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Wanted: Suggestions for traveling to Canada from U.S.


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I will be traveling to Toronto from the U.S. in June for my HT.

 

Any past U.S. patients have any suggestions in making the experience smooth "out and back"?

 

For instance: I don't have a passport, so would my drivers license and birth certificate work? Also, is it easier to convert U.S. to Can $$, or just use credit cards for everything? I have an early flight out the next morning, how much lead time do I need at the airport? How about suggestions for making the plane ride comfortable the next morning after the HT?

 

No matter how trivial....I'll take the advice on making the trek as easy as possible!!

 

Thanks

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I will be traveling to Toronto from the U.S. in June for my HT.

 

Any past U.S. patients have any suggestions in making the experience smooth "out and back"?

 

For instance: I don't have a passport, so would my drivers license and birth certificate work? Also, is it easier to convert U.S. to Can $$, or just use credit cards for everything? I have an early flight out the next morning, how much lead time do I need at the airport? How about suggestions for making the plane ride comfortable the next morning after the HT?

 

No matter how trivial....I'll take the advice on making the trek as easy as possible!!

 

Thanks

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Son of a Plug,

 

I couldn't agree more with Jotronic on the passport.

 

I will be heading to Canada, by plane, on May 27th for my HT. 2 years ago when I flew to Vancouver on vacation, the customs agent was a major pain when I tried to come back into the US. He almost didn't let me because while quizzing me on my Birth Certificate, I couldn't remember the attending physician. Must have been a slow day at his desk.

 

I just received my Passport a week ago and I'm hoping it will make things easier this go around.

 

Applying for one was no big deal. I downloaded the pertinent forms from the State Dept. web sight (www.state.gov). I filled that out, went to Walgreens at 7:15 AM and paid $8 to have my picture snapped. I took my application, my pictures, my birth certificate, and a check for $85 to the Main Post Office here in Boise. 10 days later I received both my birth certificate and my passport back. I'm assuming it was so quick because of the SARS scare and the Iraq deal.

 

--Blake

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About the currency conversion issue.

 

I've both changed $US to $Can at the the airport and at the street vendors.

 

With a credit card, or an ATM card, you'll be receiving the wholesale exchange rate for the day.

 

It's funny on your bank statement when you see an ATM withdrawl for 121.30 because of the exchange rate.

 

When you're trying to leave Canada, make sure you save a $10 Canadian bill. There's some sort of airport tax you have to pay. 2 years ago it was $10, and they don't care if it's US or Can.

 

--Blake

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I drove from Seattle to Vancouver --- I personally didn't have a problem. It was about a 15-20 min wait going from the US into Canada --The wait was on the US side with local police checking cars --whenI got to the canadian customs I told them I was going to see a hair doctor and they let me thru and on my way back the next day I flashed my head and they gladly waved me thru icon_wink.gif

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Having travelled (and worked) many times in Canada over the years, I can tell you it's THE easiest country IN THE WORLD for an American to get into and around in.

 

The hard part is getting home due to OUR OWN idiot border guard bastards. Hey, I live in L.A., and we get to deal ALL THE TIME with the effects of crap guards south of us. And by "us" I mean not only Americans but also those who come here illegally from Mexico--frankly, I feel very sorry for them all. It boggles my mind that our border guards can be so lax and incompetant to the south, yet so fascist to the north. What mobs of illegal Canadian immigrants have you ever heard of?!? icon_eek.gif

 

Yeah, yeah, drugs. Whatever. So B.C. grows some GOOOD bong fuel--all the power to them (by the way, marajuana is now decriminalized north of the border; it's NOT legal to grow or sell or buy, but if you happen to HAVE some on you, no problem; it's like Amsterdam up there now and frankly Vancouver always has been; but a word to the wise). But we all know where the majority of our hard drugs come from--and it AIN'T Canada.

 

Terrorists? Fine. Check us out. Hell, I don't want to see anyone getting away with ANYthing on my own "home and native land," to quote Canada's national anthem.

