Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Three Minutes

Today I took a day out of my life and travelled 2000 kilometres for my biometric appointment at the British Consulate in Melbourne.  I’ve made the journey between Adelaide and Melbourne by both air and road on many occasions, however it’s the first time I have used the ‘Sky Bus” between Melbourne airport and Southern Cross Railway Station in the CBD.  There is nothing “Sky” about the bus, however it is quick.  No seniors discount on the fare as they wouldn’t accept my South Australian card.  One wonders why my South Australian card is accepted in the UK but not the State next to my own…. and we’re the same darned country!

The consulate office is about 1.5km from the railways station so I could either walk or take the tram.  The temperature was in the low 30’s so I decided to walk the distance.

The route was slightly uphill and I have a tendency to walk at a fast pace.  As a result I arrived at the consulate 5 minutes early for my appointment but with my shirt stuck to my back.

Mine was the first name called when the “booths” opened after lunch at 1.30pm.  I was asked for my appointment document, visa application and passport.  I assume the latter was to confirm I was the person providing the biometric details.  Next I had to place each hand in turn on the optical scanner to have my fingerprints recorded.  This was followed by my photo being taken. 

The whole thing took less than 3 minutes. 

Whilst walking back to the railway station I managed to take a couple of quick photo’s of the Melbourne CBD.

This is the Rialto Building on Collins Street.  It’s a hotel which I’ve previously stayed at.  I was informed the gap between the two buildings used to be where the horse drawn stage coaches pulled in to a central courtyard.  The courtyard is now an atrium and contains the hotel restaurant.

Another quick photo whilst I was walking along.  The centre of the street is taken up with a tram stop and the vehicle lane in the middle of the photo is the only means motor vehicles have of navigating up and down the street.  Most of the other Australian State capital cities tore up their tram system years ago.  Melbourne is now almost unique in having retained their system. However Adelaide is now starting to install a new light rail network.

Not all the trams are new

I’ve just counted the cost of the trip.  Apart from taking up a day it cost us nearly $350.  All for three minutes.

Now I must send my visa application to the British High Commission in Canberra for processing and; hopefully; approval!

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