Mike's Trek to the Great White North 1994
Table of Contents
Our country has an agreement with the governments of Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom to share technology. So, our office was selected to share our software with our counterparts at labs in each of those countries. As we sat down to figure out who was going to go where, it pretty much came down to rank and time in the office. The top guy got Australia, the others the UK, and since I was the most junior, I got Canada.
There was actually another reason - my branch chief was under the impression that I knew French, although I did not know this until later in my trip. The false impression occurred when a couple of French military officers were visiting our lab, and Gary was selected to brief them on our program. Gary spoke in his usual "dude" slang, spoke really fast, and then used acronyms like crazy. Here's an example: "Dude, you got A-10s sitting there on GCAS, so you want to launch them to a CAP ASAP, you know, so yougottadoitfast, or if not, you're SOL dude!" And I sat there as these two French officers just stared at him blankly. So, I took over. I spoke slow and didn't use acronyms, and at the end of the day, they told my branch chief how they enjoyed my briefing, as I was able to explain things to them. My chief thought I was speaking French, but really I just spoke slow English so that they would understand. I don't know any phrases in French, as you will soon see.
So, my boss was going to accompany me, and the two of us had been working with the Canadian lab all year, and they called us in December 1993 to tell us the great news - we get to go to Quebec City in January. When it is really freaking cold.
Anyway, I had been to Quebec City once before about two years earlier in the summer, when my family and I took a trip up there. Most of the outside pictures were taken then, as it was too dark for me to take any pictures when I went up there in January. But, this trip would be a new experience for me, as I was traveling as an ambassador of my country - which presented a whole slew of new problems.