Technology is great. Without advancing technology, The Internets wouldn’t exist, and I wouldn’t be here, talking about this. What? you might wonder… I’m getting there.
So yeah, a thumb up for technology in general, but it has its down sides too. One of them being the systematic digitalization (is that even a word??) of things. I understand why we do it, but there are a few things we could keep the good old way, or so, I think.
I had a painful episode when I first traveled to Denmark for the first time, in May 2016. I was holding my brand new passport, issued just a couple of weeks before my trip, going through Copenhagen’s customs…
I was getting dangerously close to the final exit, and about to be loose in Denmark (Yay!!), but my passport was still unstamped. I felt cheated. How would I prove to my friends and family that I had really gone to Vikingland if my colorful stamps weren’t there to speak for it??
I was looking right and left, trying to find a custom agent who could make things right again, but couldn’t spot one. Suddenly, I came across the counter every other traveler would avoid at all costs. You know that final counter where suspicious people get searched for illegal belongings, and asked all kind of questions when they were just about to enter the country? That counter everyone makes great efforts not to establish eye contact with…
I walked straight to it.
It took quite some time before a custom agent walked to talk to me. I understand that in general, people are probably escorted to them, not coming willingly! I could see the dismay in the woman’s eye, who almost pointed to the “Do you have something to declare?” sign, giving me one last chance to escape security.
I lay my passport on the counter, opened it, and showed the lack of stamping.
Don’t worry, we don’t stamp passports anymore, in Copenhagen, miss!
I was stunned. Whut?? I had flown from Canada, frozen my butt in Iceland, and Denmark would deny me the pleasure of a simple stamp?? I insisted. (I really did, how stupid must one be, to argue with a custom agent, right??) I told her I had dreamt of visiting Denmark, and that I was really looking forward to getting my Copenhagen stamp, and if she would, please (please please pleaaaaase) find someone who could just stamp my dang passport, I’d be the happiest girl walking the Earth.
I am sorry miss (looking more perplex than sorry) we don’t even have stamps anymore!
Then she gave me a “now get going, or I’ll your bag and I will find something suspicious!” look, and I left, stampless…
I mean, come on! I know that they can see all the traveling I’ve done on their computers when they scan my passport… But it is not such a big deal to keep a stamp nearby! And even after three visits, I still have no stamp, meaning this custom lady wasn’t just trying to get rid of me. Denmark just doesn’t stamp passports anymore… Ugh!
Iceland does, though!! And to this day, I only have Icelandic stamps in my now less-new traveling booklet. Which got me thinking… If I keep going to Denmark on a regular basis, I wonder how many more trips it’ll take me to be pulled aside of the line in Iceland, to explain my many and only Icelandic stamps!
Last time I went through Keflavik’s airport, I checked the clerk’s look when he examined my collection… I noticed a pause, but there was no weird look at me.