Friday, May 20, 2005

Two things

Two funny things that have happened to me at German passport control (keep in mind I've only been in Germany twice, so this is a high percentage):

1. Passport dude flips through my passport to find a place to stamp. He turns to his colleague and starts gesturing and talking in a high, excited manner. I don't know any German (except for how to say "white asparagus"), but it's clear to me what he is on about. He points to the "entry" column of the passport and then the "departure" column and is obviously ranting to his colleague about how clear the columns are and why the hell don't people stamp entry and departure stamps in their proper places. He goes on about this for a good couple of minutes, turning to different examples in my passport from when, in his opinion, less than competent people have put their stamps in the wrong places. He then carefully stamps my passport and gives it back to me. I turn to the page to see the Frankfurt stamp aligned and centered in its proper "entry" box. Way to go in dispelling stereotypes about Germans, passport dude.
[Edited to add: I've just checked my passport and all the German stamps are not only in the correct columns, but they're also positioned in the little rectangles. The other countries just randomly stamp wherever there happens to be room.]

2. Bored passport dude takes my passport and swipes it through the computer. Seeing something interesting, he sits up and squints closer at his screen, and then at my passport and then at me. Does this again a couple times. Says nothing to me. I am about to ask if something's wrong when the supervisor dude standing behind him catches sight of the monitor and comes over to peer over his shoulder at it. Reads the screen, scrutinizes my passport, looks at me. They do this for what seems like forever, but don't speak to each other or to me. Just before I break down and start screaming, "What?! What?!" he stamps my passport and waves me through, thoroughly bored again.


Anonymous said...

Great story!

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of when I was in Slovakia or Slovania or whereever on a train from Prague to Budapest, and really wanted a stamp so I could have neat obscure stamps on my passport.

The guy checking tickets and passports couldn't give a shit about the little american backpacker wanting sourvineer stamps. He looks the documents over and moves on. I ask weakly, accutely aware of the hand gun on his belt, if I could please have a stamp. He points to the other passport-checking dude on the train coming up behind him, and leaves our cabin.

Other dude comes along, I again weakly ask for a stamp. He annoyingly points at the guy who just pointed at him, says something in a language I don't know, and keeps going.

Needless to say, I didn't get my stamp. Too bad they weren't German.