Friday, September 30, 2005
I actually miss my wife more now than during my last tour, which was two months longer. I think it is because during my last tour we had only just met, had be dating for a few months and not living together. We have been living together for over a year now, with only a maximum of two weeks apart. This is the longest I have been apart from my wife since we started living together.
I have decided to take some steps to address the situation. We have a mid course break coming up, so I have suggested the wife and I meet in Toronto for a little romantic weekend. I bit expensive for only four days, but what the hell, it’s only money. I think it is worth it to keep our relationship on the right track. I even promised not to let my family know I am in town. This will be a true romantic getaway.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the wife will be able to get out of Edmonton for the weekend due to work. The only other option would be for me to fly home. I am not keen on taking two flights of 3-4 hours each (probably a minimum of 12 hours travel time each way) for a four day weekend. So we are talking about going from a 4 day to a 3 day weekend due to travel time. Add on to it that the wife may have to work for 2 of those days, and it becomes a waste of time. Besides, she would probably have me hanging curtains or something of that sort.
Not my idea of a vacation.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
The day before hurricane Rita hit Texas, last Friday, I saw on TV something that disturbed me. It was not the usual scene of crashing waves and hardy reporters being blown sideways by wind gusts. It was a fat Texas guy swimming in the waves off Galveston. He'd apparently decided the high surf was a good thing to jump into, so he went for a prehurricane swim. Two cops saw him, waded into the surf and arrested him. When I saw it the guy was standing there in orange trunks being astonished as the cops put handcuffs on him and hauled him away.
I thought: Oh no, this is isn't good. This is authority, not responsibility.
You'd have to be crazy, in my judgment, to decide you were going to go swim in the ocean as a hurricane comes. But in the America where I grew up, you were allowed to be crazy. You had the right. Sometimes you were crazy and survived whatever you did. Sometimes you didn't, and afterwards everyone said, "He was crazy."
If this is a problem in America, what is the state of individual freedom in Canada?
I have been practicing a lot on the weekends. Getting just the right level of drunk is a bit of an art form. Stage 1 is what I call happy drunk. This is when you have a warm feeling inside are relaxed and can still carry out a good conversation. A few more drinks down range and things start to go downhill. I start to have trouble focussing on things, I say things I would not normally say, walking gets more difficult and jokes made by others are laughed at too heartily. This is stage 2. Whenever I get to stage 2, I get embarrassed. Further stages beyond that are the vomiting and blackout stages, and it goes without saying that I am not tempted to go there. Stage 1 is where I want to be. Unfortunately, the various mixed drinks at the resorts (give a dirty banana a try) go down very smoothly. Too smoothly in fact. While I am trying to stay in stage 1, the drinks are going down so fast that before you know it I am knocking on stage 2. Also, the bartenders tend to mix the drinks very stiff, so you may find yourself drunk before you know it. I started to go back to beer (Red Stripe), in order to better pace myself. However, now beer is starting to become like water to me. I can barely get a buzz off it.
So I will have to find another hobby. My peak climbing is going ok so far. I am behind on the number of assents that I wanted by this time as my knee has been bothering me and preventing me from getting up as much as I could. Still, I am close to being on track, only about 4 assents behind my rate of 5 per week. Not bad, as I started out with about 3 per week as a goal but raised it. I can’t see that I have lost any weight from it. Those beers pack a lot of calories.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The GG has only one small part in these events, appearing in a movie toasting these murderers and terrorist. However, it does make you wonder if she was involved in other ways. Let's face it, would you appear in a movie toasting some terrorists if you did not at least support their cause? And if you did, would you expect to become GG?
I guess the Alberta Separatists For the Violent Overthrow of the Evil Canadian Oppressors(tm) can stop wearing masks in the darkened room where they have their meetings. How is a person to become GG if Paul Marin doensn't know you are a terrorist (or at least support them)?
By the way, that was just the first name that came to our (I mean their) mind.
They could be convinced to change it. Please submit your suggestions for better names as comments to this post.
The best, as judged by me, gets a prize.
