So, I have been reminded recently about this one time, when myself, my brother and his mate from Perth went on an adventure. I need to share it - it is just that funny.
This adventure happened only a few years ago - I was living in NYC and my brother and I quite often went on holidays together - we have a lot of fun, and similar travel styles, so it makes sense. This time, he dragged his mate along, so we became the 3 amigos.
Actually - my brother usually prints up team shirts for us to wear on our trips - but thankfully on this occasion, none of us were wearing them - Border security would never know us as the Wolfpack...
So on this trip, we had some time in NYC - the boys went out and about and I finished up work. We were heading to Cuba and Mexico, and at the time the USA still had a ban on flying out of any USA ports into Cuba, so we flew to Toronto and flew from there instead. The Canadians were much more civilised about the whole thing. We spent a couple of days in Toronto and decided to drive out to Niagara Falls to check them out. We had a great day - It was fall, so the leaves were turning, and the weather was amazing! Being the token American who was used to driving on the other side, I was tasked with driving the rental car for the day. So I guess some would say it was all my fault - and it probably was - but the drama that unfolded over the next few hours was so typically USA Border patrol.
So, we are ready to leave - excited about the flight to Cuba tomorrow, and also because we have reservations at a great restaurant in Toronto that night, so we know we need to move to get back to the hotel in time.
If you have ever been to Niagara Falls, you will know that the streets are narrow, and the signage is minimal - and I blame that.
So while waiting for the GPS to kick in, I felt rushed, and decided that how hard can it be to just get out of town, and by then the GPS will take over. So I turned right....Suddenly, we were on a bridge, and I knew what had happened - but I didn't yet know how serious that right hand turn would be. Pretty much at the same time, we all know that something was going to happen, and we all knew that our passports were safely locked away in the hotel security deposit box - I mean - we had no plans to leave Canada until tomorrow, so didn't need to carry them around with us. But we should have.
So there is nowhere to turn around - its a narrow road and it only goes in one direction. I have to talk my way out of this one. And so it was, I arrived at the US/Canadian border with my 'wolfpack' in tow, and wind down my window to a surly man ( bearing arms of course) who asks me to hand over our travel documents....pretty much word for word - this is my response to the 6ft6 barbarian standing at my door with a rifle...
'So mate - You wouldn't believe what just happened - we meant to go left, but ended up here, so Ill just do a Uey, and go back to Canada - don't worry about it - it's all good'
Ma'am - I am afraid it is a little more serious that that - please park your - Ve-hic-le and step inside - we are detaining you for attempting to enter these United States without proper documentation...
No matter what I tried, he was just not having it, and so we spent the next 3 hours being individually interviewed and detained - a mountain of paperwork to prove that we had not meant to do so, and were finally allowed on our way - ESCORTED back to the border so we could get back to Canada! On arriving at the Canadian border, the guard says Howdy - can i Have your passports please - and my response - Oh Mate, you wouldn't believe this, BUT...
He was very kind, and after a quick 5 minute sign off on some papers - we were back in Canada and on our way! By the way - he did say this happens ALL the time, and they don't really bat an eye at it anymore - its just the Americans that get cranky! And this is why we love Canada!
We missed our dinner reservation, but we did get back to the hotel, and made it to Cuba the next day! That part of the adventure is a whole other story - which I will save for another time. Just know that if you go to Niagara Falls and turn right and end up on a bridge - you had better have your passport with you - or else it will be a very long night!
Until next time