May 01, 2003

Long Day's Journey into Canada

An endless and interesting day began with my carpooling Alex and the two Jeffs to High Tech High, then on to the airport. I managed to sit directly in front of the screamingist baby ever to lift off. Two hours of non-stop primal yelping. As soon as we hit the ground, every guy under 30 opened up his cell phone and called to make a vasectomy appointment.

They've added wireless net access to the airport in Seattle, just in time for my 2 hour layover and a great lunch of beer and Dungeness crab while answering email. Then on to the flight to Edmonton. No screaming babies. Canadian civility and calm filled the plane, and something rare (for me) happened: I got talking with my seatmate. Her name is Martha Kent, same as Superman's mom in Smallville, and she's a neuropsychologist in Phoenix. She's going to the University of Alberta to do a presentation based on her autobiography describing her childhood in post-war Europe. As ethnic Germans living in Poland, her family experienced the largest scale ethnic cleansing of the last century, something I'd never been aware of before. From 1945 to 1949, they lived in concentration camps until finally being allowed to enter East Germany, bribe their way into West Germany, and finally settle in Canada. Now she works with Vietnam-era veterans and tries to get them to recreate her trick of turning a traumatic past into a new, positive life. We had a great chat. Especially the Bush-bashing part.

Jasper is a five hour drive west of Edmonton. Mostly flat with scattered forests until the last hour or so. Then the Rockies appear on the horizon slowly getting larger. Because we're so far north, the twilight lasts for hours and it was still a deep blue dusk at 10pm as I finally climbed up and into the snow-covered mountains. Beauteous!



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