Friday, July 15, 2005

Brilliant Idea Goes Pear Shaped

During my travels so far I have been to many countries and experienced many things. I have survived without too many problems but my passport has suffered. It has been soaked 3 times (a water bottle leakage in Palenque, a flooded tent in Argentina and the boat ride from Battambang to Siem Reap) and peared once (I left a pear in the same pocket in my bag and promptly forgot about it until several days later) and has only 5 clean pages left. I therefore decided to get a new passport here in Vietnam, handing in my old one to the consulate in Saigon and hopefully picking up a spanking, brand new one in Hanoi, thereby bypassing the necessity of staying in one place whilst my application is processed. A genius idea I hear you say; unfortunately suffering from a fatal flaw. In Vietnam, being the communist, one-party, autocratic country that it is, all foreigners staying in hotels must be registered with the police. Most people visiting Vietnam don't realise this as the legwork is done by the hotels themselves, and so all the average tourist has to do is hand over their passport ... which is where I start to run into problems. On my first stop outside of Saigon (where I was staying with a family, and therefore probably only semi-legally) in Dalat the majority of hotels refused me outright. It took me about an hour to finally find a place that would take me sans passport. I just hope things are going to be easier in the other towns I visit, although I have this sinking feeling...

1 comment:

Yann said...

Hi Erik,

Don't forget your passport if you come here in France. Nicolas Sarkosy, our Minister of Interior Department is waiting for you with charter flights since he decided to select which immigrants should come in France. Moreover since Paris was defeated for the olympic organisation in 2012, each British citizen would require a permission to travel throughout France....LOL

I remember your famous expression "to go pear shaped" and the discussion with your father that followed. I won't forget it !

I hope you'll get quickly your passport back.

Yann