How Not to Cross the Border to Canada
There I was: feet out the window flying through the mountains, past rivers and forest. This was the most north a true southern girl had ever been, on my way to Canada for the first time. Running on about 10 collective hours of sleep in the past three days, I raced toward the border for my first international music festival. I had wanted to attend Shambhala Music Festival for a few years now and was excited to see how our neighbors partied in Canada. Living in Texas and being an avid road tripper, I’ve already had my fair share of Border Patrol encounters. I was pretty confident going into Canada was going to be a breeze. Little did I know that the universe had a few roadblocks planned.
The border approached a little faster than we anticipated. It seemed we were suddenly there. I was traveling with two friends, one of whom had crossed the border many times and had us all a little anxious about the Canadian border patrol. We chatted with a uniformed man, as drug dog circled the car a few times; the official eventually said that we were free to proceed. With stunned looks we all cheered, a little disappointed they didn’t even look at our passports. We quickly realized that we had only made it across the American side, and still had to go through the Canadian checkpoint.
Being eager beavers, we ignored the big stop sign in front of the Canadian side, and had to back up and wait for further instructions. We pulled up to talk to the Canadian Official and immediately I couldn’t help but to notice that the border guy was extremely attractive. He politely asks us where we are headed and for our passports, which we fork over.
Since I had been traveling across country I had put an emergency 100-dollar bill in the flap of my passport protector. I unknowingly handed an officer of the law a hundred dollar bill. Needless to say he was highly suspicious and quite offended. I quickly apologized and attempted to explain that I had kept that there in case of an emergency like loosing my wallet or something unexpected were to happen. After seeing that I was sincere, he handed me back the money with a stern look on his facing, stating that in the future it’s not the best idea to accidentally try and bribe law enforcement.
“Now that we are off to a great start,” the officer stated, “Do any of you have any types of weapons, like firearms, or a taser?”
Now being a true Texan and a female driving across the country, I of course brought along my father’s heavy-duty dog stun stick taser. It wasn’t as though I thought anything bad was going to happen on the road; I just felt a little safer with it in the driver’s side door. Little did I know that tasers are highly illegal in Canada, even more so than guns. The look on the officer’s face when I handed him my ginormous taser was priceless. His eye’s bugged out of his head and he even jumped back a little as his fellow border patrol officer behind him tried not the burst out laughing. I gave him a sweet and innocent smile, as I coyly said that the taser was for protection and I didn’t care if they confiscated it. He runs our passport background checks and directs us to pull over so they can search our car.
Unfortunately our car is jam packed to the brim with camping gear, blankets, clothes, etc. The officer asks us if we have any illegal contraband in our car – anything at all we could have forgotten about. We replied we had absolutely positively nothing we weren’t supposed to have on board. Then the officer asks if we have anything sharp: a knife or needles that they could be harmed with while searching through our bags. I have a somewhat progressive doctor in Texas that prescribed me vitamin b12 shots for energy, so naturally I brought them along on my road trip to stay up on my health game. Sheepishly I answer that I have B12 shots in my suitcase and ask if he wants me to get them out for him. It is at this moment, both officers completely loose it.
They start cracking up, exchanging looks with each other that seem to question who the hell is this crazy little girl from Texas, and why the hell does she think that she can bring all this crazy stuff to a foreign country? Having never seen anything like B12 shots before, the officers begin to question me about them, more out of curiosity than concern for safety.
They began to search our bags pulling out gorilla suits, purple wigs, a bag filled entirely with tiny magic rubber chickens; we asked them if we are the weirdest people they have ever checked. They replied with a laugh stating we weren’t even close. By now all the damage is done, so I figure that if I could just keep them laughing and talking there might still be a shot that they let me in their country.
After searching the entire car high and low, the officer takes a deep breathe and says, “I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.” And then he paused for what seemed like an hour. This is it I’ve completely screwed up; I didn’t come all this way to get sent back to America!
“The good news” he said, “is that you guys get to go to Canada. The bad news, however; is that I left your car in shambles while I was searching it.” Relieved I jumped for joy, thanking the handsome officers for letting this crazy little girl from Texas in! He informed me that he was going to have to confiscate my taser, which by that point I was fine with parting with.
The festival was amazing. The eight-hour drive through British Columbia was the most beautiful drive of my life. As our Canadian adventure began to come to an end, I was curious if I was going to have as much trouble getting back into America. Ironically we rolled up to the border, the US officer looked at our passports asks if we are hiding any people in our car, if we have any drugs or if we have any marijuana. We quickly respond no to all three. He laughed, rolled his eyes and said “Well everyone else seems to have marijuana today,” and waves us through. Welcome back to America.