Never Again

It is only when one leaves America does the shattering truth emerge that as much as we hate U.S. bureaucracy and deplore its inefficiency and tortoise-like attitude, just one encounter with the Third World has us weeping with relief when all we have to do, say, is renew a driver’s license down at the local DMV.

So New Wife and I decided to deplete our savings and try to repeat our earlier, abortive attempt to visit her #1 Son and family (grandchildren!!!) in Sydney, Australia.  (The first trip, of course, was nuked by Covid and the OzGov’s pathetic overreaction thereto.  That only cost us $1,500 for NW’s air ticket.)

Of course, even without Covid, Straya throws all sorts of shit at anyone who might want to spend some tourist dollars to visit their poxy country (pop. 25,000) — you have to apply for a visitor’s visa (from a list of about 50 different categories) before you can even get onto an airliner.  Cost of said application:  ~$340 per person.  However, the Dept. of Home Affairs boasts, it only takes as little as 36 hours for it to be approved (except where otherwise indicated by ).  Of course, using Covid as an excuse, the time was not 36 hours, oh no:  New Wife applied in February of this year, and it arrived promptly on May 15;  I applied for mine on April 1, and ATOW it still hadn’t arrived.

So I wasn’t able to get on the plane with her last Friday evening, but I was told that if I changed my flight to Sunday evening, they would help me take care of my little visa problem.

Which is where the (further) problems began.  I wasn’t able to change my flight because Expedia can’t do anything if the departure time is less than 10 hours away (on Friday evening, it was about two hours away by the time I’d got home).  No problem, thinks I, I’ll just go to Qantas’s website and change it there.  Except that Qantas must have used the same guy to build their website as — there is no way to “manage” your booking — nowhere to enter your ticket number or reservation number, nada.

Last night I discovered the following:  because I hadn’t been able to change my flight, Qantas was going to take the whole fare and give me a “coupon” for $500 to use for my next flight;  additional expense to fly out on Sunday night: $800.

Even worse was my visa experience.  I could actually get an ETA visa (don’t ask) approved in about 20 minutes, except for a couple of teeny-weeny little problems:  the Qantas mobile app downloaded onto my phone, but couldn’t open;  and the visa application cost was going to be another $340, because this was a new visa application fee, you see, and no they couldn’t (okay wouldn’t) credit me for the failed visa application because they are two different visas.

Oh, and did I mention that the Sunday flight was overbooked anyway?

The hell with that.  I would rather take that $1,100-odd and pay for the grandkids to come and visit me.

Hence the title of this post.  Ain’t gonna happen, never, no way, uh-uh am I going to try to visit Australia ever in the future.  It’s just too much frigging hassle, and expensive, to visit a place that was never high on my Wannagothere List in the first place.

It’s not like I don’t have other options;  here’s one just arrived in my Inbox last night:

Cheap Flights: Dallas to London $566-$589 r/t

Don’t need a visa, either.  Buy a ticket, arrive at the airport, fly eight (not seventeen!) hours, and it’s tea and sausage rolls at Greggs for brekkie the next morning.

Other destinations ditto, with local cuisine variations.

Too bad, for everyone.

I think I’ll go to the range later today and get some AK-47 practice.  That’s one thing I can do that I’d never be able to do Down Under.


  1. Very sorry to hear of your trials dealing with the bureaucracy in Oz, Kim, and I can understand your rage at the incompetence.

    Sometimes I wonder if we here in Australia are governed by fools or whether there is a deeper and more evil motivation creating these barriers. You are not known for your soft left views on gun control and your opinions of trough feeding politicians, and it might not be too wild a conspiracy theory that you raised a red flag with your visa application to some office bound jobsworth.

    I, for one, would have been more than happy to sit on the porch with you and share a beverage and a yarn or two.


    1. Mate, we are most definitely OVERgoverned by fools. And “fools” is being kind. Don’t get me started on the wankers ….

  2. After watching the fascist covid antics of both Australia and New Zealand I struck them of my travel bucket list.

  3. It has been a few years, but getting in and out of Australia was a major hassle every time I visited. Not to mention everything was about twice what it cast in the US.

    1. Try doing it with firearms. The World Muzzle-Loading Championships were held in Australia in 2000 and 2008…and after the latter, most of the competitors were so disgusted with Australian Customs that they would not be willing to go back.

  4. To bad there is no border to cross glandestinely. That would turn them on there ear.

  5. Daaaam! On the one hand, a real stinker that you were not with your lovely wife for the experience in OZ. On the other hand, time for battle stations against Expedia and Quantas, become such a royal pain in their keisters that all 1224 animacules of death they have down under will be preferable to them as bed mates and they refund all your hard earned cash.

    Things have really changed over yonder, have been in and out of that place (all major cities and some minor) between 1971 and 2000. It used to be a fun, and “can do” kind of place (well, aside from the union ponces). Looks like OZ and Kiwiland are off the list of retirement destinations to visit.

    SWMBO retires in 208 days, after which it will be Ireland and the UK in early spring 2023. Hope to see you there.

  6. The more I see about what Australia has become, the more happy I am I didn’t pursue the plans I had 15 years ago to emigrate to the country.
    At the time I already ran into their bureaucracy and rules, which made trying to get a residence and work permit horribly convoluted and expensive even for people with higher education looking for work that they had a shortage of people for at the time.

    1. I’m here as part of a 10 year life plan (wife is Australian, grandkids here) and I’ll be honest, I can’t find a single positive. The much touted “free” healthcare has 12 hour waits for an ambulance patient to be admitted, 1 to 2 YEARS for routine surgery. 5.5 million, in an area the size of the Midwest PLUS the east coast, but not the south. That shit doesn’t scale. Luckily I only have to work occasionally because these are the laziest scum I’ve ever seen. And I’ve worked in LA.

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