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Reports

Sunday, 22 June 2003
Lake of Bays (Huntsville) --> North Bay, Ontario, Canada


From the Lake of Bays I had to move on again. On my way to the Canadian west coast I am heading north first, to [url=www.city.north-bay.on.ca[North Bay[/url], to connect myself onto the Canadian Pacific Highway going very far west.

Brian and Elaine Rose are retired and told me they could easily bring me to North Bay because of that, which is only a bare 120km up north (!). And you know what? During this drive, they let me drive their van again!

In North Bay I met up with Blaine and Kelly Duff, who live in a small trailer in the outskirts of widespread North Bay.

Blaine and Kelly just returned from a one-year-tour through Australia in March this year. Both originating from Newfoundland Blaine got a job at NavCanada in North Bay and they moved here.

Kelly really does not like North Bay herself. "I have more fun indoors than outside," she said. "I just hate this place."

I could understand Kelly's perception. North Bay lays along Lake Nipissing and like any town along water, there is a lot of tourism that comes for the water only. For anything else you donít really have to go to North Bay, I quickly discovered myself too.

In the afternoon Blaine and Kelly took me for a drive around the small city.

When I asked where the town centre was, my hosts didn't really know the answer either. "I think we have four town centres," Kelly said. "Because North Bay is a collection of a few different small towns."

And as it was Sunday today, the merely francophone and catholic town was very asleep. Whatever looked like a downtown street looked deserted and pretty much dead. Most downtown areas are by the way dead, because nobody thought that big-out-of-town malls would ever kill them.

After an afternoon nap I found Blaine watching old episodes of The Sopranos, which he downloaded off the internet. "I have missed one year when we were in Australia, so I am slowly catching up," he said. In the kitchen Kelly was preparing tonight's salad for dinner.

Kelly doesn't have a job herself, but "I volunteer at the local hospital from time to time. I am already very busy with taking care of Blaine and our two kids." And with the kids she meant the two little dogs that jump around and just loved my attention.

During dinner with steak and salad Blaine told me about their trip to Australia. He actually read about me in the Cairns Post when they were near Cairns, and when they returned home this year he remembered my website and looked it up to read my side of the stories about Australia. "It was nice to read about all these places where we had been to too," Blaine said.

"And when I looked up your website in March, I discovered you were already in Canada! I never expected you would to this jump from Australia to Canada that fast!"

Blaine also told me about his job at NavCan. From what I understood of it he is some kind of a air traffic controller. "I work in a underground bunker, once built by the Americans to resist nuclear attacks, where we have full control over all air traffic in North America."

"So we contact air planes that enter the sky on this continent and ask them who they are and where they are going. If they don't, the air force will come into action." "
"Has that ever happened?" I asked.
"It happens a lot that somewhere on a snowy patch in the Arctic North a small plane takes off to go somewhere. They forgot to report themselves and then the air force wants to know what is going on. But they won't send jet fighters that easily."
"So when do they send jetfighters? When the Russians come over or something?"
"It happened a few times in the past, during the Cold War, that the Russians came over in their heavily armed planes and entered our skies. When the American jet fighters finally flew next to them to redirect them back, the Russian pilots waved and showed their Pepsi to the Americans. Then they turned around again with a huge smile. I guess they were just testing powers or having plain fun."

After dinner I connected myself on their high speed connection and I managed to do some updates.

Good night North Bay!

Ramon.