New passport review

Well, since I'm going to Qu├ębec again on the 19th, I ordered a new passport. I had one from my trip to Japan some time ago, but it expired since then. So I got the new photos taken at Kinko's...they used a digital camera and I ended up with essentially a colour printout of a couple of pictures. The quality wasn't that great, but I guess most people are used to bad passport pictures. My last one was pretty good, so I guess I had higher expectations.

Well, I paid the extra fee for expedited service and express mail return delivery, so it cost me about twice as much as it would have if I'd had the money to do it earlier. The service was actually very prompt and without trouble, to my surprise. After my trouble at the DMV in getting a replacement driver license all thanks to their increased "security", the replacement passport was very straightforward. Took only about a week, even though they said it would take 2 weeks. I received my new passport 2 days after seeing on my online banking that they'd cashed the check. Happily, they also returned my old passport (cancelled with a stamp and 2 holes punched in it), so I still have that memento of my travels.

So, the new passport style...well, it's prettier with all the colours and shiny seal on the main page, and the font is better than before, but the cover material is thinner than the previous one. Also, the photo is not one of the two I sent in. It's clearly been scanned and re-printed on the page with the rest of the information, and the contrast is harsher and the colours are uglier. Half of my face is stark white. Why did they require I send 2 pictures if they weren't going to use one of them for the passport itself, like they did before?

Well, that's my only real gripe about it. I notice that the new passport has 6 pages of general information before the visa marks start, where the previous one had only 3. The rest of the pages are decorated with bluish watermarks of all the state seals, different on each page. A nice design decision, and probably good for anti-counterfeiting purposes, too.