Never mind if this is according to the rules, does the head of the Mint really need to spend this much money? How can you spend 5k on one meal? This people are so divorced from the reality of ordinary Canadians, they surely do not represent us.
Against the rules or not, this guy should be fired for such spending and the position should be terminated. I do not want my tax dollars used so that ex-Liberals can have a cushy job trotting around the globe, spend 5 thousand dollars on one meal.
The entire system has got to change.
Update: Ask and ye shall receive. David Digwall has resigned over his illegal lobbying and expense account.
This changes very little. A small fish has been sacrificed to protect the bigger fish.
Where is the jail time?
The entire system still has to change.
The idea of establishing a military barracks in the hills of St. Andrew was broached by Field Marshal, then General, Sir William Gomm, Commander of Her Majesty's Forces in Jamaica in a letter dated 7 April 1840 to Governor Metcalfe in which Gomm expresses great displeasure at the high mortality rate among European troops on the coastal plains due to Yellow Fever.
The death rate due to Yellow Fever in 1838 was one soldier every two and a half days. This was a good year with only 91 men dying of fever; in 1839, 110 men perished; and in 1840, 121 succumbed to Yellow Fever. It was this fever epidemic that greeted Gomm when he arrived in Jamaica to take up his command early in January 1840.
The situation had worsened to the extent that during the earlier years when the Royal Scots were warned for duty in the West Indies, the captains drew lots as to who would go. It became generally accepted that a posting to the West Indies was virtually a soldier's death sentence.
Gomm dispatched letter after letter to the British government seeking the authority and finances to start construction of barracks in Newcastle. Initially, these pleas fell on deaf ears as the British government was worried about the expense of the venture, not realizing fully the dangerous reduction in manpower resulting from the frequent inroads by fever.
Eventually, Gomm decided that he would take the matter into his own hands. Knowing that he had the approval of the governor, he acted without the British government's consent and started construction early in 1841.
In December 1841 the Board of Ordnance authorized the erection of a permanent barracks at Newcastle to house a battalion. Gomm had won his battle. In a surprisingly chatty letter to Lord Fitzroy Somerset, dated 4 December 1841, Gomm exclaims: "We have carried the Hill".
Gomm knew perfectly well that fever would come sooner or later to Newcastle by carrier because commerce between Newcastle and Kingston was inevitable. In light of subsequent events, the wisdom of Gomm's devoted struggle was amply justified. In 1842, very soon after Newcastle was established, only 24 of the 197 troops there died. Five years later, seven men died from a strength of 583, and in 1853, only two men perished out of 476.
General Gomm left Jamaica at the end of 1841 to assume command of the Northern District of England. He died in 1875 at the age of 91. His obvious talents as a soldier and administrator were fully recognized, and his far-seeing humanity has a permanent memorial, Newcastle Hill Station.
From its founding until 1959, Newcastle was used by both British and Canadian regiments serving in Jamaica as a change-of-air camp. Some regiments moved to the hills completely while others would rotate companies during the year. Others still would merely send cadres for training at Newcastle.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
As you may be aware, the site is now getting regular updates, which means we now have landline access to the internet. I will have daily updates to the site until I catch up to present time.
Yesterday was an unusual day in Kingston. Twelve people were murdered in a space of 24 hours. Normally it is only 1-2 people killed each day. If any North American city had the same murder rate as in Jamaica, it would be a public scandal.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Now there are many reasonable arguments for and against a GG. I am for having a GG for the following reasons:
-We need a head of government. Without a GG, the PM would be required to fulfill many more ceremonial events that would take him away from governing. We could run the country this way. This is the American system, where the head of government is also the head of state. This means more ceremonial jobs for the boss, and less time to devote to the affairs of state. If I was the PM, I would love to have someone I could pass off all the pomp to. For those Royalists, this is the best argument against getting rid of the GG. Since Canadians seem to reflexively hate whatever Americans do, all you have to say is that no GG means more like Americans. The idea defeats itself.
