Travel to the US

Geez. What a lot of work! I booked my flight last night to the US, and spent hours doing so. I first looked around for cheap flights -- despite the rules on them presenting the final costs I was constantly getting great deals that then quickly rose in price. I also wanted to have a fork, as I am giving a talk in a city near a hub the day before I leave, so I thought I could save some travel time.

Air Berlin won't let you book a fork on their home page, and booking each part individually makes it much more expensive. opodo had a good deal on a fork, so I emailed the data to the States to see if I could be met at the airport. A few hours later that was okay, except that now the price had increased by 100 €.

I flushed the cookies. Tried another browser. I probably should have used the VPN to get a new IP address, but I was tired and wanted to get done. So I just booked the flight to and from the hub with Air Berlin (for the same price) and will have to take a train back home. Will only be a little longer, as I would have had to cool my heels for 3 hours in the hub, anyway. And the train is cheaper than 100 €.

At the end of all this (and having to pay a stiff fee for paying by credit card) I was then reminded to deal with the Visa Waiver program. And it turns out, my last application has now expired. Great.

They want all sorts of information I don't normally give out online. And then I have to pay $14 entrance fee, just like I was going to the zoo. Or to enter the DDR ("Zwangsumtausch"). Oh, they inform me that many other countries charge entrance fees as well. I don't care. It doesn't make me want to visit a country that makes it clear that it doesn't really want me and will only let me in if I pay with data and cash.

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