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  • hardie karges 11:22 am on March 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Boten, , immigration, , ,   

    China is a Mother: Leaving Laos, Enter the Dragon–Lady… 

    20190305_104154So the nice lady at the Boten-Mohan border between Laos and China in the far Southwest decided to hassle me about my latest entry into the Kingdom—my fourth over the past year—inquiring as to my motives. “Tourism,” I respond, just like it says on the form. But that doesn’t seem to satisfy her. “Sight-seeing,” I add, since I know I’d seen that word on the form, also. I have a ten-year tourist visa, BTW, so 3650 days, plus two or three for leap years, maximum 60 days per entry, so some 600 entries possible (but who’s counting?)…

    Then she asks, in English, if I speak Chinese, so I shrug and respond, “a little.” That’s what she wants to hear, I figure. If she wanted to speak Chinese, she’d’ve asked in Chinese. So she fumes and fusses and calls someone over, who quickly green-lights the entry, but just for a final ‘f*ck-you’ she holds my passport up to my face as I pass, as if to verify my identity. The passport and picture are less than a year old, so not much has changed, but that’s not the point, is it? (More …)

    • Esther S. Fabbricante 4:01 pm on March 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Another book – congratulations. Please don’t stop your posts.

    • hardie karges 7:50 pm on March 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulate me if/when I find a publisher. Ha! That’s the hard part…

    • Dave Kingsbury 10:39 pm on March 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      The very best of luck with your future endeavours, Hardie, and hope to read more from you in future.

      • hardie karges 4:40 am on March 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. It’s not that I don’t want to write, just that there’s too much to say, and so little time…

        • Dave Kingsbury 9:50 am on March 11, 2019 Permalink

          Writing can replace experience, though I suppose the idea is to enhance it. Somehow reminds me of the story of the two kids on a school outing. One tells the other, ‘Don’t look out of the window. You’ll have to write about it.’

        • hardie karges 1:30 pm on March 11, 2019 Permalink


    • tom de canada 6:44 am on March 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      You probably know that china is reverting back to some of its old ways. With social credit system. Not an excellent citizen? then no travel. Good to hear your back in. Zaidjian.

    • hardie karges 7:43 am on March 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I only expect the Chinese government to get weirder, hence the term ‘Chinese control freaks’; nothing is left to chance, if they can help it…

  • hardie karges 2:47 pm on April 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , immigration, Lesbian, Lesbos, , Sappho   

    Lesbians and the Turmoil back on the Island, mon… 

    With all the hubbub and ruckus over what to do with the increasingly unwanted influx of immigrants in temporary refuge on the island of Lesbos in Greece: shouldn’t we ask what the local Lesbians want? Aren’t Lesbians the ones most affected? Shouldn’t they have a voice? This is democracy, after all…

    (author’s note: this is humor, not political commentary, 🙂

  • hardie karges 10:01 pm on December 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , immigration,   

    Tribes Without Passports, People without States 


    No Turkish coffee in Istanbul–looking for Red Bull, instead…

    Borders and passports are a recent phenomenon, you know. It’s only been barely more than a hundred years since borders have been closed and sealed. Governments, of course, have existed much longer, but free movement was generally allowed across borders, probably because labor has generally been a scarce resource for most of human history.

    Governments used to want immigrants! One effect of the modern system is that it denies tribalism a place, because many tribes lie across borders. Some of the best examples are the Quechua-speakers in six countries, some twenty million Kurds in four or more, the Tibetans in China and the Mons of Southeast Asia, all great nations in the history of the world, but left without a modern state to represent them.

    These are tensions inherent in the modern system. Since endless divisions are not necessarily practical, increased unification may be the only answer, so former Yugoslav states get their independence only to give some of it up willingly to a European Union, in this scenario.

    Certainly everyone could have a state if the designation were largely meaningless and merely an administrative division. This is what the US was in theory, before the Civil War negated it. The world is not ready for a true United Nations, but it might be ready for ten or twelve cooperative blocs as opposed to two or three.

  • hardie karges 7:20 pm on November 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: immigration, ,   

    Travel Alert: Black Saturday for Passports, No More Added Pages 

    Trail of Tears, Smudges on  Pages

    Trail of Tears, Smudges on Pages

    If you are a veteran inveterate traveler, then listen up and listen up good. The US State Department has announced that it will no longer be adding those 24-page passport inserts that stiffen up our credentials like Viagra and provide many nights of enjoyment, reminiscing over remote borders and intransigent a$$holes with badges on their lapels and our passports in their grubby mitts. So now you’ve got to replace the whole thing when it starts getting full—yuk. At least there is the option of an XXL size with 52 pages instead of the usual 28, but still… you’ve got until the end of this year to add more pages until they discontinue the service, but even that’s not free, like it used to be… bummer…

  • hardie karges 11:09 pm on October 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Customs, Houston, immigration,   

    You Can’t Fight Customs, c. 1989… 

    Hanging with Juan Lennon in Havana

    Hanging with Juan Lennon in Havana

    The Customs guys in Houston had a little table set up on the ramp to the airplane for the international flight. I’ve never seen anything like that, so ignore it. They flag me over. I’m Mr. Profile, by the way. They have a picture of what the typical bad guy looks like; it’s a picture of me. Hey, can I help it if I’ve got an eccentric flair for fashion? I’ve got carry-on luggage, so immediately I’m suspect. Under US law, if you’re carrying more than $10,000 in ‘monetary instruments’, then you gotta’ report it. No big deal; I know all that. I travel all the time; it’s a way of life. I deal with Customs officials all the time; it’s a way of business. I even do my own Customs brokering, so know the rap. They think I’m trying to be a smart-ass. They want to see all my money, so we do that, counting every penny.

    Back then, ATM’s weren’t so popular, so I had traveler’s checks, plenty of them, since I buy handicrafts. It all added up to about $9,300 or so, well under the limit, or so I thought. Let’s wrap this up and get on with our lives. But no, the guy with the badge is getting excited. He leaves and comes back a few minutes later, telling me to follow him on to the plane. Like a good citizen, I obey. We go into the cockpit, where he informs me he wants to ‘know what that bulge in my pants is’. I sh*t you not. I had to pull down my pants for some pervert with a badge while two pilots and a flight attendant looked on. I guess now I know why it’s called a ‘cockpit’.

  • hardie karges 2:57 pm on July 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: crowdfunding, , , immigration   

    Greece on the Installment Plan… 

    I think Greece should undertake a crowdfunding campaign–SSSOOOooo modern and democratic, only fitting for the crib of Αθηναϊκή δημοκρατία…

    So why do I have the feeling that they’ll cut some kind of deal as the halfway house for recently-arrived immigrants from the shores of the Mideast only a long swim away?

    Stay tuned…

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