How to make it through the Global Entry process

I finally got my Global Entry application finished today. Here are some thoughts if you want to do the same.

Global Entry machines at an airport

  • It’s going to be tough if you don’t have a Global Entry office in your city. San Francisco is the only office in Northern California, it would suck to be in Sacramento and beyond.
  • The application process is fairly simple, but they will tell you there are 30 days to do the final interview and the next appointment is in 6 months.
  • You can do a walk-in, but there’s no guarantee you will be seen. I sat for 6 1/2 hours and was sent away at 8 pm. There were people waiting from Davis and other areas, so I was lucky enough to be local.
  • Get there at 7:00 am, don’t even bother walking in after noon. Today I only waited 3 1/2 hours and got it done.
  • Bring your laptop and charging cables. It’s a long time to wait and you’re going to kill your phone’s battery playing games and checking Facebook.
  • It’s probably not worth the effort if you only fly international once a year or so. It took me 10 hours of waiting to save 30-40 minutes in customs on each trip.
  • The folks running the office are working as hard as they can, don’t throw shade at them. They blast through the interviews and try to get as many people out the door as possible. It’s a popular program that is not getting the support it needs from higher above.
  • Bring the following items
    • Your passport. To be safe, make sure there are more than 6 months left before it expires.
    • Your driver’s license. Or something else that proves you live at the current address
    • Your Global Entry id number. This will be on the letter you receive or go to the web site and look for the number that starts with 9

Your first trip to Bangalore

My travel buddy Durward is joining me on my next trip to India. While I’ve had the opportunity to visit Bangalore many times, this is his first trip to India. I’ve been collecting some tips and thought I’d share them. Please note, this is not a travel list for all of India, rather more specifically for those working for American companies that have an office in Bangalore.
Continue reading “Your first trip to Bangalore”

Burka ban protest with a twist

This video is a protest against the upcoming Burka ban in France. Sarkozy’s known for attacking immigrants whenever his polls are low and they’ve been a big target lately. These students wanted to do something that would get more attention than just wearing burkas around the city.

Calling themselves the “Niqabitches,” the veiled ladies can be seen strutting past prime ministerial offices and various government ministries with a black veil leaving only their eyes visible, but with their long legs naked bar black high heels.
French women cause a stir in niqab and hot pants in anti-burka ban protestTelegraph

The music is also intended to be inflammatory. My friend Daniel explains it well

…it’s very funny, all in French slang, in the style of the early fifties, all about ways she likes to play with herself at night, it ends by her saying now you may ask me what I do during the day? ….. well I just get fucked it’s that simple..
D. Travert

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“Arbeit Macht Frei” sign stolen from Auschwitz

Small Fortress in Terezin, Czech Republic
Nazi concentration camps featured a hopeful sign for the incoming prisoners. “Arbeit Macht Frei” means Work Sets You Free and helped keep up the guise of these “work camps”.

Someone just stole the sign from Auschwitz.

I took this photo of the Small Fortress in Terezin, Czech Republic. It’s hard to understand how horrible these camps were until you’ve actually visited one.
Terezin bunkbeds in the Small Fortress
At one point the guide showed us one of the prisoner cells where people were so cramped they had to sleep side by side on wooden bunk beds. She then took us to the cell for Jewish prisoners. It was 1/4 the size, had no furniture, and the only source of light/air was a tiny window (4 inches by 4 inches) about 6 feet up in the air.

Here’s some information about Terezin from wikipedia

The Small Fortress in Terezin was also used as a punishment prison for Allied POWs who persisted in escape attempts. POWs from Australia, New Zealand, England and Scotland were imprisoned and witnessed the horrendous inhuman mistreatment of the largely Jewish population. Keeping POWs in such a camp was against the Geneva Convention, and the camp was under the direct control of the Gestapo who refused to acknowledge the POWs’ special status. They saw that elderly Jewish inmates were given food every second day and forced to do hard labour constructing a 1 km long tank trap,mainly using their hands. Prisoners who stopped jogging, with handfuls of dirt, were beaten unmercifully. Prisoners were forced to sit on the head and legs of a victim while the guard repeatedly struck the victim with a nailed post, reducing their buttocks to pulp. Jews were also whipped with strips of thin wire that tore their bodies apart. Prisoners were forced to collect the bloody parts and load them on a cart.

Block A in Terezin

I wish work could have set these people free. Unfortunately life wasn’t that easy for the people tortured in the death camps.

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