As a spin-off of my last post, here's an interesting habit that I developed due to my travels. I can now rate how easy/hard it is to get into a country (i.e. the immigration part). So on a scale of 1 to 10, here goes:
The Swiss (1/10)
They don't even look at my passport, they just look at my residency card and let me go, one of the few countries in the world that doesn't even stamp my passport. Me likey.
The Schiengen States (Germany, France, Italy ..etc) (3/10)
They usually ask one question: How long are you planing to stay? I always like to confuse them by answering: I'm leaving next Thursday. I then pause and watch the officer trying to do some quick math to understand how many days is Thursday from today. It's very entertaining.
The Americans (6/10)
Very detailed, lots of questions: Why are you here, how long, where are you staying...etc. They are however very professional and the whole process takes under 3 minutes. I don't joke there, not after 9-11.
The Polish (9/10)
The mother of them all, basically I live and work there but still anytime I am entering OR exiting Poland I go thru a 10-minute process. This is how it usually goes: after the initial exchange of documents and Good Mornings, the immigration officer would then type in EVERY single detail of my passport and residency card into the Communist-era computer system. Then comes the dreaded 7-minutes of awkward silence, during that time the immigration officer would be mindlessly tapping on the keyboard until the Orwellian Central System would blurp an ACCEPTED or REJECTED on the screen. I haven't seen the screen but I'm assuming they'd go with the cliche big red/green bold letters.
Initially (the first dozen or so times) I was extremely annoyed by this wait, but later I started to appreciate this wait, it started to be my own little time where I meditate. It's as close to an Out of Body experience as I have ever gotten. Every single time I am waiting I am imaging the different scenarios of how I'm gonna go koko on the one immigration officer's ass who's going to make the fatal mistake of stopping me from passing based on a glitch in this crappy Communist-era system. Oh I pity that fool.