Tourist ends up spending 12 days in a German refugee center by mistake
It was supposed to be a European adventure of a lifetime, but one Chinese tourist's dream vacation quickly went from leisurely to terrifying due to a serious language barrier.
A 31-year-old Chinese traveler, known only as Mr. L, was visiting the German city of Heidelberg when he hit a small snare: his wallet was stolen.
But while attempting to report his missing possession at what he thought was a local police station, Mr. L unwittingly made his situation much, much worse: He filled out an asylum request form that got him stranded as a refugee in Dülmen, Germany, for two weeks, according to The Guardian.
Red Cross staffers reportedly noticed Mr. L seemed a bit out of place at the shelter, as he was wearing very nice clothes and kept asking if he could have his passport back.
Unfortunately, he wasn't well versed in German, and staffers at the shelter didn't understand Mandarin, according to The Local.
Workers at an area Chinese restaurant suggested the use of a translation app, and soon thereafter, the terrible truth was revealed.
The Guardian reported that it quickly became clear that the man simply wanted to travel to France and Italy -- not seek asylum in their country.
German officials spent nearly two weeks piecing the story together before sending the poor guy on his way.
Christoph Schlütermann, an official with the German Red Cross, told DPA news that the man "set machinery in motion that he couldn't get out of."
"He spent 12 days trapped in our bureaucratic jungle because we couldn't communicate," he continued.
"Germany is unfortunately an extremely bureaucratic country. Especially during the refugee crisis I've seen how much red tape we have."
After the mix-up was discovered, the tourist did get to resume his vacation, and, according to shelter workers, didn't seem overly upset by the delay.
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