Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Chambly Canal National Historic Site

I and guy from New Brunswick hung out for a number of days in the same pod before being released from CAF. He was a little bit crazy but funny guy. The poor fella had some mental issue and for that he got released but it was not too serious to prevent me from spending time with him. The subject of this post is not him but I thought I should refer to him briefly before I go to the main topic. We shared good laughs together and I know he or anyone he knows ever finds out about it. So I'm not worried although I'm not telling anything bad about him. He admitted he had problems in the first week of training.
Anyway we left the school together one Sat. morning and walked all the way to Richelieu River in Saint Jean Sur Richelieu. It's a very nice place. Good for jogging, cycling, fishing and photography of course. While walking on the pathway we reached a small building with Parks Canada logo and people who had the uniform on. We then realized that we had reached Chambly Canal National Historic Site. Basically this is a canal which is made parallel to Richelieu River and it used to be a high-traffic area years ago. They made that, according to the Parks Canada lady, with her strong French accent, because the river is shallow at parts and there are falls at other spots which makes it impossible for boaters to have a safe trip or one at all. So this was built years ago. Nowadays is just used by recreational boaters from the US and Canada. We saw a number from both countries when we were there. The system works similar to the way that Panama Canal works although I have no idea which one is made first but it's easy to find out. The boat arrives and stops before a compartment-like section. The first gate opens and water enters the compartment and its level rises. Then the boat enters and the gate gets closed. Then the second gate gets opened and the boat is let go. The aim is to equalize the level of water at each section and apparently there's a charge for that. 4 Parks Canada employee where seen there and they had a little building. It seemed a little excessive especially knowing that Parks Canada is very careful with hiring people and a few years ago laid a big number off. 
Another interesting about this site is its location. It's located in Province of Quebec that in many ways separates itself from the Federal Government. It would have been a good question both from my buddy from New Brunswick and Park Canada guys but I forgot to ask! 
We watched an American boat passing and saw how the system worked. We hung out a little and walked a bit. I would have been spent much more time in there, if I had been on vacation or something but we had to go back and I was in jeans and shoes. So we headed back after getting a drink from a local McDonald's.
I found this beautiful photo of the Zoroasterian Temple in Isfahan in the internet. I think this photo could be taken in mid-spring or summer when the trees are full of leaves. For more information about travel to Isfahan refer to This place is apparently being protected, of course after years of being ignored and left alone! There is admission to visit and I hope some information is available as well. When I visited, we simply climbed up and although I don't remember much, it didn't seem very good but I hope it's being taken after now.
Here was one a question popped up: There are thousands and thousands of historic sites in the country which are being destroyed over years and no one pays attention to them. Here in Canada with only 150 years of history they try to preserve things as simple and usual as a canal! One of the actual historic sites that I visited in the old country years ago, nearly 20 years ago, was a Zoroastrian temple in Isfahan. On those years I clearly remember that only ruins of that had been left and everyone could go on the top of walls and structures. I'm not Zoroastrian and don't follow any other religion but all of the mosques in Isfahan are considered historic sites and national heritage but no one asks these guys why they don't mention about the Kings who lived in the nearby palaces while they say they overthrew years of kingdom reign in the country. The answer perhaps would be that the Safavid preserved Islam and what we see in the world as Shia Islam is simply because of their efforts.
(Photo: Two boats are approaching from north while people are fishing. It's interesting to me that people prefer the canal for fishing over the river. My experience in fishing is limited to one time years ago in a river which was going to Caspian Sea and that was a disaster which I'm not even going to tell it here! So I'm no expert to say why they have that preference!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Disaster of Going Back Home

