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 homeaffairs.gov.au — 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.