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April 14th, 2007


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07:57 am - One Cruise, to go, Hold the Passport
"Your mom booked our cruise to Alaska," Dad informed me when he came home from work.

"Wait, what?" I said, "I thought she wouldn't do cruises?"

For years, maybe even decades, my dad has wanted to someday go on an Alaskan cruise. As he tells it, his brother went on one once and came back filled with tales of incredible beauty and grandeur. The main obstacle has been that he didn't want to go alone, and so he's simply waited, dreaming about it occasionally, but never being able to do it.

The most likely person to accompany him would be my Mom, and actually, I was surprised to learn that she didn't want to go on a cruise! Apparently, she gets seasick and was worried that she'd be ill all through the cruise. Finally, though, their travel agent suggested that she get a cabin in the middle of the ship, as the motion isn't felt as much there, and after years of protesting, Mom decided that maybe she did want to go after all.

And upon making that decision, she immediately booked a cruise for herself and Dad.

"Well, your Mom's not one to let any grass grow under her feet," Dad said, grinning a bit.

I laughed. "No, I guess not."

I was a little bit wistful, since I'd sort of had this dream that I'd one day be able to save up enough to send Mom and Dad on a cruise, but I was just happy they were finally getting to go.

"Now I just need to get a passport," Dad went on.

I thought about that for a minute, while "does not compute" bells went off in my head.



"Um, wait a minute," I said, "Alaska is a state, right?"

"Yes, it is," Dad replied.

"In the United States, right?"

"Yup."

"As in, Alaska is part of the same country as Nevada, California, New York, and so forth, right?"

"Sure is."

I paused for a moment with my mouth hanging open, trying to figure out how to delicately phrase the question that had occurred to me. It came to me with the usual eloquence. "Okay. Why the FUCK do you need a PASSPORT to visit another STATE in the same fucking COUNTRY?" I yelled.

Dad was obviously trying not to laugh. "Well, we take off from Vancouver."

"Please tell me that's 'Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada' and not 'Vancouver, Washington, USA,'" I begged him.

"No, no, it's Canada," he said, "apparently you need a passport to get back in the country now."

"Hooray for Homeland Security, keeping us safe from math professors sneaking in from Canada," I exclaimed. We laughed, and Dad went back to his den.

So, really, while it still seems a bit stupid to me, all he needed to do was get a passport. No big deal, right? He'd even found his birth certificate (an amazing feat considering it's nearly a quarter-century old document). What could possibly go wrong?

As it happens, a lot of things.

[to be continued here...]

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:siliconshaman
Date:April 14th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, better to go now why there's still some ice up there.

and that last sentence really ought to be followed by a "
Dun-Dun-Dunnnnn
"...
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:April 14th, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
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The ominous music is left as an exercise for the reader.
From:jmcg
Date:April 14th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
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As of Jan 23, 2007, if you travel by air between Canada and the U.S. you will be required to present a valid passport. However, you can still use other acceptable I.D. to cross the border by land or sea (ferries, pleasure boats etc) until Jan. 1, 2008, when passports will be required by all travellers.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:April 14th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
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Unfortunately, they're flying into Vancouver.
[User Picture]
From:plklives
Date:April 14th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, I love Alaska so much. Your parents will love it! I've gone up there twice in a cruise ship with my mom and once on a ferry with Kyle (the ferry is seriously so nice it's like a small cruise ship). Oh, and I will say that there is a 99.5% probability your mom will have no seasickness whatsoever, no matter where she actually is on the ship. Most of the time is spent in the inside passage, which is basically like being on a river. Even the exposed sea part isn't a big deal because it's pretty short.

Also, Alaska is an excellent place to swoon over gorgeous Russian samovars. I really wanted to get one, but they don't fold up so well in a backpack.
[User Picture]
From:sushirob
Date:April 15th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
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Also, cruises are required to enter a foreign port unless they are flagged US (and incur massive fess and employment laws they have to follow.) With very few exceptions, all cruise ships are flagged in foreign countries for that reason. Of course, once they enter a foreign port, they are subject to customs inspections.

What ship did they book?
[User Picture]
From:diachrony
Date:April 15th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
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So I can't go to Canada without a passport now.

Never had one. Guess I should get one ...
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:April 15th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
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Oh, you can go to Canada without a passport.

You just can't come back.

But I'll get to that part in a bit.
[User Picture]
From:kungfubarbie
Date:April 15th, 2007 08:59 am (UTC)
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dramaine or however you spell it.
[User Picture]
From:mrsveteran
Date:April 16th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC)
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You mean that stuff you take for sea-sickness? I think it's Dramamine, or something. We used to joke that it was taken to reduce excessive Drama in your life. hehe!

I'm going to buy Mom a couple of boxes before she goes.

*IF* they go ... the passport thing is getting ridiculous.
[User Picture]
From:sushirob
Date:April 16th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
(Link)
Dramamine works well actually. Definitely buy before, though they will sell it on board.

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