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Old 15-06-2007, 13:15   #1
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Sgt Preston - off to the Yukon

Okay, I'm not Sgt Preston but Captain Nicholson (Cadetting Army Reserves) off to the Yukon to work with Canadian teens in our Army and Air Cadets corps and squadrons. These kids are from across Canada's north and high north and a smattering of Army Cadets from England. I will be the training officer, implementing the programs and acting as "standards" officer, ensuring the courses are taught up to requirements.

About the closest I "might" get to boating will be canoing, depending on how busy I will be. I guess what I am trying to say is that I fly up to Whitehorse on the 20th of June and will probably be "off the radar" here in the Cruisers Forum until very late August. I don't know what the internet access will be like up there.

The good news is that I will be in Whitehorse for the "longest" daylight hours of the year, sunset is 11:37 PM and sunrise at 4:30 AM so it will be the first time I will have experienced that much sun. Being from the "Pacific Northwest" (American talk) and the "South Coast" (Canadian talk), anyone living here will know "sunlight" can be an issue - right now, we're not exactly having the best of June's; so I'm ready for that sun. Interestingly enough, Whitehorse is suppose to be Canada's driest city - who'd da thought.

And now as a present to all you guys and galls, I'm going to post (in the next post after this) a news item that occurred on the 21st of November, 2001. I don't want to tell you what it is about, but read it; it'll make you smile. I like this news item as it reminds me of the vast cultural differences between us "down south" folks (considered whimps by the high North Inuit) and our Northern friends.
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Old 15-06-2007, 13:19   #2
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Surprising News item out of Whitehorse Yukon 2001

High adventure is what I live for. An event of epic proportions happened here in the Yukon on Nov. 15, to which I was a witness. People arranged flights on Air North from all the northern cities it services; special chartered flights came down from Inuvik, Old Crow and Dawson City, thousands of miles away; six buses from the Alaskan cities of Juneau, Skagway and Haines drove in; and the mayors of Haines and Skagway, as well as the premier of the Yukon, came.


In the Yukon Territorial Government, everyone asked to take a day off on Thursday to be where the action was, causing the government no end of hassles to keep operating. Others called in sick from work as banks, local businesses and restaurants all suffered from the mysterious malady striking all their employees at once.


It happened at 8 a.m., but people were camped out all night to be there when it did. Hotels in Whitehorse were full from all the people from the hinterland and bush coming into town. You couldn't find an open room. I decided to be there myself at 11 a.m., just to see what was the hubbub. I went with a good friend of mine who is a writer. We were both shocked beyond words and we bring you this exclusive scoop about the event that nearly brought the government to its knees: The opening of a Wal-Mart.

The premier and mayors of nearby Alaskan towns were there for the ribbon cutting ceremony and there was serious consideration, at least by rumor, that the territorial government might call Thursday a holiday - a Wal-Mart opening day, if you will. The Charmin bear and Crest toothpaste were on hand to walk around with balloons in the store. It's a small Wal-Mart as they go, but still it's seemingly the largest building - at least the largest store - in the Yukon.


We're not sure if Fairbanks has one yet. We are the one Wal-Mart for all of the Yukon, northern British Columbia and southern and eastern Alaska. In the first day of business at this one store, Wal-Mart made $295,000, breaking the record for Wal-Marts in all of Western Canada.

Many of you might think I have gone against my ethics to be at the store that usually means the end of local businesses. But if you were a writer, where would you want to be when the whole world is at Wal-Mart? So, I went to find out what the Yukon looked like when all 33,000 of us were stuffed into a 7,900-square-foot building.


There were two kinds of people in the store: those who had come just to see what was in the store and browse - mostly without buying. Then there were the serious bush people who filled up a whole cart of everything they needed for a month. There were some heard to say, "I came in to see how much they've (stores in town) been ripping us off for years."


The aisles were crowded. It reminded me of the post-Thanksgiving sales at the Wal-Marts in the United States. Many people stopped in the middle of the aisles just to compare notes. I heard many languages being spoken at the same time: English, French and aboriginal languages. I saw a trapper - there are still several thousand of them in the Yukon (those that live on the animals they trap), dressed all in furs like a Davy Crockett misplaced in modern times, staring up at a wide-screen TV.

How does a Yukon Wal-Mart differ from the Wal-Marts you are accustomed to? Well, that's the point - they don't differ. It's the same stuff. Everywhere!


