I made it into America, whether that’s a good thing or not I don’t know, I’m spending money constantly and probably getting fat just by breathing the air here.
I thought I would be ok getting my visa on arrival in the U.S. However during my 17 stopover in Copenhagen, after going to check in my bag for the onward flight to Boston, the lady told me I needed a visa to continue.
Being an incredibly organised person there was no problem. I had gone to check in my bag at 9:00 and my flight wasn’t until 17:00. They pointed me to the office that could help and I went there to sort it.
She asked if I had a ticket for onward travel, which I didn’t, but I said I was going to Mexico. She didn’t seem too fussed and sent off for the visa noting down that I had onward travel. A few minutes later I had a visa for America. Only the customs in Boston to get through now.
I had the day to look around Copenhagen despite no sleep. I ended up at a place called ‘Christiana’ which is basically a massive squat village. Weed is openly sold and when the police tried to shut it down there was riots so they just let them get on with it.
It was early morning still so most of the places were shut.
Copenhagen is a beautiful city, what you would expect of a city in Northern Europe: clean, friendly but reserved people, good nightlife according to Internet, and loads of good and healthy places to eat. Probably the polar opposite of…New York for example.
At 17:40 or so I got on the plane to Boston. Arriving in America it was clear how much of a culture difference there was. Everyone was immediately put in line and when the line got slightly less than straight there were two staff walking along ordering everyone against the wall like criminals. I expected the immigration staff to be assholes but not the airport staff.
As we were queueing before our interrogations a Swedish couple in front of me chatted to each other, confused why the staff were so rude, saying how they thought the first staff in a new country were meant to be fun and jokey so you felt welcome.
I was sent to my interview queue and I waited. Seeing how the guy talked to everyone. He was kind of a prick. No smiles, no hello even. Our exchange went as follows
He takes my documents
5/0 – “what’s the purpose of your visit”
Me – “travelling” (I thought he would appreciate me being to the point. I was wrong, he looks at me with absolute hatred)
5/0 – “is that it?” (I freaked out a bit as I guessed everyone was technically traveling from a to b for example, and he could have seen that as me being cocky, I felt myself getting short of breath and I knew my answers were going to be short from now on)
Me – “holiday” (thinking about that question people get asked ‘business or pleasure sir’ to which I reply ‘pleasure’ and then they leave me alone)
5/0 – (he looks at me again with something slightly more than hatred) “so you’re just gonna give one word answers are you?”
Me – “well I don’t know what you want me to say, I’m traveling” (usually people get the point, I’m travelling, I’m not really going anywhere specific I’m just going to your country to see stuff leave me alone
5/0 – “what are you doing here”
Me – “I’m travelling from Boston to LA by train or bus…”(was all that I could muster with he breath I had, I ran out of breath and before I choked or started to cry I decided to stop talking)
5/0 – “put the fingers of your right hand on the scanner” (worth noting the poster said you ‘may’ get asked for your finger prints, however EVERYONE got finger printed. Also it said they are duty bound to welcome you but he certainly didn’t say welcome to me or the people in front of me. I put my hand on, shaking, and sweating slightly more than usual)
5/0 – “right thumb”
5/0 – “left fingers”
5/0 – “left thumb”
It clearly didn’t work here, I had my left thumb on the scanner
5/0 – “no your LEFT thumb”
…which was on the scanner. I considered answering back that it was there but I was still out of breath. Need to remember to breath.
He did some stuff on the computer and then chucks my passport and documents to the side and tells me to wait by the wall, someone will be with me shortly. I guess that means I’m in trouble.
I wait a few minutes and then an even bigger asshole comes to take me to the questioning room.
He was short fat bald middle aged.
He took me to the escalator/stairs. He points to the escalators
PoPo – “get on the escalator”
I’ve never been ordered on to an escalator before. Kind of a strange feeling, usually we are encouraged to take the stairs to keep fit. Maybe this was a compliment. He took the stairs. Probably trying to loose weight.
Before he has the chance to descend he is stopped by someone needing help.
Bad idea dude. This guy isn’t here to help
Bystander – “hey my friend was back there do you know where he is now”
Even I thought this was kind of funny
PoPo looks back at bystander like he’s just asked him to undo his flies for him.
PoPo – “no I don’t, you can’t wait here, go down the stairs, NOW”
…and that’s an order, clearly.
He took me to the immigration office and sat me down, I waited to be called. After a few minutes I am summoned to the desk.
Luckily the people in here were actually really nice.
I’m asked the same questions again, and a few extra
Immigration – “how much money you got?”
Me – “started with £poundz 1.5 years ago, now I got half £poundz for the next 1.5 years”
Immigration – “how did u make that money”
Me – “I had a graffiti business or 4 years”
Immigration – (trying hard to be an asshole like his colleagues, but failing) “so you taught kids how to vandalise property”
Me – “no I taught the positive side of graffiti and painted murals and stuff at their schools” shove that answer up your gun ya muppet
He looks kind of impressed and sits back in his seat, it was lucky I won him over at this point
Immigration – “so do you have tickets home”
Me – “no I’m going to Mexico but not 100% sure when, I told this to the counter who did my visa and they just wrote it down as I had onward travel”
Immigration – “well they shouldn’t have done that, you can’t legally be here without proof of onward travel”
Me – “ermm”
Immigration – “ok go outside, go on your phone and book a ticket somewhere: LA to Tiuana or something, without that I can’t legally let you in”
So I go outside, book the cheapest ticket I can find from LA to Mexico for November (making sure to add free cancellation), come back in, show him the confirmation email and get on the metro to the hostel.