BIGGSY TRAVELS

unique travel experiences

Category: Travel Thoughts (page 1 of 5)

Leaving your passport in your hold luggage

Well that’s a first! Landing back at your UK airport, walking down the steps onto the runway … and then realising you’ve put your passport into the hold and you can’t get through passport control.

Imagine being greeted by this .. but WITHOUT your passport

Imagine being greeted by this .. but WITHOUT your passport. Source: Oilofulay

Well that happened to me just last week as I returned from the Berlin Marathon, but how can this happen?! Well EasyJet have a policy these days of picking out a handful of customers at the departure gate and asking them to have their hand luggage put into the hold at the last minute free of charge. This is to free up space in the cabin and never bothers me as it’s one less thing to have to then lug on-board … as long as you take out what you need for the plane of course! And this time for some reason I failed to take out my passport! I blame this forgetfullness on the Steins from the night before!

The Easyjet attendent mentioned something about taking out cameras and iPads, this possibly being for travel insurance reasons and/or not wanting more delicate consumables to be damaged. Maybe she mentioned passports but I’m pretty sure she didn’t! Anyway happy as Larry I boarded the flight with just my camera bag and water bottle on me and enjoyed the 1h40m flight home.

Luton Airport Passport Control but without my passport

Luton Airport Passport Control but without my passport. Source: Channel4.com

As soon as my feet touched the tarmac I realised! Oh shit! My passport! Meh! What’s the worse that can happen? Simply show your picture driving license to get through passport control instead?, or get “rubber gloved”? Gulp! I immediately spoke to an member of staff manning a zebra crossing. She smiled wryly and replied “Speak to the passport queue guy inside”. Either she knew what was about to happen to me or she sees this kind of thing every day and knew there wasn’t any cause for concern? I’d find out shortly either way.

Nobody wants to be greeted by rubber gloves at passport control

Nobody wants to be greeted by rubber gloves at passport control! Source: Aftermathnews

So I nonchalantly greeted the hi-viz guy at the start of the passport queue informing him of my situation as if it wasn’t any real issue … so just let me back in. He directed me to a row of seats facing the bank of passport control booths and there I waited, but not before quickly pointing out the back of my girlfriend’s head as she’d already headed off to the automatic passport booths. “Hopefully” she’d remember what my standard, ubiquitous, little, black wheelie bag looked like; my passport sitting neatly in my travel wallet in its front pocket.

So there I sat, just me, feeling a bit like a rumbled refugee, or at least a naughty little boy as the rest of the plane shuffled past. Five minutes later I was still sat there. My iPhone battery had died on the flight (not that you’re allowed to use it in passport control anyway) and even if it had been working I wasn’t able to take a sorrowful looking selfie for security reasons. However I “did” have my battery charger on me so ever so slowly my phone sparked back into life with the white Apple logo stuck on the screen for longer than usual before it allowed me to log in. This was in case my girlfriend was at the baggage carousel frantically calling me to ask what my bag looked like again.

After what seemed like an age the bearded hi-viz guy returned, passport in hand. He asked me my full name while holding it up to my face and that was that. The similarly bearded passport booth guy I’d been sat opposite for the last 15 minutes beckoned me forwards. He knew what I’d done, and that was it! A 10 second check and off I went.

Tweeting Easyjet about passports in hand luggage

Tweeting Easyjet about passports in hand luggage

But this does beg the question what would happen if I’d been travelling alone and there’d been no-one to spot my “hold” – I mean “hand” luggage!! I guess my bag would have been the last one forlornly circling the carousel but that could have lead to a 30 minute sweaty wait rather than just my self-induced 10 minute one!

So note to self. Keep your passport on you at all times or keep a smaller bag on you for plane stuff which contains your passport. I sent a tweet to EasyJet saying they should make sure the customers take their passports out first before any hand luggage goes in to the hold but I haven’t received an answer back yet.

Oh well. Lesson learnt. No rubber gloves. No harm done! 🙂

Has anybody else done something similar on their travels?

My "hand" luggage and passport where I like to keep item!

My “hand” luggage and passport where I like to keep it

Seeking out locations on banknotes

Do you have a wad of foreign currency that you keep in a drawer just on the off-chance you:

  1. ever go back there?
  2. have a friend who’s going there?
  3. or are going to remember to take it to the airport on your next trip to donate it into one of those plastic-domed charity bins?