This time I'm writing from Ottawa International Airport because I'm stuck here! I booked my flight to Calgary through Ottawa and I realized that there was 01:55 hour delay! The flight from Montreal to Ottawa was very easy, short and comfortable. I was given a seat next to emergency exit with no one next to me. However when I got to Ottawa I learnt that my flight had already left! 
One lady from Air Canada tried for minutes to get me another ticket. Meanwhile I realized that my plastic bag containing my laptop and all the related is not with me! I was nervous and a little bit disoriented as a result of missing my flight and even now that I'm writing this I have a light headache, something I barely get in years. I remembered, after a few minutes of thinking that I had left my bag in the cart when I was rushing up to the check-in section!
The lady eventually was able to get me a flight to Vancouver and then Calgary and offered me a hotel room in Downtown Ottawa, some 20 min. drive. I refused and I said I would stay in the airport and here I am! I then went to Lost & Found and luckily someone had handed in my bag and I'm writing using my Chromebook
I finally ate after almost 12 hours! I went to Tim Horton's and garbed a Chicken Salad Sandwich for $5.30 which was not bad. The last time I had eaten was yesterday around noon when I had a cup of Coffee and a Walnut Brownie in a small cafe in Montreal Airport. I guess that cost some $6 or even more. People here don't care about the price of things they buy! I later saw a small sandwich, similar to the ones that you get them in Safeway for around $4.5 for more than $10!! I probably have to eat three of the damn thing for my meal. Then here in Ottawa I paid $3.25 for a bottle of 591 ml Dasani water! 
My flight is at about 06:20 and I don't know where the damn headache came from! Internet in Ottawa Airport is much easier to use. No sign in or bullshit like Montreal Airport. Just accept the terms and conditions! I didn't have a very bad sleep the night before my flight. So it's hard for me to understand what the cause of this headache is.
(Photo: The Bombardier Air Canada plane when parked at the designated gate)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Free, After All

I'm writing this from Pierre E. Trudeau International Airport in Montreal. I finally was released from CFLRS without any problem this morning. I was a little bit nervous because you never know what might happen to keep you for a very long time! In fact something silly did happen(!) but it was a stupidity which I will write about it separately but generally it was easier than I had thought. 
My room was not inspected although I had cleaned it and put everything in place. I had returned all my military stuff and had done all of my paperwork. The only thing left was to return the room key and my Exacta Card which I did after that and went to the office and reported. 
The lady who was responsible for the section, a Master Seaman, even helped me to get a cab and gave me the metro and bus maps. However I only got a cab to the bus terminal in Saint Jean Sur Richelieu which cost me $13.15 only. I got the bus to Bonaventure metro station in Montreal from there which cost $10. I was supposed to get to metro and a bus to the airport but I said no way! I got a cab to the airport and I don't know how much he had to charge me but he said $40 flat and I accepted. It was so comfortable and easy compare to the damn metro and bus, of course. He was a nice guy who spoke English with his French accent and here I'm now! It cost me a total of $63.15 compare to $115 that a cab would have charged. A saving of little more than $50 for now that I will be unpaid for I don't know how long!
I tried to get to an earlier flight and although one of Air Canada ladies said two flights had empty seats, when I went to the counter I was told that nothing was available. I just got my boarding pass and am waiting now.    
I've written enough about CFLRS and I will have more posts. Everyone who's planning to join can refer to my posts or sends me questions but I think it's different from person to person. I will never go back again and I didn't like it at all. Some might do. 
(Photo: An early picture of Free, the band. These guys have a number of greatest Rock songs of the all time. This post doesn't have anything with the band and I don't know why they called themselves Free but since the post is about freedom I thought I should use their photo here. From left Paul Rogers, Simon Kirke, Andy Fraser [passed away recently] and Paul Kossoff [passed away in the early years of Free of overdose)