-If we rid ourselves of the GG, we will just have to set up a President or King to head the country. Unless you want the PM to do this? Considering that the PM (and PMO) has too much power already, this would be a mistake. So whether we call the person the Governor General, President or King, who cares? Why not keep what we have so at least we have some connection to our past and other countries that share our past? Have we not already destroyed enough of our past? What is it about our past that the left hates so much that they have remove all traces of it?
However, this is not what I really want to talk about. Two GG's, seemingly cut from the same cloth, (both CBC personalities). Are there no other persons in Canada, not from the CBC, who could represent our country? The Liberals seem to think not. I am not one for the principle of diversity, but for a government that seems to worship at its altar, where is the diversity of our last two GG's? Is there any doubt about the hypocrisy of the Liberals? Is there any doubt that the public would not see the hypocrisy of this? The Liberals seem to be trying to destroy our Canadian traditions by stealth. Putting up the worst persons possible, picking the highly political with axes to grind. If your desire was to destroy the tradition of a Governor General but were afraid to say it our loud, you would pick the worst person possible until the public go fed up and demanded the post be removed. C'mon, a separatist as GG? Is this a joke?
The so-called monarchists are no better. They will defend anyone to save their traditions. Read this article where the chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada states that her unambiguous statement on her loyalty to her country proves her dedication to Canada. It this guy for real? Where I come from, actions speak louder than words. Thirty years as a separatist is washed away by one statement "I am loyal"? What garbage.
John, you are not doing you cause any favours by supporting this woman.
The crowd was big on nudity this weekend. About half of the people in the quad pool were in their birthday suits, up from about 10% two weeks ago. Unfortunately, not all of them should have been naked. Remember my fear about ugly, fat, old German tourists? Well, I was wrong. They are Americans. Nice people, as I talked to them for a bit. However, the guy’s wife had to be at least 300 pounds and he over than. Not really the site I wanted to see. That said, there were some sights that were worth the price of admission. One girl had a nice girl-next-door thing going and the skimpy g-string she was wearing did not leave much to the imagination. Unfortunately, she covered up her perfect (but fake) rack. What is the deal with that? If you are going to spend that much for breasts you might as well show them off.
We had dinner at the Japanese restaurant that night. A guy and his wife sat with us. You would not believe how drunk she was. She was wearing a low cut dress and one of her breasts kept falling out, a la Princess Diana. At one point her husband told her she was acting badly and she should stand in the corner. This she promptly did, pulling her skirt up in the crowded restaurant. Surprisingly, she was wearing underwear.
Never a dull moment at Hedo.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
I am looking forward to a nice quiet weekend.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
However, the key thing about this post is that I have invented a new Hallmark holiday to compete with Valentine’s day. You heard it here first on MLWGF. I know every guy will hate me as this means another expensive holiday they are likely to forget, but I don’t care as long as the residuals keep rolling in.
Friday, September 23, 2005
I couldn’t even squeeze an “I love you” out of her when I said goodbye. These calls are not helping me. At the start of the call I miss her, by the end I am pissed off.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
While at the bar on Saturday in Breezes, we met this archetict that was making drawings. They are going to remodel Breezes Runaway Bay over the next year or so. They will be adding many of the things that are standard in most resorts, such as a pool bar. The place will be a lot better once that is finished.
Not sure about how often I will return or if the wife and I will go there on our vacation. As I said, everything was good, no problems, but the place was dead. Even worse than Hedo last week. And they were right about no night life. The one good thing is that you can go to Hedo from Breezes (both owned by SuperClubs) at night for a short $5 bus ride, which we all did. There were a number of other Breezes guests I recognized that night. Hedo was a bit wilder this weekend. Saturday night is “As Bare as you Dare” in the disco, and some were quite bare. Two girls wore those bikinis where the strip of cloth covering the best parts are about the size of your finger. Some other woman appeared to only be wearing paint, and the paint was being used on parts that were probably not of main interest to the men in the audience. In addition, there were many others wearing clothes that would cause a scandal back home, however, I do not mention them as they are unremarkable at Hedo. One other thing, I walked into the area of the quad pool and some guy was doing his girlfriend (wife?) right on the beach chairs around the pool. There were other people in the area, so it is not like I surprised them. I understand this type of thing is quite normal, so be wary if you go there.
