So...had to spend some time at the American Embassy today....havent been there in awhile and I couldnt help notice a few changes had been made.
1. A very long list of things not allowed inside...which means for those of us not aware of this long list...a long walk back to the carpark to leave all the forbidden contraband behind. Now I can understand the reasoning behind making visitors park half a mile away from the entrance(America is not high on the list of the worlds favorite neighbors)...but does anyone who comes up with these parking guidelines ever consider that Bahrain practically combusts during the hot summer months...and scheduling passport hours from 1 pm to 3 pm just sounds like pre meditated homicide. By the time I managed to stumble my way back to the blessed cool interior of the Big Square Box aka American Embassy...I was hallucinating and babbling incoherently....and of course the water dispensor cups were all finished. Which leads to point 2...
2. There is one long really wide couch running alongside the wall in the waiting room...not sure why its that big...I realize that American butts are growing at an alarming rate these days...but lets get real. When you sit on the thing...your feet barely touch the floor and, for us shorter legged people...the backs of your knees dont hit the edge just right...so your left with your legs sort of splayed out in front of you. I figure its to keep you uncomfortable and unable to form a plot to rush the windows or something like that....but after walking for a century in the hot burning sun...I was happy to just sit...splayed legged and all...but no water to keep my poor tongue from sticking to the roof of my mouth...which leads to point 3...
3. My desire for some water was quickly replaced by my desire to recycle some water I had all ready drank earlier in the day...I remembered from earlier visits that a bathroom was just outside the waiting room area...but was rather caught off guard when I was informed that bathrooms were no longer open for public use......Okay!
So lets get this straight....after hiking through the hot blazing sun and losing at least a marathons worth of sweat...not once but twice...and not even getting to quench my parched tongue before collapsing on a couch designed for the Jolly Green Giant...and being informed that the wait for my turn and subsequent action would no doubt take awhile(over 2 hours)...I was now informed that should I feel the need to "go"...I would be shit out of luck...nice! Well...you all know what happens the moment you realize you cant have something...of course...you want it more.
So....my dilemma....wait out my turn and try not to think of water or any form of liquid there of...but feeling dehydrated from the trek was forcing me to think of nothing else...and ignoring all desire to "go" even though I would have given my little pinky toe to fullfill that one urgently needed desire asap...or trek back to the parkinglot and possibly induce heat exhaustion and the death of some much needed brain cells not to mention suffer the strict security procedures all over again...twice all ready you know...just to find relief...but would result in my turn no doubt being passed up and being made to wait it out longer...or be forced to come back another day....hmmm lets see...choices choices...whats a girl to do...?
I must admit though that the people working in the passport and visa section of the embassy were efficient and charming. They had smiles on their faces(well they werent treking back and forth to the parkinglot were they) and took time to chat with each customer...making the wait a little less boring hearing the stories and whatnot. So I waited out my turn...kept my legs crossed(rather difficult when your legs are splayed as well) slurped some water from my hands...and eventually got my business sorted out...and left the place feeling better then when I arrived...not an easy thing to do when conducting govt business at the best of times.
I did have a few complaints though...other than the obvious ones above. There have been throw carpets on the floor since the first time I stepped through the doors. They are always bunched up and people are always tripping on them. It doesnt take much in observational skills to realize its an accident waiting to happen...if it hasnt all ready. Also, considering they have either confiscated or just out right refused to allow us to bring anything extra with us while we wait...we are forced to endure each passing minute with nothing to distract us. No tv...no magazines...not even the helpful Most Wanted posters on the walls that I use to spend time persuing veryclosely. Never know when I might recognize one of those "bad guys" as the guy at the petrol station...or my next door neighbor(to tell the truth Im suspicious on him all ready...he doesnt like dogs...sure sign of anti social and possibly subversive activity). Day dreaming of collecting a cool million or so for doing my patriotic duty and locking up some poor unfortunate all based on mere suspicion is the least this American can do. I might also add that there was nothing in that whole waiting area that even suggested I was on "sacred hallowed ground"(American soil to u and me) except for a few posters inviting potential visa applicants to stay awhile at one of Americas less hospitable locals if they choose to forge any false information on their documents. The guy behind bars in the pic obviously thought he was smarter then the US govt...obviously he didnt truly understand the scale of our abilities to search out and find deviants, forgers and all around "evil doers"...just ask ...!..ok I wont go there....but we know who Im talking about.
Anyhow, at least the pens on the table were nice...but chained up....hmmm I think someone doesnt trust the average citizen...even with a govt issued pen. Nice....!