Before getting canned from my job (I am getting more comfortable with this circumstance) I planned a vacation in Vancouver, BC. – just for me, Thursday through Sunday. Then I got fired and decided to go through with it anyway, and in fact, I probably need it even more so.
I have never been to West Canadia. Having grown up for sometime in Niagara Falls I am well versed with Canadian culture like Molsons, niceness and Tim Hortons, but I have heard so much about how beautiful Vancouver BC is I thought it would be a good getaway. I got on AirBnB (my favorite company – for real) and found a space for rent nearish downtown.
With no real plans I packed up one backpack with a menagerie of clothes (I might want to wear while hiking at a hip-hop club during a warm winter) and one backpack of toiletries, got in the car and headed north.
Everyone I had spoken to told me it would be about a four and a half hour drive, but it turns out everyone I spoke to is a damned liar.
I left the house at 9:30 and stopped at the Starbucks at 9:45. Snuggled up to my quad tall breve latte and The Nerdist podcasts that I needed to catch up on, I drove on. Just north of Olympia I filled up with gas. The only slowness was around Seattle at 12:30. By 2:00 in Bellingham it was time for lunch. For those of you doing the math I had hit 4.5 hours but not yet Canadia. Yes, it was near, but then Vancouver was at least another half hour after the border. Luckily I wasn’t on a schedule so I found a brewery.
I ordered a cherry cider and tried to order a Caesar salad with chicken minus croutons, but, apparently the Caeser dressing had gluten in it. Andrew makes me a Caesar salad regularly at home. It has anchovies and olive oil and balsamic vinegar and lemon and garlic and a raw (coddled) egg and parmesan – but no gluten – and it’s perfect. When the waitress came back and told me the Caesar had gluten I practically gave her the recipe to go and make me the salad properly, instead I ordered the house salad with bacon and chicken. I was thoroughly disappointed and sulking until the salad came out and was good.
But the bacon. Oh my gosh the bacon. It was cooked perfectly. The right amount of crisp to non-crisp ratio, perfect smokiness, still warm but not too hot to make the salad wilt. It was fantastic. And the cherry cider washed it all down perfectly.
Just before I got to the border I pulled over on the highway to turn my cell data off. I don’t know why I waited that long, or didn’t wait until customs where there was the inevitable line, I can only guess I wanted to look like a suspect.
I got up to the lady in the booth, handed her my passport card and silently prayed that I was the only one of the two of us that could smell nothing but cherry cider as I spoke.
She: where are you from
Me: Vancouver, Washington
She: Have you ever been to Canada
Me: No. I mean, yes! But not on this coast. Only on the east coast.
She: When was the last time you were in Canada?
Me: ummmm… 2 years ago. No! Last year in June? Or July?
My Brain: this is a lot of questions.
She: what are you doing in Canada
Me: Just visiting
She: Who are you visiting
Me: no one
My Brain: You just said you were visiting you dumbass. Jesus, Hadas, don’t you speak Canadian?!?! she’s going to think you are drunk or something
She: (raised eyebrow)
Me: I mean, I am staying with a person from AirBnB but I don’t actually know her. I, errrr, really it’s just a little vacation
She: Oh? Where do you work
My Brain: just say Nike, just say Nike
Me: Well, actually, I just got fired on Tuesday morning.
She: Oh? What did you do?
Me: Security…. I mean, IT security…. For Nike?
My brain: Why are you asking her? Oh my god, she thinks you’re drunk. Are you drunk? We are going to get arrested.
She: (handing me back a yellow slip and my ID card) Pull over to the left and hand this slip to the man standing there.
Which I did. Then I parked, grabbed my phone and purse and key and went into the lobby where I was summoned to the counter. The customs agent started grilling me like I’d been grilled outside only this time he was repeating questions like where did I live about four or five times. He asked me if I lived alone and why my boyfriend didn’t come with me and then when he found out I was driving my boyfriends car asked if he would find any of my boyfriend’s things in it.
Me: ummm maybe? There might be like some tire chains and maybe a yoga mat in the trunk.
My Brain: What a stupid question, everything you find in there is his. Unless it’s mine… DUH
He: I mean something illegal
Me: Hahahaha. Oh, you’re serious… ummm… no.
My Brain: They don’t think you are drunk, they think you are a drug mule. God I hope I don’t have to go through a strip search.
He: Okay. Go sit down.
But instead of going directly to sit down, I decided to do the one thing to make myself even more suspect than I already was and asked for the bathroom. I blame the cherry cider.
After about twenty minutes of rummaging through the car and my bags, customs determined I was not the drug mule they thought I might be and sent me on my merry way. I made it to Vancouver and my lodging safely.
Now off to find Tim Hortons.