Monday, 25 June 2012

On getting to Moose Jaw

Raymond and I agreed to get an early start today with a planned 7 AM departure time to reduce our exposure to the blasted and blasting East wind that has been plaguing us. However, when we arose, there was a storm in evidence so we delayed things by an hour.

By our revised departure time the wind had dropped entirely and we had fast pedaling conditions across a relatively level section of Saskatchewan. As it was such a joy to be free of the wind and that I knew that Moose Jaw was an interesting place, I kept up a fast pace as Raymond drafted behind me: having left Chaplin a little after 8, we pulled up at Mac the giant moose statue outside the tourism office at a few minutes after noon having covered nearly 90 kms with a few stops along the way, and getting buzzed by a training jet out of CFB Moose Jaw.

We checked into a slightly dodgy downtown motel for two nights. I spent the afternoon looking for replacement footwear (ending up with a cheap pair of sneakers) and taking in one of the two Moose Jaw tunnel tours. Moose Jaw has a network of old steam tunnels that were used for various purposes including illegal and/or morally suspect ones. These included hiding and exploiting Chinese immigrants after the railway was built and assorted bootlegging and other vices associated with Al Capone and company. There was a large crowd for the Al Capone themed tour and me for the one on the Chinese experience. I won't go into the details but I came out rather ashamed to be a white Canadian.

When I got back from the tour, I had a discussion with Raymond, a recent Chinese immigrant, about the general topic and other facets of life and history in Canada. He's car mechanic so my liberal arts perspective on life seems to be a novelty to him.

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