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Old 09-15-2003, 01:31 PM   #1
IAN5150
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: CUMBRIA,UK
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London Calling! Report with a difference

This is a trip report with a difference!! Its all about my journey to London for my visa I just hope I donít get thrown off the boards for this!!
Im not the fastest typer in the world so Itís a little test for the holiday report due at Christmas!
My story began 7 weeks ago when I made the appointment for a visa which I need due to a very petty crime 23 years ago,I gathered all documentatiion including copys of the court papers tracked down to a archivist office! And a lovely sheet of paper courtesy of Scotland Yard which says Im unknown to the police IE No Record but In US law they never wipe records so I had to track down the documentation.
The plan was I was driving to Yorkshire depositing my Wife and 2 DDs Then getting the National Express bus down Which left there at 11.20 PM and travelling overnight,Why not the bus from where I live? thatís because I live in a VERY secluded part of The UK which is about 350 miles from London so the buses are very few and very expensive too,I didnít want to drive to London My car is a 2.0 Gti which guzzles petrol!! Plus where do you park near the American Embassey!!!
Anyway after all the forms were checked and double checked the night before departure It was I thought all systems go then I checked and found out Their passport pics are bigger than ours!! No stone unturned the I find this out!!! So a bit of Google searching I find a place in Stockport does them 120 miles from me and just a slight detour on the way to Yorkshire,I actuall find out later there was tons of places in London but I didnít want to go wihout one as I m a nerdy worrier!!
So next day we set off Get to Stockport park in Sainsburys,Get the pic done £8!!!!! Wife finds a Laura Ashley ( I had no clue what that was!!) buys a skirt thts reduced from £60 to £20 Go in Sainsburys spend £8 on water,batteries and sweets so my pic cost me £36! Anyway Onward deposit family at my In Laws in Yorkshire,I get on bus depart and had the grumpiest driver and co driver in history!! The bus picks up everywhere!!! Gets held up at Milton Keynes due to an accident and roll into London at 7.10 PM,Londons a culture shock to me that time of morning and its heaving! Anyway I get to Oxford st.And have a Starbucks (Best Cappucino Ive ever had Awesome!) Phone Wife on my mobile,Buy eldest DD some postcards for her collection,Youngest DD a vest from Disney store and my wife some fruit teabags from Whittards of Chelsea!
Then I make my way down to American Embassey,When I approach Im in Total Culture shock mode!! The building reminds me of one of the world trade centre buildings but only about 5 stories high a great big huge square building,With concrete wall right round and totally covered with UK Police with guns!! Anyway I get in line and show appointment letter and passport to Very Pleasant American who Im informed later is FBI!! I donít know if thatís true but it makes sense! Then I show passport to an English chap who ticks me in,Then through security where my bag is xrayed then through another desk Then into a huge room where I hand my forms in and given a ticket number 162,At this point may I say everyone I dealt with US Staff ( A lot of Americans In Corridor) and UK Security were the nicest people you could meet,Pleasant and friendly beyond expectations,Anyway I settle down for a 4 hour wait then called up at 2.30 PM The Visa issuer asked me a few questions then said no problem Im granting you a 10 year visa,I was over the moon!!
At this point Im saying it again How extremely friendly everyone was Why cant everyone in this country be the same?? On the way out the armed police officer let me out the gate with a friendly ďSee ya,Take care!Ē
Times almost 3 PM now my bus back is 5PM so I phone the wife to give her the good news Then do the other thing I wanted to do,Go to Tower Bridge and see David Blaine,Ive been a fan for a long time always following his stunts So I jump on the tube get off at Tower Hill walk across Tower Bridge (This kind of thing does not happen to me often!) Then I make out the Tank but Hes lying down all the way Im walking across which saddened me a little then as on queue while I was walking down the steps he stood up to huge applause! I walked round David was waving to the crowd and seemed in grreat spirits Then I got talking to one of his security guards and asked if the smell of burger and onions wafting over grom nearby burger van is a problem and he told me Davids that strong a mind he wont even be aware of the smell,Then suddenly the guard says look quick and Davids waving at me!! I get a pic at this point Im thinking this day is so cool!!
4.15 PM and now thinking Id better make my way back to Victoria Station So I give David a little prayer to give him strength,Buy a hot dog from van as at this point Ive not eaten for 24 hours Must be hard for David to last 44 daysÖ.
Get on bus back oop North met at huddersfield at 10.20 pm by Father in Law in bed at 11 pm im asleep when head hits pillow,Get up at 9 AM hit road at 9.30 AM for the 130 mile journey home and I have to pick up Merlin (My Dog and best mate) from the Kennels before 12 noon.
I really enjoyed my time in London I just wish I had more time to do things Like tube out to Highbury (Yes Im A Northern Gooner!!) etc I was sat in Embassey for 4 hours but hey I got My Visa at the end of the dayÖ
My final comments are people are getting stressed out with the thought of visa application,Donít worry they are the nicest people youd have to deal with and they make things very pleasant for youÖ..Cheers and Thanks for reading Im off to bed for a week now!!!! IAN5150
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Old 09-15-2003, 02:34 PM   #2
KayleeUK
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Hi Ian

Thanks for this report - I hope it shows other people how easy it was and puts a few minds at rest
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Old 09-16-2003, 04:04 AM   #3
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Ian ~

Thanx for sharing.
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Old 09-18-2003, 04:42 PM   #4
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Ian - glad your visa was all sorted out, that must have been a huge relief.

Bet you're not happy with last nights thrashing at the hands of Inter Milan (my DH is fanatical Gooner and I left the room while the game was on ).

You must try and get down one day for the organised Tour of Highbury - took DH and DD for their birthdays and it really was very interesting (although it pains me as a life-long QPR fan - well someone's gotta be - to say it ).
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Old 10-09-2003, 03:52 AM   #5
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I enjoyed reading your Visa trip report Ian - I expect you were wonderng just how you would be treated - it's good to read it was with courtesy and warmth (makes all the difference in the world doesn't it ?)
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