ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Welcome to Canada …. NOT!

January 29th, 2010
Listening To  Armin - Communication

You hear all the time about US Customs being the worst in the world, and, although I have been rather lucky everytime I’ve been there, I can see why some people wouldn’t like them.

Canada however, you imagine a nice friendly place - after all, I’m sure they bill themselves as the “nice version” of the USA (or maybe they don’t and that’s Southpark teaching me that).

What I can tell you with 100% certainty though, is that image is a load of bollocks, 100 million percent.

But why? I shall explain.

So I land yesterday at Ottawa airport after an hour long trip from New York on what can only be described as the smallest plane in existence, which in a way was kinda cool, just a shame there was no where to put my hand luggage.

Anyway, I’m at the front of the plane, so I can quickly escape once it’s landed and get through customs before everyone else to meet Ashley… however, that was not meant to be.

The first bit is simple enough; hand my passport over, get asked a few basic questions and then wait for the stamp. “You need to go into the immigration office and they can stamp you in” I’m told. Again, simple enough, but, this is where things start to go wrong.

I head into the immigration office, where the following conversation with the Immigration Officer ensues:

Me: Hello
Her: Hello, what is your purpose in Canada?
Me: I’ve come to see my friend Ashely
Her: What is her surname?
Me: erm, nuts, ah yes, Wright
Her: And her address?
Me: No idea, she lives in London, but is staying here with her parents
Her: And she is your girlfriend?
Me: No, just friend.
Her: And how do you know her?
Me: We met in Japan, we both taught English there.
Her: And what’s her date of birth?
Me: Erm, huh? I .. don’t know.
Her: Well how old is she?
Me: Er, not sure, maybe 23 or 24?
Her: And what does she do?
Me: Oh she’s at Uni, but working part time at Starbucks at the moment.
Her: And which Uni is she at?
Me: Err…
Her: What subject does she study?
Me: Err…
Her: Ok - so where will you stay?
Me: In the old prison hostel.
Her: Who booked it?
Me: Her
Her: I see, why don’t you just stay at her house?
Me: Oh, she has an evil stepmom and didn’t want me to
Her: Ok, So what things do you want to see in Ottawa?
Me: Well, Ashley.
Her: Apart from Ashely, what else?
Me: Nothing really, I just came to see her.
Her: Can you name anything famous in Ottawa?
Me: Err…
Her: What about your job, what do you do?
Me: Web designer.
Her: So you can work from anywhere?
Me: (Slowly) Yes.
Her: So you can work from Canada?
Me: In theory.
Her: Do you have any current work on?
Me: No.
Her: Right - how many bags do you have with you?
Me: 2, one here and one on the belt.
Her: Ok, if you go get your one of the belt and come back here with it.
Me: Ok

So off I go to get it and on my return she tells me to “follow her” and I am taken into a seperate room where a male immigration officer is there.

Him: Ok, if you just put your bags up here, just need to give them a quick search.
Me: Sure

He then proceeds to look through my suitcase, paying particular attention to my lucky pig.

Him: What’s this? A lucky mascot?
Me: Yes, I take it everywhere.

Then continues to go through everything else, all the time asking exactly the same questions as the first woman.

Him: So what do you do?
Me: Webdesigner.
Him: For a company or yourself?
Me: Myself
Him: Do you have any business cards?
Me: No
Him: Do you have a website?
Me: Yes
Him: What is it?

He then uses him computer a loads up the homepage and starts asking various questions about it, how long have I been doing it, where are the servers, how many clients etc etc, before continuing on.

Him: So you are here to visit your friend Ashley?
Me: Yes
Him: So did you come to marry her?
Me: Huh? No, just a friend!!!
Him: I see…
Me: Why? Does this happen a lot?!?!
Him: Yes, many people come here to meet a woman off the internet for the first time - and it doesn’t work out well.


He then switches attention over to my laptop, “can you turn it on and log it in please” … so I do.

And now comes the bit I am most angry about - he then starts a complete search of the computer, including doing the following:

  • Logging into my Facebook account and checking my inbox
  • Logging into my Tagged account, checking my friends list and then going into the inbox
  • Searching through all my browser history
  • Loading up Outlook and checking emails
  • Loading up MSN Messenger and READING through my chat history
  • Loading up my “My Pictures” folder and browsing through all my photos
  • Looking through my “My Documents” folder and opening random files

And then coming out with the best question EVER: “Do you have any hentai movies on here?”


I said no, but why? What did it matter if I did. He told me they are illegal in Canada. I asked why? And was told that anything that depicts younger women and/or violent sex is an offence to own here. He said I wouldn’t be arrested, but they would delete it if they found it.

