28 November, 2006

Down the Richelieu River Part 2

Nothing bothered us during the night and the morning was calm and pleasant. Our third day was as sunny and warm as the previous ones. Eric was getting impatient to get to the boarder so I made a fast porridge breakfast, packed everything in the boat, and waited for him to get ready. The river was busier that day; the little fish were jumping out of the water, the motor-boats were zooming by, and the fishermen were waiting for their catch in their crafts.

After half-a-day of paddling we finally reached the “big golden buoy”. The concept of border always puzzled me, and if it is pretty straightforward on the ground, I couldn’t wait what would the Canadian-American boarder look like in the middle of the Richelieu River. As it turns out the actual boarder is identified by the big golden buoy but the office of the American Border Patrol where you have to register your crossing is in the nearest marina.

“Barcomb” marina made me think of the American movies: a saloon-type of place that smells like beer and French fries, the regulars sitting at the bar, the barwoman (Sue) running the place, and ….. two Canadians dressed in the wet-suits, clogs, bandanas, and spray skirts asking about registering the kayak-crossing. All the head turned when we entered the place and we were explained that during the off-season the officer waits in his office for a phone call, and once we fill out the paper he would come to talk to us. While waiting for the officer we met Steve who told us stories about his life all over the States.

An hour later the officer showed up......

It was the first time he saw kayaks crossing the boarder and had no idea how to fill up the necessary papers. After talking to the head-office he registered the boats and we were free to go! However, it was getting dark and we had to look for a place to stay. We went back to the bar to inquire about the nearest beach where we could’ve spend the night, but everything nearby was a private property so Sue offered us a patch of grass next to the marina, which was more than enough for our tent.

The evening and the morning after were somewhat surreal. The street right next to us, the highway-bridge on the left, houses, cars, people ….. although Rouses Point is a very little and quiet city. We ate the dinner (another Thai soup and Thai yellow curry with vegetables and textured vegetable protein over rice noodles), drank some tea, went back to marina to say “Goodnight” to Sue, who was watching “House” and cuddled up in the sleeping bags.
To be continued ....

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