Thursday, September 27, 2007

I am the Ag Man, goo goo g'joob

Success! We managed to get Carly on her plane back to Portland. As extra security we had purchased a reservation for the 1:00 ferry and left Roch and Cath's house in Victoria two hours early. When the ferry arrived in Vancouver we had some time to kill so we decided to visit the Granville Market. We pulled Airstream Abby through the city streets of Vancouver and into the Market drawing stares as we searched for a place to park. By the time we settled we only had an hour to see the place. Too bad, because we could have spent an afternoon loitering through the market. All that beautiful fruit laid out like boxes of jewels and the cheese and meat and fish and flowers and delicate desserts behind glass--what temptations!

We got Carly off and drove towards to border. At Peace Arch we were delayed a bit while the agriculture inspector took us aside. He asked for the keys to our trailer before grilling us on what illegal items we might be harboring. Do you have any beef? Robert shakes his head no. Then the inspector looks at me and I must have inhaled suspiciously for he followed with, "Now, if I find any in there, you're going to be paying a big fine." Now that he identified me as the weak partner he began directing his inquiries to me: "Any produce, any citrus, any flowers or plants?"

We were asked to wait inside the office while he searched our vehicles. He came back holding our frozen packages of Alberta beef, my fresh-cut flowers from the Granville Market, and the one forbidden lemon I forgot to claim. He held the lemon before my horror-stricken face and told me that not claiming this lemon could cost me $300 dollars, but since he was sure I had innocently forgotten the offending citrus he would let me off. Just tell your friends who plan to cross the border how serious we are. Then he handed me the flowers that he had checked for insects and said some cute things to Allison and off we went.

Our precious Alberta beef went into a special border freezer to be disposed of in a special sanitized landfill of which its owner was sure to be getting rich over, the ag inspector told us. All confiscated items must be destroyed. Yeah, right, we thought to ourselves. We imagined the guy rubbing his palms together saying, "Hmmm, what's for dinner tonight? New York strips, or ribeye?"

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