Smooth Re-entry to the U.S. – Reflections On re-entering the U.S.
This is the first of a series of blog postings I will write this summer
Upcoming Road Trip
This summer I will spend three months in the U.S. – one month in DC, one month in Oregon, then a five-week road trip to Washington State, California along the coast, Arizona and Utah. We are showing my 13-year-old Korean niece her first trip to the US. It will be my first trip to Joshua Pine NP, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks. Since we will have three drivers we should be able to cover lots of ground per day. All told about 5,000 miles in five states in five weeks. Including an obligatory visit to Disneyland, Universal Studios,
Touring 14 National Parks And Lake Tahoe
We will tour
Bryce Canyon, Crater Lake, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Mt. Rainier, Kings Canyon, Lake Tahoe, Joshua Tree, Mohave, Pinnacles National Park, Redwoods, Yosemite, Sequoia, Lassen Volcano, and Zion National Park. First time to visit Bryce Canyon, Joshua Tree and Zion for me.
Touring 12 cities and California and Oregon Coasts
And touring the following cities – Bay Area, Bend, Eugene, LA, Las Vegas, Reno, Portland, Seattle, and the California and Oregon coasts.
Back to the Travel Plan
Four years ago, the plan was to spend the Summer in the US, fall and spring in Korea, and winter in SE Asia and the Caribbean., and at least one new country or region of the US per year.
COVID screwed that up for us and millions of people, so we are finally getting back to the retirement travel plan.
Travel Plans for the Rest of the Year
For my birthday in October, I will do a European tour, celebrating my birthday in Paris, then in the winter spend some time in SE Asia, Hawaii, and Guam, then in the Spring do a trip to Japan and maybe China, and then next summer spend the summer touring the East Coast with my in-law including Boston, NE, NYC and a road trip to Florida and Chicago.
Starting in DC drive to New George NP then the Blue Ridge Parkway visiting the Shenandoah NP, Great Smokies, Congaree NP SC, Cape Hatteras NC, then Georgia and Florida visiting Jacksonville, Tampa St Petersburg including the Dali art Museum, Orlando, Disney World, Cape Kennedy, Miami, the Everglades, Key west and taking a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean including USVI BVI, St Martins, Guadalupe, Martinique, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Grenada then driving back through Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee including a Bourbon trail bus tour for one day then hitting Pittsburgh and returning to DC optional day trip to Eastern Shore via Annapolis, then Philadelphia, NYC four nights Boston Four Nights, NE, Maine Arcadia NP, then Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago three days, Indianapolis then Indiana Sand Dunes NP, Cleveland, Cuyahoga NP, Oberlin, Pittsburgh and returning to Washington.
Optional Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota added to trip, after Chicago before returning home for four more days including Isle Royal NP in Michigan UP.
Leaving Korea was fast and efficient.
Give your passport, fingerprint, and photo and voilà you can leave = no need to speak to an immigration officer. I think over time, they will eliminate the need to fingerprint and do it as the US does now, just a photo taken linked to your passport. And they, too, got rid of all paperwork leaving and entering other than showing your passport, residence card, or E-visa approval.
Re-Entry To The US – Surprisingly Easy, Efficient, Friendly, And Very Quick Ten Minutes To Clear Immigration From Deplaning
Entering the U.S. used to be quite an ordeal. Long lines, surly, unfriendly immigration officers, military police dogs everywhere.
About five years ago, the US immigration services, and border inspectors worldwide upgraded their entry procedures, making them much more efficient and friendly. On this last trip, we sailed through immigration. We walked up, they took our picture, confirmed our identity, and welcomed us back to the US with a smile. Since there are no more long lines, both the passengers and the immigration officers are much more relaxed and friendly. And they got rid of the stupid customs declaration form and all paperwork. All told, it took ten minutes from deplaning to entering the airport past security. And the security lines at the airport seem to be moving a lot faster.
AI-Powered Systems Using Photo Recognition Speeds Things Up
What makes this all happen is new AI-powered software and facial recognition. The AI system confirms your identity through the photo taken and then tells the officer either a green light – yellow light or red light. If it flashes yellow or red (only visible to the officer) you will be questioned and probably let in, if it flashes red, you will be sent to secondary for further questioning, and possible denial of entry. 95 percent of entries are now green, four percent yellow, with only one percent having a red light.
I hear that secondary inspections are much more friendly than they used to be. Under the Trump era secondary inspections were a Kalka-like experience, no doubt generating a lot of potential enemies of U.S. style police state travel restrictions.
US more expensive, Fear of Crime, Gun Violence Everywhere, Hyper Partisan Divides Everywhere
on the negative side, everything in the US seems a lot more expensive than before, but people are still going out to restaurants and shops. But fewer visits amid the real fear of mass gun shootings, and crime everywhere.
Downtown DC is in the midst of a building boom as apartments and condos are going up all over the place and the population is booming. The inner suburbs are booming the outer suburbs as well not so much. Traffic seems less and the metro and buses are less crowded.
Fear of crime is everywhere although greatly exaggerated by the sensationalist media.
And the hyper-divided state of US politics is taking a toll on the U.S.
Unfortunately, the corrosive nature of U.S. politics will not get any better soon.
Good to be back in the land of my birth.