

The security in the Vatican is just like entering an airport. You walk through a metal detector and put your bags on a conveyor belt and they get inspected by security cameras. Lisa and I, two well-mannered, polite, Catholic School girls, sped through the process with confidence – that is, until the security guard asked Lisa a question that echoed through the halls of the Vatican entrance and even turned a few heads: “Ma’am, would you like to check your knife?”

It sounded wrong on so many levels. First of all, why on earth would she have a knife? And second of all, what kind of sick person would bring a knife into the Vatican?

Seconds that felt like centuries passed and then we realized the guard was not crazy but that we did in fact, have a knife – our little souvenir from Paris was still in her backpack. Embarrassed, Lisa agreed that it was appropriate to check her knife.

I was reminded of this story on Sunday, when we went to Design Hive again, clearly I’m addicted. I made a purchase that won’t open a bottle of wine for me, but it will definitely open up a bottle of beer – close enough.

MaJenta Designs makes these adorable little bottle opener key-chains…

bottle opener keychain

It’s so pretty. It’s perfect for when you are ready to graduate from the gaudy old bottle openers collected during your college years – in essence – it’s kind of a yuppie bottle opener. Except, it wasn’t expensive.

bottle opener keychain

Designer Jennifer Tang doesn’t just specialize in bottle openers, she has tons of other Asian-inspired accessories that are just adorable.

Do you have any inappropriate or embarrassing travel stories? Ever do something offensive accidentally?

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