Well, I finally got to visit another Country! Canada. I have always wondered why drivers complain about going there, and now I know why. Getting INTO the Country is not so bad…just be sure to have all your ducks in a row regarding your paperwork, but getting OUT is another story. I lost three hours waiting for paperwork to be faxed back to me at our company’s sister terminal in Kichener. I found the whole process to be extremely stressful. Hopefully, I’ll get better at the myriad of details and paperwork, and in time, become a seasoned traveler in and out of the Country.
The traffic in Canada rivals that of New Jersey at rush hour, and because they have so many people and not enough roads, you have traffic all of the time. Finding a safe haven to shut down at is also a challenge. I finally found a space, made my own parking spot, at the third place I went to, a Husky gas station. Everything is “Husky” up there. Everything is run by Middle Eastern people, and although they are polite for the most part, I found their accents difficult to understand. And just like in the States, the drivers like to shut down fairly early, around dinnertime, or 5 to 6 pm.
The highlight of my first trip was when I was sitting at the border, getting ready to cross back into the States. The woman manning the booth took all of my paperwork, and as required, starting hammering me with questions. “Do you have anyone else in the truck with you”? “Have you ever been fingerprinted”? “Are you carrying any weapons”? And the one question that really stumped me was “Fish and Chips”? In order to hear the woman better, I had turned off my truck, but there was plenty of engines rumbling around me, many trucks were lined up, everyone eager to get out of Canada and work their way home. So, I asked her to repeat the question, again, she says, “Fish and Chips”? Now, I’m confused, and don’t know what to say. I give her the deer in the headlights stare, and repeated her question back to her….at that point, she burst out into laughter. She said, “I said ‘Citizenship’?” I practically doubled over from laughing so hard! I remembered a funny story from years ago when my Mom had discovered a brand new grocery market, so I shared it with the border lady. We lived in Linden, NJ at the time, and Mom was so enthused about this sparkling clean market that she came home all excited and was telling Dad all about it. Then she said, “The name of the store is “Shop and Save”. At that point, my Dad suddenly stopped in the middle of what he was doing, threw his hands up and bellowed, “You went to SOUTH PASSIAC”???? (South Passaic was quite a haul from Linden, NJ, at least an hour and a half’s drive). Mom started cracking up, and she leaned close into Dad’s face, and with exaggerated lip movements, she enunciated, “I said Shop and Save, Louie”. Dad visibly relieved said, “Oh, OK”. It became a hilarious inside joke from that point on, that when someone didn’t clearly hear something, we would just roll our eyes and say, “South Passaic”. Now, the border patrol lady and I are laughing even harder, and we wound up chatting like old friends for a few more minutes.
I’m hoping that if I get that border lady again, she will remember me and say, “Fish and Chips”? Whereas I will declare, “I’m American”!