I’m not sure if it’s because I have travelled too much or the land was just not that interesting, but the time I stepped in the US, I just didn’t feel the same excitement I felt when I arrived in some other places for the first time. The possible reasons are the hassles of getting in there, from the complication in visa application which at the end your luck determined whether you are going to get the visa, up to the boarding time when I still had to go through an interview, if not interrogation, with an officer about the reason of my departure to the country, my language proficiency, my history, or even the size of my grandfather undershirt. Lucky enough she didn’t ask me the detail items in my carry-on luggage. A friend of mine was refused to board until she could mention the things she packed in her luggage. It took longer than she expected as the officer insisted that there was one item she could not name. Turned out it was a pocket camera that she put in her bag! Whatever…
My advice, bring all supporting documents that you think will be asked or will be helpful to convince the officer that you have valid reason to visit the country. In my case, I’m on business trip. So, instinctively, I bring my business card, sponsorship letter from my employer, and invitation letter from my business partner in the US and yes, the officer asked for them! Proudly I handed them to her, she did a quick check, and voila! “Thank you for your cooperation sir. You may board now…”
Taking the national airlines of my destination country, I felt so blessed being Asian which national airlines well maintain the interior of the aircraft and the flight attendances are generally attractive. Nevertheless, I still had a good flight with hospitality and delicious in-flight meals. Landing in Portland, nothing big in the immigration process, and I thank God for that recalling what just happened in the Boston Marathon the previous week and my Muslim militant name. What interest me were restaurants serving big hamburger (this is what I expect from the US! Yeay!) and a quite decent bar where I could find varieties of local beers just for the sake of sight-seeing. I don’t drink but my boss does, so we decided to start our American experience by hanging out in the bar while waiting for the connecting flight.
The last time I flew an aircraft with propellers was 3 years ago with the national airlines from a third world country and I could understand that. I was quite surprised to find out that I have to fly with the same aircraft here, but okay. It’s not bad at all (if you ever travelled with me, you would know my standard for good /bad services, haha…). Using self check-in machine, I got the lucky seat number 22 which was at the end of the aisle. And I have the whole row for me. Two-hour flight in a minimum service airline (comparable to Ryanair, I would say), I could live with that….