Thursday, July 03, 2008

Border Control

Mine Host, at one stage in his pre-pub days, lived in a country which had a land border. Canada was this country, the land border was shared with just one other country, the USA, and some 6,000km in length.

As far as security went, this border was very lightly serviced. This was in contrast to Mine Host's experience of many other land borders.

Persons who crossed this border did not go through any exit formalities, nor even an exit border post. The first one saw of the border was the entry post of the country being entered.

However, Mine Host had a crossing experience which possibly is not being replicated in this age of terrorists and other nasties.

The crossing from Detroit to Windsor is a big high bridge, umpteen lanes wide. The border post is on the bridge (about where one would expect to find a tollgate).

3:30 a.m. and the bridge is deserted. Mine Host, crossing by car from Detroit to Windsor, coasts in neutral up to the immigration booth. The Canadian immigration officer is inside the booth and reading an unseen newspaper/book.

"How long in the states?" grunts the officer, without looking up.

"Three weeks" Driver and passenger confirm this to each other with a nod.

Still not having looked up from his reading material, the immigration officer jerks his head in the direction of Canada.

.... After a short awkward pause, Mine Host ventures " don't you want to see .. er.. paperwork & stuff?"

"You're Canadians aren't you?" (Still hasn't looked up)
"...Umm, no we're Australians"
"Your papers are in order aren't they?" (He does briefly look up, enough for a fleeting glimpse to ascertain if Mine Host has one head or two)
"....Er.... yes ..." (in the circumstances what other answer would anybody give?)

An indistinct grunt, possibly something like "well what are you waiting here for", or "well get going then" may have emanated from the booth.

The officer's head once again buried in the reading matter, jerks in the direction of Canada, this time accompanied by an impatient shrug.

Thus Mine Host, companion, and automobile, were all cleared for entry into Canada.

Without even being asked to state our names.

1 comment:

Aviatrix said...

That was true at land crossings until very very recently. No documents required, no names. Just answer what country you live in, how long you've been in the country. Sometimes not even that. Reently I crossed the border in a car with stickers identifying my profession and I was asked only "What kind of airplane do you fly?" and other questions related to aviation.

There is still no exit procedure. You go straight to immigration.