Tourist Baffles Somalia Immigration Officials

I’m almost finished with another long dispatch from the field. In the meantime, I leave you with this. (It’s from 2010, but hey, it’s new to me and probably to you too.)

MOGADISHU — When Mike Spencer Bown disembarked from his flight in Mogadishu this week and described himself as a tourist, Somali immigration officials thought the Canadian man was either mad or a spy.

"They tried four times to put me back on the plane to get rid of me but I shouted and played tricks until the plane left without me," the 41-year-old told an AFP correspondent in Mogadishu on his hotel's roof terrace.

Somali officials then tried to hand him over to the African Union military force in Mogadishu, refusing to believe that he was in the city for pleasure.

"We have never seen people like this man," Omar Mohamed, an immigration official, said Friday. "He said he was a tourist, we couldn't believe him. But later on we found he was serious."

"That makes him the first person to come to Mogadishu only for tourism but unfortunately this is not the right time," he added.

The guy isn’t quite as nuts as he sounds. He vowed to visit every country on earth and went to Somalia last. So he knew in advance it is no place for tourists, but he went anyway.

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