As we were queuing for passport control on the way out of Australia a couple of weeks ago:
Geekman: "You know something funny? Last time I was here they nearly didn't let me through. They said there was something wrong with the way my visa had been transferred to my new passport."
Me: "So what happened?"
Geekman: "Well, it was okay, because I had my old passport with me, and so they inspected the original visa and let me go."
Me: "You did bring your old passport this time, then, didn't you?"
Geekman: "That's the funny thing. I totally forgot."
Minutes spent at passport control: 10
Number of times it looked like they wouldn't let us past: 2*
Number of times I almost ended up crying: 3
Immigration guy: "This is weird..."
Us, suspicious: "What is it this time?"
Immigration guy: "Hah! He doesn't have a gender". [To Geekman] "Are you some sort of hermaphrodite?"
Immigration guy to a supervisor in the background: "Hey, come look at this! Where it says 'gender' on this visa, there's just a dash. Is this a problem or do I let him through?"
Supervisor: "I don't think you can let him through with the visa like that..."
Seven or eight other immigration people appear out of nowhere and cluster round the desk, exclaiming at the genderless freak. They discuss the problem for a few minutes, then one of them turns to Geekman:
"Please come with me, sir."
I panic, with thoughts of Geekman being deported to Sweden, or taken away to one of the Australian desert detention centres**. The immigration people tell me to go on and collect my bags and that they'll send Geekman to join me when they have sorted out his problem (through gender-assignment surgery?)
Fortunately he did turn up not long afterwards, corrected visa in hand, and not even having had to prove his masculinity. But it was not exactly a reassuring experience.***
Do you have any travel horror stories to rival these, or is Geekman just uniquely unlucky?
* "This looks fine. Oh, wait a second—" then five minutes later, "Okay, it's not really a big problem, but you are going to have to go back and talk to the immigration people over there. They'll probably still let you fly."
** Do read that link. It's quite horrifying.
*** It even almost beats the time he was detained trying to return to the UK (where he was living and working at the time), was told he wasn't eligible to enter the country, and questioned for ages until the immigration person realised his passport said "Sweden" and not "Sudan".