November Monkey

A call for a last minute November monkey over at Blork Blog has come in. This month the theme is “Border Stumbles:” unusual experiences crossing international borders.

Dakar, Senegal: I arrived at midnight with my Canada World Youth group. For the benefit of American readers, CWY is like the Peace Corps but without the locals suspecting you of being a front for the CIA. We walked from our Air Iberia plane into the airport where we queued to go throw Immigration. During the flight from Madrid, I was seated next to a Senegalese man who basically spoke nonsense to me. I didn’t pay him much mind, until, in the airport, I noticed that a group of military guys had pulled him from the line and into a small side room.

I chatted with my friend Tracy about the incident as well as other things, as we were all nervous and excited to be in a new country. It was then that one of my friends stopped me mid-sentence:

“John, your face is covered in blood.”

I looked down and noticed small splotches of blood on my shoes. We figured something during the flight must have ruptured a blood vessel because it was seriously gushing and everyone seemed suddenly very concerned. My friend quickly gave me her bandana to stanch the flow as my group leader pulled me out of the line to the arrivals area where I could sit and hold my head back.

As my group leader led me past the protesting Immigration official, he simply explained, “Sang du nez!” The official shrugged and I was permitted to go. At some point, someone must have taken my passport from me because it was stamped but nobody ever saw my face.

So, if you ever want to sneak into a country…

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