Canadian border grilled: My first day in Vancouver

up early for canada

I was up at 4am yesterday to take my very first trip to Canada!

I’m in Vancouver! I came by myself to meet Mike, who’s up here writing and producing the reboot of Prison Break. (Don’t worry, someone is staying at the house with The Woogs. It’s not just robots this time.)

Upon arrival, I got pulled aside and absolutely grilled by a border agent. (My least favorite Border Grill?) Man, I learned right-quick that not all Canadians are funny. (Thanks for feeding me lies, Comedy Central.) Yeesh, this dude was deeply humorless in a way that I’ve never encountered. He asked me a couple of questions — probably the standard, “Have you been to Canada before?” “Why are you here?” He asked me what line of work I was in, and I responded “blogger.” “Is that how you make a living?” I joked, “yeah… well… I wouldn’t describe it as ‘making a living,’ but sure that’s where my money comes from.” And he looked at me and, uncomfortably serious, asked, “why wouldn’t you describe it like that?” “Um, because it doesn’t pay very much? Never mind, it was just a dumb joke. What else you got?” And every other attempt at levity was met with not even a smile. My charms were useless against the most Not Amused Border Agent ever.

Then he just went down this chain of questions solely about Mike… how long is he here for? What does he do? (I felt fancy answering, “he’s an Executive Producer.”) How long have you known him? (“This month it’ll be a year!” she said with a flourish. Not Amused Border Agent was not amused.) How old is he? (40-1! I still haven’t gotten used that. Oh shit, does he think I’m lying? Why did I stutter at that question?) What’s his birthday? (Fuck, I could barely remember MY birthday under these rapid-fire questions.) I was starting to think that maybe Mike was some Canadian crime lord!

Or… maybe I was actually the crime lord? Because…

Arriving to the border, I was certain that I was guilty of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, and I tell you, I was shaking and frazzled as a nervous chihuahua by the time I left. Note to self, and any other person who was ever thinking of turning me into a drug mule: I AM NOT BUILT FOR ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES.

Then he asked me what was in my purse, and I laughed and answered, “Jesus, what isn’t in my purse: Laptop, cell phone, passport, wallet, scarf, two gloves, beanie… let’s see what else… granola bars, headphones, birth control–” And that was where he stopped me and let me proceed with a very amusing “bye bye.”

post border grilling

Then it was a 20 minute cab ride to the hotel. (No Uber in Vancouver: Boo …ver.) And I hit the sheets for an hour-long, gimme-a-break-I-woke-up-at-4am nap.

I awoke refreshed and famished. Luckily, I have the most adorable boyfriend who drew me the most adorable map that showed me where there was healthy food options and a great walking path along the harbor — both just blocks from the hotel. So, with one healthy-yet-delicious wrap in my body, Hamilton blasting in my ear buds, I took off on a walk. It took me about 10 minutes into said walk to shake off that shitty border grilling, and completely fall in love with The Couves.

Gorgeous view on my walk along the harbor in Yaletown.

Gorgeous view on my walk along the harbor in Yaletown.

megan in vancouver

Sadly, it started raining a bit too hard for this California girl to maintain her calm demeanor (water from the sky!!!!) and I high-tailed it back to the safety of the hotel bar to write it all down.

Now I write, and work, and wait for Mike to get “home” from set, and then I can experience even more of what this city has to offer.

Any suggestions for things to do in The Couves (specifically Yaletown) when you’re alone most of the day? Bonus points for comfortable-to-work-in cafes with free wifi!

10 thoughts on “Canadian border grilled: My first day in Vancouver

  1. Kate

    If you and Mike like sushi – you need to go to Minami in Yaletown – it is really good. The science center is kind of cool to explore by yourself if you need a break from cafe-ing as is wandering around the edge of Stanley Park.

    1. meganfinley Post author

      Hey! I just walked to the Science Center today, randomly. Didn’t go in. But perhaps I will tomorrow! And I just added Minami to our list. Thank you!!!!

  2. Kelly Maguire

    Yeah border patrol and TSA types are known for their complete lack of humor in any situation / country. Some friends of mine flew to Germany and one guy was pretty drunk when they got there, it was a tense few moments trying to get through customs while he made stupid jokes about not knowing where he was going, where he was staying, etc.

    1. meganfinley Post author

      That’s exactly why I love the fact that i have a shock of bright pink hair in my passport photo. It (usually) never fails to catch the border and TSA agents off-guard, and then we can all have a good laugh about it. But nooooo, damn Canadians, and that one Columbian agent who didn’t care either.

  3. bobaney

    I had the same experience when I walked from alberta to montana and then back in on a different visa a few minutes later. I was like but you guys know me from just now remember? From before the americans pointed lasers and guns at me? And they were all guilt inducing stares. But as soon as they’d finished telling me to not engage in sex work on a working holiday visa, and handed me back my passport, the officer asked me what online dating site I met my girlfriend on! She was all squee and happiness in an instant! They must train them to be super stern. Theres totally a scowling class. Advanced furrowing of the brows. Imagine their poker games.

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