The burden of leaving my home and the wearying "show down" with U.S. Customs fell off me, as we headed north from Seattle to Vancouver.
Tonight we would be sleeping in a safe haven at the home of Canadian friends. The sky was bluer and I’d like the say that the grass was greener, but we were still on motorways. For the first time in days I felt free.
On reaching open country I leaned out the Land Rover window and sucked in great gusts of crisp spring air. Hundreds of trees were bursting into blossom, a weird sight from the autumn we had just left in New Zealand. While this made me feel I was in a parallel universe (in a galaxy far, far away), I didn’t care. I was very happy.
We swung into Canadian Customs with high enthusiasm. We got a few questions about where we were going and how long it would take. Then, they asked to see our drivers’ licences and our on-going air tickets. I groaned inwardly at this. Thinking that we wouldn’t need the tickets for two months, we had packed them in a safe place in a bottom storage locker of the Land Rover. Now, we would have to unpack everything to get at them.
TH showed them his driver’s licence first, which was snuggled up next to his gold credit card in his wallet. The Customs Officer spied the gold card. These are very common in New Zealand but, as we soon learned, rather rare in Canada at that time.
"Is that a GOLD credit card, Sir?"
"May I see it, Sir?"
TH handed it over. It has his photo, as well as his signature on it.
Careful comparisons were made with his passport photo and signature.
I was rather nervous at this sudden focus on credit cards, and I stopped hauling our possessions out of the back of the Land Rover. I pretended to fiddle with a latch, while I covertly studied the Customs Officer’s body language. He was concentrating on the comparison job. I tried to "read" whether his actions were simply professional or something more sinister.
He suddenly beamed at TH, "That all seems to be in order, Sir. With one of these cards, I know you will be able to fund your trip. You may proceed".
Well, how about that? It was a huge and pleasant surprise. TH slung the few things I had dragged out of the Land Rover back into place. We both grinned at the Officer, and sailed out of there as fast as an old Land Rover could.
The man actually saluted us.
© Eventful Woman, 2005
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