Sunday, August 30, 2009

Scottie Dog Quilts Quilting Cruise---Victoria, BC

Funny thing happened on the way to Canada......

August 13, 2009 shortly after 8 am the phone rang in our stateroom. Mr. Scottie Dog and I were just about to leave for breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe. I was looking forward to a nice bowl of oatmeal with chopped dates, dried apricots & walnuts.....
The purser was on the phone asking for "Mrs. BrendaLou Scott."

I indicated that it was me and he went on to say that Customs wanted to see me and that I was to "report to the pursers desk at 8:30. Bring your passport. If you wish your husband may accompany you." I asked what this was regarding and he said he had not been informed. Bill and I were flabbergasted and it crossed my mind that perhaps it was a joke. I told Liz and she called the purser's desk and was informed that it was Canadian Customs that wanted to see me.

We reported to the Purser's Desk and waited with another gal who was as much in the dark as we were. The purser escorted us to the gangway and as they checked us off the ship we realized that the ship had not yet to be cleared by Canadian Officials.
We walk down....down....the long, long dock to Canadian Customs. First off I notice that the three men and one woman in uniform have on Kevlar vests....Do they expect me to pull a gun? This is beginning to freak me out. The Rhapsody of the Seas carries 1500 passengers and 900 crew...out of 2400 people the Canadian Officials choose to interrogate TWO and one of them is me.

My name is called and Mr. Scottie Dog and I go into the office with one of the guys. First off he asks me if I have ever been involved in criminal activity. I say, "Not to my knowledge." He has 5 sheets of single spaced rap sheet. He keeps looking at the pages and asks where we are from. In unison we answer, "Eureka, CA." After a couple of minutes he says "That's near Weed and Redding, right?" (no, that is Yreka) It isn't until later that we realize that was a trick question designed to know if we were actually from Eureka.
"Ever been to Atlanta, Georgia?" he asks. "When I was 15 years old," I answer. Tick, tock, tick tock.....he keeps looking through the pages.
"Well, it seems that someone who uses several alias' has been using your name and birthday." He continues to look through the pages and finally says, "I guess you can go."
Whew! But really, why me? Why BrendaLou who never skipped a class in school...for darn sakes, I never even had a tardy! Never shoplifted, I drive the speed limit. On a ship with 2400 people they detain me, ME! It doesn't seem funny for several days!

Funny, I don't really feel like eating breakfast any more..... But I gather up some friends and we grab a cab into the city. He deposits us at the Chinatown Gates and Satin Moon Quilts. The owner, Brenda is all prepared for our group. I buy some Canadian Fabrics for my daughter Beka (her hubby Jason is from Ontario Canada), meet with a pattern designer and buy some more goodies.
We walk down Government Street to the Empress Hotel (corner of Government and Humboldt!) to the Empress Hotel where High Tea awaits us. Twenty one of our group have made 12:30 reservations for tea. Oh, my! The "tea lobby" was beautifully appointed with sofas, overstuffed chairs and side chairs. It was as if we had come to tea in a lovely home.
At each place was a small goblet filled with perfectly ripe blueberries with whipped cream. YUM!

There were tea sandwiches, mushroom pate on toast rounds, truffles, cookies, cakes, scones, oh...we couldn't eat it all, that is for sure. Our waiter poured for each of us. I am a tea drinker and Black tea, English Breakfast Tea or Constant Comment are about as exotic as I get. We had the special Empress blend and it was smooth and delish. Even Sydney liked it....or was it the 10 sugar cubes she put in hers?
Tea was a lovely way to slow down and have some great food and conversation with friends. So relaxing and pampering. Perhaps the English understand that better than we.
When tea was over some of us jumped into another cab and went to Craigdarroch Castle. This was built in the late 1880's as a vacation home for a wealthy business owner. Alas, he passed away before it was finished but his family lived there for almost 20 years. Then it was used as a hospital after WWI. After that the local school district offices were there, a college, a musical conservatory and finally it has been restored by the local historical society. I've never seen so much Tiffany stained glass windows in one place before. The woodwork was incredible. If you ever have the chance be sure to visit.
I met up with Mr. Scottie Dog and we toured the Parliament Building. Then back to the ship. I was glad Canada allowed me this incredible day!
Just call me Jailbird!


Beka and Jason Haché said...

Glad to hear that Canada wasn't TOO rough on you! :-) I wonder if you'll have trouble next time you visit or if they've cleared your name for good!


Tanya said...

Wow. What a story. That would have freaked me out too. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the rest of the day without taking offense at being questioned so suddenly!