Took my boy to the USA embassy, waiting out front for wife and daughter.
Told I can't wait in front of the embassy, have to wait down on the sidewalk.
Wife and daughter show up, we proceed to the first security check.
Leave my food and drink in the cooler outside. Oh it's for the kids? Fine to keep it then. Sure, that makes sense...
Security Guard: Appointment letter please.
Me: I made my reservations online. I have an appointment #.
SG: Number? Can't do anything with that...you have a letter?
Me: No I don't have a letter. Online. You know, computer?
SG: Oh, so show me the confirmation screen.
Me: Confirmation screen?
I pull out my phone and check the US Embassy Consulate website, frantically searching for a confirmation screen...there isn't one.
There's a CANCEL APPOINTMENT button...so, I can cancel my appointment to prove that I have an appointment?
Finally after 10 minutes of haggling with the guard that I don't have a letter, I have an appointment reservation number, and there is "confirmation screen" on the website...finally the guard asks for my name. I give him my name.
He looks on his list.
There is my name.
That. Was. Complicated.
Now we are thoroughly 20 minutes late.
Security check #2.
Go inside, empty pockets, turn off and hand over all cell phones because...uh...terrorists?
Laptop out, hand it over.
Go through metal detector.
Wallet has metal zipper.
Go through again.
Ooh, this bag has all kinds of cables in it, and a flashlight!
What are all these cables? Power cables for the laptop maybe?
Too complicated, check the whole bag.
Never mind the snacks and drinks for the kids.
Rush into the embassy building, nearly half an hour late for first appointment.
Security check #3.
Show passports. Check wallet again. Kid's backpack. Yes, empty thermos bottle.
Wait for green light to go on and then pull open door...
Security Guard, I am not making this up, is standing in front of the video camera frantically waving his arms, shouting "open the door, let them in!"
He gets on the phone with someone.
He tells us to wait for the green light.
Finally the light goes on and we can enter the embassy.
Yes, my tax dollars at work, keeping my embassy safe from...pissed off mixed families with children who want to renew their stupid USA passports.