Him: So if I run a scan on this PC, nothing will come up?
Me: No

So he did …. but of course nothing came up (lucky I left my portable HD at home, hahaha)

Finally, after 45 minutes of checking through everything, he said that was ok and then asked to see my cellphone and camera, which were both checked through - although I had just replaced the memory card, so not much really on there.

And then, at last, I was free to go.

But seriously, what the fuck. How can they have the right to go through all my personal files like that? It should have been pretty obvious from all the asian porn links in my history that I most definitely was not in Canada to hook up with a white girl? And who does that anyway!??! Leave from the UK to go live in Canada???

Bollocks to coming here again if I need to go through all that for a second time!!

2009 - a year gone by … part one

January 7th, 2010
Listening To  Daft Punk - Aerodynamic

Welcome back dear friends, it has been many a month since I wrote anything on here, infact almost a whole year has passed us by.

So what has prompted this return to all things blog? Well, a few reasons actually.

  1. Last year was mad, I actually did so many things and it would be silly to forget all about them. Admittedly, the memories have already started to fade a bit (getting older, lol) – but it would be nice to keep a run down.
  2. Increasingly I am finding myself sitting around bored, a writing hobby will be good for me – I intend to try and do one entry a week (or bi-weekly at the least)
  3. And possibly the most important reason of all – to try and reclaim my English ability. My language skills (of my own language…) have gone to crap. When the only people you really communicate with are using pigeon English, you start to use it too – and do this for 3 years and you’re in a whole world of trouble. So hopefully by starting to write again, I’ll become more articulate once more :)

Where to start then, well, seeing as the year just began, it might be good to start of with my resolutions – of course, there is no guarantee that I will achieve any of them, but it’s nice to make a list…

News Years Resolutions for 2010

  1. Fly on 50 planes this year. Actually, I might as well bump this up to 52, bringing me to an average of 1 a week. That sounds like a lot (well I guess it is) – but I did manage 38 last year, which is only 14 shy … just need to add in 1 extra a month.
  2. Take up one of either : Learning the guitar or Learning a Marshal Art.
  3. Properly study one of my languages. Easiest one to do would be Japanese, however Chinese is on my list of possibilities – possibly even Thai seeing as I will be living there.

Read the rest of this entry »

New year, new haircut, new start!

March 9th, 2009


passport photo copy

Ok so technically it isn’t the start of a new year, but it’s the first time I have blogged in 2009 – so let’s just pretend it is.

I’ve realised that I’ve been missing great opportunities over the last year to tell some fantastic stories – after all – I’ve been all over Asia so should have loads to pass on … which I did, but I’ve now forgotten … DOH!

So anyway, here is my promise to you people – I will try and get an item a week uploaded into my space here, maybe it won’t be a lot, but it will be something – and as it’s all hooked into the new Windows Live Gallery, I can get some pictures with it too!

Today is Sunday and tomorrow I go to Hong Kong – thus there should be something cool to write about for next week’s entry … until then … take it easy!

All your illness are belong to us

November 23rd, 2008
Feeling  Sick

Since I’ve been back from Thailand (last Thursday), I’ve been holed up in bed with an evil EVIL sicknesss.

I put off going to the hospital as long as possible, but yesterday after almost colapsing after walking down the street - it seemed it could be put off no longer, so I headed to the Ren Ai branch of the Taipei Hospital system.

I was a bit apprehensive as I don’t have any medical insurance and was worried it was going to cost a bomb, however they assured me it wouldn’t and that I’d be able to see a doctor shortly.

True to their word, only a minute or so passed until I got ushered to a doctors lounge type thing where I was asked my symptoms:

  • Severe nausea
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fast heart rate
  • Stuffy head
  • Fever
  • Sweating all the time
  • General crap feeling

He wrote these down and from this point, we shall pick up the conversation:

Dr: Do you use a computer a lot?
Me: Yes
Dr: How often?
Me: Every day.
Dr: How many years ago did you first start to use a computer?
Me: About 20
Dr: The computer has made you sick.

Yes, you read that correctly - infact, I’ll write it again in bold and big:


Yes - I have caught a computer virus and all my sickness are indeed belong to them! The Dr said it, so it must be true….

So what next? Well I’ve been given 4 bags of medicine which I’m very doubtful about whether they will work, but hey, we’ll give them a chance - after all, you only have to read online to know how dangerous these computer virus’ can be….

Carlsberg don’t design women’s bodies …

November 1st, 2008

… but if they did, they’d just copy the Thai design.

End of.