Friday, January 13, 2012

The art of demanding a passport stamp

In Man Vs Clocks A to Z of travel (which is a very interesting read and frankly impressive with the amount of work and time he obviously put into the post!) he notes that his passport doesn't have stamps to European countries because UK citizens don't get stamps there.

Oh. Em. Gee. Small confession here. I travel for the stamp. Ever since I was a kid if I could earn a stamp I wanted one. I wanted to have PROOF that I had travelled. Pictures don't count. Memories fade. But by gosh, stamps from foreign countries prove travel. That matters! This is one of the reasons I HATE that you get stamped in the first European country you visit. This means that I have a ridiculous number of French stamps when I haven't actually visited France in 10 years! I am hoping that when we fly to Paris, then stay for a couple days and THEN go to Morroco we can get a Moroccan stamp. I WANT A STAMP IN ARABIC!

Also, this is why I am not the biggest fan of cruising. I would be willing to wait hours in line if I could just get a stamp. In St. Maarten, I made Craig walk with me to the shipping docks (not exactly the nicest most touristy section of the island, I can tell you) to go get a passport stamp. It's not like we were the first people to ever do this. When we started walking down the narrow street with the chain link fences and stacked storage cars, people would ask us if we were heading to get stamped and then point in the general diection.

Which included a tiny, mobile home with a man leaning against the side in a uniform smoking a cigarette. I waved my passport about and asked if he would give us stamps. Without saying a word he grabbed both our passports, then went inside the building leaving us standing alone. There were a couple tense seconds where Craig glared at me because we had just FREELY HANDED over our passports to a stranger, before he came out and told us to have a good day in (I think) Dutch. It wasn't English or French I know.

Then as we walked away a car pulls up leaving the docks security area and asks us in very broken English if we are headed to a ship. I look at Craig who says yes and the man offers us a ride. Keep in mind that the walk was very very long but how could we explain to the seemingly nice man that we would rather walk the distance than get a free ride. So we slowly got in the car and to be honest I don't remember much. He talked some, but I was praying the whole time that we weren't just about to be national news about a missing couple. But he took us back to the ship exactly as he said and refused any payment for the ride.

It was another one of those crazy Andrea experiences you get when travelling with me. I think it's what my mother calls "God's protection for children and idiots."

See also: Picture I wish I had taken, Andrea's trips to the seedy parts


  1. I completely agree!! I almost missed our bus waiting to get my stamp at the Equator, and I was over the moon when I found out we were getting Galapagos stamps. :-D

  2. Oh Erin, I would definitely been standing in line with you!!!


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