 

But I've had NO problems with the Canuck border people; they're a model of friendly professionalism. The innane questions are deliberate--they'll catch your inconsistencies (I tell you from the humiliating, though accidental experience of having taken a bit too much booze up with me in my car trunk on a film shoot once; that was in the days you couldn't buy Wild Turkey burbon up there in the Great White North).

 

The trouble, as everyone is subtly indicating, is again with our own people.

 

So, yeah, act like YOU YOURSELF are a naturalized American, rather than a "natural" American, born and bred. GET your passport. HAVE a copy of your birth certificate with you.

 

But nevermind the crap about Canadian authorities giving you a hard time about a drivers license? HUH? That happens all the time to the Canadians I work with who come down here and our own stupid cops look up pictures of their licenses in books from the 1920s (and the Canadian licenses have changed since then, d-uh!). No, I've travelled to and worked up in Canada for more than 16 years on and off. NEVER had a problem.

 

And you CAN leave your doors unlocked!

 

But a word to the wise about coming back home. Our guys will treat us like WE'RE criminals. Fine, I understand it. But be prepared for the worst and forget hoping for the best.

 

Sorry to sound so cynical but I HATE the U.S. side of the U.S.-Canada border. Of course, I've never heard a Canadian complain... Hm. Maybe we're being "profiled" here, fellows, by our own people. We must be SUSPICIOUS to want to go to Canada for an HT procedure. Maybe they planted marajuana seeds in our scalps!!! icon_biggrin.gif

 

(I wish)

 

As for money--Canada is a totally different country than the States. To be sure. But there are so many similarities--like, d-uh, running water, electricity, and banks at which you can exchange your money. Obviously you'll take a hit from anyone who you exchange your money with, but I'd go to a bank. Street vendors get away with murderous rates.

 

You can use your credit card but when you get back they'll ding you with the WORST rate of exchange, and realize, people, that at the start of the year the Canuck buck was sixty cents to one U.S. dollar. It's now EIGHTY cents--the healthiest G-7 economy, in fact. Obviously we still gain, but if the Canuck buck keeps rising what you pay for today on your CC you'll pay MORE for tomorrow.

 

Say hi to the moose for me.

 

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Unlike Jo, I don't look like a criminal- So I had no problem with a birth certificate and DL. When they asked my business in Canada, I said, "Going up for surgery". The guy said, "eyes or hair?". Pretty common I guess... They just waved me on through. I'm a blonde haired blue eyed Swede too- I'm sure that helps rather than hinders...

 

BUT- I'd hate to be detained if a passport would help... IF you have time to get one...

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Are we talking about the same country, man? CANADA. That would be the one with the peace-loving constant apologizers who go out of their WAY to AVOID giving offense. The ones who do NOT force their history or culture down the throats of new immigrants (who they call, interestingly enough, "new Canadians" rather than WOPS, spics, niggers, Chinks, and a load of other lovely terms I can think of that I hear constantly around L.A.). The ones with NOT one but TWO official languages and public schools where a HOST of OTHER foreign languages are taught (and in which regular subjects are taught--I can't imagine a public high school in L.A. teaching history or math in Spanish, nevermind Croatian, but on our last film project in Canada we visited a school, funded by the city government, that taught the basic subjects in Croatian because in that neighborhood Croats formed a sizable majority).

 

It's simply unbelievable, to me, your story, I'm sorry.

 

I totally do NOT believe your story about the Canadian border guards giving your (fictional) Spanish pals the runaround near Vancouver. If ever I've seen border guards hassle people, and if ever I've read about border guards abusing their authority, and if ever I've heard (from ANYone but you) about border guards on the Canadian-U.S. border giving people a hard time, it's ALWAYS the U.S. border guards guilty of screwing people around.

 

And what the f...? It's easier to travel to CUBA than Canada? Ah, as a U.S. citizen, NOT. I don't know where you're from, man, but a U.S. citizen bred and born has a HELL of a lot of difficulty travelling to Cuba relative to Canada. Besides, one of Canada's late prime ministers, when he died, guess who showed up at the funeral--Castro.

