Monday, February 28, 2005

Tale of a border crossing

There's much I have to say about the last week, but at the moment there's no time so I'll just tell a story.

A few weeks ago, as I mentioned, the McGill sailing team ventured on a skiing trip to Jay Peak in Vermont and then to Sutton in Quebec. We left early on a Saturday morning in two cars: one little suv with all the skis and then a van that carried most of us. I was in the van. At some point the two got seperated, and we in the van were left at the hands of Travis. Travis is a Montreal local and one of the fastest drivers I've ever had the terror of riding with. He wasn't driving today, but he gave directions - the shortcut sort.

Of course, we ended up in Nowhere, Quebec, near the border but not near a large border crossing (you know, the kind with armed guards and stop signs). Miraculously, we found a small two-lane that turned down into the States. Here's where my story comes in.

Approaching this border crossing, I knew it was something else. No signs, no announcements, no warnings or speed signs or concrete blocks. Just a simple country road, and there: a shack, a pickup truck, and a beat-up sign suggesting we stop by to announce our presence.

We pull over, and out steps a grizzly border official well into his seventies, wearing a United States Customs jacket and a Canadian Customs hat. He's just finished a donut.

"Well then, how long have ya been in the United States?" he asks as our driver Jeff rolls down his window.

"...uhh aren't we going into the States now?"

Border official's eyes dart quickly up the road in both directions.

"Mm. Right you are. My apologies... the Canadian guy didn't show up this morning. How long have you been in Canada?"

Removes Canada Customs hat, stuffs into back of pants.

"We're all students at McGill, going to ski at Jay peak. We're the McGill University Sailing Team."

"Sailors, eh? Much sailing these days?"

The rivers are frozen. "No. That's why we're going skiing."
I might remind you that there are no skis in the van.

"Alright, well.. How about you let me see your student IDs."

We pass them forward, and he looks at maybe four. Then he takes another long look at our van.

"Didn't I see you guys come through here half an hour ago? Could've sworn you were going into America. Didn't stop. Goin' real fast."

"No sir, we haven't been here before."

"Ah well alright. On your way. Good luck."

And that is how Vermont does Border Crossings.


Blogger Lily said...

Wow, that is just too scary - an official acting completely unofficially. At least he didn't give you too much trouble. Have fun skiing :)

3/04/2005 7:32 PM  
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10/02/2005 7:55 PM  

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