Where you find a border, you usually find somebody pissed off about it. Borders are drawn by wars, treaties and political machinations that sometimes leave things in a state of disarray. And then, sometimes, things get really crazy ...
#5. Some Americans Are Stuck on the Wrong Side of the Mexican Border Fence
The border fence between Texas and Mexico has been blocking thousands of shifty foreigners from taking American jobs since Bush put it there in 2008. Regardless of what you think of the policy, no doubt the people who live in sight of the fence are happy that it's keeping Mexico's violent drug war from spilling over into their backyard. Or at least they would be, if they weren't on the wrong freaking side of it. See, the problem is that, at some points, the fence is built over a mile inland from the actual border -- in some parts actually cutting through residential property.
"You guys still sure you're American citizens? OK, we'll check back in around 20 minutes."
Due to a treaty that prevents building in certain areas near the border, the USA figured they had a bit of buffer room around where they actually built the fence, so some Americans got to watch in horror as their country built a huge "KEEP OUT" wall that left them on the outside, like the dick in every horror movie who locks the door while one guy is still outside getting swarmed by zombies. So, every day, Americans living in America have to cross the American border fence to enter America.
And even that doesn't really convey the insanity of it; one farmer complains that he has to cross the border every time he travels between his field and his barn. At one point, it even cuts through the middle of a college campus in Texas. So students have to allow time to clear border security while running from one lecture to another.
My San Antonio
Here we can see the Border Patrol watching over the border between the United States and the United States.
Life for Americans on the south side of the fence can be a bit nerve-racking. Seeing as they're trapped behind a wall with nothing between them and the violence of Rio Grande, it's not unusual to see smugglers, illegal immigrants and high level cartel members skulking around their lawns.
By the way, things are equally weird, if friendlier, on the Canadian border. There is a street (called Canusa Avenue) that sits directly along the U.S./Canadian border -- and we mean the eastbound lane is in Vermont, while the westbound lane is in Quebec.
Guess which side the 19-year-olds can legally drink on.
Keep in mind that ever since 9/11, the USA has been a lot less casual about people driving in and out of the States, even if you live in a place where "driving out of the States" means "backing out of your driveway."
Still, road repair is totally ignored.
If you're an American living on the south side of Canusa Street and you want to leave your house to the right, you're safe. Back out and turn left, however, and you've left the country -- and you have to pass through a customs office, even if you're just grabbing a quick bite at McDonald's.
"Could you please hurry up, I have ice cream in the back!"
Turn the wrong direction down Canusa Street, and you'll now need photo ID and proof of citizenship. Oh, and they often search your car randomly as well.
#4. The Indian Town in Bangladesh in India in Bangladesh
You know what an enclave is -- it's a bit of one country that exists inside another country, like an island. On rare occasions, another island of territory winds up inside the enclave, and this is called a counter-enclave. So the enclave would be shaped like a doughnut, and driving across it would let you go out, in, out and back into your country again. Still with us?
OK, now imagine you live in the Indian district of Dahala Khagrabari. It's surrounded by part of Bangladesh, which is surrounded by part of India, which is surrounded by Bangladesh -- the world's only counter-counter-enclave.
Enclaves of the World
If you lack the crazy to visualize it, here is a graph to help.
So when driving across it in a straight line, it'd go India, Bangladesh, India, Bangladesh, India, Bangladesh, India, Bangladesh.
Due to India and Bangladesh being, we guess, on crack or something when they drew up their borders, they have around 160 enclaves within each other's territories. But none as crazy as Dahala Khagrabari, which apparently came about after the two nations suddenly signed a peace treaty after a long history of wars, freezing in place whatever territories had been captured by either side.
As ridiculous as it seems to the rest of us, the residents aren't laughing. Probably because they're stuck there for life. Although they're Indian citizens, they can't leave their immediate neighborhood without passing through Bangladesh, for which they need a passport. But they can only get a passport from mainland India -- which they can't get to without passing through Bangladesh. Twice.
Likewise, for India to try to provide these people with basic amenities would be a logistical nightmare, so they don't. Without electricity or anything else we take for granted, Dahala Khagrabari is basically stuck in the Stone Age, while everyone around them modernizes. The only possible consolation is that the sliver of Bangladesh that's trapping them is in the same situation.
At least they have plenty of border guards to protect them from ... the other side's border guards.
#3. The Korean Border Runs Through a Single Table
We're sure you're already aware that there's nothing that isn't crazy about North Korea. As you'd probably expect, a lot of that crazy is concentrated at the border between it and South Korea, the point where two of the most tensely standoffish nations on earth meet and stare each other down.
"Red rover, red rover, let North Korea come over!"
Known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the Korean border is the most heavily regulated border in the world, with nearly 2 million troops from both sides stationed along its 160-mile length. And since the Korean War never technically ended (they've only been in cease fire for the past 60 years), nobody is allowed to cross it. Ever. For any reason. Not even one of their presidents. Not even if one of their presidents is being chased by angry bees.
They take this shit seriously.
As you'd imagine, this makes any conversation between the two nations very difficult, because neither nation can just invite the other over for coffee and waffles. So the Koreans came up with a bizarre solution. Well, bizarre to the rest of the world. They went ahead and built the MAC Conference Room right over the border, with a meeting table that's literally cut in half by the national border. This allows officials from both nations to sit down and discuss matters without ever leaving their respective countries, because that's not at all ridiculous. Even when it's not being used, the room is full of soldiers just staring icily at each other all day.
The sunglasses are so the other guy doesn't know he's actually asleep.
So, if they're all sitting there, are they allowed to reach across and shake hands? If one president asks the other to pass the sugar, is he allowed to? Or does he just have to kind of hurl it over the border? And if he does that, does it violate the cease fire?