Land of the free
After 28 hours, gross bottled water (Note to SAA, La Vie water is tastes worse than the tap water in Centurion), syrupy breakfast waffles, interrupted sleep and 4 in-flight movies, I finally arrive in Washington DC. We get herded into a bus like a bunch of cattle. Cattle prodders are mentioned. One Californian girl remarked that “They don’t even treat you like this in South Africa”. It took longer to get everyone on board that to drive to the next terminal. We really could have walked.
First up customs and passport control and then freedom. But wait. Off course I can’t have smooth sailing all the way. I am missing some papers, crucial to my acceptance into America. “I will have to send you back”, huffed the customs officer. “No, please”, I cried like an orphan girl in a B grade movie. So I am sent to The Office. People who get the all clear hands in their customs slips and walk straight to the next baggage check in. People from Africa with dodgy things in their bags and insufficient papers go right, into The Office. Here big bottomed ladies with katex gloves search your bags saying things like “Ma’am I can’t allow this into America”, or “Hell no, don’t you go falling around, loosing your baby on my shift”. Or, like me, you go sit in an office, NFL on the TV, hand in your passport, and wait. Officer Light calls you to his counter and interrogates you. I show him all the documentation I brought with me, everything but the kitchen sink.
It seems like hours go by. I look like death. I feel even worse. This must be like failing matric, or loosing your wedding ring, I’m sure. At some point a short American-Asian Officer shouts at an Indian man texting on his phone. That is not allowed apparently. I swear he was this close to taking out his tazer and jumping over the counter. Iraq is a long way from home but not mind. After 1.5 hours, 4 different Officers with military haircuts, and many dodgy Ghanaians, Officer Light finally concedes that it is the fault of the Embassy, not mine, and lets me go. I cry briefly. Welcome to America.