We each had an appointment at the Embassy today.
It’s been a long time coming and there were times when we didn’t think we’d make it at all.
We completed all the forms months ago, submitting them first to the UK authorities and having received their approval, applied to the US Customs and Border Protection agency for “trusted traveler status”. Having passed that round of checks, we each had to book an interview.
Except there were no available appointments in London before Christmas. Oh, and the booking had to be made within a very tight timescale.
How about Los Angeles in January? No appointments available.
Miami in February? No appointments available.
We randomly selected two adjacent slots in Boston in June knowing full well we wouldn’t be there then, but at least we’d hold our application open. Then, in late December, we each had an email with a list of dates in February for London interviews. Phew. We snagged two as quickly as we could, before they were all booked up too.
So this morning, we made our way to Grosvenor Square where we presented ourselves and all the necessary papers to a couple of immigration officers in adjacent cubicles. Though we were asked broadly the same questions, my officer showed a little more interest in one particular page of my passport.
It was the arabic translation of my passport details we needed for Edward’s birthday jolly to Libya a few years ago.
“Why did you go there?”
I answered that our son was an historian with a love of Roman history and we went to see Leptis Magna.
“Have you seen since then?”
“Will you be going again?”
“I’ve approved your application.”
Having had our fingerprints and mugshot recorded on their system, we each have a Global Entry membership number which will not only allow us to skip the lengthy immigration and customs queues when we next visit the USA, but also pass swiftly through the pre boarding security process without taking off our shoes, belts and so on.
I am a trusted traveler! (Well, I prefer to think of myself as a traveller of course )
Mind you, on the way there we’d passed some pretty clever window displays on Piccadilly, in Waterstone’s bookshop.
They are actually promoting a book written in the 1930s, though anyone passing by could be forgiven for mistakenly taking this as a marketing campaign for a new publication. For sure, it caught our attention and will surely have the same effect on others passing by.
Of course, bearing in mind our destination, we were on our best behaviour and were passing no comment!
A day in London is always a great opportunity to spot small curiosities, though. Like this sign. I wonder how long it has been there and if it is still in use? If it rings, do you think someone will call the police? I hope so!
I liked this surprisingly wordy sign in a window nearby.
Whilst in Selfridges, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that my eye was caught by the title of this magazine. At £10 a copy, I felt it was rather more than “lagom” so left it there, with those incredibly ugly coffee cups. Ugh. Who on earth would want to drink from those?
Best of all was the sight of this gentleman stepping out on what was a very chilly morning indeed, dressed in this gloriously coloured coat. My photograph doesn’t do him – or his coat – justice because by the time I got my camera out of my pocket, he was almost gone. But on a Winter morning, who could not be cheered by wearing such a colour?
Brave man though!