Thursday, June 17, 2004

A South African passport is no fun.

I've just returned from a harrowing week in Europe where that unfriendly dark blue cover shuts doors in your face. Nobody wants to know an African, it seems, especially if you're a blonde, blue-eyed African like me.

You always get sent to the longest queue. You have to take multiple trips backwards and forwards between an immigration office and a tax office. You need reams and reams of documentation. And this is when you're trying to do things legally!

It does mean I have stamps in my passport that are the envy of all my European-passport-holding friends. Visas that twinkle and shine.

But what can you do when the check-in clerk won't let you onto the aeroplane because she doesn't believe it can be a real passport? The photo and signature are just stuck on, for goodness' sake. The twinkling visas from multiple different countries don't matter a damn. Doesn't she know it's a passport that NO ONE wants to forge?

Still, it could be worse. I could have an American passport. With one of those, you're more likely to be shot and tossed overboard.