 

Can you IMAGINE Castro flying up to Washington for Bush's funeral? icon_biggrin.gif

 

Forgive me for the ranterola, Lorenzo. But honest to Christ the only reason a Canadian border guard would have given your pals the big search is that they WERE hiding something. Not that Canadians don't make mistakes--oh, how I could go on about how they DO. But don't go spreading myths, man, seriously. Take a few trips yourself and COUNT the number of times ANY hassle comes your way from ANY Canadian. Then compare with the phone-book-thick record of crapola you get from our own border boys.

 

Seriously.

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Just kidding.

 

Okay, if there is some independent verification on Lorenzo's story I take back my rather mean-spirited remarks above, with sincere apologies to Lorenzo and the rest of the forum.

 

Like I said, I CAN believe Canucks, like any human beings, can act like asses, make mistakes and all the rest. I just take offense on behalf of our neighbor to the north when it is unfairly slammed--as it so often is down here in lala land (L.A.). (By the way, half of L.A. is Canadian, anyway--think Jim Carrey, Donald Sutherland, William Shatner, Nora Jones, David Cronenberg, "Will" from Will and Grace (I know, the latter two are New Yorkies--I just mean half of show biz is Canuck).)

 

So, I take it all back. Sorry to have doubted you, which I shouldn't have done automatically.

 

Interesting silence on our own border boys, though. Has no one but me had REPEAT problems with our own guards? I seriously have a problem or hassle or major delay almost every time I (or any of my crew mates) come back home.

 

There can always be exceptions, as Lorenzo points out, but I still maintain that the general rule is our own guys are a HELL of a lot worse than the Canadian border guards. And, knowing the Canadians I do, Lorenzo's volunteering that story about the two Spanish guys, true or not (though I now believe it is true), makes me think it's just another typically Canadian thing he's doing--trying to "equal out" the "badness" of our country's respective border guards to make us feel better. Don't worry, Lorenzo. Any time you are in L.A. I'll be happy to introduce you to the sadistic fascist antics of the L.A.P.D. to prove to you our cops are DEFINITELY worse than yours--I take it you're of hispanic origin? Then the L.A.P.D. will spare you NO lack of effort in their abusive treatment of you.

 

Be proud of where you live, man, is all I'm really saying.

 

Pic

 

p.s. Wow, imagine, me, the voice of reason, wrong! Must be the first time ever icon_biggrin.gif

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Pic; I just read your posting. Although I appreciate your apology, I am still insulted. When you wrote WOP on your first posting it was the only racial slur that you put in capital. Since Lorenzo is an italian name did you direct that to me??

Believe me I have travelled to the US frequently since I have relatives in Palm Springs and Brooklyn and seen the racism there.

I travel frequently and actually leaving tomorrow for Manchestor. I must leave Canada at least 4 times a year and still consider Vancouver Customs the worst in the world. I have even made sure sometimes that I land in Calgary or Toronto because the customs there are much better.

Believe it or not you see quite a few Americans in Cuba. When they enter Cuba either though Jamaica or Mexico the Cuban customs will not stamp their passport so that they will not get in trouble when they return to the states.

I am also very proud where I live and consider Vancouver the best city in the world. But the truth is the truth...

 

 

Lorenzo

Representative for Hasson & Wong.

 

Dr. Victor Hasson and Dr. Jerry Wong are esteemed members of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians.

 

My opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hasson & Wong.

 

My Hair Loss Website - Hair Transplant with Dr. Hasson

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OK I started writting a long post on the USA this Canada that, racial slur's, cuba and castro ect. ect. Then I fell asleep and hit my head on delete.

 

All I got from this post is that cop's,custom's agent's and border guard's are there to light your bong. That there are no bad people in the world just in the USA. why don't those non-bong lighting, terrorist hating, cop's, border guard's and custom's agent just relax and read some good old USA porn at work. Castro will save us all...LOL

 

Yes I know this post went way too far in the other direction... "Can't we all just get along"

 

All spelling error's (and I know there are a lot)brought to you by the US public school system...

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FOR JOTRONIC:

 

You wrote, "As a matter of fact I have found that I've been scrutinized more by going into Canada than by coming back into the States."

