Here's a photo taken at what I'd like to think was the U.S. Consulate here in Belfast. But alas it's actually the headquarters of the Ulster Bank - situated next to the Consulate.
You can't take photos of the Consulate itself of course. The Feds are worried takin' pics will steal their soul or something like that.
To enter the Consulate itself one has to go through a horrible security procedure in a bizarre perspex box, isolated away from all in case you have a dirty bomb or some sort of equivalent. You can't bring in your phone/camera/iPod/cameraphone/camerapod/walkman or anything electronic onto the 'compound'. Again I think it's cause they're worried about your 'juju'.
Anyway I had to go to the Consulate to get a replacement passport as the old one was just about full up. They were pleasant enough inside - not that I got to get close to an actual living person mind you - the procedure involves speaking through another layer of perspex, (plexiglass) - human touch must at all times be avoided.
I would have liked to walk the grounds afterwards but was informed that if I did so the guards would swarm on me pretty quick.
All in all a shitty experience.
What are Americans so scared of? Jesus, we all have to live in the world. Maybe they get a lot of threats - who knows? I'll enquire when I get back - for I'm off to the States you see.
First time in two years.
What will I find?
Am concerned of course. Folks from the States who don't live or travel outside of that great land mass seem unaware of its total collapse of moral and political authority as of late. The news coming out of the area is not good. But then, when did I ever believe the news?
So I'm off on a fact-finding mission Dear Listeners. I'll record what I find and report back to you in the next podcast. As I'll be travelling a great deal I may be absent from this blog but I trust commenters like Phil and Jama will keep you entertained.