Well I have a handful left over from 12 different countries now and some of the Indian ones have probably been replaced since my 2015 visit anyway?

However it was when I looked at the Chinese 20 Yuan note and the Vietnamese 20,000 Dong note I remembered I’d actually been to these locations and stood in the exact same place, holding up the note in front of me to see the exact same scene.

 

The China 20 yuan banknote view

The China 20 yuan banknote view

The Chinese 20 Yuan note captures the view of Guilin’s Li River looking out towards the limestone casts with a fisherman in the foreground plying his trade with his cormorant. We couldn’t wait for a passing fisherman but we got close enough to replicating the scene.

The Vietnamese 20,000 Dong note has a sketch of the Japansese Covered Bridge in Hội An and is where many people go to have custom made suits made up a lá the guys on ‘Top Gear’ when Jeremy Clarkson decided to get a nice purple number made up in Yaly Couture, the same place I had my grey suit made … although the trousers no longer fit so well 7 years on! This time it looks like I didn’t take a photo with the no the held out in front of me but I do remember being amused at the time that I’d visited the actual location depicted on the banknote.

The Vietnam 20000 Dong banknote and Japanese Covered Bridge

The Vietnam 20000 Dong banknote and Japanese Covered Bridge

The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An

The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hội An

Looking in my change at lunchtime I saw a £5 note and the picture of ex Prime Minister Winston Churchill with the Houses of Parliament in the background. This view is from a raised up angle 40-50m west of the ‘London Eye’ big wheel so it’s difficult to replicate exactly, but not impossible. You get the general idea 🙂

The British £5 note and London's Houses of Parliament

The British £5 note and London’s Houses of Parliament

Thinking of the UK Pound I then wondered about the many denominations of the Euro banknotes. But did you know that all the buildings and bridges appearing on them are actually fictitious? The illustrations show generic examples of architectural styles such as baroque and renaissance rather than real bridges from a particular member state, as that could have caused some envy if not every country was included. More information at https://www.dezeen.com/2013/06/05/the-bridges-of-europe-robin-stam-copied-from-euro-banknotes/ and Rotterdam’s great idea of actually building them!

So have you tried taking the same type of photos on y0our travels? Holding the note up in the air as you capture where you are?

Guilin's Li river in deepest China

Guilin’s Li river in deepest China

Look with your eyes and not your tech

Recently on Mashable I saw this apt photo from back in 2015 that showed an old lady leaning on the barriers, simply enjoying a red carpet premiere in Boston without straining to see the celebs via a little digital iPhone screen. The other people in the picture are smiling too so seem to be having fun but if a video/picture is so important at such an event then simply trawl through Twitter/Instagram afterwards and you’re bound to find a better photo/video than you could have taken yourself anyway!

Boston Globe old lady photo

Boston Globe photo. Image: John Blanding/Boston Globe/Getty Image

More recently at a U2 concert last week I realised that not enough of us simply “look” at what we’re looking at! Instead, we’re trying to view it through a 4″ iPhone/Samsung screen or a DLSR viewfinder, often recording videos we’re never going to watch again anyway. And yes I realise that I used my iPhone/DSLR to take the three photos below 😉

So at the U2 concert I mostly saw arms holding up smartphone screens when I’d rather have had a clear site of Bono and The Edge instead.

U2 concert view at Twickenham

U2 concert view at Twickenham

Now that’s two examples of event photography where I feel it’s better to see with your eyes and store some memories forever. The shots below you could argue are of inamimate objects so maybe take a few snaps and THEN give yourself time to look with your eyes! … without fretting about the composition, whether you should shoot it landcape, portrait or square?, on your DLSR or iPhone or both?, and what tags you’ll use on which Social Media!

Here we are in Pisa on a balmy summer’s evening simply enjoying the tower … once I’d taken this DSLR shot on a 10 second timer.

Staring up to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Staring up to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa

… and in wonderfully beautiful Cinque Terre looking over to the iconic picture postcard view of Manarola from across the bay.

The walkway below Nessun Dorma and the lovely view back to Manarola

A couple simply enjoying the lovely view back to Manarola

So next time you’re on holiday, of course, take some photos but make sure you take time to “look with your eyes” as well! You never know, you might actually find it quite refreshing! 🙂

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