A new passport -- 10/18/06

My new passport came in the mail today.

My old one had expired on September 30th (which was a couple of weeks after I had mailed it in along with my application for a new one.)

Ten years can go by quickly.

On the left, my 1996 picture,,,

On the right, my 2006 picture...

Yeah, Nancy asked me how come I look so glum and grumpy in passport and driver's license photographs. Uh, I guess it's just a natural talent...

Hey, besides which, these images are larger than they appear in the passport -- I really look much happier in the actual passport. (Oh, okay, so I don't, not really...)

I was glad that they sent me back my old passport along with the new one... looking at the pages in it reminds me of some of the trips I took. (Hmmm, I think that, like the photos, these came out larger than life size.)

For example, here is the page with the Heathrow entry stamp -- my very first trip using that passport, a decade ago. In fact, I wrote about the flight over in a jimsjournal entry for ten years ago next week.

One would expect (well, at least I would expect) that the immigration officials would tend to keep their stamping in some kind of chronological sequence. For example, pages 7 through 21 in the old passport are divided into four areas for arrival and departure stamping (8 through 21 in the new one -- one less page probably because standing in security lines will consume so much time that you'll be able to visit four fewer countries?).

But they don't work in any kind of sequence; they just seem to randomly select a page and stamp it (paying no attention at all to the page being divided into four quadrants). Here you see my arrival at Heathrow, Oct. 23, 1996... plus my arrival at Heathrow Aug. 6, 1998 and my arrival at Mexico City, November 1, 1998.

The page below has both entry and exit stamps from Sydney, Australia (March 9th and 22nd, 1997) and an entry stamp for Norway, Sept. 24, 2000. The one that is upside down is Vienna (Wien), Sept. 12, 1998.

One thing I accomplished with this travel -- I now know the word for airport in various languages (Lufthaven, Flughafen, Aeroport, etc.) and other such bits of trivia.

These days I try to avoid air travel as much as possible -- that's one of the reasons I switched into my current quality assurance role rather than continuing to write courses and then sometimes having to travel to teach them. In a very real sense the Muslim terrorists have won a continuing victory -- we are bleeding billions upon billions of dollars every year in the nonsensical waste of time and energy and effort and sheer bureaucratic stupidity of the Transportation Security Agency and our supposed fight to prevent another 9/11 (not to mention driving airlines into bancruptcy and clogging our highways with people choosing to drive rather than fly, etc.).

Ah well, I now have my new passport -- which will soon be needed for trips to Canada -- and for any future Caribbean cruises -- and which I will need if our plans work out to travel to London in 2009 for our 30th anniversary.

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