Across Continents

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Spot of bureaucracy…

January 30th, 2011

I smiled. Nodded appreciatively. Yes, of course, I said. Original print outs. Not a problem. And I was certain it wouldn’t be. However oxymoronic it might seem to me. Confident in my ability to generate a wide array of authentic paperwork. Central Asian visas had been such an education. Besides, I am the genuine holder of the requisite documentation. No need for any administrative creativity.

But this time I wasn’t seeking entry to another country. Rather more mundane. Enrolling with Medicare, Australia’s healthcare scheme, under a reciprocal arrangement with the UK. Nothing serious. But it would mean a forthcoming visit to a local doctor would be free. At point of delivery. Just like the NHS.

I’d provided my passport, complete with Australian immigration stamp. Cut down print out of my electronic visa. And a copy of my medical insurance certificate. The need for the latter had struck me as a little odd. After all, surely the point was that by registering with Medicare, I’d not need to use my cover. But, if there was a lesson I’d learnt on the road, best to avoid philosophical debates when dealing with bureaucracy. Rather, just feed the machine. Provide all the right answers. Nothing more.

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