After many hours spent in Lufthansa’s Airbus A330 with high speed air conditioning we land in Montreal. We are dizzy partly because of the AC and also because of the time zone changes. Welcome to Canada! Hmm let’s see how welcomed we are. We have to show some passports with visas on them first.
Customs officers: Good day, what is the purpose of your travel in Canada and how long are you staying? (proudly pronouncing “Canada”)
Me: We are tourists and we would like to visit your country by motorcycle for about 2 months.
The guy gets curious (what, they didn’t come visit their relatives?). He carefully checks again our visa in passport. And again. He asks “What do you do for a living?” I answer: I’m an IT consultant with Accenture (long live the multinational company, probably known also in Canada). I almost answered for Andreea but I realized it might sound odd. So I try to encourage her visually. So my dear Andreea answers confidently “yeah… and I am working at some company in Romania”. Super! I was already imagining endless follow up questions to clarify her answer. Luckily, the customs officer was satisfied with the very vague answer. Stamps on the passports and that’s it, welcome in Canada.
Catalin was waiting for as at arrivals wearing a T-Shirt with “Romania” just for easy recognition. And yes, we felt right at home during all our time spent in Montreal, and this was all because of the wonderful people we’ve met there. It is true though that “at home” had slightly taller buildings that we were used to…
Next day, a new task was at hand: to take the motorcycle out of customs. That means several hours of zig-zaging to different offices. And one would think that the Customs Office for example (which checks and approves all the packages) would have it’s office somewhere in the airport (where all the planes land, right?). But no, the office is some 40 minutes ride with bus 209. Then you get off at a junction and continue on foot 10-15 minutes. Of course, with a car, the trip would have been much shorter. But riding the bus, I got the chance to see the beautiful houses in the neighborhood.
The good thing about customs office being so far away from the warehouse is that the guys are nice enough and usually do not insist on coming back and check the package. The officer asked some basic questions and I got the blue stamp stating that I am allowed to take out the motorcycle.
Ready to go! Only the mirrors missing!
One funny thing was when I tried to find out from the customs officer if there is a better way to get back to the airport. And she says: “of course, it is very simple, you go to the end of the street and then, making a left, you will have the airport just in front of you”. “Oh, so you mean I can walk to the airport? “Of course not, but you are not with your car? Ooo then you will have to take a taxi…”
Eh, or not. I fancy another ride with bus 209 through the neighborhood.
At the end of the day, I had the opportunity to ride the first kilometers in Canada, from the airport to our hosts.
We have to say that we felt, right at home in Montreal, and this is all due to our hosts, Catalin and Catalina, and Mihai and Cami
From the next day we would be on the road, for the first time, together, on the motorcycle. Toronto, here we come!