As I said, Breezes is nice, but the dead night life is a killer. If the wife was with me I would not mind so much, as I would spend the time with her. However, alone I would at least like to be able to hang out in the disco and dream about how much fun I would have with my wife. Even if she was with me, its no fun dancing in a disco when you are the only ones there.
So far, I would prefer to go to Hedo for a few days when the wife comes. There are many other places in Jamaica, so I will try to do a bit of a recce on them before we need to book. Perhaps the resorts will pick up and more people will come as we get closer to high season, which may change my mind about Breezes.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
This is exactly the wrong attitude. First off, my wife is not fat. It’s hard to find normal people over thirty who are not at their ideal weight, and we are probably no exception. However, Hedo is about yourself, not others. It’s about being uninhibited, if you want to. It’s not about if others will think you are fat, or ugly, or whatever. Besides, fat or not, the bathing suits women wear today don’t leave much to the imagination. On or off, one can pretty much tell how fat a person is. I saw some very uninhibited big girls last weekend.
Sorry honey, if you are reading this, but you have two options if we go to Hedo. You can use the next three months to lose weight or just don’t worry about it. I certainly am not going to worry about it.
Monday, September 19, 2005
As I write this, our landline is still down, so we talk by cell phone, which can be a bit choppy at times. As incoming calls are free and I am a cheap bastard, I call her and get her to call back right away.
It can be a bit of reality check to talk to the wife. I have this version of her, called the “away” version, which becomes the real version soon after we are apart. “Away” wife resides high up on a pedestal, perfect in every way. Unfortunately, “reality” wife can never live up to “away” wife. I first realised I had this unrealistic version of my wife when I called her. As I was dialing the number I would feel all mushy and lovesick inside, and I would think about how much I love her and miss her, etcetera. We would exchange greetings and I miss yous, then the conversation would stop. Nothing to talk about. Usually I would talk a bit about what I am doing, but to be honest, by now it is pretty much routine. Many of the things going on here are not interesting unless you have the context and know the people. So, inevitably, she will talk about what is going on a home. If we had kids, this would probably be all about them. We don’t so it becomes about the cats. Since cats sleep about 23 hours a day, this is a short conversation. Talk eventually turns to the house, which is always about problems. This is when the big needle of reality bursts the fantasy bubble.
A tip to the women on the home front: when you talk about problems, bring solutions. Nothing is more frustrating for a man then to be away from home and know of a problem that he could fix but cannot due to distance. The furnace guy did not show up, there are mice in the house, the roof leaks, the lawn tractor doesn’t work right. All these things just call to us to come home and set them right. Now my wife is very competent. 99% of these problems she can fix and doesn’t need my help. That doesn’t matter. I still feel this need to solve them and I launch into a long questioning session to get as much information so that I can solve the problem. The conversation usually ends sometime after this, and I end up feeling helpless and frustrated over things I cannot control.
This is not to say that the wife should not tell me about problems or ask for advice. I want her to. However, she should be aware of how my mind works. Saying something like “There was a problem with…. but I did….. and everything is good” would go a long way to easing my pain.
I guess my advice to all women with husbands overseas is to remember that he likely has some romantic ideal of you when he calls. Try not to burst this fantasy if you can, as it helps to sustain us. By all means tell us what is going on at home, good and bad, as it helps to remind us why we are here. Remember how our minds work and try to do it in a way that minimises our frustration.
I think I will call the wife and tell her I love her.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
No one wants to see hair. People who go naked trim or cut the hair that is not normally seen. Do you have to? No. But since most do, you probably want to if you want to fit in.
Second thing – I love my wife.
I love her a lot. More than I thought I did. Why do I say this? Before I tell you, I bit of background.
