A wink and a smile.

Monday, July 21st, 2003

I’ve finally posted the long-overdue conclusion of my Trip to Ireland. Unfortunately, because it was written almost two weeks after the fact, Part 3 is kind of a "we did this and then we did that and then we did this and then we did that" sort of entry, but you get the idea anyway.

Before wrapping up the Ireland-related entries for now, I just wanted to comment on one more thing, namely: going through passport control in Irish airports.

Passport control in most airports usually involves the same two basic questions: how long are you staying, and why are you here? Actually, in Germany, I often didn’t even get the questions; instead, I got the steady, dispassionate gaze of the ultra-serious passport-checking person flicking back and forth between my passport and my face in absolute silence. In America, I generally encounter bored efficiency at the passport control counter, though I have, on occasion, gotten someone really chatty and nice (like the history teacher turned passport controller in Cincinnati who actually high-fived me because I studied medieval history). The passport checkers in England are always brisk and businesslike - they’re never unfriendly, but they also don’t go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

In Ireland, it’s a different story altogether. Maybe it can simply be attributed to the relatively small size of the airports, or maybe it’s in the passport controllers’ job description or something - whatever it is, I almost never leave passport control in Ireland without a chuckle. Witness the exchange that took place between myself and the jolly passport control man in Cork airport two years ago:

Him: Hello!

Me: Hello!

Him: How are you doing there now?

Me: Fine, thank you very much.

Him: (looking at my passport) How long are you going to be staying?

Me: Just a week.

Him: And what brings you to Ireland?

Me: Oh, I’m visiting my husband’s family - visiting the relatives.

Him: (stamping my passport and smiling) Aren’t you a lucky girl now!

Me: Yes, I am…

Him: You are, you are!

Me: I certainly think I am!

Him: (handing the passport back) You take care now!

Me: Thank you, thank you very much…

Even in Dublin, they have time for a bit of a wink and a smile as they stamp your passport and wave you through. This time around, the scenario went something like this:

Him: Hello there.

Me: Hello.

Him: (looking at my passport) How long are you planning to stay?

Me: A week, just over a week.

Him: And what brings you to Ireland today? Business? Pleasure? Fun?

Me: Uh, well, fun, I guess - definitely fun…

Him: (handing the passport back) Enjoy your stay then!

Me: Thank you!

Yes, definitely fun. Always fun.



You should go through passport control in the Bahamas. We didn’t know exactly where we were staying just a phone number to call and some of us didn’t even answer correctly on the number of days we were staying…we were tired and clueless. The passport dude didn’t care he laughed and said have fun.

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