To think that humans
are bad because they go to war is to miss the point entirely about
war. War is a good thing because humans are so bad.
It seems that we are
going to have the indignity of having no one come to meet us at the
The family and
relatives I had are disintegrating into nothing. The older ones are
dying off and I never had much dealings with the younger ones who
live out of Winnipeg.
against abortion because of rape. "I'm sorry innocent one
but your father is a rapist and so we are going to have to kill
[The following was typed
Nightmare at Pudong:
Paperwork problems cost us 16,000 RMB. So, I fly to
Canada by myself. Jenny & Tony take a flight the next day.
Just before we
encountered the problem, we were waiting in line to check in.
Behind us, young twenty-something foreigners who sounded
Canadian kept using "like" and "fuck" in their
conversation. No consideration for the people around them.
Angela, a ex-student,
in Wuxi now living in Vancouver, picks me up at the airport. I had
to use a payphone to contact her. She lives near the airport in a
house that has four bathrooms and a huge yard. We will be staying
with her before we fly out to Winnipeg.
I am going to have to
get a Chinese driving license. Because I don't work in BC
anymore, I can't renew my driver's license there. This I was told
at an ICBC licensing office in Richmond. However, I learned
that I could drive with a valid Chinese driver's license in Canada
and that if I moved back to Canada, I could change it to Canadian.
But this leaves me
with the problem of having a valid photo ID so I could renew my
passport. For that, it looks like I will have to get a proof
of Canadian citizenship certificate. But does it solve the
problem of my having a valid photo ID other than my passport?
[Perhaps, my Chinese driving license can be my photo ID.]
Are humans to conform
to the system or should the system serve the needs of humans?
Needing pieces of paper just so you can do something that
isn't criminal is galling. I made a mistake and have to suffer
more that someone who performs an act with criminal intentions.
Richmond, a suburb of
Van, seems a lot smaller than Wuxi. The buildings are not as
tall, the roads are not as wide and the subway train is only four
cars long (compared to the twenty car long Wuxi Metro.)
Still the sky is so
I watched the ninth
episode of Game of Thrones. I knew the dragons would save the
Queen or as I think of her: blonde girl with the dragons. I
also foresaw that the Queen mother, or as I call her the mother of
Jodfrey, was going to be thrown in the clink by the religious sect.
Angela and I meet
Tony & Jenny at the airport.
We will try to get a
Chinese visa for Tony although it won't be necessary for Tony to get
back to China. He was given a exit and entry permit so he could
leave China. [We went to the Visa offices but they couldn't give us
same day service, it turned out.]
Damn! I had a great
thought but I forgot what it was.
One way in which
China exceeds Canada is that Chinese can buy liquor in their grocery
stores while in Canada, you have to go to specially designated beer
stores or government liquor stores.
You can buy pineapple
beer in Vancouver though!
I saw many typical
British Columbians in the shopping mall where I tried to renew my BC
How has jet lag
affected me? I didn't fall asleep till after 2:00 AM.
It is only right and
proper that we feel guilt about the things we did and may have done
[The following was typed
while on the plane the plane from Vancouver to Winnipeg]
The Vancouver Back
Door of the Bus Thank You! Riding the bus in Van, I first saw one
guy get off the bus at the back door and say “Thank You!” to the
driver as he did so. I thought it was strange. Then the next
passenger getting off the bus at the back door thanked the driver.
I thought it was just two oddballs doing it. I was in BC after all.
But then everyone getting off the bus by the back door did it. Woh!
I thought so polite. Jenny & Tony noticed this, and when we
got off the bus, at the back door, Tony loudly said thank you!
Bus baby troller
procedure: when mothers and strollers get on the bus, special
accommodations are made for them and seats are folded away.
Politeness has me on
edge. I feel the need to modify all my thank you's with an
Anxiety about weight
of bags. One airline service person from Westjet asked me how much
my bags weighed andI said I didn't know but that we had gotten them
all the way from China. The limit was 50 pounds (why no metric?