I am the kind of person who tends to question everything. This includes the love in our relationship. Some might say this is a bad thing, but before you judge, listen to my reasons. First of all, I don’t believe love is some magical, mysterious thing that just happens. There is an element of that to it, but it is also needs work and attention. Why do people who love each other get divorced. And mark my words, 99.9% of those who get married never believe they will divorce. Yet 40+% of all marriages in North America end in divorce. I love my wife but I do not think we are so special as to be immune from the chance for divorce. By recognizing a problem you are half way towards solving it.
I believe that many of the people who get divorced sabotage their own relationships. For whatever reason, they decide that they no longer want to spend their life with that person, and work towards destroying the relationship. They not longer tell their wife they love her, they forget special days, they fail to do special things for each other, you get the picture. Doubt my theory? Just think about anyone you ever dated where it did not work out. The vast majority of us dislike confrontation and we fail to come out directly to the person we are seeing and say “I don’t like you, it’s over, don’t talk to me ever again.” Most dating relationship end when you stop calling her, or are always busy with the guys, or start dating her friend. Am I right? Perhaps there are people who tell those they are dating straight out its over, but most of us are cowards.
Anyway, the point is people sabotage their own relationships. There has to be a tipping point between love to and ending a relationship. My guess is that it happens when a couple fails to reinforce their feelings for each other. You might know your wife loves you, but it still makes you feel better when she tells you so. The little things are important. So my theory is that, as an example, people get busy with work, looking after the kids, etc and they fail to reinforce their love by doing those little things. At some point, one partner (or both) find they are not getting what they need for the relationship, so they go somewhere else. Infidelity, the end of trust and love equals the end of the marriage. Some people try to recapture that love and are successful.
From my perspective, I got married for life, for better or for worse, so the way I see it, I am stuck with my wife. If I make her life happy, she will make mind happy. And vice versa.
Anyway, this is certainly the long way round to get to my point. I was concerned about going to Hedo because of what it might do to our relationship. I am a very loyal partner and I have never cheated on anyone. However, I recognise that I have never really been tested. Part of that is do to the fact that I tend to avoid temptation, and Hedo has a reputation of willing partners, and, considering I have been away from the wife for a month (and I am feeling the effects), I was concerned the temptation might be too much. It was a little bit sad. Here I was at one of the wildest clubs in Jamaica, (definitely the wildest I have been to), with attractive, topless or nude women all around and all I could think about was how I missed my wife and wished she was with me. When I guy sees a beautiful women, he is not supposed to think about his wife. We have been programmed by biology to spread our seed. When I see a naked woman, all I am supposed to think about is impregnating her. Instead I am thinking about how I miss my wife.
I hope this just has something to do with the fact we are still in the honeymoon phase of our marriage. If not, I may not be able to look at another woman for the rest of my life.
The triumph of reason over biology.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Hedo is divided into 2 parts, what they call the nude and the prude side. I was firmly in the prude. The split is not 50/50. What you really have is an open resort with a separate nude beach, nude pool and Jacuzzi. I was afraid I would be subjected to naked, old, fat, German public sex at every turn. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The prude side has everything else. Four restaurants, the main pool (with see through waterslide), jacuzzi, tennis courts, beach with water sports, trapeze, steam room, sauna etc. Just like any other resort, most have the same ammeities. Hedo has all that. The things it has that are different (excluding the nude thing), is the waterslide, the see through bottom jacuzzi and the pool table in the pool, which I thought was neat. Almost forgot, every room has a mirror on the ceiling over the bed and the tub.
As I said, Hedo is really a resort with a nude part. That said, there is some overlap between these areas, which is great for people like me who want to see naked people but don’t want to take off our own clothes. The resort is partially clothing optional. Most respect the areas, so you won’t see a bunch of nudists in the restaurant at dinner (thankfully). However, the quad pool had a number of people fully naked or just topless. I must admit, I enjoyed the added beauty it provided to the scenery.
