On Friday, June 29, I left Niagara Falls, Ontario and headed for the U.S. border, getting stuck in a very slow-moving line at Border Control.
I pulled up to the booth of a Border Patrol Agent, a real macho guy with a snide attitude. He began by grilling me suspiciously.
“What were you doing in Canada?” he said.
“Visiting Niagara Falls.”
“Why did you have to go to Canada when you can see the Falls from New York?”
“The views are much better from the Canadian side.”
“So you’re driving up here alone?”
“So you just decided to drive all the way up here from Virginia and go to Niagara Falls and cross the border into Canada by yourself?” Like there is something wrong with that.
I said, “Yeah. I travel alone a lot. I’ve traveled all over the world on my own.”
“Do you work?”
“So what does your husband do?”
“He works for a government contractor in northern Virginia.”
He continues with his snide look. “Oh, so he just pays for you to come on up here?”
“Where are your bags?”
“Bags? Oh, you mean my suitcase? In the trunk.”
He then instructed me to turn off my car, pop the trunk, roll down my back seat window, and give him my keys.
“Is there anything in your trunk I’m not going to be happy to find?”
I said, “Uh, I don’t think so.”
Then he proceeded to search through my trunk and rifle through my suitcase.
Finally, he slammed my trunk and waved me through, looking pissed off that he was unable to find that I was doing something wrong. I really wanted to wipe that snide look right off of his face.
So what was going on? I am a white woman of an advanced age traveling alone. Was there some problem with that? Apparently our current administration, supported by the Christian Evangelicals who think a woman’s place is in the home, feel threatened by an independent woman traveling alone. They had better get used to it, because I don’t plan to stop!
If I got that much of a grilling, I can only imagine what people with brown skin have to deal with every day when crossing borders or dealing with our government.
I am so sick of our current administration’s border policies. Our country has been separating children from their parents and imprisoning them. Recently, women and children seeking asylum were tear gassed. It’s an outrage. Our government has no compassion for human beings who are suffering in this world.
I’m sure we don’t know the half of what is really going on at our borders.
Once I arrived home, I began to work on my intentions:
- I wrote posts about “things I learned” each day.
- I wrote about movement and sound.
- I did a freewrite about newspaper headlines while I was traveling.
- I took video clips of the Falls and butterflies at the Butterfly Conservatory.
- I wrote an Apostrophe poem, in which the poet addresses an abstract person, idea or thing: poetic journeys: o, teddy!
- I also intended to find thematic possibilities; I only did one post on this:
- I collected tickets and stickers to include in my journal.
- I sent a postcard home from New York (see below).
- I searched for a perfect memento. I bought a pair of earrings decorated with Rosebay Rhododendrons in the Frank Lloyd Wright Darwin Martin House Complex. I love the white flower clusters surrounded by dark green leaves, and, having lived in three Asian countries and visited many more, I love the Asian look of them. I also found a book in Talking Leaves Bookstore in Buffalo, Postcards from the End of America by Linh Dinh. The title alone hints to the demise of America, and its utter lack of moral leadership (not that we’ve always been moral, not by a longshot).
- I set an intention to take photos with my wide-angle lens, which I failed to do. I also was supposed to take black and white photos. Though I didn’t take any photos in black and white, I did edit a couple to be B&W.
Overall, I was glad I finally made the trip up north to visit Niagara Falls. The Canadian side has the best views but also a huge commercial footprint and a lot of tacky shops. The American side has a more natural environment, and allows visitors to get up close and personal with the Falls as they tumble over the precipice. In the end, I left the U.S.-Canadian border with a bad taste in my mouth, and felt outraged and gloomy over what is becoming of our country. Though I was awed by the amazing Falls and the White Water Walk, and I enjoyed seeing my friend Mona Lisa, I don’t think I would ever return again.
Here’s my trip shown on the Polarsteps app. Of course, this app doesn’t show the actual roads taken.
“ON RETURNING HOME” INVITATION: I invite you to write a post on your own blog about returning home from one particular destination or, alternately, from a long journey encompassing many stops. How do you linger over your wanderings and create something from them? How have you changed? Did the place live up to its hype, or was it disappointing? Feel free to address any aspect of your journey and how it influences you upon your return. If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments.
For some ideas on this, you can check out the original post about this subject: on returning home.
Include the link in the comments below by Sunday, January 6 at 1:00 p.m. EST. When I write my post in response to this challenge on Monday, January 7, I’ll include your links in that post.
This will be an ongoing invitation on the first Monday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂
I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!