4th August 2019

Bangor, United States

Since I didn’t have any kind of mattress to soften the bumpy ground beneath my tent, I’d gotten only a few hours of rough sleep.  I had my bag packed, and was back at the petrol station, in good time for my 8:20am bus to Bangor. Waiting beside me at the station, was an Amish family of two parents and eight children, ranging from early teen, to newborn.  The father and boys were all dressed in identical white shirts and blue trousers, with the mother and girls all in ankle-length navy dresses. The father, who spoke to his family in German, pleasantly chatted to me in perfect English, telling me that he and his family were taking buses down the East Coast, to visit relatives in Mexico.

As the bus pulled up to the station, so did a Border Patrol car.  The three uniformed men who got out stood beside the bus doors, asking everyone looking to enter one simple question: “Are you a US citizen?”

Those who answered ‘yes’, were largely let onto the bus without any further questions.  On answering ‘no’, I had to hand over my passport, and give a very brief explanation of where I was going, and how long I’d be in the US.  The Amish family handed over a series of pieces of paper, possibly in lieu of real passports.

By midday I’d been dropped at a bus station in the outskirts of the small city of Bangor, and had walked into the centre, in search of WiFi and a grocery store.  I walked into a Walgreens, hoping that the large pharmacy might have something decently-edible on sale.  When I entered, I took off my backpack, and placed it by the door, as was standard practice when entering stores with luggage, all over the world.

“Hey buddy,” the sales assistant shouted over to me from the registers.  “You’ve got to keep your bags with you at all time. You can’t put them down”.

In the early afternoon, I was picked up by Evan, my final CouchSurfing host before I settled in New York.  In his late thirties, Evan was a spiritual type, who was working towards getting himself established as a Reiki healer, and currently made an income from selling cannabis, which wasn’t yet legal for recreational use in Maine.

While I sat in his car, Evan made a few sales.  We’d drive to car parks, or his customer’s houses, for him to meet them, weigh out a few grams of freshly cut buds on his scales, and bag them up to hand over.  With his stock emptied, we drove back to Evan’s house where, exhausted, I took a very early night.