I do a fair amount of travelling. Coming back to Canada always seems to take long. Here was our experience from last week.
The scene is Pearson International Airport, Terminal 1. The flight has arrived late. The good citizen of Canada has experienced very little sleep. His internal clock is set at 5:00am. The local time is midnight.
The citizen and his son walks several miles from the gate to the customs area and lines up for the customs agent. Passports and declaration forms are presented.
Government of Canada (GOC): “Where are you coming from?”
Citizen of Canada (Me): “London, England.”
GOC: “How long were you there?”
Me: “Six days.”
GOC: “Purpose of your visit?”
GOC: “Why? Was it a special event? A birthday or some other special occassion?”
Me, pondering why the Government of Canada needs to know whether it was a special event: “I took a vacation with my son to England.”
GOC: “Where did you stay?”
Me, thinking that I had already answered the question: “Uh, in London, England.”
GOC: “What hotel?”
Me, wondering if the Government of Canada was looking for a place to stay in London, England: “The Montcalm.”
GOC: “For how long?”
Me, wondering if the Government of Canada has an attention deficit disorder: “Uh, six days.”
GOC: “What did you buy there?”
Me: “Some souvenirs.”
GOC: “No alcohol or tobacco?”
GOC: “How many bags?”
Me: “How many bags of what?”
GOC: “Your luggage. How many bags.”
Me: “Two bags checked, two bags carried on.”
He wrote the number two on the card and then the secret code R99. And off we went. But I left thinking that there must be some guidelines as to what questions the Government of Canada should be asking weary citizens returning from their vacation. Hassling them about their vacation plans and their hotels just seems odd.
We then waited an hour and fifteen minutes for our checked luggage. Welcome to Canada. Two hours to clear customs and luggage.