Not that I am complaining.) Two of our bags were just under 50
pounds. One came in at 38.
domestic flight in Vancouver was more intense than when going
through security at Shanghai. Jenny has metal in her shoe that
caused her to spend extra time with the metal detector people.
So many laowai
in Vancouver. They looked Canadian and spoke with Canadian accents
but seemed so foreign to me.
Rode the skytrain. I
have ridden subways in Mexico City, Chicago, Vancouver, Beijing,
Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuxi.
Tony would rather
play Minecraft then look out at the window at the gorgeous scenery.
He was even that way on the Skytrain.
My Macbook Pro is a
little big for the plane. It doesn't fit on the fold out tray.
Tony likes his bacon
and hash browns. I have given him all of mine from my meals.
Weather was gorgeous
in Van. Too bad, we were only there for three days.
Watched a video with
Father from 2010. He said he hated mountains because they blocked
the view of the sky. [He said he also hated Winnipeg because it was
a big city.]
[The following was typed
while I was in Winnipeg]
Someone – My
brother Ron – met us at the airport after all.
I drove a car for the
first time since May and June of 2012. Funny, how nerve wracking it
is to get into the driver's seat only to then to have it seem like
riding a bicycle.
The first evening in
Winnipeg we went to a cousin's place for dinner.
We are staying at my
brother Ron's house.
Tony has fallen in
love with his uncle Ron's Xbox 360 and the GTA game which I have him
playing with the mute button turned on.
The first full day in
Winnipeg, the three of us all got up at 11:15 AM. As soon as we had
breakfast and got ready, we went to a Walmart Super-Center
on Taylor Avenue. There was so much I wanted that I had to tell
myself to want nothing. The food section was mouth watering. I
restricted myself to buying a 500 ml tub of cottage cheese. (I asked
Jenny to try that and she didn't care for it.)
Coming back then to
my brother Ron's house, I got stuck for the first time in over ten
years as a driver in a traffic jam. I wanted to get back on Pembina
Highway from Harrow Avenue but I was in behind ten other cars trying
to do the same thing. It took a while for me to get to the stop
sign and then the traffic kept coming and coming so that I didn't
think I would ever be able to make a right turn. What was really
annoying was that there was a parking lot just up the road where
cars would take advantage of the break in traffic to make their
right turns and thus take a chance away from you. One of these cars
did let me turn but it was Jenny who noticed this. The road from
Harrow to the turnoff near Royce Avenue, where my brother's house
was, was filled with bumper to bumper traffic. [This makes me
reconsider the Chinese habit of turning right without looking. How I
wish this could be done in Canada.]
I have a few people I
want to pay a visit to in Winnipeg. On the Friday night, I was able
to get a hold of Ed Chalmers, my reservist buddy who is now a
policeman in Winnipeg.
Cousin Pat, actually
husband of my cousin Edie (pronounced E D: that is you pronounce
them as letters), is a fiscal reactionary. He has been retired
for over twenty years and doesn't go out much, out of choice.
He says the world is going to shit. Case in point, he says,
America's huge debt.
And after riding
around Winnipeg and spending time at the Polo Park shopping centre,
I am very inclined to agree with Pat, although not for fiscal
reasons. At the food court there, I saw so many fat and
badly-dressed people. And the ones who were in shape looked to
have spent too much time in the gym, which only showed how decadent
the civilization was becoming either due to overeating or being
overly concerned with body image.
Not one really
knockout local woman had I seen.
On Saturday, we went
to the Forks and Polo Park where we did too much shopping.
Saturday, we also
drove past the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium and I saw as the
reports had indicated that there was no parking. Pat also told me
that 30 million dollars was going to be needed to repair the thing
after one year of operation.
I drove past the
recently constructed Museum of Human Rights. Pat had said it
was ugly. Under his influence, I thought it looked like a Wuxi
Saturday for supper,
we went to an Italian restaurant on Corydon avenue. We didn't
have a reservation so we had from 5:00 to 630 to eat our meal.
The place seemed undermanned. Our waitress dealt with us
brusquely. Jenny enjoyed her salmon. My lasagna was too much.
