My husband and I were married 7 years ago. For our honeymoon, we took a trip that started in NYC and moved its way up the east coast into Maine. Our plan was to take a train from NYC to Boston and then rent a car to drive up into Maine. The night before we were supposed to board the train, a bomb exploded on a train in London. The news was filled with information about heightened security at the train stations and border crossings. My husband and I were really concerned about getting on the train the next morning.
We showed up at the train station several hours before departure in anticipation of the heightened security. However, much to our surprise, when we arrived at the station, there was no real security that we could see. We just loaded up on the train and off we went. We didn't have to show any identification or even have our baggage checked. We got a pretty good laugh about that.
A few days later, we were in Maine and decided that we would go ahead and venture into Canada. Basically, just to say that we were there. When we arrived at the border town on the US side, we went into a visitor's center. The employee told us that we could either drive into Canada or walk across a short bridge that spanned a small river. He also informed us that we better have at least 2 forms of ID if we wanted to get back into the US once we crossed over. At that time, no passport was required.
My husband and I decided that we would just walk across the bridge. We didn't have that much time and really just wanted to take some pictures and look for souvenirs. So, we headed across the bridge. As we were approaching the Canadian shore, we saw a sign that instructed all pedestrians to enter the border patrol station in order to check in. So, when we arrived, that is what we did.
We walked into a small office and two Canadian Border Patrol officers were sitting behind a counter. They glanced up and one of them asked, "What are you doing in here?" He was obviously confused.
I answered, "The sign on the bridge says that all pedestrians must check in at the border patrol station. So, here we are."
He seemed even more confused as he asked, "You walked over here?"
My husband answered, "Yes."
The man asked, "Where is your car?"
"Still in the US," I answered. I was now almost as confused as the border patrol officer seemed.
"What are you doing here?" asked the man.
"We just want to go into the souvenirs shop across the street," I answered.
"Well, okay. Go ahead," said the man.
"Don't you want to see some ID or anything?" asked my husband.
"No, that's okay," answered the man.
My husband and I walked out of the office completely confused by the conversation that we had just had. Then we walked across the street and entered the souvenirs shop. When we travel, I like to buy t-shirts and my husband likes to by coffee mugs. We looked around the store that was filled with mostly tobacco and alcohol products. I found one t-shirt that wasn't my size and we didn't see any coffee mugs. So, my husband asked the woman that was sitting at the cash register, "Do you have any more t-shirts or any coffee mugs?"
She answered, "We may have something upstairs if you want to dig around up there." She gestured toward a darkened staircase that was roped off.
I said quietly to my husband, "Never mind. I don't want to go dig around up there."
The woman said, "Let me get Jim to take you up. I'm sure we have some more stuff up there." Before we could stop her, she called out to Jim.
Jim came up to us and my husband shrugged at me and said, "I guess we might as well go up." And he turned to follow Jim to the base of the staircase.
I reluctantly followed along. I really did not want to go digging around in boxes in the attic of someone's shop just to get a t-shirt that said I had been to Canada.
When we got to the top of the stairs, Jim turned on the light and my husband and I were both shocked at the sight before us. We were standing in a very large room filled with racks and racks of t-shirts. There were beautiful curio cabinets filled with an assortment of coffee mugs. We both glanced at each other in wide-eyed shock and busted out laughing. We spent the next few minutes picking out our purchases.
When we went back downstairs to check out. We had purchased one t-shirt and one coffee mug that were placed in a plastic bag. Jim asked, "Where's your car?"
My husband answered, "In the US."
Jim looked at us in confusion and said, "How am I supposed to load the bag in your car?"
My husband answered, "We walked over here. We will just carry it back." Then he reached to take the bag from Jim.
Jim pulled the bag back and said, "I can't let you carry the bag. I will have to carry it across the street to the US Border Patrol station.
"Seriously," I asked. Thinking that the situation was getting more bazaar by the second and having a hard time not bursting out laughing.
"Yes," he answered seriously. Then he added, "Follow me."
He walked out the store with the bag held high over his head. He walked that way until we had crossed the street. As we stood outside the border patrol office, he handed me the bag and said, "You have to show them this." Then he turned and hurried back across the street and disappeared back inside the store.
My husband and I turned and walked into the US Border Patrol Station. When we entered the station, the officer looked up and said, "What are you doing in here?"
I almost cracked up. So, with a huge grin on my face, I answered, "Because, the guy from the store over there said we had to show you this." I held up the bag.
"Do you have any alcohol or tobacco in there?" the officer asked.
"No," I answered.
"Okay, you can go," said the officer.
My husband and I were both struggling to keep a straight face as we walked back out the door. "Well, so much for 2 forms of ID and heightened security," my husband said dryly.
"I know. They didn't even look in the bag," I answered
We both busted out laughing.