10 June 2008

Me & the Border Patrol


I tend to look a little "ethnic". Which, I am German/Irish, but have a slight Middle Eastern look about me, which also led to some interesting post-9/11 moments for me. Because of this appearance and my Amish roots some friends in college would refer to me as "examisha", meaning formerly Amish but middle eastern sounding in the way it rolls off the tongue.

My ethnic appearance is heightened when I go a few days without shaving.....and showering.....and wearing a turban (ok, I'm being funny on that last one). I believe this mix led to a run-in with Border Patrol at a remote crossing in North Dakota a few years back I thought I'd share for your amusement.

A buddy and I wanted to attend a friend's wedding in Red Deer, Alberta Canada. We also thought it would make a great road trip in my new Mustang. We hit the road planning to drive straight through. As I looked at the Atlas, the quickest route seemed to be a smaller connector highway in North Dakota. The problem was a tremendous amount of construction delayed our drive and detoured us onto dirt roads. My 'stang was a wreck. We looked a wreck.

We arrived at the border crossing into Canada and waited a short time in line. Each car would have a guard in uniform ask the driver a few questions and off they went. Until we got to the front of the line. A few questions were asked......reason for travel, visit, length of stay, etc.. Then we were asked to get out of the car. We were asked essentially the same questions again adding questions about firearms, explosives, etc. while other guards approached. Then they asked us to step inside their offices where we went through a lengthier interrogation and had to fill out paperwork including contact numbers............which they called and checked on. Out the corner of the office window I could see dogs sniffing around my car.

Over an hour passed. I said to Randy........is this normal? Are we going to be sitting in a cell in nowhere, North Dakota? Finally we got the all clear, but I felt dirty, like I had done something wrong. I'm about as hoosier & american as they come.......maybe they thought too much so.

The good news is that on the way back into the country re admittance took about 10 seconds. Isn't that comforting? I plan to stop and shave and shower before any future border crossings....I can only assume my examisha groove-on was my problem.

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