Now, to the negatives. Compared to the place we are going next weekend, Breezes Runaway Bay, the cost is about $20 US more per person per night at Hedo. Yet, they tell me that at Breezes the food, both selection and quality, is slightly better. Also, the staff is a bit more responsive, there are more water sports, the beach is larger, and the sand is better. Ouch, what more is left? As I said, I would like to compare the two, but I have been to a number of resorts, one in Jamaica, and two in Thailand, and I did not have any problem with anything at Hedo. The food was good, no complaints about the quality or selection. I did not try the watersports, but the beach seemed large enough and the sand was sandy. The staff was quite responsive. In fact, they were bringing me drinks before I asked and, if I did not know better, I would think the bartender was trying to pick me up. However, the place was a bit empty. One of the guys has been there about 15 times and he mentioned that he had never seen the place so dead. We later found out they were about 60% full, so maybe that was why the staff was so good. I don’t think so, as I felt the staff was genuinely friendly and helpful. Another visit will be required to confirm.
So, with all these things not as good as other places, why go to Hedo? Two reasons. The first is nudity. If you want to be a bit more uninhibited without people staring at you and without going to a nudist colony, then this is the place. The second reason is somewhat related. The people who come here tend to be looking to party. At other places, if you want to get laid, you had best bring your own. Not necessarily so at Hedo. So this is the place to go if you are single. The attitude of Hedo guests can be seen in the night life. Things at the disco don’t get going until 12 or 1 o’clock, while Breezes is dead by 10 pm.
So, would I recommend Hedo? Yes, but only if you are looking for certain things, else there are better places for a bit less money.
If you are looking to explore a bit of the nude scene in a relaxed environment or if you are single and want a good night life, then Hedo is your place.
Friday, September 16, 2005
And enjoy I did. I pretty much spent the day lying around the pool. It was nice to sit around and not have the wife bugging me to get up and do something. My fears about German tourists were unfounded. Most of the clientele are Americans or Canadians. But there is a wild side to the place. The first night we went to the disco and the theme was fetish night. Of course, I had forgot my whips and leather (sarcasm), but others had not. One guest was wearing a see through black bra, panties and garter belt. Another woman just decided to take her top off. Two tall skinny woman were dirty dancing with just about every guy and each other. However, you have to be a bit suspicious. The resort employs some entertainment staff, who all seem to be about 20 years old, very attractive, extremely fix and uninhibited. In addition, the two skinny women seemed to be Russians. Not many Russians come to Hedo. The rumour is that the resort gives free stays to good looking, uninhibited women who like to party and in exchange they help to keep the atmosphere at the right level. Nice work if you can get it. Do I have any proof of this? No, it’s just a rumour. However, I find it hard to believe girls as hot as that would be on a vacation without a pack of single guys following them.
What about the public sex stuff? I did not see any, but I was told that the nude jacuzzi gets busy at night, and on Saturday there were about 4 couples that were discretely engaged in certain acts. Also, one of the guys told me he was propositioned by a girl. Overall, I found Hedo more than wild enough for me yet it didn’t subject me to anything I did not want to be subjected to. It is much more tame than its reputation, which was way too wild for me.
I will go again.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
I will practice my investigative reporting skills and get back to you after the weekend.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
I have decided the drink of choice will be Appleton’s V/X. It is good stuff. Slightly less alcohol than their other amber rum, but more smooth and tasty.
It costs a little more, but I’m worth it.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
However, coupled with that, he seemed less friendly than usual. I would pass him by and say hello, and he would stare at me with a confused look. Either he was pissed at me about something, or his morale was down. I did not think he was upset with me, as he is a straight shooter. If he is not happy with you, he will tell you. I respect that.
However, there is one other option I did not consider. The other day we were talking and he let it slip that he was on a medical pension. The medical problem is his hearing. His is a category 4, which is as close to deaf as you can get without being deaf. And he refuses to wear a hearing aid. It is quite funny to have someone say directly to you “…and if I look confused when you talk to me it is probably because I can’t hear you.” I could just see the little light over my head go click. I don’t help that as I tend to go by people I know and see a lot and simply nod in their direction or make a grunting noise to acknowledge them.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Our hotel is in a great location, directly across from Emancipation Park and in the middle of just about anywhere you would want to go. Later Saturday night one of the local JDF officers took us out to a few clubs. We ended up at this place called the Quad, which was pretty packed. I would like to bring the wife there when she comes to visit. I don’t think we have been to a dance club together ever. The place seemed perfect, everyone having a good time.
