December 13, 2010


I spent a wonderful 24 hours with Dunava in Vancouver BC this weekend. We had been invited to sing with members of the (former) band Balkan Cabaret. Although I wasn't able to rehearse with Dunava this fall, our director invited me to come along and have fun. Turns out, having fun also meant singing with the band on a few songs that I already knew.

We loaded up the cars at 1:30 PM and caravanned north to the Canadian border. In our car we sang, ate, and talked nonstop.

More than halfway there, we got a call from the other car that one of the women forgot her passport. What to do? 1) Get her boyfriend to drive up on Sunday with her passport so she could get back into the States hassle-free. 2) Hope that no one cares that she didn't have the passport. And 3) Ask the Canadian border guards what they recommend. Option 3 won, and the Canadian guards told her that not only would the USA not prevent a citizen from returning home, they would also check in the database for her passport. Whew!

Upon arrival in Vancouver, we got something hot to drink and walked to meet my friends at The Noodle Box in Kitsilano. I joined them for dinner; the Dunavites walked back to the folk dance party location for a potluck dinner. At around 7:30 we gussied up in sparkly and glittery clothes, and at 8:00 the party began.

The organizers wanted to begin by singing Christmas carols. This made me feel surprisingly uncomfortable. (I have always thought of folk dancing as completely nonreligious.) I sat down during the carols with another Jewish person and waited awkwardly until the nonsectarian music and dancing began.

I joined Dunava in some of the dozen or so songs they sang with the band. Several of the women sang solos. They also did a short a cappella set (which I did not join, since it was very tightly rehearsed). Everyone at the party seemed to love the music. I danced until my toes were numb!

At 11 PM my friends picked me up, and we sat up talking until past midnight. In the morning we ate fresh crepes with fruit, chocolate sauce, and yogurt for breakfast, along with strong cappuccino. They drove me to where the Dunavites were staying and we headed south to the border. We did manage to make time for a quick stop at the duty free store for some chocolate and liquor.

At a rest stop just south of the Canadian/USA border, we found our other car. The singer who had forgotten her passport presented her driver's license to the USA border guards, and they checked her passport registration on the computer and okayed her to re-enter the country. The two cars caravanned back to Seattle. We made silly faces at each other every time we passed.

After a quick snack with Rik and catching up on the ironing, I pooped out on the sofa and fell asleep for two hours. At 8 PM Rik gently suggested I just get into bed, and I slept soundly until 8:00 this morning. I guess I really was tired from all that singing and dancing!

1 comment:

  1. I hope that gal didn't end up having trouble getting back into the states. My folks accidentally ended up in the space between the US and Canada border patrols, and when they realized their mistake and turned around, the guards didn't want to let them back in without their passports... which they didn't have, because they hadn't planned to leave the US in the first place.

    They imagined themselves a mini-van version of the Flying Dutchman, forever circling in that tiny no-man's-land, two aging gomers and an overly friendly Springer Spaniel, living off whatever trail mix and chips they could cadge off of kindly travelers...

    It took some time, fast talking, and a deal of looking pathetic before the guard let them pass. I think so much depends on whether you get someone officious or not.