COUNTRY STAMP: JAPAN
“I’d wanted to visit Tokyo since my childhood and early this year the chance finally arose. Aside from the staggering amount of shopping that can be done, Japan owns a unique balance of technology and respect for the environment. Visiting Yoyogi Koen (Yoyogi Park in Harajuku) felt like stepping into another world.” Adam, Australia.
COUNTRY STAMP: MALAYSIA
“Without a doubt, my most memorable trip was my first time in Malaysia. I was so excited about coming and I was not disappointed. Leaving KL airport, heading for KL, the road lined with palm trees, the towers getting closer and closer; it was just amazing. I will never forget that day.” Bill, Scotland.
COUNTRY STAMP: VENEZUELA
“Venezuela has to be my passport pride. The country has special meaning to me because I learned to dance and speak Spanish while there, but also picked up a husband, too! Although I was there for five years, my working visa was ‘in process’ the whole time, which fully reflects the relaxed nature of the people.” Monica, Australia.
COUNTRY STAMP: RUSSIA
“I arrived in Russia with a backpack larger than me for the beginning of a three-month solo adventure overland to Thailand, so being stamped into the country felt like the start of a real adventure. After six months of planning, saving, organising multiple visas (Russia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), researching, and reassuring my anxious mother, I was finally on my way!”
COUNTRY STAMP: MYANMAR
“About ten years ago I travelled Myanmar for three weeks. The country is incredibly beautiful and I enjoyed all the sights and sounds. I feel it’s the people who make this country so special. Their genuine interest is in visitors; not for the purpose of selling a guest house or taxi ride, but just to get to know you, and that’s amazing.” Maarten, The Netherlands.
COUNTRY STAMP: EGYPT
“It was the first stamp in my passport and I was only 19 years old. I travelled with my best friends and I will never forget how beautiful the Red Sea was. I climbed Mount Sinai to see the sunrise. It was freezing cold and I was surrounded by camels during the journey, but it was the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. The scenery around Mount Sinai hasn’t changed for thousands of years so I really felt I had gone back in time. It was my most memorable trip.” Gaku, Japan.
COUNTRY STAMP: NEPAL
“Though it’s a close call with Indonesia, which was the very first stamp in my passport, visiting Nepal earlier this year was remarkable, and probably would be the stamp I’d be most keen to show off. It’s not a country a huge number of people get to spend time in, and it was memorable in many ways… lots of stories to tell behind that unassuming stamp!” Chad, USA.
COUNTRY STAMP: CHINA
“I look back on my first trip to mainland China – a month-long journey in early 1993 – with rose-tinted spectacles. In reality, travelling round that vast country at that time was somewhat of a challenge, particularly if you were vegetarian, travelling solo for the first time, and couldn’t speak a word of Mandarin. Through a mixture of dumb luck and bloody-mindedness, I not only survived, I had an amazing time. I’ve had plenty of other Chinese entry stamps since, but that first one is the most special.” Pat, UK.
COUNTRY STAMP: NORTH KOREA
“My most memorable passport stamp is one I don’t have. Because of the hermit nation’s global pariah status, North Korea doesn’t stamp passports, but rather stamps a loose sheet that is inserted into passports. My plea to the immigration officer to keep this piece of paper was met with an impassive stare. I decided not to push it, so I have only memories of the most interesting country I’ve ever visited: a living Stalinist museum of broad boulevards and high-rise buildings in Pyongyang, and desolate countryside. Afterwards when I returned to China with no evidence of where I’d been for the past 10 days, the passport officer asked no questions. It was clear he understood.” Chris, Australia.
COUNTRY STAMP: EGYPT
“It’s a tough choice, because there are so many places I’ve been that I really loved, but I think Egypt stands out in my passport. First of all, it’s the most unique-looking stamp in there… it’s a hieroglyphic! Second, it brings back a lot of amazing memories… seeing a desert for the first time, being in a sandstorm, cruising on the Nile River, and even seeing King Tut’s collection of gold.” Paul, Canada.
Do you have a passport stamp you’d like to share with us? Email your names, country, and a short blurb to sarah@theexpatgroup. com and tell us all about your passport pride.
Source: The Expat December 2012
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