Near the end of the night the guys wanted to check out the local strip bar called Taboo, which is conveniently located around the back of the Quad. We got there just before closing so only saw about 3 dancers. This place only goes topless, which is probably a government rule. What was more surprising was that all the girls were white. Apparently they are all Russians. It is a bit strange to come all the way to Jamaica, a place where white people are more rare than any other race is in Canada, and see white girls at a strip bar. Many Jamaicans are more religious than Canadians, so there may be more of a stigma to being a stripper here than back home. However, due to the level of poverty in Jamaica, I doubt that is the reason. It probably has more to do with seeing something you do not usually see.
On a personal note, I think the first three weeks of being away are the hardest. After that you get used to it and separation becomes a bit easier. Back in school in introduction to psychology, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs claims that sex is a basic need, one that must be fulfilled before other, higher needs can be met. Not sure if I ever agreed with him, but I am testing the theory.
I will keep you updated on my research.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
We are soon to go down the hill to spend the weekend in Kingston. We have a military meet and greet at the officer’s mess at Up Park Camp tonight and another, small one at the Canadian High Commission on Saturday. This will be the first night I will spend out of the camp and my first day off since I arrived almost three weeks ago. I am looking forward to some time spent in the pool, and seeing a bit of town. I also need to buy so stuff. I forgot my nail clippers. One of my baby toenails is threatening to poke its way out of my boot.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
The party at the British High Commission was pretty good. We got to take a JDF helicopter from Newcastle Hill to Up Park Camp, the base in Kingston. A 1 hour drive on dangerous roads converts to a 6 minute helicopter ride. The pilot was showing off a bit, pulling a steep bank into his landing. My stomach was in my throat, but it was fun.
Tonight we had a Meet and Greet with the students. I monopolized three of them for a bit telling them my views on government, why it is corrupt, etc. Once again, a staff member came to interrupt me and save them. This same guy did the same thing last week when I was boring a Colonel. He seems to sense when I am running off at the mouth. I now know anytime he shows up it is my cue to leave.
I have to watch my tendency to monopolize conversations.
Friday, September 09, 2005
There is usually a bit of a superior attitude in first world militaries. We see any problems not as simple problems inherent in military operations (there is always some) but as a reflection of the military we are dealing with. A problem or mistake is sometimes taken as a sign the military personnel of that country are lazy or incompetent while our mistakes are just errors. This bit of cultural superiority is something you have to guard against or it will subtly colour your attitude, the host country will pick up on it and affect your relations and ability to work with people. The point I am making is universal and can be applied to almost any group. I have seen this happen between agencies in Canada, such as between the military and RCMP. I have found the best thing to do is to take a relaxed approach and reserve judgement. When working in a different culture, be prepared for things to be run in a way which your cultural biases may consider inferior. I find this clash of cultures all very interesting.
I called the wife last night and she answered. She is a mind reader. Before I made a comment about her not being home the other night, she explained where she was and what she was doing. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. I am not a jealous guy. I trust my wife and I feel very secure in our relationship. It still needs to be maintained, but I am not worried. These comments about jealousy and being suspicious are really part of a little game we play. I get to be the macho, jealous husband and she the hot wife that every other man must be after. We are not your average young newlyweds. We both have had enough relationships before we met to know what we want in a partner. She is very independent and she would not have married me if she didn’t want to. Due to our age and experience, I tend to believe that our relationship rests on a stronger base than your average 20-something married couple.
However, I could be wrong. If I examine it closely I guess there are reasons other than love for us to be married. I was planning of getting out of the army when we met and getting married allowed me to put off getting a real job. And she was not exactly a spring chicken when we met. It could be said I saved her from a life as a spinster with a rapidly increasing family of cats and I at least dampened the strident ticking of her biological clock. Maybe I was just the nearest one around when the ticking became too loud.
Note to self: Call friends and have wife followed.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I may have to get some army buddies to follow her.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
It has now been one week since I left Alberta. I have not talked to the wife since I got here to tell her I am ok. With us, no news is good news, so she should not be concerned. However, it would be nice to let her know.
