Origami is not Allowed in Bermuda!

A few years back, an events company invited me to give an origami demonstration in Bermuda at a trade show. Traveling to this island for a purpose other than tourism meant that the company that invited me had to request a special work permit from the authorities in Bermuda.

Just before my trip, I was told that everything regarding this temporary permit was in order.
When I landed at the Bermuda International Airport, the customs officer receiving me was appropriately stern and solemn, exuding all the authority expected of any immigration or customs official.

“Good afternoon. How long are you staying in Bermuda?” he asked in a bureaucratic tone.
“Two days” I replied.
“For business or pleasure?”
“For business.”
“What will you be doing?
“I will be giving an origami demonstration”
“Ori … what?”
“Origami: The art of folding paper.” I clarified for him.
“Who are you working for?”
“I will be working for the new events promotion company.”
“One moment, please. I need to check the list.”

The customs official disappeared behind an office door. Forty-three seconds later he returned, with the same authoritative air of superiority, and no friendly expression.

“I’m sorry,” he said “but origami is not allowed in Bermuda!”

The blood drained from my face, and I froze, stunned.
“Origami is not allowed in Bermuda…?” I repeated.

“That’s right, Origami is not allowed in Bermuda.” He confirmed.
I was silent, looking directly at his eyes.

“Ha! Got  you, didn’t  I?” said the man with a mischievous and warm islander’s smile.

I breathed a sigh of relief, and smiled back at his devilish prank. He then stamped my passport with an officious thump, and pointed me to the exit.

“Welcome to Bermuda!” he said.

27 thoughts on “Origami is not Allowed in Bermuda!”

  1. Vaya susto! y que experiencia debió haber sido. De seguro que el oficial de migración aprendió el significado de la palabra origami.

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  2. Excelente historia en Bermuda!! al principio de mucha intriga y sorpresa…..esas expresiones como la del oficial lo desconciertan a uno como persona en transito….somos colombianos y nunca estamos tranquilos en el paso por aeropuertos…este proceso siempre nos inquieta mucho a todos cuando viajamos….gracias por compartir Leyla!!

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  3. GUUAAOO… TREMENDA EXPERIENCIA….LO QUE ESTA PASANDO….QUE BUENO QUE NOSOTROS SI PODEMOS DISFRUTAR DE DOBLAR DONDE Y CUANDO QUERAMOS….EN OCASIONES ME QUEJO DE MI VENEZUELA….Y MIRA LO QUE PASA ALLA….
    UN ABRAZO LEYLA
    GRACIAS POR COMPARTIR

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    • When it happened, for a moment I was really confused and feeling panic!… What in the world does he think origami is? It’s very funny when I look back. But I didn’t find it too funny at the time!

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  4. OMG!! I could imagine your face when he said it to you, but I will be running after all, I would not want to see him again. What a joke!

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  5. What a funny story! I thought it was some crazy bureaucratic story or the officer misunderstood the word origami. I was not expecting a prank :)

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  6. What a fun story! My anxiety level would have definitely gone up the moment he said origami was not allowed in Bermuda! What a relief it would have been to find out he was joking. Great to find people in the world with good senses of humor. 🙂

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  7. How lovely to hear this story. We are the same I think in our anxiety about customs officials – even when we know perfectly well we are abiding by all the regulations! So nice to hear that they have a fun side. Maybe you should have pulled out a piece of paper and folded him a heart!

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  8. ¡QUE SUSTO!, REALMENTE ME ASUSTE Y ME PREGUNTE ¿ESTE HOMBRE SABE LO QUE ES EL ORIGAMI?, UNA BROMA MUY PESADA ESTANDO EN EL LUGAR EN QUE TU ESTABAS

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  9. Ha! That had me creased up! Such a pleasure to find an official with a good sense of humour, and what a wonderful location to demonstrate in.

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  10. You had me going! When was this, Leyla? How wonderful for you to have been able to travel to this beautiful island. Do tell more …
    Rosemary
    xox

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  11. Reading the information I thought that someone was “Lost in Translation”. Fortunately it is a story of a capcious situation on the immigration desk.

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  12. LOL, what a great story to be able to tell, it’s nice to know that a sense of humor (especially when it’s not expected) is something we all share

    Reply

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