To paraphrase the esteemed Dean Vermer, Unshaven, untucked and ignorant is no way to go through immigration, son. This is the lesson I learned on Friday as I navigated the HMC gauntlet entering Bermuda.
Indeed, I was a bit scruffy looking. I hadn’t shaved in 4 days or so and the gray stubble was showing quite nicely. Also, it was a rather early morning for the 8am flight out of JFK so I slept most of the flight over and I probably looked the worse for it. Most egregious, however, was that my travel habits apparently do not mesh with those of the typical Bermudian visitor.
How long am I staying? Only one night.
That was bad.
Where am I staying? With a friend.
This was worse.
What is the friend’s address? I do not know.
Much like Nickelodeon, saying I don’t know to a Bermudian Customs officer is a recipe for disaster. I had the street address and I knew where the office was that I was meeting the guy, but I didn’t have the full address of the apartment and I didn’t know the last name of the guy who owns the apartment I was staying at. They REALLY do not like that sort of answer.
There were many other questions and at least one Google search based on showing the guy my business card for this site. My bags were thoroughly inspected (nothing particularly strange about that) and, eventually, I was able to get a mobile phone number for the Customs guy to call my friend and verify my story. It only took about 45 minutes to clear up the confusion and I eventually got in and took care of what I was in Bermuda to do.
But hearing the guy say, “I’m really uncomfortable with letting you in based on what you’ve explained so far,” was definitely a bit of a jolt to the system.
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