Thursday, May 16, 2024

Welcome to Canada?!

 International Avenue, Calais, ME/St. Stephen, NB, CA - May 16, 2024

EJ and I had been awaiting this day with excitement and a little trepidation. Crossing the border into another country is always somewhat worrisome. No, no, not the "breaking the law" kind of worrisome, but more like "what if they take our vegetables" kind of worrisome.

Knowing that everything was going to be more expensive in Canada and that we probably wouldn't be able to find our favorite items and brands, we had been stocking up. Crackers, soups, meats, Atkins, breakfast bars, cat food, soda pop and so on. Miss Mosey was busting at the seams we were carrying so much stuff. We had grocery bags full of groceries stuffed everywhere. You would have thought we were heading into the wilderness and had to be self sufficient for the duration.

Reading the CBSA(Canada Border Service Agency) website was not a whole lot of help as it mostly addressed information generically rather than specifically. Was raw meat acceptable or did it have to be cooked or otherwise processed? Were vegetables ok? Did they have to be in their original packaging? Did they have to be cooked? It got quite confusing.

We also travel with some items unacceptable to the Canadian government so they couldn't come with us. Accommodations were procured for the duration of our visit and we'll will pick them up on our way back through the area.

 We think we have everything under control. We have fueled up Miss Mosey and Pearl with cheap (hah!) USA diesel and gas. Propane is topped off. We are carrying extra water, I swear we are going on an African Safari.  Our liquor cabinet and beer storage are next to bare because 1.14 litres of alcohol person, or 24 cans of beer per person are the limits allowed into Canada. I guess they are afraid we are going to bootleg booze into their country.

I look at my last store display of stouts and porters. (I know where I'm stopping when we get back.)

EJ has done a great job of getting us organized to cross the border. Passports, insurance papers, vehicle registration, vaccination records for Gabby, our cat, and put it all in one convenient folder so we don't have to scramble trying to find documents at the last moment.

So we get to the Canadian border and all they want is our license plate number and passports. No drivers license, no registration, nothing. Then they ask a bunch of questions. Are you carrying more than $10,000 Canadian? (No). Are you carrying firearms? (No). How much liquor do you have? (We told them how many beers we had and how many litres of booze we had left.) All the while the agent was very chatty and pleasant. Then he hands us a yellow form, tells us to pull over, and go in the building. No reason. Had we broken some law?

On our way to the building we meet two agents coming out. We give them the yellow form and they explain they are going to search Miss Mosey and Pearl. Were we hiding anything that might injure them as they are searching? Well, we have a cat on board, but we don't think she'll hurt you. They ask us to put out the slides so they can have access to all the drawers and cabinets. In anticipation of a search we had previously unlocked all the compartment doors and Pearl too.

We were not allowed in Miss Mosey while they searched but we were welcome to stand outside in the blazing sun, or we could go in the building where there were hard wooden benches we could sit on. Talk about feeling helpless. Strangers are ransacking our home and there is nothing we could do about it. Wait a minute, we were just kidding. We don't really want to go to Canada. Just let us turn around and we're outta here! But all we could do is wait.

So off we trudged to the "holding room", err, "waiting room". We had a clear view of Miss Mosey. We couldn't see inside, but we could see the driver's side and Pearl. During our detention we could see that they searched Pearl, but none of Miss Mosey's compartments. That was weird! We know we were on cameras while in the building. Did you ever realize how hard it is to not act guilty even if your not guilty? 

Somehow the agents snuck back in and called our name. We went to the desk to find out what our crimes were. Instead they handed back our passports and bid us a good day. EJ couldn't help herself and asked point blank, "What's the matter? Couldn't you find anything you wanted for lunch?"

They didn't arrest us, so we scurried off to Miss Mosey. Once there we found stuff everywhere. EJ is an excellent packer. She manages to fill the most tiny of spaces. Obviously the border agents did not have anywhere near her talents. So we spent time gathering stuff off the floors and counters and putting them back in their proper places. We even found the safe key laying on the counter in plain sight. EJ had had it hidden in her lingerie drawer. That ticked her off big time. Not only did they fondle her underwear, they made sure we knew they had been in our safe where we keep our important papers and spare cash.

We found cabinets in disarray, items in the refrigerator had been moved around. We are still finding things out of place.

So we ask ourselves, "What triggered the search?". Did we answer a question incorrectly? Was it because I hesitated when giving them Miss Mosey's license plate number? (It's a new plate whose number is not firmly imbedded in my brain yet). Was it because we both have Concealed Carry Licenses? Was it because we are from Florida which is an immensely conservative state? Was it because we were the only vehicle in line and they were bored and wanted something to do? I fear we will never know.

Obligatory cat picture follows:


No comments:

Post a Comment