Well our journey through the paper war continues...
The pre-paper work with regard to the American Visa's was VERY time consuming. I won't go into all the boring details but I don't think there is anything that the American's don't know about us ;). Ok I suppose they don't know the colour of our toothbrush!! Albert did most of the pre-visa paperwork online thankfully. It took him a whole Saturday as he had to answer questions for all of us. I'm sure that he knew the questions back to front by the time he had finished with Zara's.
After all the paperwork was completed (almost all done online) and we parted with a LOT of money, we booked an appointment with the American Consulate in Auckland. I arranged the Babysit (thanks heaps Papa and Mama!), Albert took time off work, researched a cheap place to stay in central Auckland (which was donated, you know who you are, thank you!) and borrowed a car (thanks Peter!). Our trip was set.
Our appointment was at 8am on a Friday morning and so we decided to travel through the night on Thursday in order to get to Auckland in time for our appointment. Albert and I took turns driving (thanks to his navigator phone app.) and we were thankful to arrive in Auckland safely (about a 6 hour straight drive) and in plenty of time!
I foolishly had assumed (wrong assumption!!) that an 8am appointment meant exactly that, us and a staff member of the consulate. I was sooo wrong. We arrived early about 7.35am at building and there was a notice saying that the Consulate lift doesn't open until 7.45am. I then realised that all those people waiting in the foyer (about 20-30 people) were there for the same reason we were, the American Consulate! Once the lift opened, the people packed into the lift like sardines. We resisted the temptation to set a world record and waited for the next lift ;).
Once out of the lift, it was like stepping into customs at an airport, bags x-rayed, metal detectors and some waiting in line. We had expected quite an interview as we had been warned about some potential questions etc. The whole process was very painless and very pleasant. We were well prepared, had all the correct paperwork and followed their instructions to the letter.
Our interview consisted of about 4 questions with about three of those questions being a 'general' chat, one of the questions was "Are any of your girls sporty?" We were almost speechless at the ease of the whole process.
We left the building at 8.30am with the Visa's approved. A bit unreal really! What to do now? We did some shopping (as we couldn't get to our hotel until the afternoon) bought about 5 pair of Levi's (at the outlet shop) for about $70. (I needed a new pair of jeans and while I was trying on the very cheap jeans, the shop assistant showed Albert the $10 rack of jeans in his size!).
We took advantage of this day/night away to go out for lunch! We had enough Flybuys points for a lunch up the Sky Tower. WOW what a lunch, we were sooo spoiled and even better it didn't cost us a cent! (see photo's below).
Our trip back was pretty uneventful and after doing some visiting (on Saturday) including the Stoltes we arrived safely back home!
On a lunch date with my best friend!
Look at those views!
Albert at the viewing platform
The glass bottom of the lift, very scary going up, not too bad going down!