not really

A survey says that the U.S. is unfriendly to visitors.

It may be that. Or it may be that now. I never did experience that though. Of course the long lines at TSA are irritating, but they probably have those in other countries too. And it's not like I have a burning need to prove existence of my right to piss off TSA (I'm not an American, I don't have that right, so I prudently choose prudence).

There is something to be said against visa procedures. And U.S. embassies are notoriously unfriendly places (not hostile, just, suspicious and unwelcoming). But all that unfriendliness is probably justified given that so many want to go to the U.S. and so many are willing to cheat and lie to do it. I think they overreact when they put up all those defences against car bombing, but it's still understandable (though ugly).

I've never had problems with U.S. immigration or customs personnel though. Nor with TSA either. On the other hand, I'm very upfront about everything, I do my homework and don't bring anything prohibited, and I'm always relaxed at U.S. airports. I guess people who are unclear on what they're supposed to bring, or who intend to overstay their visas in the U.S. are more tense.

Of course, there's always the (probably very slight) risk that Immigration, Customs or TSA will hold the foreign traveller. People will worry about that. I tend to be very relaxed about that, if they had held me in the past, they would have let me go and I'd have had something to blog about.

Given the general tone of recent blog entries though, I'd be nervous too about going to the U.S. So I'm not going anytime soon. But, actually, I wouldn't be surprised if a trip to the U.S. now were to be as enjoyable as previous trips have been.

On the other hand, I haven't been to Europe. Maybe things are so much better there that it'd be an eye opener. I've been to Hong Kong, that was busy, businesslike, and efficient. I've been to Macau, that was unpleasant because they are so open about discriminating against Filipinos there. I will never go to Macau again unless someone is paying me incredibly big bucks to go. And even then, I will ALWAYS tell Filipinos that they shouldn't go to Macau.

So, Macau is worse than the U.S.

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