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Visiting the USA

By neilb@uk ·
or, rather, not visiting the USA.

I've been to the USA on vacation a dozen or more times. Love it and love you all. Although, on every flight I've filled in that silly green card with its stupid questions: "Were you ever a member of the Nazi party?".

Last time, I filled in my details on the new Electronic System for Travel Authorization, ESTA, a couple of weeks prior and although I have to reckon it the crappiest website ever invented, it was probably easier than trying to fill the card in on an economy flight table. The questions aren't any better: "Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved, in any way, in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?". Ah, well... That would be telling.

Now, it would seem, we have to comply with the ESTA and pay for the privilege, starting on 8th September. OK, so it's only 14 USD but - and this is where I get slightly ticked off - the charge is not to pay for the service but is intended to be used to promote US tourism.

You want ME to pay for YOUR tourist promotion? Nope. Don't we Brits (and others) contribute enough to you tourism?

Now, I could fill it in now while it's free and it's good for the next two years but my passport needs renewing and the ESTA goes with it. And so does next year's trip.

It's the principle. The USA is a rich country and I go there to spend money - lots of it - on travel, accommodation, food and entertainment. I already pay US customs $2.70, a US immigration fee of $3.50 and a US animal and plant health inspection services user fee of about $2.50 every time I travel (and I don't get anything from that).

This year, I'm driving to Rimini, in Italy, and I'll pass through seven countries and not only will it not cost me anything when I cross the borders, I won't even have to show my passport.


My erstwhile membership of the Waffen SS will probably be quite useful in Switzerland.

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by Jaqui In reply to Visiting the USA

you won't come to CANADA instead?
that does it.
not only stand gg up but ignore Canada. to boot.

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Oh, I'll visit Canada

by neilb@uk In reply to WHAT?!?!!?!

you guys don't want to rip me off!


I'm still going to Rimini, though. And also down to Sorrento, near Naples. I'm going to climb Vesuvius and stare down into the crater and see if it dares to explode.

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If it does....

by puppybreath In reply to Oh, I'll visit Canada

can you send us pictures before the lava gets too close?


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Of course

by neilb@uk In reply to If it does....

If I can outrun the pyroclastic flow.

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NA Neil

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Of course

Don't bother trying to outrun anything take a Lappie along with a 3G USB Dongle and give us the Real Time Web Cam Feed as the ash envelopes you.

Col ]:)

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Vesuvius will give your calves a work-out.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Oh, I'll visit Canada

Stretch good first, and plan on about 45-60 minutes to get all the way up if you push it. It's a leisurely 90 if the tour bus isn't on a schedule and you're not in a rush.

Sorrento is pleasant; Pompei is mandatory; Naples is a dump.

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Thanks for the info

by neilb@uk In reply to Vesuvius will give your c ...

I will have my own car with me so no time constraints. It also means that I can pack my walking boots and poles. Barring eruptions, I should be good to go.

Naples, we are deliberately by-passing. Sorrento is so that we can see Pompei, Vesuvius and Amalfi.


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I don't suppose you'll be driving to Sicily.

by seanferd In reply to Thanks for the info


But Etna is a fantastic beast.

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It was a little more active than usual when I was there

by NickNielsen In reply to I don't suppose you'll be ...

I could see the glow from my hotel room in Caltagirone.

When I left, I flew out of the airport at Catania. I was able to see it on the left as the flight headed up the coast. Very impressive.

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I did check out Sicily

by neilb@uk In reply to I don't suppose you'll be ...

because I could have got a really good hotel deal but once I'd factored in getting the car across the Strait of Messina, It didn't really seem worth the extra thousand miles.


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