Friday, June 15, 2007

muscling my way to buffalo

So this has been my first trip to Buffalo since I was a teenager. With the dollar doing so well and this being a part of my travel assignment, what's a girl to do? Well, rent a car for starters. And I "lucked" out by having a choice between two huge Dodge cars. I chose the one that was supposedly better on gas - the Charger. I was hoping for a small compact but as they were out, this was it even though the upgrade was free. I didn't care about the upgrade - I cared that I didn't know how to handle the car. As in, it was so huge that I was hitting the curb when I made corners! In any case, there I was, driving this massive white car. (In fact, when I told an ex about it, he said that a girl like me should not be driving a muscle car like that!)

First stop was at the border at the Peace Bridge. They have been seriously cracking down as I noted the guys in the booths actually getting off their ass and checking (superficially or not) the trunks of a few cars ahead of us. When it came to our turn, the guy asked us a few things about our citizenship and which city we were born in. I responded by saying "New West." He barked back - it says on your passport "New Westminster", I heard you say "U.S." need to be clear about these things or I can just turn around and send you back the way you came. I was thinking silently that if he had listened carefully he would have heard what I had said. He proceeds to start pounding the sides of the car door as if I had a stash of drugs. Then he asks me to pop the hood. I apologetically tell him that I don't know where the button was. I was about to step out of the car when he barked at me to get back into the car. He asked for my keys and then started scribbling something down. He points for me to drive over to the inspection station and I sit for a short while thinking, I would but with what keys? He realizes his error and passes me the keys.

I take the car over to the station. We park and get out and are told to go in "Door # 2" and of course as soon as we go in, these officers tells us to get back out and move the car into the garage. My travel companion is told to walk with them... to keep me from taking off. Which wouldn't have been smart anyway considering they still had our passports. The guys were apologetic, asking us how much money we had and what we were doing etc. They went through our purses and then let us go.

After that, we hit Walden Galleria for some food and shopping bliss. I always love shopping in the US for the selection and choice of everything. The thing that held me back was duties. I knew there would be a good likelihood of the car being stopped since it was a rental so while I wanted to buy a lot of things, I really had to stop myself especially since the crazy semi-annual Bath and Body Works sale was on. And then when we hit the outlets where I had to pull myself back from a massive impulse shopping spree.

On the way back at the border, the guy asked what we were doing and when I told him we went shopping, he asked how much I spent. I knew better than to lie as we were in a rental. He wrote something down on a piece of paper and sent us over to the parking lot. I was thinking drats... duties. The female officer told us to get out of the car, checked my receipts and inspected the car... and let us go.