Coming to America…. not so fast…

It’s been a while I know. I’ve been off radar. Why? Well, I have not anything to write about.
All my moans and pains.. you’ve heard. More than once. It’s just more of the same.

I am getting bored, so was looking for new adventures. Hmm… what about America? I have some pals there and one of my best pals (Russ) who I spent most of my time in Dubai with – is settling down in America. So.. why not venture over there? I also arranged with Russ to do the Route 66 with him.. so it all makes sense. Or so I thought.

Before I get carried away, note that I am a fan of America. Love the food, the cars, the service, the shopping, the people… most things. However… America… can now fuck right off.

To go to America, us Brits need an electronic visa thingy. It’s called an ESTA which can be done online and you get an email that says you are good for 10 years or so. Simples.

There I was filling out the little form – all going well until the question ‘have you visited any of these Countries in the last 5 years – Syria, Iran and Iraq. Hmmm.. that’ll be a big fat yes then. I ticked ‘yes’ and continued. The site went on to take my money and went off for processing.

That was months ago. It’s still ‘pending’. I then found that if you have been to one of those countries, you need to apply in person for a visa and have a little interview. Now, I’ve no problem with that, but why didn’t it say that on the ESTA form? Why did it let me continue and why did they take my money – knowing full well I was not eligible for the ESTA? I’ll tell you why, because whoever came up with the system is a complete twat.

After huffing and puffing I went the long, long route of applying for the visa online. For those of you that have done this, will surely agree with me that the site/form is the most user unfriendly site and looks to have been created by a 12 year old. And this is mean to be the U.S of A? shite.
Several hours later – I had my application in and an appointment arranged in London for last week. 10am was my appointment time which cost me $200. I had my photos, passport and application form ready. How hard can it be?

I got to south London – the US Embassy at 09:15. Went to the little desk (outside) at 09:30 and signed in. I was then told to stand in another queue. After half an hour – we were told to join another queue, then go through security.. then join another queue. Around 10:30 we were in the building and in the ‘hall’ which had loads of people sitting around. Along the side of the room were a bunch of little kiosks and Embassy folk behind thick glass.

An hour passed and my number came up on the screen. I went to a window where I handed over my papers. The lady asked the purpose of my visit to the US and how long I’d be going for. I said ‘vacation’ but have no idea of the duration? Lets say a couple of weeks, 3 times a year for starters. The lady then asked is that why I’ve not used the ESTA system? I explained to her that I am not eligible because I have been in Iraq. It’s also shown on my application form which I assumed she was looking at as they’ve had it for 2 months. She told me to go sit back down and wait for my number to be called again.

I sat. I walked around. I sat again. At 13:30 I saw the numbers on the screen were not changing at all. I got up and had a walk around. All the people in the kiosks had fucked off for lunch!

By 2 o’clock I had enough and walked out. Stamping my feed and muttering obscenities to no one in particular.

What is the point in having an appointment system if it means nothing? Why could then not inform people they can expect to be there the best part of a day?

I had to get back across London to a train to head home for another appointment.

So I don’t have a Visa. I did not have anymore time. I just assumed that if my appointment was 10am, I should have been done and dusted by 11 or 12.

Why did I think that? Well, I have several colleagues who had to do the same – only they applied in Dubai or Bangkok – and were done within the hour of their appointment.

I sat around for 5 hours for nothing. So fuck America. I am not going. I don’t have time to sit around so I can persuade them I want to go to their country and spend the average national income in a weeks visit.

This means I now have to find somewhere else on this planet to go hang out. So that’s America, India and China all on my shit-list.