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

CFLRS Notes (35): Summary Trail

One of the staff, a P. O. (Stands for Petty Officer, a ranking in RCN, in case you didn't know and that could be P. O. 1 or 2 but they are only addressed as P. O.) approached me and a few others once and asked us if we would be doing anything the coming Mon.. The answer was no and he ordered us to attend a Summary Trail at a certain hour on the day. From the name of the event I knew someone was in trouble and would be punished.
At the specified date and time, people almost filled the room and a Major and his aid walked in. The accused was then ordered to enter. He was marched in by one of the aids while escorted by two recruits. They were ordered to stand in front of the judge, the Major, all three of them.
The story was an idiot had a bottle of Red Wine on him when he returned from leave and it was found in his closet in a plastic bag! The guy said it was a gift from his grand mother(!) and added he never drank! The Major as a judge indicated that he had to prove the following four:
1- The identity of accused as the person who committed the unlawful act.
2- The date act was performed.
3- The location, and
4- The act itself.
He made a telephone call to the person who had found the bottle and played that for everyone. The person, a Warrant Officer working in another base named another person and then he was called to the room and after a three way conversation it was proved that the guy who was standing in front of the Major was the one who had the bottle within his personal stuff on that specific day and in the specific quarter of the school. The concept of having alcoholic beverages was found in contradiction with one specific order of either CAF or the school, I don't recall.
The witness who was called to the room was a Quebecois and after putting his hand on the Good Book (as it's said in The Shawshank Redemption!) told that he didn't speck English. So the Major asked the accused if he trusted him translating the witness and the accused accepted. Then words were exchanged between the Major and the witness and it was confirmed that the accused was the one that the alcoholic beverage bottle had been found in his quarter.
Here was the funny part. One of the escorts, a tall blonde girl extended her arm as a sign of excusing herself to ask a question and requested to be seated! I understand that some people are not strong enough to stand on their feet for a long time but that just showed the stupidity of selecting her as an escort in the Summary Trail. People here in Canada, in different levels of society and especially politicians have been trying to say men and women are equal and they don't want to be Sexist by selecting only males. They ignore the fact that simply selecting a female to show you support women (perhaps to get their vote in the next election!), regardless of the fact that she might not be qualified, is extremely stupid! 
The girl first sat and then left the room, accompanied with another girl! The session was continued with the point by the Major indicating he had gathered all the facts and he was about to come to the conclusion. The accused was found guilty and he was fined $150. However he was told that he would have a chance for appeal. 
The point here, as the Major indicated that, was to have a message to the rest of the recruits. They have to understand that there are rules to follow. They are in military and they have to give up their stupidity for the time they are under training and after that as well. I personally don't think many get the message but sessions such as that is required. There's no doubt for that. However I expected CAF to be more harsh in punishment. This guy was let to continue his training. I think he should have been suspended until the Summary Trial day and then, would be send back to training when possible after a much bigger fine. That's how they can stop stupid people like that in CAF.
This is another example that shows how Canadian society is soft on people who do unlawful things. It's quite similar to DUI. If harder punishment is available, the amount of crime or unlawful act will be decreased. I will probably have to separate posts about this topic and the equality of men and women. 
(Photo: A member is standing in front of an officer or NCM as part of a Summary Trail in a tent. Picture was randomly selected from Internet. Hope I have not violated any military rules. No name is revealed here and the face of accused is not seen. I assume I should be good)

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Dime in the Public Phone

One of the things I noticed here in Canada is lack of respect(!) for small coins! When a person drops or finds a Nickle, a Dime or used to drop a Penny, they don 't bother bending and picking it up. My understanding is they are too rich to care about that much of money! I think it doesn't matter whether your rich or not. You need to pick that up. If you don't need it, drop in a tip jar or a donation box. Is that too hard to do? Don't act like a ignorant, selfish, fool. 
I remember in the old country once my Aunt was back form a trip to Canada and had some change on her and gave them all to me! Although I was not a little kid, that amount of change, for me who had not been abroad at the time, was a treasure! I kept a number and then used the Dimes, mostly, on a public phone! There was no mobile phone available on those days. We didn't even had landline for years and I don't quite remember the year. I don't recall whether we had landline back then or not but I remember I used to use a public telephone at a corner often. It could even be avoiding others in the family to listen to my conversation. I don't quite remember the situation but I do remember that Dimes would work on the phone easily. It was even hard to find coin for public phones on those years so I would have been more than happy to use a Dime or any other coin, regardless of it's value when exchanged, to make a call. I wonder what the person who empties the coin box would feel every time he saw a Dime! Today's machines, at least in Canada, are designed in a way that if you put a wrong coin in, they would spit it out. The last time I was in the old country most of the public phones, or would be better to say all of them, were card operated and not many would use them. Every freaking person has a mobile phone there just like everywhere in the world. Some even have two! 
(Photo: A pile of Canadian Dime. I guess the government had a plan of eventually eliminate coins and banknotes just the way they took Penny out and turned paper money to sort of plastic one) 

Friday, August 04, 2017

Flashback (34): Mohammad of Allah(!)

