I was on my way to visit my friend I haven't seen for almost 8 years, traveling on a bus from Paris to Nantes. This was back in October of 2017 when Europe was getting flooded with refugees, and many countries, France included, had to deal with illegal immigrants. One form of preventing the latest were various police controls, including random checks of vehicles traveling on highways.

Under one of these checks was also taken our bus. It had to stop somewhere at the side of the road, while some police officers boarded it to check our documents. I started looking for my ID that was placed inside my wallet, but rummaging through my overly full bag, the first thing I was able to find was my passport. I didn't want to be slowing process down since I was sitting pretty close to the front,  so I pulled it out and handed it over to the police lady. She started browsing trough and stopped at my expired Russian visa.

She showed it to me and informed me, in French, that it expired a week ago. 

I looked at it, looked at the lady and simply answered: "But I don't need it" since I'm coming from the EU and we're currently in France. She went on with complaint about it and I kept telling her that's what I needed to go to Russia, where I was over a week ago.

I was firstly talking in English, but since she obviously didn't understand me, I decided I'll try to explain it in her language. My French isn't good at all, but I just spent a week in Paris, constantly exposed to it, and the whole summer working alongside colleague who's fluent in this language as well, so despite massive lack of skills I'd be able to put together few simple sentences and close this deal.

But police lady already decided she won't listen to me, told me to stay in my seat, took my passport and moved along to check on the rest of the passengers.

Some minutes later, as I was sitting by the window on starboard side, I saw the whole group of police officers passing my passport around in a discussion of what to do.

Few moments later I've heard our driver calling to the central, informing them we'll be running late because someone on board has troubles with their visa.

The whole drama was going on for some more shakes, with me not particularly minding, since I knew my friend will be running late to pick me up anyway and I'll probably have to wait for her in the cold.

Since they couldn't solve this complex case themselves, police officers decided to call some higher authority and ask for a resolving advice. Eventually I could see and hear the same police lady entering the bus, still talking on her radio "So, she doesn't actually need visa, it's all fine?" while approaching me and handing back my passport.

I politely thanked her, mostly for amusement more than for the document, she left the bus and we were back on our way.


The funny thing is though, that even if you speak only your language and have zero clue in geography,  as soon as you open the passport, there's European union written on the first site in more than 20 languages.

So if you ever heard those jokes about policemen, such as Why they're always working in pairs? -So one can read and one can write; they weren't actually jokes as they're pretty much true.


Paris, October 2017