Landing at Washington Dulles Airport is always an experience. Arriving at the capital city of the world’s last superpower tightens the stomach as one imagines the struggle of trying to get in to fortress America. Obviously KLM thinks it will be a problem as they broadcast a jolly commercial from US Homeland Security telling us what to do and the dire penalties of not doing it twice!
Finally de-planed, into the immigration hall for division into the sheep (US and Canadian citizens) and the goats (rest of the world). This time there is a new amusement – jolly Disney music playing and images on screens of all sorts of Americans on farms, playing with dogs, smiling children etc all of whom shout “welcome”. Each time another plane load of travelers are disgorged into the system the tape plays again – and as the queue is very long for we aliens we get to the point of singing along. The welcome I would really like are more Border guards on duty to speed things up. It’s Saturday evening, so most desks are closed and the queue snakes way back.
At last, to stand in front of a desk. Just as I am stepping forward a senior border guard comes up and closes the entry gate. “Move over there sir”. So, obedient alien that I am, I move. Only to have the same thing happen again. Finally, I am called forward by Reginald C Hyacinthe. He asks me why I here. “Ah, you’re a Baptist preacher, so you’re on good money and tax exempt cars” (really?). Fingers and visual captured, he starts the stamping process, then calamity – his computer crashes. So, we have to wait whilst he re-boots it and brings up all the information again to check I am fully in the system. So, after an hour I am set free to find my case. “Welcome to the USA”.