I haven't written under Flashbacks for awhile. Something came to mind which reminded me of this guy and his story back to 15 years ago. There were a number of guys from Afghanistan in the apartment where I moved to after I left The Brave's I guess in June or July of 2002. One of them was this guy named Mohammad of Allah (literal meaning!) from Afghanistan who lived right in the unit below ours with a roommate. I had a roommate from Afghanistan as well and he worked night shift while I worked day shift. I remember one night a bunch of us went to this strip club in Downtown. It does not exist any more. It was called French Maid. I guess they either transferred the business somewhere else or shut it completely. 
There were a couple of strippers that we watched and then we took a break. I saw this great Muslim(!) playing pool with one of the girls who was clothed in shorts and T-shirt! I didn't know at the time that strippers, maybe not all of them, hang out in the club to find a customer for the night. I was so naive! I don't know if they agreed on a price or not but I doubt that! 
Then this great Muslim(!) who is so devoted to his religion that carries his prophet's name, I heard one day that had left the country for Afghanistan to find himself a good wife, a virgin girl, who cooks, sews, cleans and takes care of her husband. That's what a good wife means in Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries. He didn't show up for months and when once, out of curiosity only, I asked my friend about him he said that Muhammad of Allah had found his bride but because he was so young(!) or as it's called in Canada Underage, he was not allowed back to the country. He decided to stay there and enjoy her young wife (who could have been as young as 13!) until she was 18 and could be brought to Canada! I never heard of him or his story but would like to know if he has come back with his family or not. Perhaps I should check with my friend. I wonder if the strip-club Muslim patron is doing well or not! 
(Photo: Under-age marriage is common in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran and as far as I know some Persian Gulf states and Arabic-speaking countries. This image was randomly selected from Internet shows the age gap between a bride and groom in Afghanistan and other countries. It's quite common. Some families do that just to release a member so they don't have to feed her and provide other services)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Where Racism Is The Worst?

A bunch of disgusting assholes broke into Indigenous people's peaceful campaign in last Canada Day in Halifax. Soon it appeared that they were CAF members, to be specific Navy guys! I was not surprised, to be honest. CAF members, not all of them of course, have racism issues. This problem actually exists all around the country but has more intensity within environments which Canadians think that solely belongs to them. Perhaps they are right!
NHL is majority Caucasian. A number of Blacks. One person plays for The Maple Leafs with his roots in Lebanon. They call him a joke! CAF itself is majority Caucasian. Chinese sit in the second. Filipino is next and at a few Blacks. Almost anyone else, they would have issue with! 
I don't know these guys wanted but it's said that they would be disciplined. The problem is everyone forgets about that in a week and two! No one really knows if they are punished or not! The interesting thing in this incident was the Minister of Defense's reaction. He obviously condemn the act but I'm not sure if anyone has talked about the disgusting behaviour of Sikhs in Surrey or not! 
This world map, from 2013 classifies the intolerance of different nations toward others. My experience is quite equal to this! Today's world political situation and conflicts, I assume, is not considered when creating this map!

Does racism has deeper roots in West or it has in East. A map I have here indicates that people from where Mr. Sajjan comes have the least tolerance for people of other races! This I truly have experienced in Canada! I've seen with Chinese, Iranians and Russians as well. The latter is probably the worst although I've not experienced anything but I've read about people of Asian and African origin who have been killed by Russians in that country while there as students or workers. Tell me about your experiences. 
(Photo: Navy guys in Halifax, NS are shown here confronting Native people who had a spiritual dance session or something similar to that. It's interesting that asshole's face reveal them easily and quickly! Look at the guy whose hands are crossed!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

U-Boat Commander

Submarines have always been my interest. The first time I found myself a fan of them was when, years ago, the movie Das Boot was shown on TV in the old country as a series! The movie is a bit longer than 02:00 hours. Then when I joined CAF and of course I never finished my Basic Training(!), I selected a trade in the RCN that would have made me eligible  to even work in submarines but soon after starting Basic Training I found I'm the man of freedom, nature and mountains and I would be confined neither in a ship nor in a submarine! 
This, however, did not prevent me from enjoying books and movies about submarines or as it's said in German, Unterseeboot
One of the books that I've recently found and started reading is called U-Boat Commander. It's apparently written by one of a few German submarine commanders who survived WWII. The book is of course translated to English by a British guy but despite the fact that the book is very interesting, the translation sucks! It's horrible! The funny thing is the guy, named Lawrence Wilson, sounds like a British person or at least I could easily say that he's from an English-speaking country although I don't know much about Anthropology. The mistakes are so stupid and obvious that even me, who English is not his first language, notices them. Here are a few examples:

1) The first thing that comes to mind is that the book is about one specific submarine commander, Peter Cremer. So it must be titled The U-Boat Commander. First obvious and stupid mistake. 

