Sunday, June 24, 2007

Glow Check!

After we left Granville Island, we found our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express in North Vancouver. The Roketman had booked us through Orbitz, and we've stayed at a few other HIs, so the very nice girl behind the counter looked at the computer screen, and chirped "Would you like to be upgraded? We can put you in one of our theme rooms. Would you like the Roman Room or the Arabian Nights room?" I got a fit of the giggles.

But it wasn't the Madonna Inn or mirrors-on-the-ceiling type of thing at all. More like a honeymoon suite. Very nice- and pretty inefficient. Like a big whirlpool tub, and no shower. A HUGE bed- and about 6 inches clearance between it and the heater. A plushy chaise lounge in front of the tv- with no coffee table. In other words, all style and no function. But I digress...

Plan A for Saturday was to take a ferry across to Cowichan Bay, so I could look for a Cowichan sweater, and so we could .... take a ferry. Unfortunately, all the reservations were taken! plus, it would cost about $80 for one leg of the trip, and the schedule was all wrong to do in one day. Bummer.

So Plan B was to check out one of the Native American trading posts, that advertised handknit sweaters. Good store- but the largest sweater they had was a size 46. Not "ample" enough for these hips.

We checked out the coastal highway north of Vancouver, and the Atkinson lighthouse in West Vancouver, and generally had a pleasant driving tour of the greater Vancouver area (I'm ignoring the downtown traffic here). We got to Customs at the border at about 5.

The wait wasn't nearly as long coming south on Saturday afternoon as it was going north on Friday at 3ish (go figure!) We had a discussion on all the electro-optical and other devices, trying to figure out what the functions were. Such is life with a rocket scientist.

When we got up to the kiosk and gave the officer our passports, we got the usual "Why did you go to Canada?" type questions -- and then the double-take at the computer monitor. Uh oh. He asked "have you had any medical procedures in the last few days??" No, we've been on vacation. "How about in the past month?" Well, RM had had a cardio exam the day before we left, with the thallium injections and treadmill routines... He pulled us out of line, and directed us inside the building. Another Uh oh.

We stand in line for 10 minutes (I'm so glad there wasn't a longer line at the border!!), and the man behind the counter asks us all those questions again.

And then he pulls out a Geiger counter.

Holy uranium, Batman, I've been sleeping with a radioactive man. Worse yet, he's tripped the Homeland Security dirty bomb sensor!

I am truly astounded (and rather impressed, actually) that they could detect the thallium through the car, with closed windows. Thank god the sensors were precise enough to also tell it was medical-grade thallium, centered on RM and not anything we were carrying in the car.

And that, thank everything that's Holy, was the last adventure we had.

Whew! Now it's time to do battle with the cat hair that's been 10 days accumulating. After getting that back down into the realm of being annoying, instead of obnoxious, I'll start loading pictures to Flickr. Stay tuned!

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