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No Man’s Land

February 22, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Last week we had exercise classes, long runs and bike rides and the long hike yesterday left us feeling on the stuffed side.  I had plans for more retaining wall replacement starting today, but damn, this body is rejecting the notion.  How about a nice jog on the beach, a swim afterwards, and a trip to the flicks to use up a couple of freebie vouchers.  Sound good to you?

Another thing we did last week was renew our passports as they expire in June.  We’ve gone through three passports in 20 years of travelling and two had to be replaced because they were chockers.  I thought this could be a bureaucratic fumble considering my place of birth and pedantic nature but I started the process on-line which extracted ones records and created forms you printed out and took to the Post Office to arrange an appointment for an “interview” .

Well, talk about painless.  We knew were on a roll when we walked into the PO and the place was empty.  The Ocean Grove Post Office ALWAYS has queues coming out the door so we looked at each other and wondered if the end of the world had come and they forgot to tell us.  A very pleasant and cheerful lady assisted us and said we could do the “interview” there and then.

So it was over against the wall for some mug shots, some form ticking and checking and then I tossed in the fast, curve ball.  When I filled out my personal details form on-line, it didn’t have a country of birth as Palestine but it had the Palestinian Terrorities which was no good as that’s the Gaza and West Bank so it would only accept my country of birth as Israel.  As many of you will know, my father was a British Palestine Policeman and I was born in Haifa, Palestine, in January 1948 (I’ll help you out here, it’s 62) and the State of Israel didn’t come into being until 15 May 1948 when the Jews kicked the defenceless Arabs out of their homeland and took possession, a trick they learnt from their own oppression in Europe.  Don’t get me started as it could become a monumental rant.

So I told our interviewer that I took exception to “Israel” being on my passport, as for one, I wasn’t born there.  She said countries of birth don’t go on passports anymore but I dug my heals in and said I didn’t want any record of Israel in my records.  She said she would ring her contact at the Dept of Foreign Affairs and came back quickly and said they were happy to accede to my request if I just filled out a form explaining the circumstances. She had the form there and it was a done deal and we were out of there in no time and $416 lighter with a promise of new biometric passports within 10 days.  It’s not often I can say dealing with government departments is a pleasure.

Well, for that price, it should be!

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  1. june in florida
    February 22, 2010 at 10:22 am

    So quick, here they would have you waiting till after your vacation was long past, and Palestine born, you would be on a watch list.Sorry you couldn’t read that blog.Hey i wonder how long before they just put the microchip in you and skip the paper passport altogether.

    I’ve been to your country 4 times without hassle. Now if my name was Imran, it may be a different matter. They stick chips in dogs and cats these days so why not us. Woof, woof!

  2. Yosef Mustava
    February 22, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I find it very strange that you would want to forsake the land of your birth on your passport. You should be a proud Israeli, jealously owning your Jewish cultural heritage.

    Good one, “Yosef” aka Dogbait Junior! Your IP address and pinching Mary’s email gave you away. 😀

  3. AZ
    February 23, 2010 at 7:54 am

    So what does “chockers” mean” it isn’t in your Australian slang dictionary. I have issues with nationality when I fill out forms, you are either Mexican or Asian, there is never a square to be checked that says Mexican-Asian or Asian-Mexican, then of course the person looks up at me and asks “Well, I thought you were Native American.” Yeah, give me a box to check that says “Asian-Mexican/Mexican Asian, but looks Native American, but has an English last name” box to check!

    You’d be alright here as they’d give you a piece of paper and you can describe what breed you want and they will accede to your request. Bitzer probably isn’t allowed.

  4. june in florida
    February 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Chockers, Googled it=full no more room.Maybe you need to supersize your passport.

    Yes, Google is better than my glossary. You can get 64 page passports instead of 32 page ones but you would really be a serious traveller for one of those.

  5. February 24, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Chockers = chockablock…. everyone knows that!
    I got my first Canadian passport a couple of months ago. Before that I had always travelled on my British passport, which expired in January. I was told there were long lines and 3 hour waits to get a Canadian version…. so I went to the passport office armed with all my forms and documents and a book to read while I waited. Turned out that I sailed in, went straight to the desk, stamp stamp on the forms, over there please…. stamp stamp again, my bum didn’t even touch a chair and it was all done in 15 minutes. They told me the passport would be sent in 3 weeks, it arrived in 3 days. Wonderful! And very surprising!

    Canadians, the British and Aussies can all understand me. Our American friends are challenged by our language. When we were in the US, we could talk in public and they wouldn’t understand a word we said. Very handy at times. “Avagoodweekend” I’d say and they’d look at you blankly. When I spoke to a supermarket checkout chick while in a queue, she asked us to say something else because she loved our accents so I just whipped off a stream of ockerisms and she was bamboozled.

    While in England once, we had to get a visa for Egypt and was told you had to drop it off one day and pick it up the next. We took a train from Chesterfield to London and booked into a hotel and then visited the Embassy where they stamped the passport and sent us packing and the whole process took us 10 minutes!

    • AZ
      February 24, 2010 at 9:24 am

      Ockerisms like “did you cop a bag of reds” meaning: “why are you so depressed? Or “who shit in your Cheerios?” meaning “what’s your problem?“ We have them too, in fact, police in Arizona shot and killed a Japanese exchange student because he didn’t understand that “freeze” means stop moving. I guess ockerisms not only confuse they can get you killed.

      You’d call those “Yankerisms” wouldn’t you? A good list here but be warned, R rated.

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