Monday, 30 March 2009

Our passports of yesterday

Well, I am about to go off travelling into Spain which is good. Some years since the Spainish world cup (1982?) I still remember the little orange with the smily face which was sort of the mascott of the tournament. This little fella is still famous, as my Spainish students informed me last year, going by the name of Narahito apparently.

We have got a few last minute complications with the trip. My travel partner is waiting for his passport to be returned from the home office, we hope with all the requisite stamps and stuff. It looks to be going right down to the wire in terms of whether it arrives in time for us to depart at the same time.
Significant though this may be in the stress-before-leaving stakes it only registers somewhere mid-table in terms of the all time classics (of all time). I like the incident that befall myself and Lewis last time I went to Spain - we arrived at the airport on Wednesday only to discover that the flight was on the Thursday. Oops! It is funny how things can get stuck in the head and no matter what is shed by the cold light day of day onto the black of the paper before you, it remains unchallenged. If this can happen with flight dates it must go even further in terms of assumptions abouts peoples motivations, intentions and behaviour.

Another one was the time I was leaving a semester of work in Macedonia, with a family member I'll try to keep anonymous although he looks like me and is fairly near my age. We got the border between Macedonia and Greece only to find that the bank he changed his money at in Tetovo - some two hundred miles north of our present position - had failed to encouage an effective passport recovery routine with the customer in the final stages of the transaction. Nothing for it but one of us to North and the other to go South. I did feel pretty lousy about that one I must say.

Another one of geographical similarity and documentary proximty was during mine and my colleagues great escape from the chaos of Macedonia during the commencement of the bombing campaign in Kosovo and Serbia. Mary's passport had run out some months prior to the Macedonain stoning of the British Consulate and not been renewed. She had to the run the gauntlet of helicopters and chaos of the time to go back into Skopje and meet the foreign office guy in a location some-wise removed the consulate in order to hand over travel documents to get her into Greece.

When she returned to the town down south where we were staying we made paln to get across the border back into EU. Cabs arrived and we loaded our stuff into them. I was in one cab with Mary and Jo and Catherine and Aisling were in the cab in front. When we got to the border crossing with Greece the cab in front went through the official document check and so on and so on and was about to pull away when Mary recalled that her travel documents were in the boot of the car in front. We somehow managed to communicate this and interrupt the car's progression into Europe just long enough to get the boot open and retrieve the documents.

So today we await news of whether the comtemporary of these other auspicious documents is likely to arrive before Thursday. Something of a rigid planner these days (I had to do something with all that energy after I gave up smoking) I now have two rather different plans in the mind in terms of how the trip will pan out. I guess the trips I like the most though don't have every detail hammered out in advance so this could be a good thing.

I'll let you know..... I just gotta get there and bring back some memorabilia from the Spain 82 World Cup.