Thursday, 14 February 2013

Digital Time Turn

This cold country of mine never stops surprising me. A week ago I had one of those moments on my visit to the Police Station to renew my passport. As always before, I got the pictures taken earlier in the week in a photo shop. To speed up the process, I headed to the Police Station early in the morning before the largest crowds. Once there, I could not find the good old queue number dispenser by the door nor the usual bustle of people in the waiting room. Instead I found a notice saying that people seeking to obtain or renew passports, driving licences or permits to bear fire arms are received by appointment only and the appointments are to be made in the internet. Yeah right, when did the Finnish police learnt to read, write and use the interweb, may I ask. There was a computer installed for the appointment booking purpose at the station, but I was a bit shaken by surprise and decided to use this excuse to break one of my new year's resolutions once again and do it in a cafe while having a nice cup of coffee with a sweet little pastry.

A treat later I surfed to the appointment page and saw that the first possible appointment was on 1 March. I could not believe it. I had to wait for three weeks to submit my passport renewal application, three little black and white photos together with my finger prints. Back in olden times I would have easily done that ten minute procedure with 20 minutes waiting. With help of modern technology, the government institution has managed to turn the waiting time clock back by two hundred years to the times when one had to travel 611 kilometres from Oulu to Helsinki by a horse cart to get a new passport. Well done - or maybe not.

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