In Polo Park, they
had a shop that sold music CDs and movie DVDs. I thought everyone
got that stuff off the Internet now.
There was a shop at
Polo Park for white trash culture called Spencer's.
Tony was very
irritable. The whole time in Polo Park. He was always wanting to go
to a computer or toy store.
We went to
Assiniboine Park on Sunday. There was a lack of signs, we thought,
as we drove around looking for the zoo and the mini railway. And it
just so happened that it was complained about by the owner of this
mini railway that we wanted to go to for Tony. Just as we walked to
its ticket office, the owner said business at his railway was slow
because a lot of tourists didn't know of it. I told the owner I
only knew of the mini railway because I had ridden in years gone by.
And as I mentioned that I was living in China, the owner talked and
talked to me and he had me thinking I was becoming a slow talker
after all my years in Wuxi.
At the Assiniboine
Park Zoo, a lot of animals were hiding because of the hot weather.
Tony did see a polar bear swimming at least.
Two pretty girls –
Asian – entered the Tim Hortons as I was having coffee with the ex
King of Wuxi.
No more pennies in
Canada. When paying cash, prices are rounded to the nearest
nickel. Inflation continues.
Mobile phones are
more expensive in Manitoba than Wuxi. The former King of Wuxi
said that in Wuxi, he and his wife both had mobile phones but that
in Winnipeg, only his wife had a mobile because of the price and the
restrictions of contracts.
[The following was typed
It was a two hour
drive to get Brandon on Monday. Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. I
was in pain when I arrived with my butt
sore and my leg all so stiff.
Before leaving for
Brandon, I had coffee at a Stella's with Trevor Kraft who I knew at
DHL-slash-Loomis in British Columbia.
I wanted to buy a
burner phone to use for two weeks in Brandon but it was just too
expensive. When it comes to mobile, they do it better in China.
You can buy a sim card and phone cheap in China.
I visited my father's
grave side after supper on my first day in Brandon. My first time
to see the grave stone in person. I will try to visit it every day
while I am here in Brandon.
Second day in
Brandon, we – that being the Kaulins family – went shopping.
First the family went to Mark's Work Warehouse where I bought two
pants for work and a pair of jeans. Then, we went to a nearby
Walmart where Jenny and my Mom bought stuff, and Tony whined about
being hungry so I took him to the in-store McDonalds. He had
chicken nuggets and I, for the first time in years, had a quarter
pounder. The fries that came with it were too much. Later, just
Jenny & I went to a Dollarama. Jenny bought some things she
thought she needed and I bought four brands of chocolate bars that I
couldn't get in China: Smarties, Glosette Raisins,
Skor, and Wunderbar (Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!)
I had to accompany
Tony to the bathroom at Walmart because he had to go poo. In the
men's room, there were two urinals and a toilet which was occupied.
Tony was noisy and impatient, and even looked under the door to see
if anyone was in the toilet. When the person came out, it turned
out that he was an old man, and he said something to me about his
being old and slow to which I could only say that someone had to
learn to be patient. Tony then took his time in the toilet and so
there were two men waiting. But then the cleaner came in and told
us that there were more toilets and urinals in the back of the
store. I told him I was just waiting for my son to finish, but he
repeated himself. “There are three urinals and two more toilets
in the back of the store!”
Lots and lots of
obese and old people at the Walmart.
Also at Walmart, I
made an appointment to see an eye doctor because I wanted to see
someone I could talk to in English and so get proper glasses. The
only catch was that it could have taken a week or more for me to
have had the eyeglasses made and I may have had to get my brother to
mail them to me in China. [It turned out that I got my glasses on
the day before I was to leave Brandon.]
I have seen people of
all races in Manitoba: Africans, Latinos, Asians and Aboriginals.
I have brought Ron's
X-box to Brandon because Tony likes it so much. He especially likes
the GTA game. He also plays Minecraft on it using a disc which I
have purchased in Winnipeg. [It was either that or buy him a much
more expensive Minecraft Lego set.]
