Heading south again. Another border crossing. This one Canada to US, on the airlines. Another customs declaration card to fill out. Airline, flight number, US Address. I put "Holiday Inn" and the name of the city. There are probably six Holiday Inns here, and I might end up in the Ramada, but that will do. Am I carrying more than $10,000 in monetary instruments? No. I wonder if you get a dirty look for answering "yes" to that question when you're importing an expensive violin. Am I carrying any fruits or meats? Yes, I have SunRype fruit bars and several packages of musk ox jerky in my flight bag. Have I visited a farm, ranch or pasture recently? Well, actually, yes to that one, too. I went with my friend and her toddler to a hobby farm. Have I been touching livestock? Well, yes, that's what you do at a petting zoo. That and trying to keep the child from abusing the rabbits badly enough to get bitten.
Apparently there's a move on to close petting zoos and hobby farms as unsanitary or dangerous or something. What? That's what it's all about. Every kid has to spend some time wallowing in animal feces and poking goats with his soother in order to grow up big and strong, and knowledgeable about where eggs come from. A hundred years ago most of the population of Canada grew up on farms and now they aren't safe to take your kids to for an afternoon visit? Silly.
I get a friendly customs agent. What is the purpose of my trip? I'm flying down to the United States to get a Canadian airplane and fly it back to Canada in the service of a Canadian company working for a Canadian customer. All these Canadas keep me legit to enter the country to work without a green card. He asks about the YESes on my customs card. I don't know what they do with the information. I suppose if I had said I was on my cousin's farm this morning helping her to dispose of the diseased carcasses of her mad cows they might turn me away. Or maybe ask me to wash with hand sanitizer. But petting zoo, which I admit to sheepishly (har har), isn't a problem. He wants to confirm how to spell Musk Ox, but not because it's contraband either, rather because apparently I'm his first musk ox jerky carrier, and he keeps track of the weird things people import. Perhaps he has a blog somewhere, himself.
He asks a few more questions. They aren't really standard from crossing to crossing in the order or the exact questions. They're just looking for inconsistencies or nervousness I guess. I think every time I cross the border that goes in my file, and as I keep doing the same thing over and over again I build up credibility. Or suspicion. He scribbles something illegible on my customs card and I proceed to the exit where another agent takes my card, looks at the scribbles and lets me out. Welcome to America.