A funny thing happened at the Passport/Immigration control when we were leaving Sicily. But to make sense of the story, we need to first reflect back on our arrival from Morocco. On Dec 1st we flew from Casablanca to Rome and then on to Palermo. The only other time we arrived in Rome, we took the train from somewhere else in Italy so none of what was about to happen raised any real alarm bells. We got off the plane in Rome and were directed to a transit area and then boarded our next plane to Palermo, a domestic flight. When we arrived in Palermo we got off the plane, got our bags and then emerged from the terminal into the public. No passport control. We thought at the time this was unusual but what the hell. This was Italy and some things are done differently here. Especially when you consider we had just come from North Africa and all of the press illegal immigration and people sneaking into Europe is getting during the past couple of years following the Arab uprisings etc. Fast forward to today.
We checked in with the masses (no Air Canada Elite card for Easyjet) and then went through security and then into another line which was Passport/Immigration Control. It is quite normal to have Passport Control stamp your passport when leaving many countries but while standing in line, I had a thought. We don’t have a stamp admitting us into the EU. Could this be a problem…..I was thinking perhaps and getting that funny feeling. There were 2 officers so Wendy and I each went to one. They were very nice, extremely friendly and were just joking with the last people. We handed them our passports and said hello. They started flipping through the pages looking for the entry stamp because they normally place the exit stamp next to it. Wendy’s passport is quite full of stamps but mine is brand new, which immediately looks suspicious, and the only stamps in it are Amsterdam and Morocco. They both flip through them again and then look at each other and then us. Now I’m thinking “shit”. They spoke no English but my officer asked me, in Italian, when and how I entered Italy. I told him from Morocco on Alitalia (the Italian national carrier, I made sure to point that out) and had come through Rome. Well actually I forgot about Rome and said Casablanca to Palermo. There are no direct flights so now my story does not make sense. He questioned this and thankfully Wendy remembered Rome. So I corrected my story and they both laughed. While all of this is going on, we are monopolizing the time of the only Passport Control Officers and there is a huge line behind us. I know what I think when I am in line and some idiot doesn’t have his shit together. Anyhow both officers looked at each other and both assumed Rome had screwed up and smiled at each other, shrugged their shoulders and stamped our passports to exit. They laughed and said something to us in Italian and then after the usual 6 “Ciao’s”, they waved us through. This was one of those times when carrying a Canadian passport is a good thing. They totally racial profiled us. Lucky for us. The morale of the story folks, and we know better, if you arrive in a country and you do not go through a Passport Control point, before you leave through the magic doors, have a good look around and perhaps ask someone where it is. Most countries want to know you’re there. Ciao.