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<   No. 1034   2005-11-25   >

Comic #1034

1 {scene: San Francisco Airport security office}
1 Jamie: Look, he really is here to jump over a shark. For our TV show.
2 Adam: So he wasn't joking or lying. You can release him.
2 Customs Guy: Maybe so...
3 Customs Guy: But when we asked if the purpose of his trip was for business or pleasure, he insisted it was for pleasure.
4 Steve: Crikey! How can you not enjoy interactin' with a shark?

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2015-02-17 Rerun commentary: This strip is based partly on a real experience I had when entering the USA one time. I was in the middle of my Ph.D. studies, and I was visiting the Space Science Telescope Institute in Baltimore (the place that runs the Hubble Space Telescope), and then a collaborating professor at Princeton University, for a total period of a few weeks. When the US Customs official at the airport asked me if I was visiting the USA for business or pleasure, I made the (in hindsight) stupid mistake of saying I was there "to study".

This immediately raised alarm bells in the official's mind and his demeanour turned significantly more hostile. I realised too late that he probably thought I might be some sort of person trying to sneak into the country illegally to study for a degree at an American university or something. I had to explain that I was only spending a few weeks, and was doing a degree in an Australian university, and was just here to visit collaborating academics, and that all expenses for my trip were paid for, and so on and so forth, before he finally lowered his suspicion enough to let me enter the country.

Now, whenever I enter the USA and am asked if I'm visiting for business or pleasure, I just stick with the script and say "business" if I'm there on a trip paid by work, and "pleasure" if I'm there on my own dollar.

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