I've been thinking a bit about visas and the general difficulties recently - namely as I've had to put up with them myself!
I have this wonderful dream/wish (probably about as possible as a dream :) that visas weren't so much hassle to deal with. Coming from Europe, I've seen the Utopian setup of no-borders. You feel like flying somewhere? Sure, just jump on www.Ryanair.com, pay a couple of Euros and off you go. We've even got a single currency covering a load of countries (I'm showing my ignorance here by not knowing the exact number :)
But why has it gotten so hard now to move between other countries?! Having had to deal with visas for 6 different countries this year alone, it's amazing the paperwork and cash involved. O.k., so there's 'terrorist threats' etc. but considering they probably make up about 0.00001% of the world population, should they really cause as much problems for everyone else? Why can't we move around.
Interestingly, the easiest country I've accessed in the past year? Take a guess.....China. Yep, the supposedly Communist and locked-up country was by far the easiest to deal with. Just tell them your day of arrival, your day of departure, and they allocated you a visa that covered you for your stay with an additional 5-10 days either side. No proof of flight to leave the country, no stoopid question asking me "am I involved in terrorism?" (come on, do I even need to point out how ridiculous this question is? :), etc. And amusingly, I remember a similar discussion with HAP last year who described one of the most difficult countries for her to visit. Go on, take a guess once again.....Ireland. Yep, a US citizen found it easier to get into China (also for her) than to visit Ireland.
I know some countries have issues (take the States problems with illegal immigrants from Mexico as an example), but considering I live on the continent that started two World Wars and yet we all get along fine now and manage to share the wealth, is there not something that can be done?
So, long term wish/goal (more optimistic than a dream eh?): Countries without borders. I've had a look and I'm definitely made out of the same skin and bone as everyone else on the planet (who'd have thought?!), with a couple of variations on skin color, size, etc. We're all the same, and I really don't have much time for borders mainly due to a love of visiting different regions on the world - I don't look at it as 'countries' really. Think about it, the only real difference you see in some places is that it's a line drawn on a map - as demonstrated by us 'accidentally' crossing into Cambodia from Laos (we had crossed the river!).
Oh yeah, my short term wish (and what brought on this post): Australia to let me pass through the country next week without enabling my work visa. Their computer system is so restrictive that if I apply for a transit visa they cancel my work visa, and they can't cancel my work visa by phone as I applied for it online, and my holiday visa was canceled as I applied for a work visa - even though my work visa isn't officially valid for another two weeks. Whoever thought out this system, obviously didn't put too much thought into the idea of 'if I had to work this system, how would I feel?' (my criteria for everything in life, especially when I'm involved in a work project that involves other people).
anyway, that's my little wishlist for the day. What a wonderful world we live in! :)
Hope the sun is shining back in Ireland - I hear it's been pretty nasty the past while!