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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Canadian + US license plates= stuck in Buffalo

I'm a few days late, but Happy New Year to all! I spent New Years in New York this year, and was very lucky to just get there. I flew out of the Island Airport with Porter on December 28th, but my flight was delayed by 8 hours. For those of you who are familiar with the airport, you know that there is not much to do other than stuff yourself with shortbread cookies and biscotti. I swear that I held out as long as I could, since my New Years resolution is to eat a much healthier diet. However, I didn't plan for any delays, and of course did not pack any food. After 3 hours of delay, I caved and reached for my first biscotti and my first shortbread cookie. Let's just say that I don't want to see another Walker's brand cookie for at least a year.


Coming home to Toronto after New Years, the plan was to drive back with Ming and Bailey. Bailey is Ming's 90lb Bernese Mountain dog, but I claim her as my own too! Anyway, we left NY at 12:30 and hit the border in Buffalo at 8:30 and thought we were making great time. Ha! Our plans were thwarted when the border patrol officials told us that we could not enter into Canada, since we were driving a friend's car that had US license plates! Canadian citizens/residents cannot drive a US plated vehicle in Canada. That is a law that we'll never forget. The Canadian border officials were at least slightly sympathetic and told us that our best bet was to drive to the Bufallo airport and to try renting a car with Canadian license plates so that we could drive home into Canada. The US border patrol officers on the other hand, were less than pleasant to deal with. Ming and I had to sit there and bite our tongues, while some of the officers insinuated that we were driving a stolen vehicle and that they should just impound it! So, we backtracked and drove to the Buffalo Airport in search of a rental with Canadian plates. As luck would have it, there were none at the airport and none at any rental agency nearby. We also learned that all of the buses from Buffalo to Toronto would not start again til the morning. We were in quite a pickle! We ended up parking in Longterm Parking at the airport and huddled in the car trying to figure out what to do. I'm pretty sure that the Airport parking shuttle who just makes rounds and rounds through the parking lot thought that we were homeless and living out of the van with our dog.

After we contemplated whether or not we should be calling anyone at that late hour to come pick us up in Buffalo, we decided that it was worth a try. Luckily, Ming and I had two saviours who were willing to come to our rescue and drive from Toronto to Buffalo, and then back again in the middle of the night! Our saviours go by the names of Mike M. and Mike C. Yup, M&M left Toronto at 11pm and found us in the parking lot at 1am. We all got home around 4am, and the Mikes had to work at either 8 or 9am the next morning. Ming and I were so happy and touched to have the best friends in the world come through like that for us! It was a situation that really made you think who your true friends are, and these two did it without hesitation! Thanks guys-we owe you HUGE! Our friends Fred and Linda were willing to make the trip too, but neither of them had renewed their passports:)


Needless to say, we're happy to be home, but our friend's van is still sitting in Buffalo Airport's Longterm Parking A full of Ming's Christmas presents. He'll have to drive back down on the weekend with his friend with a Canadian rental car, and then explain to the US border patrol how he has all this merchandise while only being in the US for one hour. Good times ahead, I'm sure:)


3 comments:

  1. Holy smoke Leanna! What an adventure for you and Ming. Those "Mikes" ... I knew they were good guys ... always politely smiling as they rocket by me on the track

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