14.9.08

WE'VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU, MISTER BOND. Destination: Freedom publishes a translation from the German of a night with a European sleeping car attendant. The article describes the overnight ritual of the passports in care of the attendant.
As sleeper coach conductor he locks away their passports. They don’t bluff anymore as he, the sleeper coach conductor already knows about them. Their nationality, the age of a supposedly young woman, Honorary and professional titles, neat signatures, sloppy signatures, black-ink fingerprints on official paperwork, gaudy visa stamps from sunny island nations, or from rouge states, mindlessly glued-on baggage tags from some airport, child passports, provisional passports, and diplomatic passports. Prestele, the sleeper coach conductor, has already checked-out the sleeper coach occupants before they even had taken notice of him. He stores their documents in locked cassette, he the high priest of discreteness in the night.
I'd encountered that ritual on the Donau Kurier and didn't ask any questions, although it is an odd practice given that I made the reverse run, by day, and never had to show a passport let alone leave it with the car attendant.

With the end of the Cold War, the honey traps on the Muinchen-Milano are for the financial security of immigrants, no longer matters of state security.

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