I got myself
eyeglasses at Walmart. They were bloody expensive because I needed
progressive lenses. The doctor said that one of my eyes was higher
on my face than the other, and so he asked
me if I had ever suffered head trauma. I told
I'm didn't and thinking about it afterwards, I was sure I told the
truth. All this was useful to know because I wouldn't have
learned it in China. The last glasses I had made in
Wuxi were shite.
Storm rolling in
while we were at the Real Canadian Superstore was cool to see. What
a contrast between the black cloud of the incoming storm and the
bright, blue, clean sky.
Soccer in Brandon:
at a field near my Mom's, a game was played by Africans and Middle
Easterners. Maybe one fellow was white.
Almost bought a pair
of Duracell ear buds, but changed my mind at the last minute. I
have to resist and resist...
Went to a second hand
store that was near the Superstore. It depressed me.
Tony called the
Superstore the Stupid Store
Went to see Mad Max
Fury Road at a nearby multiplex cinema which had
an arcade but no human ticket sellers. I bought a large popcorn
and two large drinks; and Jenny was
impressed by the pail like size of the drink containers.
As soon as I got to
my seats in the cinema, I had a let down feeling. The experience
was too expensive. The popcorn wasn't fresh. The atmosphere was
impersonal. I vowed to never see a movie in a Canadian cinema ever
The movie itself
approached Fast and Furious levels of implausibility. The movie
makers wanted as much chase in the desert as possible.
Tony went to the
bathroom three times during the movie.
I watched the Chicago
Black Hawks defeat the Tampa Bay team to win the Stanley Cup. It
was during the Stanley Cup Final in 2012 that father died.
We went for one
afternoon to Minnedosa, a small town about 45 km North of Brandon.
The drive there through green flat fields was pleasant enough except
for a ten minute stop caused by construction.
Summer means road
construction in Manitoba. The winters and the wide range of
temperatures destroys them.
The drive to
Minnedosa was also ruined by an unexpected school zone speed warning
on a provincial highway. The radar sign indicated the car's speed
and made me wonder if we had gotten a ticket.
Minnedosa was a nice
We would stop at
three places there.
We first went to a
park downtown, climbed on an old train car and caboose, and posed
for photos by an old Sherman tank.
I saw a bald headed
man with tattoos and sunglasses strutting
on the Minnedosa Main Street as I was trying to get to Minnedosa
We finally found the
lake and I saw the bald headed man walking nearby it. Near a beach,
there was a playground to which Tony happily ran to to be among a
bunch of what I learned were pre-schoolers who were celebrating the
end of the school year. I talked to an older women there who had
first talked to Jenny. She told me that she was there with a two
year old niece of hers. She also told me of twin boys in her family
who were graduating from high school that day and who were six foot
three. One of them had suffered a stroke when he was 14 months old.
I gave the woman a yuan coin to give to someone.
From the playground
we went to another playground where we picnicked. I saw some high
school students nearby who were dressed in suits and gowns for their
graduation photos. A little later, there was a motor boat towing a
water skier in the lake.
I then saw two sights
as well that sickened and annoyed me. First, there was this greasy
long haired man with tattoos and no shirt
riding his mountain bike. Then, there was a group of five young men
who hung out at beach and boat launch and seemed up to no good. I
was happy when they pulled away. Manitobans can be friendly and yet
there is that white trashy element to them. When I drove Jenny and
Tony to our third stop, a nearby dam, I saw a beer can that must
have been tossed from the vehicle of the five rowdies.
We saw the bald man
walking again as we pulled into a park by a dam. We walked on the
dam which made for some nice photos, past some babbling brooks and
then into marsh land.
We returned to
Brandon and weren't stopped by construction. As I drove, Jenny took
some great video of the sky. That damn school zone where there were
no kids caught me speeding again .
Trying to make a left
turn in Minnedosa was annoying because these big pickup trucks would
pull beside me to make a right turn and obscure my vision, thus
preventing me from making a left turn.
