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calendar   Sunday - September 30, 2012

‘I have struck a city — a real city — and they call it Chicago, It is inhabited by

Last year sometime, I posted an angry rant with regard to the treatment given my wife by agents of the KGB, working for customs and immigration at LAX.
Stone faced, unhelpful, arrogant and petty in the extreme.  Most regulars of BMEWS know the story so I won’t go into all of it again.  For those who don’t know, perhaps with some help from Drew we can find a link to my original post and include a link here to that old post.  If that’s possible.  ??
I tried and failed to find it. ??  I am hopeless at this sometimes.

Well anyway, I came across an article in the Daily Mail a few days ago and didn’t get a chance to post it and so I am doing it now.
I guess Chicago immigration can be a bit of a challenge too.

Next year we have to return to the states for a short time and do something about a few items in storage, and see to legal matters.
Neither of us are looking forward to it, and the wife especially is really tired of being treated as though she’s a potential threat or trying to sneak into the USA illegally.  Good grief, she collects SS after having been gainfully employed for 39 or 40 years.  So I really well understand the writer’s frustration with what he faced in Chicago.  After what we went thru 2wice bmews, as in twice, I am not even upset in the least by his comments and the desire at first, to just say the hell with it and turn around and go home.  Oh how I wanted to do that, but couldn’t.  I was already home. It was my wife who discovered that her home of some 40 years wasn’t home anymore.  And before anyone suggests dual citizenship, HA!  Check out the rules on that baby.  They make it impossible.
If you don’t feel like surfing through a lot of print, then simply pick up a phone and call immigration and ask about that and how to qualify. Listen to what they tell ya. 

So then .... here’s the article that started me off on another rant.

Why has friendly, beautiful Chicago got the second city blues?

By Martin Samuel

Chicago is feeling a little left out. America’s second city wonders why it attracts a fraction of the millions who visit New York, Los Angeles, Miami or Las Vegas.

It has a memorable skyline, great architecture and one of the world’s finest art galleries. It has a musical heritage second to none and superb restaurants. The lake is gorgeous.

Yet in 2010, while New York received 9.7 million visitors from abroad, Chicago entertained just 1.1 million, scraping into America’s top ten tourist destinations in last place. So where are all the people? Here’s a clue: maybe they’re at the airport.

Those arriving in Chicago on Monday this week took two hours to be processed at O’Hare. Regular visitors in the queue acknowledged this as standard. They reckon the country has no money for Homeland Security.

So we waited, in a soulless, low-ceilinged hall, with no mobile telephone signal to contact the outside world, until the single customs official on duty could be bothered to let us through. At one stage she went away and we were left staring at empty booths.

It was almost like a social experiment. How long could they humiliate people this way before there was a riot? Three hours, four hours? Maybe six? And this line was only for visitors. Passengers in transit and United States nationals had their own territory. They weren’t moving too fast, either.

It wasn’t as if ten planes had arrived simultaneously. This was a lone flight from London plus the residue of another from the east. And by the end of this voyage into tedium, most had decided that (a) America was skint and its politics bankrupt; (b) America was rude, inhospitable and had no respect for humanity; (c) they weren’t coming back, if they could help it.

Which is a pity, because Chicago is a fantastic city, one of the greatest in the world. The people are friendly, the urban landscape quite beautiful. I want to implore you to go.

But would I return? I’m not sure. I certainly wouldn’t change planes there because I don’t enjoy being treated like dirt.

And there is the irony. How can a city that wants to promote itself to the world, and a country that wants to promote its ideas and culture around the globe, allow this to be the first experience of any visitor?

How can it greet you, not with a smile, but the brusque suspicion that you are here to blow the place up? There is no courtesy on entry, none of the eagerness to please that is found beyond.

It is the same at the embassy. Those who have obtained an American visa will know the drill by now. The appointment, the wait, the inconvenience — no electronic devices, even electronic key fobs, allowed on the premises, and nowhere to store them — and then the incredible rudeness of the staff. It is a horrid, dehumanising experience.

Nobody who has been through it would think fondly of Chicago, of any American city, or American democracy. It smacks of what outsiders see as the worst of America: bullying arrogance and a refusal to engage in a civilised manner. Nobody smiles, nobody treats you nicely.

And then you get here and it couldn’t be more different.

Went to the White Sox game on Monday. Fantastic. The following night the local tourist board had invited a friend to dinner at a restaurant called Q. I tagged along.

The hospitality was insane. Tours of the kitchen, stuff on the house, try this, try that. We had the ‘competition ribs’, so called because they had won prizes.

They looked like something out of The Flintstones. The competition seemed to be who could get near finishing them without keeling over.

And all the time I was thinking that, if I’d had the option, I would have turned around and flown home without setting foot in the place.

It should be the easiest sell in the world, Chicago. They should be watching tumbleweed blow past at the tourist board, left with nothing to do, as visitors stampede to the Art Institute (260,000 works including Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, considered the most recognisable painting by an American artist) or absorb Chicago’s history on the architectural tour.

‘I have struck a city — a real city — and they call it Chicago,’ wrote Rudyard Kipling. ‘Having seen it, I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages.’

He was wrong. Chicago isn’t inhabited by savages.

For some reason, though, its government is happy to let you think that way.

MARTIN SAMUEL

(c) they weren’t coming back if they could help it.
My wife’s thoughts exactly and I don’t fault her.  Twice she was taken on her own to an interrogation room where she was questioned at length and the fact that she was married all these years to an American meant squat. That she has a bank account in Ca., meant squat.  Why should she want to return once we get our other things in order?


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 09/30/2012 at 04:04 PM   
Filed Under: • GovernmentHomeland-SecurityIllegal-Aliens and ImmigrationJack Booted ThugsUSA •  
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