Apparently, I fit a profile.
We left for the next part of our road trip early again today – not as early as the day before but enough to make it another promisingly long day ahead. We left our hotel in Germany at half past five and made our way north to the Danish border in record time albeit through one unfortunate incident.
As we approached the border, traffic slowed, the highway narrowed to a single lane, and we were face-to-face with a man who appeared to be military police serving as border control. With furrowed brow he signaled us to exit the road onto a secure area where his comrade in arms asked us our passports. As we are still in the European Union, it was discomfiting to be singled out and made to feel unwelcome especially since our objective was harmless recreation. After a quick glance at my U.S. passport – which I brought anyway despite assurances it wasn’t needed – we were back on the road to the Danish capital.
I jotted it down to the fact that we were in car with Dutch license plates, when most people would likely come flying instead, and not the fact that I had more melanin than they were used to seeing. Never mind that I’m Southeast Asian and have legally lived in Europe for over a decade. In these times where refugee is a bad word and it’s an us-against-them reality, it’s hard to forget what we as humans have gone through together to get to where we are now. The happiest people on the planet are evidently no exception to this.
Brushing the incident aside, I put my focus on the road and the passing scenery, which included a McCafe stop in memorable Middelfart and crossing the seas over the Storebælt, or more famously the Great Belt, impressive not only for what it did but also for how it looked. This engineering wonder connected the east and west parts of Denmark, the approach and bridge combined measured about 20 kilometers long. Even if Denmark is one of the most developed countries, it’s not rich enough to waive crossing fees and at €32 each way the price is about as steep as the bridge is high. To think that we have to use the same bridge again going back makes me anxious. So long as I have my passport I suppose.