Book1 - Cyprus Bulgaria

Dual Citizenship Provides Visa Requirement Solution

I drive to the capital along the small village roads, stopping occasionally out of protest to buy some more beers from the local village grocery stores.

Then, a crafty little idea occurs to me. I park my truck on the north side of the capital and walk across the border as usual. There I do some ‘errands’, have a couple more beers, then saunter my way back to the border.

This time, instead of pulling out my Czech passport as I have always done, I do a bold move and show them my CANADIAN one.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, now my criminal persona has taken on multiple identities and new global significance. It is my first time, as a Canadian, to cross into the lovely north side of the island. After the stamp is made I inquire how many days they have given me. The kindly female border guards just smile and say, “Ninety”.

To them, officially this IS actually the first time I visited their lovely country. She wishes me a pleasant stay. The experience, however, teaches me to make one vow: no more crossing to the south side with Jimbo!

The rest of my final month on Cyprus cruises by, with no incidents of guns in my face, and no more omens telling me to get out of here. The plan is already in motion anyway. I transfer money to bring back from the dead my European Allianz car insurance, and I am set to cross the border by December 20th. Of course my final crossing will be a bit criminal, considering I shouldn’t really be on the north side as a Canadian.

Driving through the mountains in central Cyprus, Turkish side. (click for more pics)

I just hope that everything will work out, as long as they do not punch my license plate number into their computer.

I say goodbye to my new Muslim friends. Sad to go, I head to the border. I have washed all my clothes, showered, washed my hair and shaved. As a blatant international criminal, it is very important to look clean-cut. I explain to my Iranian friend around this time, I have come to the conclusion that all police, border guards, and authorities have one thing in common: they are clean-cut in appearance and obsessed about bureaucratic peculiarities. Therefore, it is not advisable to cross borders looking like a hobo, or with dreadlocks. One should try to look like a well-groomed and respectable, obedient, tax-paying citizen. Even if one doesn’t want to.

So, if I want to be successful with my travel plans, I simply must play this game of morons, and wash, and shave, and clean the truck, and even cut my hair. Especially since I am now an international criminal.

One last goodbye and off I go to my ‘quiet and discreet border crossing’, as had been suggested to me. Of course, to celebrate such a wild and crazy event, I have to pound a few beers into me before I get there – a mere four. I pull up to the border and park off to the side, as I always did before. I walk along the lane looking for the border crossing girls/dudes, but all the booths are empty. I keep walking, until I came to eight Turks sitting around with their big bellies and cups of tea, looking at me like, “What on earth do you want with us? Go over there you silly boy!” They point to the other side of the lane.

“Oh”, I think, how obvious. Usually I must go to the booths on the side of the road I am driving to, but this time, it is the OTHER side of the street. I saunter across the road to find three booths filled with pretty border crossing girls. I look over my shoulder to notice the eight guards casually strolling towards my lovely blue truck, peering in from different angles as I speak to the girls.

I hand one of them my fresh and clean Canadian passport – the one with the 90 day stamp – and observe the group of eight over my shoulder.

“You have a car?” the girl asks.

“Yes,” I respond.

“What is your license plate number?” she asks, as she peers through the crack of the door and watches the pack of eight as they carefully inspect my vehicle.

I think to myself, ‘Okay, now I’m totally dead’. This is the end of me. Before I came to the border I imagined I would have my keys in my hand, and if there were any problems I’d just get into my truck and bulldoze through anyone who got in my way. But now I am on the opposite side of the lane and there are eight piggies between me and my truck. Things do not look very hopeful. Again I will just have to surrender to fate.

After peering through the crack of the door and punching in my license plate number, as I expected – being proper computer geek – she asks, “You have two passports? ”

“Yes,” I respond.

Did I mention I am totally dead?

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