Canadian Sunset In No Man’s Land
It was the first of July❟ and Mike and Lynn were sitting in a Berkeley Starbucks❟ planning their Fourth of July weekend excursion.
Mike hailed from Canada and graduated from Berkley a year ago. A political science major, he was lucky enough to land a local sales job. Lynn just graduated from Berkeley, also a political science major❟ and in that state of mind of what-do- I-- do- now?
A get away was in order❟ and after the second latté it crystallized.
Lynn had never been to the Northwest❟ and Mike needed to go back to Canada to change his student F-1 visa to a vocational H-1 visa. He had gotten what he thought was the necessary paperwork from work and perceived a quick trip back and forth at the border was all that was needed.
The plan called for Lynn to rent a car, pack a few duds for the short trip, and pick up Mike in the morning and start north. The plan was to go straight to the border at Vancouver, make the quick trip back and forth, and then proceed down to Seattle, Portland and points south. Hopefully this would include their arrival back at Berkeley on Tuesday❟ as Lynn had to work and get ready for a trip down south on the ninth.
The trip north started off well. Lynn could not get over how nice the new Pontiac drove as they zoomed up I-5.
Evening brought them to Eugene❟ Oregon❟ where a stop for the night was in order. They were close as a couple but the stay at the motel was straight out of “It Happened One Night”
As they sped towards the border the next day, two issues crossed their mind, but not to the degree of fazing their enthusiasm.
First, this was a major holiday weekend with lots of traffic in both directions, which could call for stricter enforcement at the borders. Second, Lynn had forgotten to bring her passport. Most websites indicated a U.S. driver’s license usually was acceptable.Not to worry, all will be fine, was the thought.
The primary crossing for noncommercial traffic is at Blaine❟ Washington, close to the beach called Douglas Crossing. It has a delightful park as the neutral zone between the U.S. border gate and the Canadian border gate. In the center of the park is the Peace Arch, which actually straddles the border. It is the first monument dedicated to world peace and represents the longest undefended boundary in the world. You are not required to have a visa to be in the park zone❟ but should have your personal identification. Obviously❟ you may walk around and enjoy the entire international (US/Canadian) park. However, you may not go outside the boundaries or enter the adjacent country unless you have cleared Customs to legally enter that country.
Now back to our story.
Lynn and Mike sailed through the U.S. border and enjoyed the short drive through the park to the Canadian border and . . . oops!
“I am sorry,” (states the Canadian Border officer) “but no one may enter Canada without a Passport or certified Birth Certificate”. (This is not to be the day that Lynn gets to see Canada.)
Lynn turned white and Mike turned red. Much discussion ensued to no avail so they proceeded back through the park to return to the U.S. and . . . oops!
“I am so sorry,” (states the U.S. border officer) “your student visa has expired and you can’t re-enter the U.S. without a proper visa.” This time Mike turned white and Lynn turned red❟ and again much discussion ensued to no avail. The young couple returned to the park to decide their fate.
It was a beautiful park with the sun setting on the Pacific and delightful foliage around the Peace Arch. Somehow living happily ever after in the neutral zone just didn’t have appeal.
feasible. What? The young couple returned to the park to decide their fate.
It was a beautiful park with the sun setting on the Pacific and delightful foliage around the Peace Arch. Somehow living happily ever after in the neutral zone just didn’t have appeal, nor was it feasible.