Sarah and I had to go to the US Consulate in Sydney for my E-3 visa
application on Friday, so we decided to make a bit of a long weekend of it.
So first up, we drove to Artarmon on Friday morning, and ditched the car at
Sarah's Aunty Glenda's place (she was the MC at our wedding). We jumped on a
train, which managed to
- arrive, and
- stay on the tracks
until we got into town, where we headed into the Consulate. Michael and
Catherine had an earlier appointment that morning, and they were as
successful as you can be on the day with their application.
We said a quick hello to them in Martin Place and headed up to the
Consulate, as Michael said things were starting to get busy, so I figured
the sooner we got in the queue, the sooner we'd get processed.
Security was interesting. Reception was on level 10, and we rocked up to
what appeared to be a very temporary looking setup: a room with an "in" door
and an "out door" at opposite ends of one wall, a bunch of chairs arranged
in a sort of seminar layout, and a desk with a security guard.
The guard quizzed us as to who we were, if we had an appointment and ID and
whatnot, and checked our names off against a list, and then searched our
bags and ran a metal-detector wand over us and directed us to take a seat.
Half a minute later, another guard appeared, and ushered us into an
elevator, which he had to swipe a card to get to go to something like the
Upon alighting from the elevator, we were presented with another desk with a
pair of security guards, who again quizzed us as to who we were and what we
were doing there, and then got us to empty our pockets to walk through an
airport-style metal-detector. I'd brought my laptop bag (sans laptop) to
hold all our paperwork, and that had a drink bottle with water in it on the
side. The guard asked if it was water, and when we said it was, asked Sarah
to have a drink of it to confirm it was safe. She took a sip and then
proceeded to have a massive coughing fit. I thought we were going to get
chucked out before we'd even started. She reassured them that it was okay,
and took another sip and had another massive coughing fit! Fortunately the
guards had a sense of humour about it all and let us in.
The Consulate itself was close to what I expected, but I didn't expect so
many people to be sitting around waiting, and I didn't expect to have to
talk to the Consulate staff through a sheet of plate glass.
We had a minor glitch with our paperwork, which my sponsor is sorting out at
the moment, so we came away with our application being placed on hold.
Eligibility-wise, it shouldn't be a problem though, which was more what I
was worried about. The whole process took about 2 hours (and most of that
was waiting around. We probably spent a total of about 10 minutes actually
talking to people).
Next we had lunch with a couple of friends of Sarah, and then did a spot of
shopping, and then jumped back on the train to Artarmon. We had a few drinks
at the local pub with my mate Andrew (who conveniently lives two streets
from Sarah's Aunty), and another former work colleague, and then had dinner
with Andrew, back at Sarah's Aunty's place.
I awoke on Saturday morning thinking I was in a wind tunnel, there that much
wind howling around outside. Shortly after that, there was a huge bang, and
part of a tree across the road had blown over onto the power lines, so that
was it for electricity for the remainder of our stay that morning. We got to
watch the electricity company come out, chop all the wires off and chainsaw
up the tree limb. Then we headed off to Newcastle to visit our friends
Michael and Elise. I'd managed to sleep funny and pulled a muscle in my
neck, so Sarah had to do the remainder of the driving.
We stayed the night with Michael and Elise, and then headed back to
Wollongong to visit my boss, who has moved from Canberra to an absolutely
gorgeous house on the coast, and then we headed home, arriving back at about
6:30pm on Sunday night.
So we had a busy weekend, but an enjoyable one. Would have been nicer if I
hadn't had the paperwork problems with the visa, as I still have no idea of
any time frames for relocation.