 

OK. That's been your experience. Fine. It's valid. But it hasn't been mine or that of anyone I know personally. I can only base my comments on my own experience and on the stories I've been told by those I trust. My friends and coworkers and I are always comparing our (PLURAL, not just MINE) bad experiences with U.S. border guards. There are so many horror stories that you have to laugh. The one Lorenzo shared on this forum sounds to me like one about U.S. border guards, frankly--especially the bit about not replacing the socks and "neglecting" to apologize. But Jotronic, if you say so, if you've had a different experience, who am I to argue? This is all just subjective until some reputable and unbiased group does a scientific study on the matter so let's drop it.

 

You wrote, "If you've had more attitude from US guards perhaps it is because the US has more to worry about from terrorism than Canada does. The US has to scrutinize people more and YES I wish they would on the southern border as much as on the northern border."

 

Good point, although Canada experienced what we define as modern terrorism LONG before 9-11, in the 1960s in Quebec. Google the term "Front de Liberation de Quebec" or "FLQ" and see what you find. Certainly not on the scale of 9-11 -- but NO terrorist attack has EVER been that spectacular, and terrorism doesn't HAVE to be THAT spectacular to still BE terrorism. Most bombings in Spain from ETA, most IRA action in Northern Ireland is pretty prosaic compared with 9-11. But it's all real terrorism.

 

You wrote, "Another reason you may have trouble coming back in is from what I gather due to what I percieve as your over the top attitude. I'm referring to your racial slurs, while maybe not directed at anyone in particular, are less than pleasant to read."

 

As for my "over the top attitude" in general -- believe me, I'm all cool as a cucumber at any international border crossing and I'm very professional on the job (I do most of my border crossing as part of my work).

 

But when someone makes a ridiculous assertion I get into hyperbole to make my point. I write like this in most of my posts, saying things like "crap doctors" and "THE BIG BUCKS BABY!!!" I admit my language can be "out there," meaning informed by hyperbole, at times, but you're DEAD WRONG if you think my ATTITUDE is "over the top." That's just my style. Don't let it get you down, man.

 

Something important, Jotronic. I do NOT appreciate you guessing about my experiences of border crossings or anything else. ASK before you comment on my "attitude" or assume things about my behavior. You give our border guards FAR too much credit. I realize you are only seeing things based on your own experiences, as we all do, and that's legitimate, as I've said before in this post. But you can say NOTHING about my experience of BORDER CROSSINGS, Jotronic, as you've NEVER crossed a border with me. I'd appreciate you confining your remarks about my style to what you DO know, which is what I say in my postings and HOW I say things in my postings.

 

On a slightly different topic, when someone, ANYone (border guard, Internet poster) gives me the runaround, or insults me, well then I get pissed. I think that's normal.

 

Speaking of which, you wrote that stuff about "my racial slurs." EXCUSE ME? But what the HELL are you talking about, man? If I write the word "nigger," that ain't no racial slur. It's a WORD. If I CALL SOMEONE a "chink," THAT is a racial slur. Like you said, I directed those WORDS at NO ONE, and so they are NOT "slurs," they are WORDS. If you're offended simply seeing the word "nigger" in print, well, I can't apologize for that. And I WON'T. It's not my fault you're sensitive to those words. As long as I'm not directing them at anyone, I'm doing nothing wrong in writing them down. If you read where I used them in my previous post, you'll see I was making a point about how WE in the U.S. DO USE THEM AS SLURS. I have yet to hear ANYONE in Canada CALL someone a "nigger." And, again, I have NOT done so here or in any of these posts.

 

I realize you tried to tone what you were saying down by saying "just a suggestion," but you're basically implying I'm a racist, to which I take HUGE offense. Back off, man, and THINK about what I said, READ what I wrote, the CONTEXT of the WHOLE MESSAGE. Don't just hone in narrowly on a few racist terms that I did NOT use against ANYone.

