Monday, June 22, 2015

Oh, Canada!

Being that I was only 25 miles from the Canadian border, I, for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to go into Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, for the day.

The traffic was moving pretty smoothly, so I didn't think it would be a long wait at the border to get our passports checked.

Ooops, I was wrong.  It was about a 25 minute wait (not horrible).

We were up next ...

... our U.S. Passports ready!

Well, that went horribly wrong.  The guy was nice and asked all kinds of questions (he had a cute little French accent!).  Why are you here?  Where did you come from?  Where'd you get this car?  Blah blah blah.  Things were going smoothly and he asked if we had weapons.  I said, of course not.  He asked if we had been drinking!  Definitely, of course not - it was 10:00 a.m. and I don't drink at all!  Then... oh, then, it came.  He asked if we had pepper spray.  I confessed and sang like a canary that I, indeed, had pepper spray in my console.  He said leave it in there; it was illegal in Canada and we would have to pull up and go into the big-house for further questioning.  We go into the big-house and they gave me 2 choices:  1) go home to the U.S. (after waiting in that long line to get into Canada); 2) Hand over the contraband, i.e., the illegal pepper spray.  I chose to hand it over, and there went my $10 pepper spray.  I am now defenseless against bears and buffalo in Yellowstone National Park (which is why I had the pepper spray).

After that little fiasco, things went smoothly.

So, this is the conversation in my car when I see this sign.
DUMB [me]:  "Look, we can go 100 miles an hour!"
DUMBEST [my friend]:  NO!  You dope!  It's not miles, it's kilowatts!"
Kilowatts, really?!

I was shocked to see how many sky-scrapers there were in Vancouver.

Coming into the city.

I love how their buses run on the electrical wire.

Vancouver is like any other big city - overcrowded and lacking in affordable parking!

Not sure why this person has the American flag upside down.

I guess weed is legal here for medical purposes; this was a dispensary.

Gas:  One hundred and thirty-nine dollars a gallon.  How nice.

Ha ha ha.

Nice view of the mountains.

This place is along the freeway; not sure what it is.

We had a nice lunch in downtown Vancouver, then drove around for a while looking at the city.  There were some beautiful homes, and I understand that this is a very expensive city.  The style of homes were everything from Craftsman to Victorian to Mid-Century Modern.

Beautiful, just built condos.  Very nice.

After spending the day in Canada, we headed back to the good old U.S. of A.!

This is a nice park that sits half in the United States and half in Canada.  You pass it coming into Canada on I-5, and you pass it leaving Canada.  It's a beautiful park.

Crossing back into the United States was almost as painful as going into Canada.  We handed over our passports, and the US Border Guard told me to remove my sunglasses (I was in the passenger seat), which I quickly did.  He was questioning my friend about why we went to Canada, where we got the car, blah blah blah.  We were there about 5 minutes, and I put my sunglasses back on (the sun was bright!).  He BARKED at me, "I told you to remove the sunglasses and if I have to tell you again, I will take you inside and this will take 4 hours, not 4 minutes."  OUCH!!   I quickly removed them again, and kept my mouth shut (something I don't normally do).  Not a very nice way to be welcomed back into MY own country.  I know their job is hard, but it was really unnecessary.  Then he said, "Welcome back to the US girls."  Ugh.

As much as I love travelling, I have little desire to leave my own country.  There, really, is no place like home (once you get past those border guards).

Washington State is so beautiful, I don't know why anyone would ever want to leave it!