Monday, 4 December 2000
There is a hole in my visa. My old passport has "been invalidated". That sounds quite innocent, but I'm about to cry. After all, such an old passport is like a personal history book. Every stamp has it's own story.

Some more friendly alternatives:
  • Remove the red cover
  • Remove the ID page
  • Invalidate empty pages with a stamp
  • Cut a small corner from every page.
The official knows no mercy and punched large hole in my history. Yes I can understand that an old passport has to be invalidated, but is this kind of brute force really necessary?

My Malaysian "permit kerja" (working permit) has survied the battle without damage. The previous Australian visa has taken a serious hit.

I got that previous Aussie visa in Kuala Lumpur at the Australian High Commission ( Sweet memories flood my mood. Enter a stately building. Pull a number, get a form, fill it in, submit passport, and wait till your name is called. Mr. Noot-en-boom. What a picture that makes. And finally happy when leaving the premises with a new skippy in your pass.

I look forward to a similar picture at the Carnegielaan 4, the Hague, Holland ( It's another place which stores memories of previous travels. I enter with a ticket and a blank virginal passport (compensating the history mutilation). At first sight it's like nothing has changed. The take-your-number machine is still there. But there is no queue of waiting people. Even strangers: the place is completely deserted. It's my turn immediately. What a disillision. Time itself is punching holes in my frame of reference. Experience degrades to be fading memories.

It gets even worse. The employee advises me to arrange a visa at the travel agent or airline, free of charge. Yes, it's possible, I know, the web page was very clear to me. But still excuse me? I'm not just here for a visa. This trip to the ambassee is part of the ritual to me. It's like an apéritif that precedes the meal, an appetiser, warming me up. A skippy in my passport is like a menu, that makes my mouth water. No, an electronic registration is not for me. Make me happy and stick a fresh skippy in my pass. Yes, yes, I'll be happy to accept the form and the registration fee.

I should come back after eleven. At least the waiting time has remained unchanged. Outside the faint November sun shines on the fallen leaves. To kill some time I take a walk along the various other ambassees.

Smiley At 11:00 my pass is already waiting for me. The skippy smiles at me. My brain makes a mental dance of joy. Outside it's still dull. For now my body is captured in dark Holland, but the weather has cleared in my brain. In my skull the Southern Cross ( twinkles brightly. Head up mate whispers the skippy in my pass at me: The sun shines down under!

Till next week!