Wednesday, May 31, 2006

May 31st 2006 - San Francisco, CA, USA

So the day has finally come for me to get on one of those big airships and set sail for the West. The good ol' United Stated of America. I woke up at 630 am and took a long shower to wake myself up. I ate my breakfeast, said some final goodbyes to my little sister and mother, and off I went. My father'd had been kind enough to drive me to Shiphol, Amsterdam's airport. It felt strangely odd, seeing that I'd just spent pert-near every day of the entire past month in the same care, doing a simmilar drive with him, off to work. As always, we had some Crosby, Stills & Nash and Young casette tapes playing during the drive. Great road music, makes me feel really nostalgic for some reason too. It reminds me of my father. So we got to schiphol, he dropped me off and we said our final goodbyes. 'Take care son. Do what you want and don't let anyone tell you what to do. Do what you feel like doing'. He said it in such a comforting and reassuring voice that it left me quite emotional walking down to the entrance hall. It wasn't so much that it made my eyes teary, or that it made me sad. It made me feel fond, proud and fortunate to have such a bunch of loving, caring friends and family. They'd all shown that during the 5-6 weeks I'd been back. So this is for all the good people, you know who you are.

There's not a whole lot to say about the entire checking-in/boarding process. It went very smoothly. Stood in line for about half an hour, and even though I was flying Economy class, the lady at the Buisnessclass counter helped me out and checked in my gear. She was very kind and social. That struck me as a little odd, and I know airports are service-orientated, but some service-people are just downright cold. So I checked in my guitar and backpack, and off I went, through passport control, with just my little tape-bag as carry-on luggage. I strolled around the duty-free shopping area for a while, listening to Brant Bjork's Jalamanta album on tape. After the tape finished, I walked on at a mellow, care-free pace towards my gate (G-9, I believe). The security lady there was also very friendly and I kindly answered all her questions. Something inside me snickered at the tex-book nature of most of these questions, and the fact that she sounded like she was actually reciting questions, instead of asking them. But that's the nature of her job, I don't blame her at all. Like I said, she was very friendly, and still seemed to be interested and sociable. Unlike last time, where I shook the guy's hand and he stared at me, coldly pronouncing the word passport, syllable by syllable. I boarded the plane at around noon, and 30 minutes later I traded the land for the skies. Byebye Holland, see you in 3 months!

I actually don't remember taking off, because I konked as soon as I boarded the plane. When I woke up we were already about one hour into the flight. Woah, what a trip! Didn't care much for the movies, so I listened to some Woodstock (konked again, listening to the tape, woah!), read the first 100 pages of "One Flew Over The Coocook's Nest" and then we got our warm aeroplane dinner. The flight attendent came up to me and asked me "Would you like pasta or chicken, sir?". I'd just woke up so in a daze I replied "Pasta, please". I regretted it for a while, but once they served it, I was blown away! Now this is some good chow, especially for these airships! After the excellent plane-chow I proceeded to read another 100 pages or so of "One Flew Over The Coocook's Nest". It's a difficult book to read, even though most of the language is pretty basic. The way that it's constructed, however, is very dense, very descriptive. I remember reading that Ken Kesey wrote it in 6 days, on Mescalin, and if that's true, it sure shows in the way this book's constructed. Whilst I was reading I put on Nas' Illmatic album. I put this on tape literally the night before I left. My friend Wouter'd come over the day before and he put that record back on the map for me. It's a very musical record and has got a lot of vibe and feeling to it, so I guess that's why I like it so much. I put Bob Marley's Exodus record on the back of the tape, and that's what I put on afterwards, to kind of chill me out even further. So after the 90 minute tape had spun it's magnetic reel back and forth, I put the book down and proceeded to fall in and out of sleep. A kind off odd state between being awake and asleep. Next thing I knew, we were getting ready to land.

Now, this is when thing started getting gnarly. We landed safely at Washinton Dulles but getting out of the airport took atleast half an hour of moving slowly along a slowly moving line of people. But wait, it gets better. I get to immigration and proceed to wait in line for not one, but two hours. And when I finally reach the end of the line and there's only 5 people left in front of me, they close down immigration for half an hour because the customs area after that is too clogged with people! So, after standing in an evergrowing line for 30 minutes I finally get to the immigration officer. She check's my passport, asks me the standard questions and then breaks me some disturbing news. I've been getting in on the visa waver program, which means I'm allowed to stay in the united states for 90 days. This is the second time since february I'll be getting in on that program, and she tells me that the next time around they'll probably deny my entry into the united states, because it'll appear that I am spending more time in the United States than in my own country. In which case I'm ''living'' there, and no longer a visitor. Since the I-94 Visa Waiver program is for visitors only, I'm basicly screwed. So I'll have to figure out something over the next 3 months to either get a visa or a greencard. I'm not too worried about it though, but needless to say, it wasn't the most pleasant thing to hear.

Will be continue my write up later, at the library again, and my time's up. Check back later for the continuation....