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Booted out of Canada

I have returned from Seattle. IAH->SEA was 5 hours, SEA->IAH was a little over 3 hours, what’s up with that? I would *love* train service between Austin and Houston airports. 15 minutes to board a plane, 30-40 until takeoff, another 30 minutes in the air, another 45 minutes spent taxiing and deboarding. It still beats the 3 hours of driving, but rail would be handy. I see AUS is implementing “express lane” credit card lanes for parking.

Thursday night was spent at Alex & Victoria’s introducing me to the world of Nintendo Wii and DS. I was skeptical at how motion control would work in a game, but after a few minutes of playing it became natural. I’m surprised at how sensitive the controls are, it allows for some very subtle actions. Wii Sports was fun, we played a few rounds of golf and tennis. I discovered Wii Boxing and got a sweaty workout in the process. I also played Zelda and Elebits; after a while I was cursing the stupid Elebits and kept playing.

We had the wild idea to drive up to Vancouver and visit, since I had never been to Canada. I didn’t bring my passport because I wasn’t expecting to leave the country. Starting last month, you need a US passport to leave/enter the US when flying, but you can still leave/enter Canada and Mexico by automobile with a drivers license. When we got to the border, my lack of passport or birth certificate caused us to get examined more closely. The immigration folks discovered Alex’s previous misdemeanor conviction in the US, which is a problem because there’s no direct equivalent in Canada and the “closest” violation carries a severe maximum sentence. In the past I hear it’s been a big hassle to explain (or they didn’t even look) but he was always admitted to the country. This time he was denied entry and required to “leave without delay”. I’m pretty sure because my document-less self was travelling with. The irony here is that he’s a Canadian citizen, but didn’t have the paperwork to prove it at the time.

Based on map estimates, I made it .36 miles into Canada. The houses, grass, trees, people, streets looked unsurprisingly like they did in the US. US Border Patrol was not happy at all that I didn’t have a passport or birth certificate for readmission to the US. Ultimately my drivers license and telling them my place of birth and nationality was all they needed.

Friday we went to Steven’s Pass for a day of snowboarding. They had lost a lot of snow over the past week, what was left was hard and fast. I spent an hour remembering how to get on the board and stay up. I never got the hang of riding heel-side without falling on my back every single time, I always felt more comfortable on toe-side. Eventually I was satisifed I could properly go kill myself on the green slopes. Victoria went up with me a few times to get the hang of things again. I wasn’t comfortable going fast (which was easy with the snow being what it was), so I wound up pretty much mastering snowflaking. I had a few spectacular end-over-end wipeouts, one knocking the wind out of me. I went up a few more times on my own. I gave up trying to learn moves and just did what felt fun and comfortable. Because I kept riding toe-side, my ankles and calves were exhausted and soon finished me.

I wore hip pads, but I was so sore afterwards from the beating. My calves, triceps, and back are screaming. I’m not in love with snowboarding, I said I’d go again, but the sheer soreness from the workout makes me want to go again soon.

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