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Worst Border Crossing EVAH!

Security Theatre, In Three Acts.

Act I

Video Here

Ellen: [Observing the rapidly approaching stop sign.] Stop.
Jon: [Failing to stop completely for my license plate close-up.] Whoops!
Ellen: Ooops. (I warned you...)
Ellen: [Handing me the passports.] Here you go.
Jon: Hello! (In a great mood this time. Ready for a quick and easy crossing!)
Dude: (All business.) Put the vehicle into park.
Dude: Just two of you?
Jon: Yes it is.
Ellen: Yeah.
Dude: Where's your... (piece of crap) van from?
Jon: Ah, Arizona.
Dude: Turn it off for me.
Jon: Sure.
[25 second pause] (which is a looooong time at a border crossing)
Dude: Mr. Ah... Is it Boek?
Jon: (It's cool. That's what most people guess, Dude.) Boeke.
Dude: Tell me your citizenship.
Jon: U.S.
Dude: And, Ellen, what's yours?
Ellen: (Dude, what kind of passports did we just hand you?) U.S.
Dude: What are you guys doin'? What the... reason for your travels?
Jon: Ah... Vacation.
Dude: Goin' where?
Jon: We are going to... (all over the big wide world) ah... (but let's narrow it down for you) well, actually, Vermont is our next stop.
Dude: And where have you been outside the United States. Like, Canada. (Really? GREAT GUESS, BUDDY!!!)
Jon: Ah, through Toronto.
Ellen: And Vancouver. (TMI, Ellen.)
Jon: We came in through Windsor.
Dude: What was the reason to go to Toronto?
Jon: Vacation. Just visiting.
Dude: Well [ignore voweled], I mean like, some people take a vacation in Russia or China. Why would you go to Toronto? What... Why would you select Toronto as a vacation destination? (Really? Oh, my. Our Canadian friends are going to LOVE this!!!!!!  So, so choice dude. Seriously. Because nobody vacations in Toronto?)
Ellen: We've never been. (Do we honestly need a reason?)
Jon and Ellen: [laughter in disbelief of the question]
Ellen: We're driving across the country and we want to see parts of... Canada. [TMI, again...]
Dude: What's your occupation. ( jokers...)
Jon: (Oh! I can answer this one!) I'm a computer programmer.
Ellen: (I love answering this question, too!) Writer.
Ellen: I'm a writer. (Seriously. Check it.)
Dude: Like, paid? Or is this, like, avocation, or you earn a living from it?
Ellen: A little paid, yeah.  (Exactly $10.98) I mean we earn mostly...
Dude: How do you earn your living? What's...
Jon: My... I do contract computer work.  Consulting.
Dude: You have children anywhere? (Perhaps in the black box up on the roof?)
Ellen: No.
Jon: No children. No. (But we reserve the right to get busy.)
Dude: Describe what you have in the van here. (What you got in that van? What in the world's in that van?)
Jon: Ah...  There's a bed in the back. (You know, for sleeping and making children.)
Dude: Mm Hm. (Don't I know...)
Jon: And, then, under the bed is, like, storage for clothes and we've got, like camping gear...
Dude: Do you have any goods or merchandise?
Jon: No. (*sigh* You just interrupted me AGAIN, dude.) Nothing, ah, I don't think we got anything in Toronto, did we?
Ellen: Mm Mm.
Dude: Do you have any plant products, seeds, flowers...? (Damn hippies.)
Jon: No.
Dude: Anyone have prescription medications? (Medical marijuana?)
Jon: Do you?
Ellen: Hm Mm.
Jon: No.
Dude: Everyone's healthy on board? (Well we did just come back from a country with universal health care. Am I right?)
Jon: Yep.
Ellen: Yeah.
Dude: All right. [Returning passports] Hold on to this.
Jon: All righty. (Great advice... I'll be sure to hold on to our passports.)
Dude: You're gonna pull up here. We're gonna examine this vehicle.
Jon: K. (Crap.)
Dude: Leave your, uh, flashing light on here.
Jon: What's that? (Huh? Turn signal?)
Dude: Put the blinkers on for me.
Jon: Where do I...  Where am I pulling up to?
Dude: Hold on.
[changing camera batteries for Part II]

Act II


Ellen: Something feel weird? A little... (I hate this van.)
Jon: Hm?
Ellen: It just felt like it was running a little...
Jon: No. (I know you hate it. It's almost over.) Just there were some... cross...  [Addressing Dude 2.] Up to the line?
Dude 2: Up here and, uh, turn right.
Ellen: Turn...   right? (Genius is pointing left.)
Jon: Hello.
Dude 3: Hi. See that van down there?
Jon: Ahhh.... Which one? (There are, like, 20 cars over there.)
Dude 3: See the purdy flashing lights?
Jon: Ah, yes I do.
Dude 3: See that line of cars?
Jon: Ah, yep, with the blue one in the back... or the slate? (I know my colors.)
Dude 3: Yep. You're gonna park right behind that car.
Jon: All righty.
Ellen: For crying out loud. Don't they know they can cause seizures with that? (Fact.)
Dude 4: K. That's good.
Jon: K.
Dude 4: In a few moments we'll have you leave your vehicle. You'll go behind the orange barriers over there. When we're done you'll depart and head out that way. (So that's the 100th time you've said that today, eh?)
Ellen: Ok.
Jon: All right.
Dude 4: You can turn off the vehicle for...  if you wish. (Oh, I wish I wasn't being treated like a criminal in my own country.)
Ellen: Should we turn the thing off? (Authority figures make me nervous.)


We were unable to film this part of the border crossing. I really tried.

After pulling out my camera, I was told to put it away and if I took any pictures he would have to "smash my camera." Stay classy, USA.

Here is what happened next. The vehicle with all the flashing lights that you saw in Part II actually has a big-ass X-ray machine inside. It slowly went down the line of nine lucky, randomly chosen victims and then back down the other side again.

Turns out that nobody had any seeds, flowers or plant material in their vehicles.

And yes, for you, humble readers, I asked if I could get a copy of the X-ray image for the blog, but no such luck. The guts of the van shall remain classified.

Thanks for the warm welcome home, USA!


  1. Glad you didn't lose your camera.

    What are all the profile things under select profile?


  2. The flashing lights gave me a seizure. Not really. Where did you hide the seeds?in your butt?


  3. Wow, this was awesome (for the reader). This is what you get for passing on Kingston. Seriously...why go to Toronto? It's ok, but for a much better communist experience...check out China. I LOVE that you asked for a copy of the's like you were asking for the full cavity search.

  4. Ooops...that las line was meant to imply that you were pushing your luck and risking the cavity search...not to suggest that the x-ray request was equivalent

  5. Hey there,
    We are going to the in Portland, Maine tomorrow too! I just left a message for J on his FB. We wanted to know if you guys want to hook up. Alejandra & Henry

  6. @Lila: The "select profile" just lets you choose to share your identity from another site if you wish. Signing your name at the bottom also works!

    @Stephanie: We had to fight over who got to "smuggle" the seeds.

    @Taben: I got your meaning. Despite our difficulties with Dude 1, I found that Dude 5 was relatively easy-going. Also, I may be a bit of a masochist.

    @Henry: Our revised schedule will be auto-posted to the blog tomorrow, but here is a sneak preview:

    29 Ben and Jerry's Tour and Drive to Montreal
    30 Montreal
    31 Drive to Quebec City


    1 Quebec City and Drive to Acadia NP
    2 Explore Acadia NP
    3 Drive to Portland and Salem
    4 Boston
    5 Boston
    6 Boston
    7 Boston to Cape Cod
    8 Cape Cod


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