When leaving Canada I had a big grin on my face. Coming home Wednesday my grin was even more ginormous. The first sight of my family (minus the two members who had to work) brought tears to my eyes.
Now to the knuckle whitening, nail biting adventure at the Toronto Airport.
Tuesday night before leaving the UK I finally got around to composing a list of all my purchases. Throughout my trip I had used three different currency’s and I hadn’t been keeping a running total of the combined damage. Upon conversion into CND I was shocked at the amount. My mouth dropped open even further when I discovered I was over my personal exemption amount. Another issue was my dried seed pods, numerous wooden articles, 3 knifes and 2 swords.
Customs line #1 was right after exiting the airplane. I showed my ID and was given the all clear. (I guess I sufficiently look like myself.)
Customs line #2 I declared all of the above. They marked my form up with all these red numbers and sent me to the ‘special’ customs line #3 for those who have misdeeded.
This line had about 20 people before me with red covered forms and about 4 suitcases each. Large suitcases. Each suitcase was being hand searched by one of two border patrol officers armed to the hilt, buff, no nonsense looking, border guards. I informed the porter that I had a connection to make in 1.5 hours and he just looked at me with raised eyebrows, “Why should I care.” The message radiated from his eyes.
Half an hour later I have made it to the front of the line. I make my way across the wide expance of white tiles and fluorescent lights I announced to the border control officers, “I have a plane to catch in an hour and a half and I’ll pay you whatever you want or take out anything from my suitcase.” Then I handed him my itemized list of every single purchase I had made and my red form. They were suitably impressed.
I received acclamation on my truthfulness, a lecture and an in depth pamphlet on Canada’s re-entry restrictions.
I was also quizzed on suitcase content. “Have your wooden carvings been treated?” Angelina responds, “I don’t know.” “Have they been painted?” “No, not all of them.” “Oh. Hmmmm.” They raise their eyebrows and look at each other. I realize that this is not a good thing so I try to think of anything that may help me through this tricky spot, “They have been varnished?” Border Guard, “Oh! That’s good!”
Amazingly no comment was made on the ‘weapons’ in my possession.
They pointed me in the correct direction for my flight and I RAN. On my feet were a pair of ridicules looking, teal, pointy toed, buckled 3” high heels. My feet were killing me as I had tried to hurry matters along by running to each stop. (I must have looked quite pathetic as one of those golf cart’s that carry old folks offered me a lift for one leg of my journey.)
All of my panic was completely unnecessary as I arrive at my departure gate one hour before boarding.
Alas, I stressed for nothing.