She calls herself ‘The Adventurer’, and even after exploring so much of the world, she was taken aback when Kazakhstan officials refused to believe New Zealand was a country.
Almost as demeaning as saying Canada is a state of America, the immigration guards rejected Chloe Phillips-Harris’ Kiwi passport, saying it was part of Australia and not a legitimate country.
Chloe, 28, is an intrepid traveller and was travelling to Kazakhstan in May to work on farms and explore the rugged landscapes by horse, NZ Herald reports.
I landed in Kazakhstan on the last flight of the night, and I got to an immigration booth and they asked me for an Australian passport, and told me I couldn’t come in without an Australian passport.
They said New Zealand’s clearly a part of Australia.
They chucked me on a plane but luckily I knew someone who could help, in those countries it’s all about who you know, and so I got off the plane but by that stage I’d raised lots of alarm bells and way too many people got involved.
The Kiwi explorer was detained in Almaty Airport in an immigration booth which had a world map on the wall which excluded New Zealand, making it even harder to argue her case.
She explained that the usual course of action would’ve been to bribe her way out of the situation, but she was not familiar with that so was locked in a guarded room for a day and a half.
Plain-clothes policemen got involved, immigration police got involved, airport officials got involved … and at that stage it was a bit late to bribe my way out, which apparently is what I was supposed to do from the beginning, but being a New Zealander we’re not familiar with that.
The dealings appeared to be pretty dodgy as she was given no food or water. It was only when she spoke to the right people, who in turn bribed the right people, was she able to enter the country.
This incident did not however put her off and she stayed in Kazakhstan for six months, exploring the region, describing it as ‘a beautiful country to be in’ with ‘a lot of good people’.
She described the incident as worrying because ‘that part of the world is pretty notorious for its corruption’.
The Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs have not commented on the events, and a spokesman from the Kiwi ministry said ‘the case has been resolved’.
So, for the next time you’re in Kazakhstan, just pack some extra bribe money.