Sunday, 5 February 2012

I write this as Jennie drives our over burdened van, Cindy, along the Columbia river in Oregon on a cloudless and vividly light night. I know what your thinking, Dave how could you name your van? Well we felt Cindy has a large load to carry and so requires a name. Plus she has a blue stripe across her side (kinda like a blue ribbon), so she might be a hog, bit she's best in show.

Our day started off well, we got up around 5, took our time getting ready and drove off to the border. We had our last Tim Horton's coffee, and were in the line up. We pulled up and explained our situation, and were told to pull over and head inside. This was not the biggest suprise, a couple young people with a sketchy old van full of their belongings. We headed inside.

Jennie and I go through the story, then we need to prove everything. We pulled out boat registration,  electrical and phone bills, our bill of sale for the van, even our mortgage contract. Good thing we had those, because the officer explained that the burden of proof was upon us. What were we guilty of? Buying american, I thought that was the US slogan.

Next on the docket was for two of them to pull apart all the small nooks and crannies of the van, but only the front seats. They didn't even open the back doors. Upon later inspection they broke a bunch of stuff on poor Cindy.

All was well; Jennie, Dexter, me and all our belongings could enter the US. The explanation for requiring so much documentation, straight up, "we don't want you coming into the US and stealing jobs." I almost asked him, "What jobs?" but thought better.

All was good but for one thing, the van. We planned on selling it for a few hundred bucks down there, but if we told them that they would refuse us entry. We told them we would give it away or send it to a scrap yard. Supervision was required on this decision. It took them one hour to allow us in, and another hour to tell us the van wasn't allowed. The original border guard and supervisor had gone home and we were passed along in the mean time. They drove the van around so that we had to leave the US,  came in and refused... The van entry.

Out of my mouth came, "Are you fucking kidding me (sigh) well is there anything we can do, drive it back out of the US and scrap it? We can order a one way return flight right now as proof."

The answer, "No you'll have to come back again, perhaps rent a car."

"That's gonna cost us $5000, no way. There has to be something else. Can't we just scrap it in Florida and get a permit?"

"One sec," as the border guard walks back to his superior. He comes back and says "So you want to scrap it?"

"Yes!"

"I guess it's your lucky day, heres a form to give to the scrap yard."

We had had explained this intent 2 hours prior to no avail. At least we didn't get cavity searched as I joked about in an earlier post, but almost!

All this protectionism is a first class ticket to a third world economy. We just wanted to head down to our boat in Florida and spend a little money along the way. But little did we know we left our jobs and bought a boat to steal all the non existent jobs in the US and dump a crappy van in a ditch. I gotta say Jennie and I felt so unwelcome in the US, we will probably sail to the Bahamas ASAP. I mean go to the US steal jobs, we can do that from Canada.

1 comment:

Hilary said...

Loving your blog! Just having a chance to catch up. I can only imagine your stress at the US border. Guess what...18 months later and STILL NO JOBS to be plundered. I spent 2 years in Costa Rica and had a child there...my most stressful, unpleasant and acrimonious dealings were with my own embassy.

One of your postings had a line that really hit home.
"So for those of you who are asking (either to yourself or to me) why sailing and why go so far? I say to you; why not sailing? And is it really that far?" Fantastic! I'm facing the same BS attitude every day. I may quote you. :) I'll keep reading! We just bought our first boat (we love her and think she's pretty...she needs much more work than yours) and plan to start sailing sometime in 2015 or 2016.