Back in Brandon,
we went to a Value Village. I was tempted to buy books by Sarah
Palin and Rex Murphy. [Value Village is a thrift store chain. We
had gone to one in Winnipeg as well.]
After dinner, we went
to father's grave to place some new flower pots. Mom said that ones
she had laid previously had been stolen.
Then we went to
Canadian Tire: an hardware chain that is as much an institution in
Canada as Tim Horton's. It is in fact older than Tim Horton's. No
Canadian tire caps for sale alas....
Three types of
garbage cans provided by the city at my mom's house. I wonder how
types of garbage cans, they have in the swankier parts of Brandon.
As a reactionary, it
is my duty to mock these things and remain ignorant of what the
different colored lidded cans are for.
The world has become
less humane. Humans have to adapt to the system, not the system to
people is the governing ethos these days.
I watched some
television news and was appalled by the left-wing orientation.
Listening to the results of the SCOTUScare decision, all that was
said was that the decision was about whether millions of Americans
would be able to afford health insurance.
I had coffee with
Raymond Pero who I have known since 1982. How to describe Ray?
First off, Raymond is a nice guy, of low status, with a ghoulish
laugh. I couldn't help every time I met him to make off-color jokes
to get him to giggle.
Surprisingly to me
anyway, Raymond is a father. He got some native girl pregnant and
now his twenty year old son is working at a McDonald's in Winnipeg.
Ray and the girl are separated.
Ray's parents have
both passed away and they are both buried in the same cemetery as my
Ray is still a
reservist private after all these years. I gave up the ghost as far
as a military career when I realized I could never be an officer and
would never get beyond corporal in the ranks.
Ray gave me some
updates from people I remember from my days in the reserves. Some
have died like then Lieutenant Thompson who later became the CO of
my regiment. Another young lieutenant from my time is now retired
and is a curator at the Shilo museum. A third,
this sinister fellow who was only good to share a complaint
with was now in a mental home.
Opened up a Smarties
box and thought it strange that it had three compartments inside.
I hate driving and I
hate flying, I can tell you on account of this trip.
Saturday morning in
Brandon, I took Jenny to some garage sales where
she bought a few things to take back to China. I saw a set
of books about the Simpsons that I would have liked to have
purchased but didn't because of worries of weight restrictions for
our return flight to China. At one of the sales, we saw a family of
Chinese who were from the Northeast as I suspected and as Jenny
confirmed when I asked her. Another home had about 50,000 hockey
and other sports cards for sale. They were from the 1990s and the
time of the great sports cards memorabilia bubble.
Brother Ron came from
Winnipeg for our Brandon weekend and told me that we (that being
Jenny, Tony & I) didn't like doing interesting things. Tony
only liked playing computer games, I only liked reading and Jenny
only liked shopping. True enough and yet what we going to do? Go
Fishing? Biking? Driving? That one trip to Minnedosa I did take
tired me out.
I regret that I won't
be able to see all my cherished acquaintances in Winnipeg. We came
at the wrong time. Weekdays, everyone has to work and weekends,
everyone already has plans. The logistics of meeting them wearies
me as well.
I didn't visit my
sister in BC this trip. I learned from my Mom that Benita is not
too pleased but someone was going to have to be disappointed this
I have told my mother
that she should sell the house in Brandon. I can't see myself coming
back here except to visit my father's grave site. It may well be
that I may never see it again after this trip...
My memories of
Brandon are ultimately bitter. I have some good memories of my last
year of high school, which was my first year in Brandon, but even
then I can recall there were bouts of loneliness and not feeling
that I belonged that would haunt the rest of my days in Brandon and
in Winnipeg and still to this day in China. I wandered the halls of
Brandon University, for four years, lonely and lost. I went to the
University of Winnipeg to try to correct those times instead of
giving up on the educational establishment as I should have... My
times in the Militia with all the assholes and the drinking
unsheltered me from any youthful idealism I had.
My telling my Mom to
sell the house in Brandon seems selfish in a way because it
ultimately repudiates my father who was obstinately happy to live
the rest of his days in Brandon.
