For many, dealing with authorities in another country, in another language, with a whole new set of rules is more than a little daunting. While the third world may seem to have far fewer rules and regulations, jumping through hoops of red tape can be that much more difficult when the red tape in question is decidedly blurry around the edges, as I found while extracting nationality papers from a personally reticent local mukhtar and when I had a run-in with a cop on the make.
This is the fourth Blogsherpa blog carnival in which Lonely Planet’s favourite bloggers relate their rubber stamp tales from around the world. This selection of stories shows how wanderlust triumphs over not only red tape but also beadledom, border disputes and mobs.
What happens when you get stuck in the middle of a Venn diagram where the ellipses are not allowed to overlap? A Lady in London writes about travelling from Jordan to Syria and keeping tabs on her cab driver to preclude an unexpected stop-off in Iraq.
In Peru, Camden of The Brink of Something Else finds her civil status suddenly becomes vitally important when purchasing a VolksWagon van. She’s been fingerpinted more often than a Guantanamo inmate, but she has circumvented a catch 22 situation to succeed in launching her start-up.
There can be advantages to looking like a local… and there can be disadvantages, as Lewis writes at backpackingonthecheap. Suspected of being an Israeli in Egypt and an Arab in Israel, he lives on to tell the tale.
Back before the fall of the wall, Anne-Sophie Redisch of Sophie’s World relates her crossing into East Berlin in the shadow of those tank-shaped combine harvesters, and how she found a way to get the better of a no-win situation by smuggling East Mark coins out.
As with Israel and Lebanon, those wishing to visit Serbia and Kosovo need to bear in mind that the order matters. Toddswanderings provides a great breakdown of how to get the best out of both instead of being denied entry at the contested border.
Isabel of Diario de a bordo tells of the time she gave her passport away without a receipt to travel between Egypt and Jordan, but finally had it returned without even having to argue or cry. The moral of the story, she says, is that just because things don’t work the same way as in your country, it doesn’t mean it won’t work.
How do you deal with the post-border transport stress, as the mob of taxi-drivers gathers with a shark-like flair for blood in the water? Jason of Alpaca Suitcase rides off into the desert with one of the pack on the way to Fes, Morocco.
Travelling frequently means you not only learn from your mistakes, but you may also escape their consequences, as Claire of First Time Travel found when she organised a trip for friends from the Philippines to Macau only to fall foul of the six-month validity rule.
Getting married abroad is one way of turning a fairytale into a nightmare, but Vago pulls off his visit to the “Bureau of Strangers” and the “Ministry of Stamping Papers” in Rabat, Morocco, and still manages to enjoy his ice cream.