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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Forged Passports 

Well I'm back from my honeymoon in Paris which was lovely thankyou. More on France later I reckon. Provided I don't spend the weekend boozing too much (which is usually the primary cause of death to blogging motivation for me).

Anyway I noticed this case about the jokers forging passports while I was away and wondered how some countries (such as ours) can be so concerned about these matters while other western nations don't really give a stuff.

I'm talking about what happened a few days ago in Paris at the primary check point at the airport where they have a look through your passport.

The guy there simply had a half second look at the outside of my passport, without even touching it and said it's ok and to go through.

Considering my passport is so faded from 40 odd flights and much land travel through countries it's hard to imagine he could even see what country I was from. The "New" has disappeared completely and there are only about half the letters from "Zealand" clearly legible and half of the national crest has also long since evaporated from the cover.

So if the authorities in NZ are concerned about fake passports then there's not a hell of a lot of point worrying about them since these crims can simply send them to France, hand them out and walk onto god knows how many planes leaving the country for wherever.

While I'm on the topic of airports. Charles de Gaulle is a shit hole of a place. Especially after coming from Hong Kong and Incheon Airports which are just a few years old and fantastically huge and clean. At CDG it seems as though it's a bus terminal where you can just walk in off the street and if the queues for checkin were any longer they would be going out the door and down the street.

Ah well that's Europe for you. Gonna be left in the gutter by Asia in the next few hundred years. I reckon I'll be about 192 when it happens.

The more I travel the more I like Korea and NZ that's all I've got to say. We really don't rate NZ as highly as we should do.

Welcome back, you married man, you.

Actually, I rate NZ less and less as a place to live, everytime I come back. A beautiful place to visit, no doubt, but I hate the insiduous petty-mindedness that has seemed to have enveloped our society, and the burgeoning racism that I find there.
yeah but that racism is either worse elsewhere or else isn't simply because the country is less multicultural than NZ.

Also when you live in Taranaki what the hell do you expect?!

Come to Auckland, land of the free and home of the over priced home.

Seriously though, I'll take a house a few hundred metres from a massive park, clean air, good supermarkets, a 30 minute drive to a surf beach one way or a 5 minute walk to a sheltered swimming spot the other way, plenty of sports teams within easy driving access to support (Breakers, Warriors, Blues, Kingz). Not to mention a good local club sporting scene, big multiplex cinemas near by and decent schools, cool family and friends and in general friendly non-racist people who returned a centre left wing government for their second term and may well give them a third go at things for the first time in our countries history.

As much as I like Korea and other places I've spent time in for what I want from life it's no contest. But that's just me.
The gold lettering from the front of my passport is completely gone too, I can make out the faintest remnant of it on the "L" and the "N" of "Zealand". Why are we named after an obscure Dutch province again?

But tomorrow I get the joys of being fingerprinted and photographed at US Customs. Like a common criminal. Rest assured the representatives of that increasingly zenophobic state look at passports right proper. Anyway, the primary purpose of the prints is to check them against ... the US criminal database.

Unless I'm mistaken, it's generally Americans who commit crimes in America. Not, err, travellers compelled to spend 3 hours in transit going through their lousy airports. Let me tell you, Auckland International outstrips anything the US has to offer, although San Francisco is a passable imitation of Hong Kong.

But basically if you're going to Canada from New Zealand, you've got two choices: stop in the US (LAX or SFO), or add another 12 hours to your trip and go via Hong Kong (with a compulsory 12-hour lay-over).

The purpose of my trip to the US, officer? To sit on an uncomfortable chair in the departure lounge for a couple of hours, or alternatively to sit on the floor.

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