Enroute to Copenhagen
Trip Start Jan 08, 2006
36Trip End Apr 01, 2006
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Pierre Trudeau Airport, one of the nice airports of the world, with beautiful shops and beautiful corridors, miles and miles and miles of them.
I left the hotel in the city with a plan of how to get to the airport, and it worked. It was rough and bumpy at times, and icy, and I had to carry my bags up and down a few stairways, but it worked.
I was so relaxed and happy that I checked in and went through to the secure side without even thinking much about the need to get my receipts stamped for a tax refund. So imagine my surprise when I asked a woman at the duty free where I needed to go to get the stamps.
"C'est impossible Monsieur! Vous avez déjà passé la poste de sécurité."
«But can I go back and do it again?»
Not to be put off, I decided to try my luck with the security guards.
In a multi lingual city, I struck the only three people who didn't speak any English, and I couldn't explain why I needed to get my receipts stamped well enough. Then I got lucky, one of the guards who showed up to help was new and eager, and offered to help me. Follow me he said and we walked; and walked, and walked. Through security doors, into aerobridges, across concourses which I am sure have never even been used before. At last we arrived in the arrivals hall, and guess what? I had to formally arrive in Canada again.
"Where have you come from sir?"
"Aaahhh" Nowhere didn't work, so I tried, "Montreal"
That didn't work either.
In the end, I explained my problem in French; I had worked out the words I needed by talking to the security guard on the way, and the women obliged by letting me immigrate all over again.
Then came the crunch.
My friend the guard took me over to the Customs office and waited with me.
"Can I help you?" asked the customs agent.
"Yes, I need to get some Canadian receipts stamped so that I can claim back my GST when I go home".
"Certainly sir, do you have the goods also to show me?"
"No, the receipts are only for accommodation".
"Oh". You don't need to get accommodation receipts stamped. They can be sent in any time you like".
Long pause and slow breathing while everything folded in around me......................
"Well, that kind security guard has just walked several kilometres with me on the pretext that I need these receipts stamped. He doesn't speak any English, so he is completely unaware of this tragedy unfolding around us. Would you mind very much just stamping them anyway? I would hate to disappoint him."
She laughed at that and stamped everything in a very formal manner.
My tame French guard left me at the end with a big smile and good wishes for my journey.
Then I got to leave Canada all over again. As I entered the queue to pass through the sensors and scanners again, the guard in attendance looked at me with a cocked head, and then asked me in French had I passed through once already. He was exactly right and for just a fraction of a second, Loki, the Nordic God of tricks played with my mind, tempting me to say "non" to tease him. Luckily, I managed to beat Loki and tell the truth. "Yes" I said, and explained what had happened.
"I thought so", he said, "I never forget faces". Not bad for a guy who sees hundreds of people every hour. And lucky for me, I could have been searched for weapons in all the wrong places.