Thursday, 8 March 2012

to Deportation...

... and into the waiting arms of two immigration officers waiting for me at the front door. Since, I wouldn't be able to talk to an investigator until Monday morning, I would have to spend the next 3 nights locked up in the Immigration Detention centre.

So, after a short drive to the detention centre, I went through the entire process of getting a prison uniform and toothbrush again, only an hour after I had gotten rid of the last uniform. This time, I was given the option of buy a phone card so now I had some contact with the outside world. I called my new roommate so he could get a key to the apartment he was supposed to be moving into while I was in jail. I called Kay, my translator, so I could get some things delivered to me, and I called another friend of mine about getting some money to pay this fucking fine off and get the hell out of this joint.

Once Kay dropped of my stuff, I finally didn't smell as bad as I had for the last week of no shower or deodorant. I was able to charge my cellphone so I could access my phonebook and I had about $1000 in cash towards paying off my fine.

The overwhelming dread I felt as I entered the detention area was heightened by the dirtiness of it. It looked like the area hadn't been cleaned since it was built. There was graffiti everywhere and by the sink where we were to brush our teeth or wash, had cockroaches scurrying around it. I was given some blankets and shown to a common area occupied by 2 Chinese and a man from some indeterminable Eastern block country. However, there was a small TV showing an English(!) movie and seemed to have a full cable package. Since Kay had even brought me a couple of paperbacks and I had to only stay for the weekend, I figured I'd be able to handle an additional 2 days of incarnation.

I managed to read an entire book and spent the remainder of the 2 days watching TV and sleeping.

Monday finally arrived and investigators started arriving to interview the detainees. It was only a matter of time until my turn and the discovery of my final fate. As I sat down for my interview, I felt excitement and fear. Anybody who has dealt with any kind of bureaucracy, especially in Korea will know what I mean. The culture dictates that I have to be humble and subservient-- two things I'm not very good at. After answering some basic questions, I inquired as to when I would be able to go home. The investigator looked at me with a kind of shock at the question and replied that I would never be going home, I was being deported back to Canada, of course.

This shocked me, to say the least! I asked why, and was told that it is automatic immigration policy to deport any foreigner with more that $2000 in fines. Now, I've been in trouble before in Korea, and had more than my fair share of fines. I cried out BS and started freaking out on the poor official.

"I've been here 9 fucking years!" I yelled. "You can't deport me or you would have done that years ago! I have a dog, a house, rent to pay, bills to pay! I still have to get a fucking divorce!"

"Calm down."

"I can't calm down! Do you realize what the fuck you're doing? What about all my banking and money I have tied up in my house?

"Please calm down."

"Get the fuck out of here!"

"Perhaps we'll come back when you have calmed down"

I immediately got on the phone to Kay and explained to him what had happened. He, in turn, got on the phone to the police and immigration. A couple hours later, and I was still in a foul mood, the immigration officer came back in and said to me, "Are you married?"

"Yes," I replied, "I already told you that, you idiot."

"To a Korean wife?"

"Yes." My patience wearing ever thinner.

"Sign here, here and here, and you're free to go."

Assha! See you later suckers! You can keep the lotion! Less then 10 minutes later, I had my clothes and all my stuff back and was walking out of the front door. As I breathed the fresh air and basked in the sunlight, I thought about what to do next... cigarette, beer and sex, perhaps I should go home and take a shower and change my clothes first as I walked towards the nearest store to fulfill the first 2 things on my list...