Very happy to report that US Customs, Homeland Security and me got on like a house on fire when we met up during the family holiday earlier this month.
Although we were standing on a dock in Vancouver, Canada, we were trying to get approval to sail to Alaska and, as that territory comes under the protection of the Stars and Stripes, it was their super-efficient law enforcement officers I had to negotiate my way past before being allowed to board the boat.
It didn’t help that three cruise ships happened to be taking on their passengers at the same time that day, reason enough for me to take my first sharp intake of breath as I viewed the masses, but I dutifully took my place in the first of what would be many queues without complaint and, more importantly I suppose, attracting unwanted attention.
Reminded you don’t mess with uniforms packing a pistol on their belt (the last time I tried that nearly ended very badly), I was patient and polite.
To be fair, the initial ‘herding’ from the holding area on the quay to the first ‘Check Point Charlie’ was pretty fraught-free, and the first check of passport and baggage as we moved from Canada to America in the space of a few short steps completely without incident.
Even when we were directed to another row of seats in another huge hall already holding thousands of holidaymakers, I shuffled forward as directed without complaint.
More close scrutiny of the paperwork, finger printing and having a picture of my eyeball taken followed before I was finally given the all-clear to put my foot on the gangplank with the best wishes of my security team ringing in my ears.