I'm originally brunette but while I was in China last year I dyed my hair blonde. I'd always wanted to try it and I figured my year abroad was the perfect time to try. After all - if it went wrong, who would know? I could just hide out in China for a year!
The blonde actually looked pretty good and I really liked it. The only problem? In my passport, I was brunette.
"But what was the problem? People dye their hair all the time!", I hear you say.
Well, not really in China - and rarely do they dye it a completely, drastically different colour.
When we arrived at the border between China and Macau, my Chinese friend went straight through but I had to queue separately in the 'foreigner' line.
When they saw my picture, they thought I'd stolen someone else's passport - I've never seen immigration officials look more excited!
They looked from the passport photo to my face and back again a few times - then the security official called over his manager.
They talked for a minute or so in whispers before the man said to me in broken English "We're..ask you question".
I politely told the man I speak Chinese - which they found even more exciting.
He asked me in Chinese to state my name, date of birth and the place where my passport was issued. So I told him. He looked at my passport and realised it was all correct...and looked suspiciously at the junior official.
Then he asked me what my passport number was....
Ah? I had no idea...so I asked him "What's your passport number? Do you know yours?".
He looked somewhat taken aback...and conceded that he didn't know his passport number either.
I explained to him that I'd dyed my hair and got a bit thinner - which was why the photos looked a little different.
He just laughed, shrugged his shoulders and stamped my passport, wishing me a good stay in Macau.
As I walked through, I saw him turn to the junior official, scowling and grumbling about wasting his time....