This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (http://rbmartiniv.smugmug.com).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Welcome to Canada!

Canada – Day 1

We crossed the border into Canada today.  We had read the rules on exactly what, and how much of it, one was allowed to bring into Canada.  There are three main things to be concerned about.  (1) Firearms, (2) Tobacco, and (3) Alcohol.  Canada is really anal when it comes to firearms.  They don’t like guns and don’t allow them to be brought into Canada by the average citizen.  Shotguns and rifles may be brought into Canada in a very few circumstances (mainly for hunting), but ABSOLUTELY NO HANDGUNS!  I know a person who tried to sneak a handgun into Canada a year or two ago.  He was caught, the gun confiscated, and he received a hefty fine.  I imagine that his name is also on some kind of list that will guarantee him extra special attention the next time he goes to Canada.

Carol Ann and I had no firearms or tobacco in the coach when we arrived at the border but, as mentioned earlier, we were over the limit for alcohol.  If asked if we had anything to declare and we responded in the negative we would be in big trouble if they decided to check.  However, if we declared the alcohol up front we could be charged a hefty duty for being over the limit.  If directly asked we planned to answer truthfully as lying to customs and immigration authorities is not a good idea.

The tour leader told us that the most likely questions posed to us would concern (1) Your citizenship?  (2) Why are you coming to Canada?  (3) How long will you be in Canada?  (4) Do you have any firearms?  (5) Do you have any tobacco?  (6) Do you have any alcohol?  (7) Do you have anything you wish to declare?  We were somewhat anxious and so we practiced with these questions and how we would answer them.  You can’t help but be a little bit nervous when being questioned by the customs and immigration people.  It’s natural.

Here is what I was afraid would happen:

(Border Agent):  “Welcome to Canada.  What is your citizenship?”
(Me):  “You are welcome.  We are from Texas.”
(BA):  “Sir.  Please turn down the volume on your radio. 
(Me):  “Sorry ‘bout that.  I just like my hip-hop and rap music loud.”
(BA):  “Thank you.  Now, of what country are you a citizen?”
(Me):  “America.”
(BA):  “So, you are a US Citizen?”
(Me):  “That’s a fact, Jack!  Born and bred right in the land of the free!”
(BA):  “Why are you visiting Canada?  Business or pleasure?”
(Me):  “I’m hoping to have a most pleasurable sojourn in your very nice country, sir.”
(BA):  “How long do you plan to be in Canada?”
(Me):  “Depends on how long the money lasts!  Ha!  That’s a joke.  47 days.”
(BA):  “Do you have any firearms?”
(Me):  “Shoot, I reckon!”
(BA):  “In the vehicle?”
(Me):  “Well, you didn’t ask if I had them with me.  No, I left all eleven of them back in Texas.”
(BA):  “Sir.  Do you have any firearms in your vehicle?”
(Me):  “Which vehicle?  The motorhome or the car we are towing?”
(BA):  “Do you have firearms in either one of the vehicles?”
(Me):  “Well, let’s see.  No sir.  I believe I left all of them back home in Texas”
(BA):  “Are you sure that you don’t have any firearms in your vehicle?”
(Me):  “Now, would I lie to you, sir?”
(BA):  “Sir.  Pull your motorhome over into that parking area behind the barbed wire fence.  HEY, AGENT BRICK!  BRING THE DOG, THE PRY BAR, AND THE X-RAY MACHINE TO THE SECONDARY INSPECTION AREA!”

And it could only get worse from that point on.  Instead, this is what actually occurred:

(BA):  “Welcome to Canada!  It’s a beautiful day.”
(Me):  “Thank you sir.  Here are our passports, pet certificates, and insurance papers.”
(BA):  “I see you brought your babies with you.”
(Me):  “Yes sir.  Three cats.”
(BA):  “What is the license plate number of your vehicle?”
(Me):  “Which vehicle?  The motorhome or the car we are towing?”
(BA):  “The motorhome.”
(Me):  “Oh, that would be UGA…. er, Carol Ann, what is our tag number?”
(CA):  “UGA 67.”
(Me):  “Yes.  UGA 67.  University of Georgia.  No, I didn’t mean that it was a Georgia tag.  It’s a Texas tag but I’m a University of Georgia alumnus alumnae alumni graduate.”
(BA):  Smiling as he handed back my documents, “You have a good day sir.”

And that was it.  I sure am glad we didn’t pour out any of the alcohol before getting to the border!  Plus, I was sure that we would be strip searched for handguns because we were from Texas!  All of that worrying for nothing.  We crossed over into Canada and continued on our way to St. Andrews where we are camped in the Kiwanis RV Park, right on the water.

2 comments :

Croft Randle said...

Darn, we usually welcome our visitors with an intimate inspection using an extra large rubber glove. I guess your guy didn't get the memo.

I hope you gassed up before crossing the border. Welcome to the land of $5 + per gallon gas.

Really, welcome to Canada!

Robert & Carol Ann Martin said...

Yep, fueled up about 10 miles from the border. At least 2 of the other RVs got a different border guy (younger) and came close to the rubber glove scenario and had to pay duty on the extra alcohol.