Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I'm just back from the German Embassy where I picked up my passport. I wasn't in the best of moods because I'd been told I could pick it up "any time, you won't have to wait" which turned out to be Embassy German for "before 10:30 but allow time to queue across the room".
I listened in to some good conversations queuing past the counter where newly-wed English were applying for their first-ever German ID's. First a lady was given the rules along with her new papers: "Your name is now irrevocable. You cannot change it within this marriage. You can have your maiden name back when you get divorced."
Then there was a lengthy exchange between a man who had turned up with a stack of signed papers and was told that this was not in order. He should have signed them at the counter instead. This is more or less what I caught:
"So I sign them again while you are watching now, right?" he offered.
"No. You cannot re-sign the papers."
"So what do I do now?"
"I need you to confirm these signatures."
"Well what do I need to do?"
"An oral confirmation will be sufficient."
"You want me to say that I signed these papers?"
"That will be sufficient."
"Well I can tell you, these papers, I signed them. This one - I signed this one."
"That is all that is needed, thank you."
"I signed this one, too."
"That is all that is needed, thank you."
"This one I signed with a dip-pen."
"This is sufficient now. Thank you."
At that point I was called to my counter.
The guy in charge found my passport and gave handed it to me. "Would you check the details please? If anything is incorrect or missing?"
I looked at it it. "I don't know," I said. "I think my nose is missing."

He looked at it. "It just came out a bit bright."
"You think that's ok like that? Without, uhm, my face, I mean?"
He smiled reassuringly. "Technically this is correct."

Well, I got a passport now, lacking nose but they can always fingerprint me I guess.
I am telling myself it's not so bad but everyone I show it to can't stop laughing and says it is literally the worst passport photo ever.
I'm a bit worried about going to the the US now, can they strip-search me for missing body parts?

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