Membership has its privileges. I am not referring to the elite status of owning a platinum Amex, or the uber rare black one. I am talking about that lucky or un-lucky accident of birth and geography, citizenship. Now, I am lucky enough to come not from a first world country, but from The first world country, the USA. This does cause a certain kind of immigration arrogance when clearing borders. Passing immigration in most countries is relatively easy, you flash your passport, they chat you up, get a stamp and off you go. I mean in most countries they love Americans. Right? Traveling in Europe is even easier now within the Schengen countries, I don’t even need to flash said little blue book. Brilliant! So, sitting cocooned in this blissful state of first world-ness, why would I want to become a member/citizen of an EU country?
Well, where do I begin? For one thing once you have broken free of the brain-washing about how great the US is, you start to realize that there are other countries that also have hot running water, indoor plumbing, and the natives wear clothes and walk upright. You discover they don’t eat their young(except in Longford-rumor has it), you can eat the food, and not die on the spot in most cases the quality of the food is better, and not all purple soda is grape-thankfully.
So, now I have the unique privilege of having dual citizenship to two first world countries,what does this really mean? For one thing clearing borders within the EU has just gone from queueing in the Other Passports line, to queueing in the EU passports line, which always seems to move faster. I now get to find this out first hand. My new passport will be pristine and stamp free, unless of course I travel to Asia. UAE, or the US. Advantage no. 2 is I will no longer be quizzed by UK border patrol like an asylum seeking refugee immigrating from a country ending with ..stan, they do really go over board with the stupid questions. No.3 whilst traveling within the EU countries, I won’t need a passport at all, I can just use my ID card. Yippie. No.4 the biggest advantage to me having an EU passport, is the fact that I can apply for a Privium pass! I have always wanted one of these things. I mean seriously, if having an EU passport means shorter queues, then Privium means no queues at all. It scans the iris and fingerprints to identify you. You just walk up, pop your card in, scan your vitals, and poof, that is it you have just cleared immigration. Yahoo! I mean seriously I have just cut my time at the airport by 30 mins, and we all know how I just love the girls and boys at airport security, so anything that gets me in and out faster is good all around for everyone.
But the best one of all is no. 5 is the fact I can no longer be deported to the US for illegally working in Ireland! Not that they ever would, god love the garda, they are rather loath to bring work down on their heads. So, as long as you are not disrespectful to them, they are quiet happy to pack you off and send you on your way, with a light slap on the wrist. Even the one time I had a problem in a small town, the garda asked me to leave and threatened to make a note in my passport, so it would be difficult to get back into the country. Brazen hussy that I was, I kept going back for months after that incident, and when some bright spark did decide to check my passport, and the notes came up, they just handed my passport back to me and told me to go on. Bless them.
I remember an incident from about a year ago, when traveling through Schiphol airport. They, being the Security Nazis, tried to send me through leaving my handbag behind, I protested that my bag wasn’t in my sight and the SN had the nerve to tell me , “it’s not my problem”. I replied, “No it isn’t? If my bag gets stolen because of your stupid security measures, I will kick the value of it out of your ass.” He tuned red and replied, “ Yes and you will go to jail.” “True, but this is Holland, I will be out of jail before you are out of the hospital, do you want to chance it?” Was my parting shot. He shut up after that. I was traveling with a discount airline at the time. Things haven’t improved.
I have seriously come to the conclusion, I FUCKING HATE DISCOUNT AIR TRAVEL! Yes you get there cheaply, but the toll it takes on your nerves, your dignity, and your legs last longer that any money you saved on buying a cheap ticket. First off, I think they specially train the staff in rudeness and anti-customer service. They go out of their way to exasperate and just piss you off for the sheer hell of it. I would be pretty much a malcontent if I had to work for a shitty airline, so to some extent it is understandable.
Then the security restrictions are even more numerous with your average discount airline, you can only carry one bag on, it has to weigh so much, it has to be a certain size, usually smaller than that of the ‘normal’ carriers allow, and you have to pay for your luggage. Low and behold if it is one f’ing kilo over the barebones minimum that they allow, they can/will slap another 20-30 euros on top of what you have already paid for baggage. I mean have they forgotten we are traveling, and by virtue of being in transit, we will have some kind of baggage with us? So to make you pay for the flight and then the baggage, and the ingrained rudeness of the staff is in my opinion ridiculous. Oh, did I mention they make you pay for the shittiest food imaginable?
Then to carry on the insult, the security measures are extreme in there stupidity, hasn’t anyone realized all you do is frustrate people, cause delays, and accomplish absolutely nothing in stopping a terrorist from wrecking havoc if they so chose? Christmas 2009, springs to mind. This unfortunate young idiot passed through the hallowed halls of Schiphol airport on his way to the US, with his strap-on bomb in place. The taking off of the shoes, the limiting of liquids, the opening of lap tops and such didn’t stop this would-be terrorist from getting through and almost causing a major disaster. Aggravating travelers is not the way to prevent terrorism, if anything it is a good way to cause normal individuals to want to turn to terror as a means to alleviate some of the frustration they feel, when some jackass at security, who hasn’t a clue what to look for is making you late for your plane, because your f’ing lipgloss isn’t in a stupid ziplock baggie!
Ok so you have cleared the insipid security measures, managed to not shove your lipgloss, or foot up some Security Nazi’s ass, and now you have the pleasure of walking the entire length of the airport! Because it is a cheap discount airline, they stick them at gates seriously bordering on another province let alone the airport environs. So, not only are you late for your flight, but now you have to run a marathon to get to the gate, only to discover that they have moved your flight, maybe they announced it, maybe not. Who knows! They certainly don’t care. That is one less pissed off passenger they have to deal with.
It certainly doesn’t add to the travel experience at all. But I am safe in the knowledge that I will soon be in a suite at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona, with a masseuse waiting for me to rub away all the stress of the nightmare that airline travel has become. If only I could have one waiting for me at home when in a few days I have to relive the nightmare of the return trip.
I am all packed, ready to head off to Ireland on my new tour, took vitamins, took shower, and went to make a cup of coffee. And my Nespresso coffee machine is dead! Now for those of you who know me, with my lattes, and espressos, will understand why this is a major emergency. I am basically a caffeine junkie, one who needs her morning fix. Ok, so I am calmer now, I had a back up system and some ground coffee in the freezer, so I can at least have a cup before braving the wilds of airport travel and train travel in Ireland. But as soon a I get back I am getting a new on, and this one fixed. NEVER again will I be without a proper espresso machine.
I am now the proud owner of a horsehair fly whisk, from one of London’s more prestigious houses for the riding set. I was just drooling over the riding gear in the shop, they were just lovely and well made. I wish I had more gentlemen interested in proper pony play, or at least letting me tryout my new riding toys on them. <Sighs>
This lovely new toy would be used at the end of a flogging session, as it leaves a light almost unnoticeable sensation on the skin, akin to an after thought. So wailing on someone in the beginning of the session with it, will leave them unimpressed, but after solidly working them over for the better part of an hour, priming the skin, raising the blood to the surface, then applying with light deft wrist flicks, the fly whisk. Bliss! I think the gentlemen in question will leave with a new appreciation of what it means to be ‘ridden hard’. Oh, I can’t wait to try this out. Any volunteers?