Sunday, 12 June 2011

Why Did I Say That?!?!?!

My blog readers know I like travelling.

I have been to many countries and been asked many questions by border guards many times about why I am visiting their country. As a genuine visitor, those questions are always easy to answer.

Until yesterday.

It was a chilly Saturday morning and I was in line with many other vehicles to cross a border where there are strict controls. I was on a rented motorbike and I was looking forward to meeting a fellow Blogger whose blog I had been reading for some time.

I didn’t give it a second thought as I knew crossing this border would be easy. The queue was moving relatively quickly as I sat there, occasionally firing the engine of the bike to life to roll the bike forward whenever a gap of a few car lengths had developed.

Eventually, the car in front of me drove away from the booth and it was my turn. I hit the kill switch on the bike as I drew level with the window and handed over my passport. The immigration guy looked at me, my bright red shiny bike and no doubt my helmet. I was wearing the sparkly and somewhat garish Union Jack Flag helmet that I had worn when I crossed the USA on my bike last year. I think it looks good, but I can understand if some think it a little over-the-top.

The immigration guy started to ask his questions....

How long would I be in his country? 2 days.Had I been to his country before? Yes.Was the visit for business or pleasure? Pleasure.What did I do for work? I am retired.Is this your own bike? No, I rented it.

All standard stuff. That was, until he asked his next question, which of course I answered with the truth....

And what are you going to do here during those 2 days?

I wish I had thought more about the answer beforehand....

I am going to meet a guy I met on the Internet.
In hindsight, I realise that wasn’t the best of answers. I felt stupid and it probably showed in my face. Why did I say that?!?!?

It was a dumb thing to say as it immediately led to more questions, the first of which was something like “Can you please explain that some more”.

The hole I was digging for myself got deeper....

I write about my travels on the internet and the guy I am going to meet does the same, and we thought it would be nice to meet each other.
As I said that, I just knew it sounded so wrong. I was now flustered and felt awkward at my honest, but odd answers.

The questions continued for some time, but after typing something into his computer, eventually he did let me into his country....

23 comments:

SonjaM said...

The border guard should indeed be used to these kind of answers. Vancouver is a very tolerant city where guys meet other guys all the time. ;-)
Hilarious !!!

Canajun said...

Funny! It's like you get these brain cramps every so often when you speak first and think later. And there's never an easy way to get out of it.
But then again, if you hadn't been wearing that helmet....

mq01 said...

LOLOLOLOL! so next time, will you just say you are visiting a friend? :)

Brady said...

Very nice. At least you didn't start spouting nonsense about 'the plans.' I'm going to meet a guy from the internet about some 'plans.' Great.

Brady
Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life
http://www.behindbarsmotorcycle.com/

Arizona Harley Dude said...

Thankfully you didn't mention taking pictures.....that would have surly complicated it further. Funny story, glad they let you through.

Raftnn said...

Very funny, I have has similar issues , you do have to be careful, sometimes things sound so different than what we actually mean,

Jackie, the Wife xx said...

Hi MD:

A very funny story, sort of.

It could have easily gone completely up-side-down. I can just imagine how frustrated you were.!.

At least they did not stop you from crossing in Canada. That would have been a real shame, considering the number of miles you have gone to meet up with a couple of fellow Blogger(s).
..... :-) .....

Only a few more days and you will be coming home... Yeah !!!!!

Travel safe and remember >>>> Kz
..... Jackie xx .....

Mike said...

Very funny encounter and it makes a great post. I like when you said it sounded so wrong. I wonder what he typed in the computer...

Geoff James said...

Brilliant stuff Gary,

Sometimes you know it's wrong to say something but simply can't stop yourself. I'm like that with Jennie and suffer for days afterwards :-(

Charlie6 said...

Oh Geez Gary, now you're in the "database" of "questionable individuals". : )

or worse, they recorded it all on video and will play it back at the monthly "look at what this guy said while crossing the border" show.

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

BeemerGirl said...

Absolutely hilarious. Sometimes we really wish I brain was a split second faster than our mouths. Oh well. At least you made it through. :)

-Lori

bluekat said...

That's hilarious, lol!

Nikos said...

You should have mentioned the pink Crocs(tm) too. He would have said - Ah, you are meeting Bob, and waved you straight through......

Troubadour said...

That is too funny, good thing he didn't pull you aside for a "secondary".
My dad was a Canadian customs guard and told us to always look them in the eye and answer with yes or no answers; they like to mess with you to trip you up. I agree with Charlie6, you probably made the "training" video.

RichardM said...

Too funny! When I initially read the post I thought you were still somewhere in Europe. The next time stick to one word answers...

The last time I went through all he asked about was the Tundra comic on my t-shirt.

Gary France said...

Sonja – I suspect that was exactly what the border guard was thinking!

Canajun – You are so right about speaking first and thinking later.

mq01 – I will definitely say something like like.

Brady – It was bad enough as it was without adding anything like ‘plans’.

AHD – I think I would have been locked up if I mentioned taking pictures!

Gary France said...

Raftnn – In my head it sounded ok, but as I spoke the words it was a very different story.

Jackie – It would have been a real shame if it had gone upside down, but I don’t think it came close to that. Home in a couple of days!

Mike – I have no idea what he typed into the computer. Perhaps it’s best I don’t know.

Geoff – LOL, that’s just what it is like sometimes.

Dom – I have been questionable for years!

Gary France said...

Lori – I don’t think getting through was ever really in doubt – it was just an embarrassing thing to say.

bluekat – I did laugh. Afterwards.

Nikos – Can you imagine the reaction if I’d said I was meeting a guy with pink crocs that matched mine! LOL.

Troubadour – I don’t mind if I made it onto the training video – at least the new recruits will have a good laugh!

Richard – I meant it to sound like I was still in Europe. More on that later....

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary:

A lot of US citizens I know, and world travelers all of them, are getting sick and tired of responding to prying border guards. It is with frayed restraint that many are on the verge of responding, "What business is it of yours," to these guards. Of course, anyone who makes that styatement will almost certainly find out.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep
Twisted Roads

Trobairitz said...

Priceless!!

kiwionabike said...

On a serious note - no sweat obviously at that particular crossing, but not so funny when crossing borders in a few countries where human rights are not on a par with those of most developed countries and you could be persecuted for such. Cheers, nick.

Eve said...

Oh Dear! Maybe he'll just forget that one Gary. I think you'll probaby come up with something better next time. hahahaha! I crossed into Canada, years ago, to see a hot air balloon show with my kids when I lived up north. I had never crossed the border before. On the way home the guard asked me "Do you have anything to declare?" I had no idea what that meant and looked at him funny and said, "We had a really good time!?!" He looked at me, chuckled, and let me go home!

Gary France said...

Jack – I think you are partly right. The number and type of questions I am asked when I fly into the US is considerably less than the rare occasions I have ridden or driven into the country. It seems they want to find out more about you if in/on a vehicle and I was surprised at the questions I was asked. As a foreigner, I would have expected that though but I can see how annoying it would be if I was asked those same questions when re-entering my own country.

Trobairitz – I am pleased I can laugh about it now.

Kiwionabike – A very valid point. I wouldn’t have wanted to have made that mistake at some borders where it might have seen me thrown in jail.

Eve – Yes, I will think more about my answers next time. That was a funny response you gave to the border guard and I can see why you said it. LOL.