29 June 2010

Welcome to the USA!

After yesterday's post about the questions we foreigners have to answer before being allowed into the USA, I half-expected to be barred from entry when I arrived a few hours ago.

Luckily, the passport control official didn't appear to have read my blog and contented herself with taking photographs of my fingerprints and eyeballs. She also asked whether I had brought any food with me, to which I confidently replied "No" - while guiltily wondering if I should tell her about the bottle of duty-free Scotch in my hand baggage.

"Welcome to the United States of America"
The notice bearing this legend may have been as huge as it was well-meaning - but it didn't prevent them from violating every civilised principle of queuing (waiting in line) that we Brits hold dear.

Every now and then - and for no apparent reason - 20-30 US citizens would be allowed to jump ahead of us foreigners in the queue/line, presided over by officials in red blazers who helpfully explained for the benefit of non-US citizens that "this is how we do things in the USA".

The people I felt most sorry for were a French couple - because, even though we got the word 'queue' from them, anyone who's ever been skiing in France knows that they don't get the principle of queuing either - and very stroppy they became about the way we were being treated.

Anyway, the net result of this was that, although Virgin flight VS001 arrived more or less on time, I had to 'wait in line' (as our American cousins insist on saying) for the best part of an hour and a half before finally coming face-to-face with the US passport control officer, who (thankfully) seemed happy enough to accept the carefully completed questionnaire (yes, you still have to do it on the flight as well as online) that I handed to her with my passport.

Blogposts on last year's visit to the USA

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