Rupert Goodwins' IDF Diary

Saturday 4/3/2006It's that wonderful moment, sixteen hours after leaving my Holloway home, when I finally get to the front of the immigration queue in San Francisco airport. My inquisitor today will be Mendoza, a large pock-marked man with raven-black slicked-back hair and a red nose.

Saturday 4/3/2006

It's that wonderful moment, sixteen hours after leaving my Holloway home, when I finally get to the front of the immigration queue in San Francisco airport. My inquisitor today will be Mendoza, a large pock-marked man with raven-black slicked-back hair and a red nose.

I hand him my passport, helpfully held open at the visa page.

"An I visa, eh? Don't see many of them. Journalist?" He reaches for his gun. I stiffen.

"We're not that dangerous!" I yelp, forgetting for a second my hard-learned training about not joshing with the uniformed help in such situations.

"Eh?" he said, pulling out a handkerchief that he had stuffed behind the butt of the gun and blowing his nose.

"Oh. I thought you were going for.. you know... that..."

He laughed, then wheezed. "No, no. It's hay fever. All the dust comes off the passports ". He riffled through mine by way of illustration.

Outside, it's raining. It'll be raining for the rest of the week, more or less. Inside, it's time to stay awake as long as possible — but sometime towards midnight I fall asleep in the bar.

Sunday? Walks in the rain, Japanese tea garden. Peculiar art. San Francisco is fun.

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