A new beginning

November 9, 2006

Welcome to Canada

Filed under: What a load of blog — pauldo @ 7:24 am

This week sees me widely travelled. Well, to be fair it was only a few footsteps out of Canada really. My expedition was a drive down to the border with my parter to collect our permits. When we arrived we presented ourselves to an immigration officer who smiled and said “in order for me to help you today, you need to be seeking entry to Canada” and pointed us in the direction of US border some 100 yards away. Yes, that’s right, in order for me to collect my student permit we had to physically walk across the border and come back again – how funny is that?

Dutifully, we walked out of the office through the line-ups of cars awaiting inspection and into a dreary customs office in America – a stroll of 30 seconds tops. I really do think you can tell the difference, even walking that short distance you feel entirely in another domain.

The rather tired picture of her madg’ on the Canadian Immigration side is replaced by signs saying “switch off your mobile phones”. The friendly rather human Canadian officers replaced by severe military-esque style officers on the US side (go figure). The US Immigration Official raised her eyebrows and sent us on our way with a piece of paper that apparently meant we’d crossed over into America.

So back we went to the same officer in Canada. This time there’s lots of looking at the computer screen, flicking through passports, long pregnant pauses and lots of eye contact – see who blinks first. This seems to go on for a good while. A good opportunity to check out the picture of our Liz again.

Did you know her official title in Canada is ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith’?. The things you learn when you’re staring at a wall – Yawn!

So, she’s Queen of Canada and Queen of England. We have the same Queen. Yet as a Brit there are huge complexities in coming to Canada to live, work and study – oh and we have to resit our driving test again, did I tell you that? Oh yeh, I did. I’m sure Her Majesty wouldn’t have half as much trouble getting in.

After a bit more rustling of paper (I’m sure the Officer is just MSNing her mates at the other desk), we were called back. Paper spills out of an antiquated dot matrix printer, passports stamped, permits stapled and there you go, “enjoy yourselves” she said. I’m sure we wouldn’t have got the same response from American Immigration eh!

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1 Comment »

  1. Excellent web formatting.

    I was recently crossing into the US with my mother, (a senior), my daughter-in-law, and infant grand-daughter. We were the subject of a random interrogation and search of our vehicle. I swear if the US border guard had asked me one more time if I was sure I had no, and I kid you not, “weapons of mass destruction or nuclear war heads” in my car I was going to pee my pants laughing. They do not like laughter.

    Comment by Sheena — November 13, 2006 @ 11:24 pm


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