Today is Jamaican Independence Day. In 1962, Jamaica received its independence from Britain. It’s a big holiday in Jamaica. Want to know anything about it, don’t ask me. I spent the day working. Our support staff, all from the JDF were all celebrating the holiday, so camp improvements were not getting done.
Monday is going to be a busy day.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I thought that I would have to stop at least one and probably several times to rest on the way up. I made it without stopping, except for the 5 seconds it took to avoid the local truck that just about killed me. It took me 25 minutes and 47 seconds to walk up it with a total time of 55:15. Yes, I took longer going down than up. Going down, while not harder physically, is actually more dangerous. It would be very easy to slip or fall, and that would be it.
Overall, I am happy with my first time. I am not exactly at my ideal weight and I have not been exercising regularly. My goal is to lose 15 pounds to take me to 200. That is my minimum. If I can drop another 10 after that I would be very satisfied. Another 15 after that would be perfect, but I haven’t weighted 175 since I was 15 years old, so that is probably unattainable.
If I keep up with the walk each day, I will be down to 200 by the end of the month. What with the constant sweating in the heat, drinking 5 times the water I usually do, and the mediocre food, 200 should be easy. After that, who knows? It would be nice to use this time to get back in shape. There is a bit of pride involved as well. My boss, who has 40 years in the Army (that means he is in his late 50’s), did the peak 205 times last year. That does not include the 11 times before the students arrived.
With all the PT, my stamina should be great by the time I get home. Bad news for the wife, as it means even longer lovemaking sessions.
Monday, September 05, 2005
The first problem crops up immediately. The airline claims that no extra baggage is allowed to Jamaica during my flight. I am willing to pay, but that doesn't matter. I make phone calls, talk to people at the airline, and get no satisfaction. I decide to show up to at the counter and buff my way through. They get me to pay and that is it.
All that for nothing.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
The remainder of the people we had to meet were in Kingston. This entailed a one hour drive down a windy, narrow road where collision or a plunge off the side to your death is a real possibility. The situation is worse than normal due to the hurricane which passed through a few weeks ago. In places, the road looks as if a giant hand scooped out huge parts of the road, removing the low walls on the side that help to prevent people from going over the side. The drop over the side is as far as 700 meters down in one place.
Once in Kingston, we went to Up Park Camp, which is the military base in the city. There I met the incoming Commandant for the course. The base houses 3 Infantry Battalions of the JDF, as well as the Combat Engineers and various other support units.
The most interesting visit was to see the Defence Attache at the British High Commission. The Colonel is an interesting guy. Very hospitable and, I am told, has been very helpful and supportive to this course. I got invited to some type of party next Thursday night.
I wonder what I am supposed to wear?
Canada has a program called MTAP (Military Training Assistance Program) where we help train military personnel from other countries. For the past 12 years, we have sent a small number of military members to Jamaica to run a course for junior officers from a number of Carribean countries. This year I volunteered to be one of those people.
This job is a great opportunity, one which the wife insisted I take. I almost did not. Leaving the wife alone for 4 months was a factor in considerations of whether or not to go. However, a number of factors mitigate this. The wife survived for 30+ years without me, so I figure she can take care of herself. Also, our neighbours are nice people and have agreed to help her out. My neighbour also agreed to shoot any strange men he sees around the property, at my behest.
The biggest factor in going or staying was selfish. I did not want to leave my land. I love our new place and cannot wait to trim trees, cut grass and fix things. I think I am entering a nurturing phase.
In the end, the need for green trumped all. It is also a good experience for me and the wife will get a free flight which we will use to holiday in the area.
So this site will focus more on my experiences with the JDF (Jamaican Defence Force) over the next 4 months. Rest assured, I am sure there will still be some good fights with the wife about a number of things I won't be able to control.
I bet the cats are already sleeping on my side of the bed.
Update 7 Sept 2005: Still no landline up to Newcastle Hill. I will try to post, but don't be surprised if a few backdated posts go up at odd times.