So let me tell you about the machete. You may have forgotten, but on my last day i Iquitos, Keely bought a machete and I offered to bring it back to Canada so she wouldn’t have to carry it across South America for another 4 months.
I was a bit worried. Like, at our last dinner together I made everyone come up with a story as to why I had it. Of course, they all thought my story was too complicated and that I should tell a modified version of the truth — I had been in the Amazon on holiday and bought it as a souvenir. All true, except it was my friend’s and she had bought it as a present for her dad.
Anyways, I’m freaking out. I declared it at the airport in Iquitos to Lima, and again at the airport in Lima. When we were handed the customs forms before arriving in Toronto I had to check the ‘I’m bringing a weapon into the country’ box, which I’d never done before.
Usually I call my parents when I get off the plane so they can leave my house to pick me up. I only live about 15 minutes from the airport, so that’s usually sufficient warning. But this time I called, and had to say I had no idea how long customs would take. I was expecting to have to sit down and talk to someone, or at the very least go up to a booth.
Instead I was put in the fast track lane, and arrive dat a customs guard just standing in the middle of the hallway (not in any of the customs booths). He looked at my declaration, and asked what kind of weapon I brought. I said machete, and started on my story and he just told me to go ahead. Not believing this is real, I actually asked him to confirm I didn’t need to talk to anyone else. With a seemingly careless wave, he motioned for me to continue to baggage pickup. And so I left the customs area. Who was I to argue?
That was not what I was expecting in the slightest! I called my parents to pick me up, got my bags, and lined up to leave the baggage claim and truly enter Canada.
There were two customs guards barely glancing at the stamped declaration forms. I handed mine over, waited a few seconds, and then started to move forward. The two guys had been chatting the whole time, and it wasn’t until I was about 5 steps away from them that they realized my card was different from the rest. One guy called for me to come back, so I did (reluctantly), and they asked what weapon I brought. Did I bring a gun? Nope. I brought a machete. A what? One guy had no idea what I was referring to, so the other guy had to explain that it was a large knife. Why’d I bring a machete here? Well, you see, I spent a week in the Amazon and brought this back as a souvenir. (Preparing my story was key. If I hadn’t prepared I would have been flustered, and that would have been a bad scene). But I also was just amused with these guys, as they should have caught me sooner than they did.
Anyways, they looked at each other, shrugged, then told me to go on through. And so that’s how I brought a machete into Canada. It stayed in our guest room for the remaining 4 months of Keely’s trip, and then was thoughtfully gifted to her dad. He shows it to me overtime I visit.
We couldn’t find a sheath in Peru (apparently they don’t use those there), but her dad was able to get a custom built one, so it didn’t have to stay wrapped in an orange towel forever.
It looks pretty great now. But I still have to pinch myself sometimes, when I remember that I went to the Amazon and brought a machete home.