sloths go west

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

welcome to Trumpland

There's no shouting, there's no guns. Just some very polite crew members directing us off the boat and into the arms of the smiling female border patrol.   It's the stuff of fantasy.  Of course it's fantasy.  "Into the arms".  Who are you kidding?  But they are really polite and friendly - unlike the regular immigration officers I've come across on my previous two visits.  The critical question comes - how long do we wish to stay in the US?  Six months, we chorus.  We have the visa in our passports, we know we can stay six months, but we also know that it's at the discretion of the immigration officer at the border. I've coached Gayle not to mention a) Cuba b) all the friends we hope to visit c) Trump.  The border patrol officer looks us over in a pleasant, interested fashion, the way the other passengers on the car deck have.  What does she see? A middle-aged white couple on bikes with a lot of luggage.  Do we look respectable? tick. Do we look islamic? cross. Do we look wealthy enough to stay in the U.S. for six months? hmmm..... 
We are referred to the office staff who need to do 'a couple more things' i.e. check our fingerprints and facial recognition - the US government took this data when we went to the embassy for the visa interview back in March.  The man processing us now asks us more questions.  
Why six months? becasue we travel real slow..... So that we can cycle to the Mexican border.  
Where will we go? who knows, we keep changing our minds Down the east coast and then over to Texas and New Mexico.  
What will we do when we run out of funds? weep Teach English in another country like Viet Nam or China. 
From where will we travel back to the UK? who knows?? From Mexico.  
Is there any reason why he shouldn't grant us a six month stay? well, we really don't like your president.....  Umm, no.
We watch avidly as he finds a blank page and stamps our passports.  We get the six months. 
We are in.

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