Only Charlie remains at the checkpoint

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Two decades after it was felled, Charlie is still at the checkpoint where the Wall stood parting East from West, gloved, hatted and wrapped in an outmoded US army greatcoat, holding the Star-Spangled Banner aloft in the freezing wind.

There’s little for Charlie to check now, but he may still have a point. At a euro a shot for shutterbugs, his act on the sandbags earns him a healthy daily wage. And for five euros more, he’ll emboss your passport with all the visas you no more require to go this way or that. “Original,” he says, as he assumes the concurrent consular authority of many nations present and gone. “Original and totally legal, and you won’t get it anywhere else.”

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