“What is the purpose of your visit?” asks the customs agent, staring intently at my direction.
“Where are you staying?” he continues with his questions.
Either at the Sandman or Best Western.
He glances at my passport. “Either?” He repeats.
I haven’t confirmed my booking.
“Do you have any relatives or contacts here in the United States?” He asks.
“Please open your suitcase.” I do so, grunting at the weight of my baggage. Unlocking it, the agent unzips it and begins rummaging through my belongings unceremoniously. “What’s this?”
Sex toys, Sir.
“Where are you traveling to?” He asks, passing the duffelbag to another officer.
Portland, Oregon, for the KinkFest.
In the background, a young woman who had been a crew member aboard the ferry, gives me a dirty look. “Your backpack too.” I pass it over and another officer glances over the rope manuals and my notebooks.
“Do you work?” He asks.
No, I am a student, Sir.
“What are you studying?” The officer glances at the notebook, shown to him by his colleague.
I plan on studying in the private sector, private investigations.
“Plan on? Are you or are you not a student?” He asks, flatly.
I plan to enroll when I return.
“When is that?” He asks.
Sometime in the month or the next.
“How are you supporting yourself?” The officer in the background flicks through the manual as the young woman’s expression turns to disgust.
Savings, Sir, what family has left behind.
“You said you live in Vancouver?” The officer asks, flicking through stacks of envelopes and receipts. “It says you stayed in Victoria for a week.”
Sightseeing, Sir, and yes I do live there.
He holds up the receipt for the hotel where I stayed at the last night before my departure, back in BC. “Why are you booked in this hotel?”
I was seeing a former partner, Sir. She lived far from where I was and it was easier to catch the ferry shuttle.
“It says in these notes about swords and firearms,” He gestures at the notebook. “Do you possess any of these?”
No, Sir, they’re for my writing materials. I write.
“What’s in this case?” He gestures at the first aid kit I have in my toy bag.
Bandages, gauze, any emergency supplies for traveling or in my lifestyle.
“Are you planning to work down here?” The officer asks, glancing over his shoulder at the others. The young woman continues to glare at me, clearly distasteful of my duffelbag contents.
“How are you paying for your stay?” He asks, firmly.
Credit Card, Sir.
“Why do you possess Hong Kong ID?” another officer asks, having emptied out my wallet.
I have tri-citizenship, Sir. Hong Kong and China.
“But you live in Canada?” The officer repeats.
Yes, Sir, I was born there.
There is a pause and the officers glance at one another. By this time, I am the only person in the custom clearing; all my clothes and belongings are laid out on the table, completely in disarray. The woman comments on the smell of old dirty laundry.
“Very well, please gather your things, Sir.” The officer says. “Welcome to the United States.”
Next Update: The First Night & the Adonis hour