Ron, Tony & I
went to Shilo's Royal Canadian Artillery museum. Shilo, which is
about 15 km from Brandon and where I lived on two separate
occasions, was not as I remembered it. It
seemed smaller and some new roads, which disoriented me, had been
After the museum, we
drove to Quebec Crescent where the PMQ we had lived in 1976-77 was
no longer standing. The area behind the PMQ where we would wander
didn't look the same at all. In my memory, it was more open.
I ran in Bruce Tripp,
an unforgettable figure from my reservist days, at a Beer Store. Go
Our third drive out
of Brandon was to Souris which was 47 km south, more or less from
Brandon. [Our first small town, Minnedosa, was about 45 km north.]
Souris is famous, to
those who know of it, for its swinging bridge. I, if I recall
correctly, went to the Bridge on a school trip in 1979 or 1980. I
have a distinct memory of the kids getting rowdy and swinging the
bridge very violently.
In Souris, we stopped
first at a little rail museum in front of which was a old rail
service car where Tony posed for some photos There was also a Moose
statue nearby for us to pose by as well. [It dawned on me that were
old rail cars and engines on display everywhere in Manitoba.]
We then drove to
Souris's Victoria Park. The website I had visited earlier in the
day said it was a place to go. The park had a bit of a hill to
climb, on top of which was a lookout tower made of wood that was
wobbly enough to make me a little nervous to climb its stairs. From
the lookout, I could see the actual swinging bridge which we
couldn't find right away. [It turned out we had passed by it
earlier.] Tony got upset because there was a pool that he wanted to
swim in but he hadn't brought any swim clothes.
We then crossed the
swinging bridge and posed for photos thereon, of course. While on
the bridge, a Christian couple gave Jenny some pamphlets. They were
an older couple who I had seen earlier in Victoria Park. They stood
out then because they were dressed in the Mennonite fashion and they
walked rather vigorously with beatific smiles on their faces. Jenny
was happy to get the pamphlets and didn't know what they were about
till later. I was nonetheless glad to see Christians.
When a man's mother
and a man's wife fight, what is the man to do? What he should want
is for his wife and his mother to stop fighting. How he can bring
about this goal is another question altogether. The only thing I
can think to do is pray for strength.
The problem is that I
Amid this squabble, I
had beers with Ed Chalmers, an old friend from my 26 Field days and
that Ray Pero character. Ed is working in the child sex crime unit
of the City of Winnipeg. One story was enough to further sicken me
about the world.
Tomb desecration of
my father's grave? Not quite, but the flower pot that my mother had
placed at my father's grave, and that you can see in photos at AKIC
wordpress, was missing three days after we had placed it. [It turned
out that the workers removed it. Fucking regulations.]
For me, the clouds in
Brandon are what are worth seeing here. White Cumulo Nimbus clouds
soaring against a clean blue sky are quite breathtaking if you have
spent as many years in a smoggy Chinese city as I have.
The Brandon Shopper's
Mall was a strange place in June 2015. Imagine a shopping mall with
no anchor stores. The big retail spaces for a grocery store and a
big retail department store were empty. The Safeway and the Target
having moved out in the year previous. I went there anyway and was
impressed with the food court which had a Tim Horton's and A&W.
I took Tony to a shop called EB Games that sells games for video
game consoles like X-Box and so on. While there, I saw a father
bring his boy, who was younger than Tony, into the store. The man
had a big gut and was wearing a Kiss rock band t-shirt. Disgusting
I thought. Men use to wear suits at one time. [I admit that I dress
as badly as that father but I am readily ashamed of myself.]
I went to the
Manitoba Liquor Commission store. I would have loved to have told
those guys to find real jobs. The government liquor monopoly is
nonsense! It is another thing for politicians and bureaucrats to
screw up. And of course you have to drive to get to it.
is about 45,000. I had told my students that it was around 30,000.
So in my lifetime, Brandon has grown by a sizable percentage. When
it had less people though, it had its own television station, its
own local newspaper published in the city and it probably had train
service. Now, you need a car to get about and the city might as
well be a obscure suburb in Winnipeg, what with all its parking lots
and strip malls.
