Before I start I must say that I do know the rules of border crossings:
-yes or no answers where possible
-only speak to or answer questions,
-don't offer any extra information.
In my defense, I can only say that I was operating
on very little sleep, about one hour from the night before my extra early
flight, and only 4 hours the night before that.
I had my luggage searched when I crossed
the border on my way to Oahu.
I've never had this happen before.
Looking back, I think it may have been possible to avoid this.
As you probably know, there are several steps along the way when flying to a different
country when various people ask you the same questions.
Everyone around me seemed to be going to the big conference. Being the odd one out, I had to
explain several times that I was just on vacation, and that, while I was
currently on my own, my friends were on the later flight and I would be
meeting up with them later that night.
After about the forth time through this, for some reason still unknown to me, I told the next person that I was
meeting a friend in Hawaii. Almost as soon as I said this, I sensed that it
wasn't quite the right answer. I'm not quoting here, but it then went something like this:
Her: Is your friend a man or a woman?
Me: He's a man.
Her: Will you be staying with him?
Me: No, I'll be staying in a hotel.
Her: How many times have you visited before?
Me: This is the first time.
Her: Has he been to Canada to visit you?
Me: No, we've just sent e-mail.
Her: How did you meet?
Me: Through a mutual friend.
Then I got this look. She jotted something down on my card and I knew,
without a doubt, the big mistake I had made. She continued with a few more
mundane questions, (how long are you staying, etc) before handing back the
card and telling me to carry on to the next stop. I actually walked away
thinking, okay, that wasn't too bad after all. Silly me.
At the next stop, I handed over my card, and was told that I had been
randomly selected to have my luggage searched. I was a bit more alert by
this point, and since there didn't appear to be any sort of device nearby
that could be used for this random selection, I have to say I didn't believe
him. He pointed me to a side room and I headed over there with a feeling
of dread. I was sure there would be more questions. Fortunately, I had a
very nice, friendly lady come over and make pleasant conversation while
going through my things. She finished quickly, didn't give me any of those
weird looks like I had just received previously, and wished me a happy
holiday as I went on my way.
I suppose it is possible that I really was chosen randomly, but for some
reason, I just don't think that was the case. I'm pretty sure it sounded
like I'd been set up to smuggle something into the US.
I'm just glad I wasn't strip searched!
April lives and works in Victoria, B.C. Canada at the University of Victoria and is one of the senior tasters and machine testers at the CoffeeCrew. This is her first, of hopefully many, posts to the Daily.