It was October 19, 2003, and I was still reeling from the Red Sox loss at the hands of the New york Yankees in game 7 of the ALCS. Luckily for me, on that Sunday morning the members of The Nerds Uncanny had a road trip planned to Niagara Falls. Talk about perfect timing! A relaxing, worry free vacation with friends to forget all about the Red Sox. This was just what the doctor ordered,. Fate however, had other ideas…
The plan was to spend a few days on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Laneit and She-who-must-not-be-named had been there before, and wanted the rest of the gang to see the Falls. Also along for the trip would be John, and for the first time, Wah Kee. She-who-must-not-be-named planned the trip, booked the hotel, and even arranged for us to borrow John’s mom’s van, which I named Talutla. Since Laneit, She-who-must-not-be-named, and Wah Kee had a concert the previous night, it was decided I would drive on the fateful day.
I picked up John first, then headed over to Laneit’s where we found Wah Kee enjoying some strawberry milk and KFC popcorn chicken. Why anyone would eat that at 7:30 in the morning, is anyone’s guess, but the issue would arise later. After loading up the van with a dvd player, a Nintendo GameCube (Remember those?) and enough snacks to feed an army, we were headed north. Believe it or not, for the first couple of hours, everything went according to plan. This was a first for us, as something usually happened during our trips. Well, I didn’t need to worry, because about ninety minutes north of Albany New York, the fun began.
As I sad before, I was behind the wheel, and She-who-must-not-be-named was in the passenger seat serving as navigator. Moe, Larry and Curly were in the back watching Mr. Show. Don’t ask me how I remember, I just do. Anywho, as I was driving I noticed the highway was about to split into two, so I asked “Left or right?” But there was no response. so I asked again, and once more there was no answer from the passenger seat. As the fork in the road got nearer, I looked over and noticed She-who-must-not-be-named was taking a nap. At this point I shouted, and she mumbled “Right, err go right.”
Two hours later we were on a two-lane road, over a hundred miles from where we were supposed to be. I didn’t like the look of the area, as there were too many abandoned cars, and burned out buildings on both sides of the road. I decided it was smart to floor it, and I was doing well over 80 on this little road. Every time I hit a curve, I could hear something sliding in the back.
After about the third time, I looked in the rear-view mirror, and laughed when I noticed the thing sliding back and forth was Wah Kee sitting on the floor. A few minutes later I heard shouts from the back telling me to pull over, and as soon as I did, Wah Kee slid open the door, and puked on somebody’s front yard. John was quick to note that Kee’s vomit was strawberry colored.
Once Kee was better, I floored it again. I think the place we were in was called Boonville or something along those lines. All I know for sure, is that the lead story in the local newspaper was a barn rasing. We stopped for gas at the one gas station in town, and two pick-em up trucks pulled up next to us loaded with dead deer. I guess it was hunting season or something. Anywho, I had driven for eight hours, so She-who-must-not-be-named took over for the rest of the way. In the end, we took a five-hour detour, all thanks to bad directions.
We were all exhausted, but finally reached the border around 8 PM. The Canadian border people collected our paperwork, and asked the usual question when one enters another country. To be on the safe side, I brought along my license, my permanent resident card, my passport and even a copy of my birth certificate. I figured better safe than sorry. As it turned out, it was Wah Kee who was sorry.
Good old Kee had his license, but nothing else, and the Canadian border department would not allow him into the country, until they verified his identity. He was asked to go into the customs building, while we waited in the car. After he’d been in there a good while, She-who-must-not-be-named decided she better check up on him, so in she went. A few minutes later she rushed back tot he car, and she was white as a ghost. Laneit asked “What’s wrong?” She-who-must-not-be-named simply replied, “They told Kee he has ten minutes to get out of the country.”
As she said this, I looked up and saw Wah Kee being escorted from the building by an armed guard. Someone in the car let out a shocked scream, it probably John, but it may have been me. Regardless, we drove towards our friend Kee, and decided to give him a ride back to the States.
On the United States side of the bridge, Wah Kee faced the same issue. He didn’t have valid identification. I asked him why didn’t he bring his green card, and he said “Because its expired.” My next question should have been “Why the hell are you leaving the country then?” but I didn’t think to ask. The border people on the U.S side were really nice, and tried to help Wah Kee as much as possible. It took about an hour, but they finally found him in the system. So what, you may ask, was the problem?
Wah Kee was born in Hong Kong, so the Canadian border people were looking for him as a Chinese citizen. the problem was Kee was born in Hong Kong during British rule. So by law, he’s actually a British citizen. Yup, Doctor Who, James Bond, and Wah kee. All as British as it gets.
Well, our plans on the Canadian side were obviously a bust, and we weren’t about to leave Wah Kee to fend for himself. We parked in hotel lot while She-who-must-not-be-named cancelled our reservations in Canada, Meanwhile Laneit, John, and I decided we should look for a hotel in the New York side. Wah Kee felt really bad about the trouble, but it really wasn’t his fault. He offered to drive around the city as we looked for room at the inn. Boy that was a mistake. As we took a turn, Wah Kee was busy staring at the pretty lights coming from a casino, so he didn’t see the sidewalk, and nearly tipped the van over.
We drove around for over an hour, looking for some place to stay. In the end, we ended up back in the parking lot where we had started from, and stayed at that hotel. Why didn’t we just stay there to begin with? The only one with the answer is She-who-must-not-be-named.