Across Continents

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Officer 21113

US Customs and Border Protection Officers had names. Canadian ones had numbers. Mine was Officer 21113. Blonde. Mike and I had joined in the small line of cars waiting to be admitted into the country. I’d have said crossed into, but we’d already ridden twenty five miles through Canada to reach the Customs post at Beaver Creek.

I’d been a bit nervous leaving Alaska. No checkpoint on the outbound side of the US Customs post. Fearful I’d need show some sort of exit stamp to the Canadians, I’d pulled over to the inbound side to ask if I’d need something put into my passport. No, I was assured, this wasn’t necessary. Carry on to Canada.

Officer 21113 referred to it as an interview. I thought it more a chat, describing my intended route through the Yukon and British Columbia. Just one pertinent question. Why did I have a US visa? She seemed reassured when I explained it was simply because I needed more than the three months the normal waiver would allow me. Stamp in passport. Six months entry.

Canada - Immigration - entry stamp - Beaver Creek - 19 Aug 11

I’d half expected to be asked how I’d support myself, what ties I had to the UK, that sort of thing. But no. Rather, it was Mike who got asked the more searching questions. But then he did have a beard.

[Please note that the Canadian Customs and Border Protection Officer’s number has been ever so slightly changed to protect her identity.. And Mike’s beard does look terribly respectable. For UK nationals note that the six months I’ve been granted by the US and Canada runs from the day of entry, irrespective of the number of times I cross their mutual borders]

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