[The following was typed
I took Tony to a
public outdoor swimming pool in Brandon. He waded for an hour and
told me he wanted to go home. His timing was impeccable because as
soon as he was dressed, it began to rain.
On Thursday, a rain
storm was heavy enough to cause my Mom's basement to flood. This
hadn't happened in the years that I and my brother Ron had lived in
the house, but a great flood in Brandon in about 2009 started the
problem which has resulted in insurance companies suspending the
sale of flood insurance in Brandon.
lunchtime, we left Brandon. I said good bye to Mom and then good
bye to Father (Dad's gravestone was our last stop in Brandon). Tony
had to ruin the moment by insisting on playing
the IPad instead of paying proper
attention to his grandmother and grandfather.
From Brandon, it was
a two hour drive on the Number One Highway to Winnipeg. The drive
was marred slightly by my being boxed in by other cars. At least
five times, I found myself the situation where I was doing 110 kmh
with cruise control approaching a car ahead of me doing 108 kmh
while in my rear a car doing 111 kmh was overtaking me. The car
passing me wasn't going fast enough and so I found myself closing in
on the car ahead of me and thus having to get out of cruise control.
It was also annoying
to listen to the radio as I drove to Winnipeg. On a country station
where I kind of hoped they knew better, they praised the gay
marriage court decision in the U.S. “Love is love!” said one of
the radio talkers. What the hell does that mean? I thought to
station, I heard an interview with an artiste who was talking about
conversation circles. Apparently, a group of people sit in a circle
and talk, one at a time, as a way of expressing their feelings. The
artiste was hoping to get a grant to continue on with her art work.
[Driving to Brandon on the #1 Highway, I listened to the CBC and
heard an activist advocate the banning of tobacco sales altogether
In Winnipeg, it was a
rush against the clock for me to see as many old friends as I could.
I would succeed in seeing two and not seeing one.
Friday night, I meet
Arielle (formerly Eric) at a Stella's restaurant in Winnipeg's
Osborne Village. It was an experience in many ways. I first had to
find a free parking spot and was frustrated by signs that were full
of rules and regulations. A parking lot that said parking was a six
dollar flat rate during off business hours was empty. I found I had
to find Arielle first to show me where to park. Arielle was the
midst of a radical change in identity which I didn't know how to
deal with, being torn as I was between being of a reactionary mind
and being in practice a nice softie afraid of confrontation.
Arielle was a troubled soul is about all I can say. First hearing
her voice on the phone was startling because it had gone down two
octaves. It wasn't before I had a conversation with her on the
phone that I could detect traces of Eric's voice.
was more feminine than I was expecting.
Saturday breakfast at
the Pancake house with Jenny, Tony & Ron.
Saturday afternoon, I
went to see another friend from my U of W
days: Nicole Firlotte. I told her about Arielle. She told me she
had dated Eric back in the day. Now, she was married to a gentleman
named Cain (or Kane or Cane or Caine) who had done some interesting
things with their house in the Wolseley area of Winnipeg. He had
built a pond in front of the house with gold fish in it and a deck
that went all around the house.
Jenny bought a lot of
stuff in China to give to her friends. So I spent my last evening
in Canada worrying about luggage weight. I weighed the luggage
using my brother Ron's bathroom scale. The procedure involved
weighing myself and then weighing myself holding one of our three
pieces of luggage. We had to distribute the luggage evenly and then
have a lot of carry on bags. We in fact brought five onto the
My last meal in
Canada was a Mozza Burger at the A&W at the YVR.
I buy two big bottles
of Crown Royal at the Duty Free.
I didn't buy any
shoes or books on this trip.
How was the trip in
three words? Emotional, harrowing and unleisurely. I didn't do
everything I hoped I could have done.
I am Canadian. I have lived in Wuxi, China since September 2004. I teach English. In this blog, I recount the things I have seen and the experiences I have had here in Wuxi. I also make comments on things that strike my reactionary fancy.