2- Then the term U-boot, which is pronounced oo-boot in German is short for Unterseeboot. So we don't have any thing as U-Boat neither in English nor in German! So the book is titled incorrectly. At the best it should be called The Submarine Commander or Das UBoot Kommandant, the first one being a pure English title and the second one an only-German title.

3- Page 24 of the book, the Naval Institute Press edition, goes, as the story is narrated by the commander: My crew comprised 25 men, including ... . He, for whatever reason is not a fan of prepositions.

4- He calls a submarine fleet, U-Boat arm!! I don't know what type of English he studied!

I'm sure there're plenty more mistakes but I don't want to ruin the book! I also have to mention that the above is found in the first two chapters, 15 pages only.
I checked the accuracy of a number of characters which are introduced in the book and found them all correct. For that I have to say that the book is recommended for the ones who are interested history of WWII or navy, ships and submarines. I probably will have another post about the book later when I finish it.
(Photo: The cover of the book, perhaps the original publish)

Monday, July 24, 2017

CFLRS Note (33): Assignments

The recruits at times are given assignments during their course, mostly as a sort of punishment. If a recruit does something which isn't considered a serious incident, he or she normally gets a Note to File and an assignment in format of essay is given to him or her. This normally should be prepared in 500 words. The following was assigned to me:
1) The importance of following orders.
2) The importance of revealing medical conditions.
3) Duty, Loyalty, Courage and Integrity.
It means for each of the above I did something wrong and I had to show that I understand that concept. It's needless to say that in all cases the staff at CFLRS, as usual, never bothered to listen my side of story or accepted it. It would be interesting if one of them read this post! 
In addition to the above an assignment was once given to all the members of the platoon in the format of speech. In that one members had to select a topic, with the approval of staff and present that in a 5 min. time frame to group of recruits and staff. 
I didn't have any issue with any of them because I'm good at both writing and speaking but the last one was a little problem because I had a problem with understanding what Integrity was! In fact I forgot its meaning completely! I referred to the available library, took a dictionary out and started looking up for Integrity. Damn! There was not such a word in the dictionary! Why? Because the related page did not simply exist! Pages 502 to 529 of the dictionary had been torn apart and taken by obviously a sick-minded individual! 
What do I do now? There was another dictionary there but it was not clear, or at least I didn't understand what it was for! French-English, English-French?! I looked up the word and it helped a little. To be hundred percent sure that I got the right definition and also to make sure that I'm at least closing to 500 words, I checked a fella who was around and honestly he helped and I got the right definition eventually. When I handed it to the staff, he was surprised as how neat it was but I never got any feedback from him because at that stage it didn't matter, I guess.
(Photo: I used my laptop to do part of the assignments on and off although we had a number of PCs available to us)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

CFLRS Notes (32): Code of Conducts Rules

I liked a number of subjects that were taught in CFLRS. Truly interesting. Code of Conducts Rules was one of them. A combination of 11 rules. One of them which caught my attention in the class was Rule #6. This is what the rule states:

Treat all of the prisoners of war and detainees humanly in accordance with the standard set by the Third Geneva Convention; any abuse, including torture is prohibited. 

The point here is the difference between POW and detainee. The POW, when is captured, of course, is the individual who is in the uniform of enemy while a detainee is someone such as a Vietcong or a Taliban who engages in battle, ambush or any other harmful action against the forces in civilian cloths. The rule does not specify how differently they should be treated in other terms such as interrogation, imprisonment and handing them to other authorities, for example international courts or other forces. One case was capturing members of Taliban by CAF members and handing them to Afghan police or other officials. The captured members, of course, were beaten and tortured by the Afghan officials and then the then Prime Minister, Harper and his Defense Minister were questioned by the MPs. I don't know what happened after that but that was not the PMs and the CAF's responsibility to protect Taliban after they were turned over to Afghans! I guess the MPs were just looking for any subject to show their opposition to PM and his party! 
(Photo: Canadian soldiers directing a number of Afghans in their traditional dress to detention. Any of them could be either a Taliban fighter or simply a civilian)