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Wandering minstrels catch a break at U.S. customs

Musicians will have an easier time getting their guitars through U.S. customs.

Chad Case/NYT

The week's strange travel news.

Guitars are good to go

Trying to enter the United States with fruit or meat can get you in trouble, but musicians have been surprised to learn that wooden instruments could too. However, a new report on the Lacey Act – intended to protect plants, fish and wildlife – should make life easier for wandering minstrels. A 2008 amendment had increased scrutiny for those travelling with guitars made out of certain tropical hardwoods. But the new report says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Justice feel that "citizens travelling with their musical instruments are not an enforcement priority." Despite its name, the Lacey Act makes no provisions regarding bras or panties.

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Train ticket trickery fails

If you're going to forge something, forge it right. That might be the lesson after a group of Indian travel agents was recently caught using fake letterheads for government ministers to get reserved train tickets. One minister had allegedly signed a letter requesting tickets – but his secretaries always handle such matters. The forgers also gave the wrong office address. Another minister's portfolio was misidentified as power instead of civil aviation. This would make the lamest Bollywood movie ever.

I know it when I see it ...?

Some visitors at the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Hurghada were mistakenly arrested for making a pornographic movie last month. The men and women, hailing from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, were modelling for a swimwear shoot when an overzealous security officer intervened. Georgian TV reported 12 people involved with the reality show Top Gogo were detained. Hurghada police apologized after finding nothing illegal in the recordings they reviewed. In other news, Antony and Cleopatra were told to "get a room."

Sources: Los Angeles Times,,

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