OK, I used the Part Deux thing once before. A little latitude, please. The Canadians speak French.
On our way back from the family road trip, we spent another very enjoyable day in Canada. Here are three more observations from the trip:
1) We crossed the border four times – twice out and twice back in. Everywhere we crossed, there were a lot more people trying to leave the United States than there were trying to get into it. This suggests a strategy for immigration reform. Wait. Now, Detroit and Buffalo, two of the places where we crossed, are not exactly tourism magnets these days, and your pasture would have to be pretty brown for those pastures to look green. Nonetheless, for everything we hear about people flooding across our borders, this traffic was going very much the other way. I’m just sayin’.
2) Both times we crossed into Canada, the Canadians were happy to have us and, I assume, our money. When we crossed back, the Americans seemed much less excited to see us. Maybe it’s just us – or me. Apparently, someone in our family – the rest of them think it’s me – resembles on paper someone who’s wanted for some very bad behavior. So I was invited to pull over and step out of the car. Twice. I didn’t get, “. . .and keep your hands where we can see them,” but I don’t think we were to far away from that. I have to say that the US border agents we encountered were professional, polite and diligent to a fault, if maybe a little lacking in the sense of humor department. But taking nothing away from them, our northern border looks pretty porous to me. Unless we’re doing some super-secret NSA Jack Bauer security foo along the Canadian border, if bad people wanted to get themselves and bad stuff into this country, I don’t think it would be very hard.
3) If you get caught speeding on a Canadian freeway, you get slapped with a big fine. (They used to be paltry, but there’s the falling dollar for you.) But that’s not all. You also get. . .wait for it. . .demerits. That’s right – the entire country is a giant English boarding school. I know I’m reading too much into this, and I’m sure these demerits have an impact on driving privileges. But there’s a certain gentility and quaintness to this concept that I can’t help but like. It suggests a society in which a public sense of right and wrong still exists, and in which shame is still possible.