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The New U.S. Embassy in Vientiane
Andy Canfield
Information Management Systems

The New U.S. Embassy in Vientiane

On Monday morning, April 20, 2015, I visited the new United States embassy just outside Vientiane, Laos. It was a horrible experience.

All the doors are marked with big yellow round stickers saying "CAUTION", "AUTOMATIC", "DOOR". To my mind an "automatic door" is one which opens automatically. These doors do not open automatically. Some of them have to be manually unlocked by a guard hiding in a bullet-proof enclosure; others are unlocked permanently. But none of them open automatically. They are not "automatic doors". So the United States government is lying to me. Not a good start.

I walk in and they take my phone from me and give me a number with which I can reclaim it when I come out. Then I walk into the back building and tell them that my passport is full, so I want new pages put into my passport. So they give me a form to fill out. If we can ever find a virus that attacks paper, every government in the world will collapse. Halfway down the page they ask for the name and address and phone number of someone to notify in case of emergency. I don't know his address. But I think I can spell his name, and I certainly have his phone number. On my phone, which they took away from me when I came in here. Argh!

But of course the U.S. Embassy wanted money. I had money. I had tens of thousands of Thai Baht in my pocket. Would they take it? No. I got my choice - U.S. Dollars (the devil's currency) or Lao Kip (the local currency). So I had to go all the way out, find my taxi again, and have him drive me to a currency exchange place. Then I got some Lao Kip and turned around and when back into the U.S. Embassy. Well, it wasn't enough money. So I had to go all the way out again, and have my taxi drive me to another bank where I could change more money (Thai Baht to Lao Kip). Then I went back to the U.S. Embassy. This time I had enough.

It is a nice new building. While outside the U.S. Embassy I took a picture of the big sign they have there saying that it is the Embassy of the United States of America. I took a picture from the road that passes in front of the embassy. OH! What a horrible thing to do! The guards came running out! That is not allowed! You are not allowed to take a picture of the United States Embassy. I pointout that the road is Lao territory, and that Laos is a sovereign country. I may have used the phrase "Fuck you". Maybe I used it ten times. But no matter. They called inside the Embassy for some big shot to come out. Meanwhile I erased flipped a coin and erased the picture. So when they told me, again, to erase the picture, I told them I had erased it already. That gave them another quandary. I offered to hand them the tablet (camera), but they said they are not allowed to touch my tablet. They wanted to see the picture, and to watch me delete it. Of course I could not, because I had already deleted it. Eventually they gave up harassing me and let me go.

So the next day, as we were driving past the U.S. Embassy on our way to Thailand, I turned on my tablet's video camera and caught a video of the new U.S. Embassy.

To all of us around the world: I think the world is safe from Uncle Sam. In my humble opinion, those idiots couldn't invade Pittsburg.

To the US NSA: Fuck you.