:: Saturday, February 25, 2006 ::
a study in contrasts
life: so yesterday was interesting in terms of it's extremes. I woke up and checked the email and the comments on Flickr, and then in MSN I found that there was someone who wanted to add me to their MSN chat list. I agreed and then there was this woman in Asia trying her best to communicate with me in broken English. She had found my email 'on the net' and couldn't be more specific. She wanted to know what I looked like so I pointed to a pic of me on Flickr. She had a web cam icon so I asked her to turn it on and she thought that meant the video conferencing. So here I was in London, listening to a woman named Li in the PRC on a video conference with the usual lip synching lag. She looked like she was in a school or office. No cybersex here, so no worries.
With Norton running the video and audio has never worked on MSN without fiddling so I didn't bother to launch it. she would say something (once I taught her not to put the headset microphone down around her clavicle so it would pick up what she was saying) and I would type my answers back.
She started to do the "I must be a rich man" and stuff and wanted me to sponsor her to come to Canada. Tried to explain that it wasn't going to happen. Then she tried to sell me shoes! Her company's web site is here. I tried to tell her I didn't need any shoes - I have quite a few pairs - which made me wealthy I guess. I asked about a random pairand showed them to Renée (whom I was giving a running commentary to while this was going on). She thought the site was quite... interesting. :) So Li was indicating that I could get a good price. I am assuming they are knock offs given there are quite a few brands there and no company like Nike or Addidas would want their products represented that way if they knew about it. Renée and I tried to guess prices -which if you factored in shipping from China would be silly. Turns out that the price for the shoes including UPS would be only $37 USD! No I didn't buy any shoes. Like I am going to give a credit card to someone in asia for some shoes that may or may not exist. I am sure Visa would like that. I am sure I would like it less. :)
I should have got a screen shot of her, but given the headset and the persistence of the selling, I think I was telemarketed by IM from Asia! Small world. How much things have changed from being interupted during dinner on a phone without caller ID.
So in a complete turn about from this 21st Century experience, I decided to go for a hike. I was determined to get a better geese shots than the one from Thursday. So I headed back to Dorchester in the CRV - catching up on more Daily Source Code on the Zen Micro. I decided to perhaps blend in better I would wear my tan coloured jeans and my Swiss camouflage jacket over my parka - in a fairly tight fit. Figured it would break up my outline a bit and might get me a little closer before being seen.
I had the camera in the bag and headed out down the East side of the Mill Pond down the narrow foot path. Mud, water, bits of ice, the occasionaly somewhat rickety wooden bridge section were the norm for about 1.5 km or so till I got don to the South end. I took out the camera before heading on the walkway across the pond and creeped up step by step. Each step was creaking on the wooden bridge. Damp wood and ice and nails make for some ship like creaking. No sneaking now. And no geese. Not one at all. A couple of ducks but that was it. A little disappointed, but not completely as it was a good day for a hike.
On the West side, I decided to go off the main path and found another path - little used and not obvious if you are not looking. It went South into the swamp area and I thought I might be able to find an area to hide out and set up and wait for geese. I did some bush crashing - though I was trying to be quiet - and I found a couple of good spots. But no birds. So I started to move slower and wander around more quietly. I put the hood of the camo jacket up over my hat and it came back to me that the last time I was even remotely dressed like this in an isolated area was on a recce patrol in the Army about 13 years ago.
We used to go out a lot and essentially do map and compass 'orienteering' work. Armed to the teeth and moving with stealth and purpose through woods and forests in and around Canadian Forces Bases like Borden and Meaford - and much earlier Petawawa - in all different types of weather including winter. Wasn't the first time I had gone for a hike, but it did feel wierd to not have a rifle in my hands. It was just instinctive I suppose. You get used to something. A muscle memory. I settled for the camera at the ready even though there was nothing except for bare dry brush around.
I turned around and having a fairly good sense of direction and orientation on a simple excercise like this, I headed back following the rough path to the main one. At one point I heard at least one person, possibly two or three not too far off. I stopped moving and listened. I moved about more quietly. Conscious that if these were some kids out to get stoned or something and they wanted my camera I would have a problem. They were probably 100m away and on top of the ridge line on that ran around the East edge of the swamp. They eventually moved off and I don't think they heard or saw me after I froze.
Back on the main path, there was no one. and it was an easy 2km hike back to the CRV parked at the mill. The East side is a more interesting walk. And while the marked trail is 3.5km, I imagine with my detours I did over 4km. Good solid walk and doing it at different times of the year could be interesting. Some good locations for photos. As long as mosquitos are not too bad!
:: Mike Wood 10:40 [+] ::