 

As for what I do, I've chosen not to put that in my file for a variety of reasons but if you'd like to "talk" privately e-mail me at picarodon@hotmail.com. I'm interested in knowing what you do, too, as it SEEMS it's Web related (not to make assumptions, however! icon_biggrin.gif). Hey! I'm not just assuming, I'm ASKING! icon_wink.gif

 

 

FOR LORENZO:

 

Clearly I've failed to communicate clearly! When I wrote "WOP" in capital letters, I did so mistakenly because the term derives from the expression "WithOut Papers." As I understand it, it referred in New York during the early part of the last century to a wave of illegal Italian immigrants. However old it is, it's definitely an ACRONYM, like CIA, and I just mistakenly typed it in ALL CAPS like CIA, or UNICEF, or FBI. I was NOT directing it at you. You're reading too much into the all cap thing.

 

Actually, I stupidly thought "Lorenzo" was a Spanish name! icon_redface.gif

 

You wrote, "Believe me I have travelled to the US frequently since I have relatives in Palm Springs and Brooklyn and seen the racism there."

 

NO doubt, and it saddens me as an American in the twenty-first century, man, I tell you. That there should be ANY racism in this day and age, especially in our supposed melting pot, is inexcusable and you should be proud of your country's efforts to eradicate racism, bigotry and sexism.

 

The only thing I dislike about Canada in this vein is how politically correct you people can be--that also is a form of fascism. We had a script writer accused of "voice appropriation" because he is black and wrote dialogue for a Native American character. HUH? Voice in literature is a TECHNIQUE, and NOT an OBJECT. It canNOT be "appropriated" or "stolen," what a joke. This is political correctness gone INCORRECT. Should Tolstoy have refrained from writing Anna Karenina because he was a man writing about a woman? Give me a break! Nadine Gormier, the South African Nobel Prize winning novelist, a woman obviously, once said she thought Joyce, in Ulysses, "nailed it" with his inside-her-head monologue of Molly Bloom (a female character) at the end of that book. She said it was one of the most beautiful and TRUE pieces of writing on how women see the world that she'd ever read. THAT is what people DON'T GET. One of the great VALUES of art is its ability to help us get into the mindframes and points of view of others, to allow us better to empathize with people of other races, cultures and the opposite sex.

 

Me, I tend to go with what Lenny Bruce said: "I use offensive terms like 'nigger' all the time so that they lose their power, their shock value, so that one day little Johnny WON'T come home from school crying because someone said the word 'nigger.'" Let's not cast racist terms around at people, but let's not become idiots unable to distinguish between just SAYING the word and USING it for racist purposes.

 

You wrote, "I must leave Canada at least 4 times a year and still consider Vancouver Customs the worst in the world. I have even made sure sometimes that I land in Calgary or Toronto because the customs there are much better."

 

Again, as I said to Jotronic, that's your experience and I can't say anything about it. All I can say is that I've had more problems crossing the border--NOT in airports, mind you, I'm talking about driving across--coming home to the States than I've ever had leaving for Canada. And as I've also said, the same goes for my friends and colleagues.

 

I HAVE flown many times in to Vancouver, however, and again, just my experience, but I've NEVER had a problem. The dogs sniff around, the customs agents might ask me a question or two, but I never have a problem.

 

You wrote, "Believe it or not you see quite a few Americans in Cuba. When they enter Cuba either though Jamaica or Mexico the Cuban customs will not stamp their passport so that they will not get in trouble when they return to the states."

 

For...Christ's...SAKE!!! You people have to learn to READ!!! I didn't say there were NO Americans in Cuba. I said it's a hell of a lot harder for U.S. citizens to visit the country--by which I meant DIRECTLY. OF COURSE people SNEAK in via third countries. That only strengthens my POINT! If U.S. citizens HAVE to SNEAK INTO Cuba, it MEANS we have a harder time than Canadians who can just go straight in! READ what's written! icon_mad.gif

 

You wrote, "I am also very proud where I live and consider Vancouver the best city in the world. But the truth is the truth..."

 

Yes, you should be proud of Vancouver. And of Canada. And, yes, the truth is the truth. But we may just have to agree to disagree about WHAT exactly the truth IS. At least on this matter, which ISN'T hair transplant stuff anyway--so let's drop it.

 

This will be my last post on this sorry subject.

 

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