The Hollywood connection

This item appears on page 49 of the May 2016 issue.

This month’s winner is DENZIL VERARDO of Elk Grove, California:

A trip to the “Stans” and Iran with Road Scholar in fall 2015 necessitated several border crossings, where group members had to portage our own luggage on foot, exiting through one country’s Immigration station and walking a couple of hundred yards to the next country’s entrance. This was not an easy task, since we were outside in cold weather and on poor walkways.

When we arrived at the Uzbekistan/Tajikistan border, we approached the Immigration officer one at a time. Uzbekistan’s visa specifies the dates of entry and exit and notes the permitted number of times you can enter, based on your itinerary. The visa requirements and parameters are strictly enforced.

When my turn came, the officer looked at my papers, then said, “You’re from California.” 

“Yes,” I answered. 

He looked sternly at the visa and back at the passport, then said, “Are no!”  

I didn’t understand what was wrong and was concerned that the visa had an error. 

“Are no!” he stated again. 

I motioned my wife, Jennie, over to help me. She asked the agent to repeat what he said.

A smile then appeared on the officer’s face as he said, “California… Arno,” which Jennie realized meant former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger! He had seen very few Californians but knew that the actor and former governor was from there. All three of us had a good laugh as he stamped my visa.