Sunday, November 01, 2009

Calgary at CAWST

It is nearly 3AM Sunday morning as I write this.

I arrived here in Calgary on schedule having left Manila during the height of the recent typhoon (Sat 8:20AM). I left Brentville in the dark with the wind howling and the rain pouring down. Had to detour around several downed trees just getting out of our 'not sheltered from the storm' subdivision.

Why would I even try to catch a Jumbo Jet during a typhoon? Well a couple of reasons come to mind. First, I wanted to go as I anticipated attending an interesting workshop in Calgary Canada. Second, both the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Northwest Airlines web sites listed my scheduled flight as on time and not cancelled. Archie my driver carefully drove north along the South Luzon Expressway toward Manila. About half of the way to the airport the rain all but ceased and the wind abated. I took that as a good sign but still somewhat expected to find NW 280 had been cancelled only after making the trek.

Typhoon Mininae (also called Santi) was also visiting NAIA though it had just that morning been downgraded from a category 1 typhoon to a tropical storm. That means the sustained winds could have dropped from 74 to 73 MPH.

My flight did leave and the 747 was airborn with only a one hour delay. At the Narita Japan airport they held the connecting flight for Philippine stragglers and I virtually walked off one plane and onto the other. There are some advantages to close connections. I've never really enjoyed the layover there. It put me a half hour late into Seattle where I had to clear customs and catch a twin engine turbo-prop to Calgary. But that transition went smoothly so here I am.

I was picked up by Sanjay my gracious host who has opened his home to me for the week. Certainly a man of hospitality. He was willing to take in a stranger as a favor to Craig who he had only met once on a plane flight this past summer. And he introduced me to rugby. Not as in playing it but as in watching it on the tube. There was a sort of 'super bowl' class game being played in South Africa which we enjoyed? with some of his friends who were having a sort of tail gate party. And there were lots of good South African goodies to munch on. It brought back memories of watching my first hockey game about 25 years ago in Edmonton in which I had great difficulty following the puck.

I had taken steps to 'acclimate' myself to the time difference with the intent of minimizing jetlag and though I did sleep soundly for about four hours I was just done sleeping at 2:30AM - so here I am. I am an early riser anyway.

The workshop begins Monday at the CAWST office here in Calgary. I'll keep you posted. All I can say about it now is that for one to travel from tropical Philippines durng a typhoon to Calgary this time of year you gotta have sand - Biosand that is. I escaped the last typhoon there by going with Craig to Palawan. He 'cawst' this!

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