The point of Wal-Mart is not to buy different stuff for every store but to buy the same stuff in mass quantities. So, in a few months, you will notice, if you lived up here, that everyone will be wearing the same sweaters and clothes they got at Wal-Mart. If they buy you Christmas presents from Wal-Mart, they will be the same ones you saw in your own Wal-Mart! Isn't that spiffy? We are making the Yukon just like Lubbock! Or Lima, Ohio! Or Wichita, Kan.! Thank goodness - the Yukon was just too different.


I myself thought I was stepping onto American soil, maybe even the American Embassy, when I walked into Wal-Mart. The McDonald's there had a line longer than any of the checkouts. The Canada Trust bank inside gave away free cake. Most people didn't know about the staggered checkouts, so lines formed at every other station. I just snuck through to the second layer of checkouts pretty easily. I was, after all, a Wal-Mart suckling.


Yes, I bought some things at Wal-Mart. Why? Because I couldn't find them anywhere else in town and here they were cheap. (Traitor, some will call me.)


The following Sunday the whole store had changed. Inside the shelves were ravaged as if a "hoard of locusts had come through," said one person. She went shopping for knitting wool, which was incredibly cheap here. Knitters knew a good bargain when they saw it. The food aisles were practically empty. Wal-Mart wasn't expecting quite the amount of bush shoppers in the Yukon. People out in the hinterland stocked up, and Wal-Mart is going to have to plan better if it wants to stay in business.

Think of that. Could popularity actually hurt Wal-Mart? Certainly, being out here in the boonies is not going to be a good thing for Wal-Mart shipping, since they need to restock those shelves fast if they want to catch the rest of the population this week. But that's the future.

For now, the parking lot is crowded, busy and the people satisfied with their purchases. The government keeps running, the planes cash in on the chartered flights and the buses create a new bus stop. Life in the Yukon will go on - and it will look remarkably like life before Wal-Mart - except everyone will be wearing, using, watching, playing with and throwing away Wal-Mart products.




Jerome Stueart is a doctoral student in English at Texas Tech and is living in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on a Fulbright Fellowship.

From me again, you will note the author is American, so when some of you find the mistake he made in the article - he's American - he's yours!! LOL!
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Old 15-06-2007, 18:52   #3
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rsn, I have been to Whitehorse twice. Love the place. If ya get a chance, post a pic of the sign forest. You should have a great time.
As fo the article, I must have missed something. Guess I will have to re-read.
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Old 10-07-2007, 01:15   #4
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Well, the first mystery is how does this forum know it is me logging on. I'm on a Canadian Department of National Defence computer with no cookies from this forum, so how does this forum know it is I?

Anyways I'm up in Whitehorse now, the land of the midnight sun. Many from down south have been having a hard time sleeping with the lack of darkness up here at night, but as the summer moves on, the darkness is coming back. So far Whitehorse dubbed the driest city in Canada has had rain every day I have been here - might as well be living in the Pacific North West again.

Since I am working with Canadian teens from all provinces and Territorities, including the "high" North, where Whitehorse is considered South, I have had to be "shotgun" trained for the grizzlies that could potential come after the teens when in the bush. The shotguns are loaded with slugs rather than pellets; I amazed myself by hitting the target every time.

Our First of July ceremony here (much like the American 4th of July) included a parade most of which were floats and old cars from Alaska; I figure it must have been a slow day in Alaska so the Skagway boys came over here to get drunk; then again on their 4th of July.

About the only boating you see up here are Zodiacs, canoes and kayaks; but some great rivers for white river games. I have been whining and moaning around the Navy types up here to get on their boats; I don't know if my "poor me, my boats back in BC" will work though; I might have to bribe them with beer.

I know Walmarts allow RV'ers to stay in their lots for free but up here the Walmart looks like an RV park with around 40 or more RV's in their lot every night. Amazingly enough there are RV's from Germany, Britian, all over. In fact, in this small town of 22,000 there are three flights a week to and from Germany - go figure.

Well it appears the closest I'll get to a boat is on a Zodiac with some Navy guy yelling at me, but hey as they say in the Armed Forces, "if you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined."

Signing off from Whitehorse, but a short one hour and a half drive to Skagway.
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Old 10-07-2007, 01:23   #5
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Quote:
Well, the first mystery is how does this forum know it is me logging on. I'm on a Canadian Department of National Defence computer with no cookies from this forum, so how does this forum know it is I?
Lets just say, "We know things" OK!
We could tell ya, but then we would have to shoot ya. Especially seeing as you are at the CDND. We can't allow any of that sort of knowledge out. It would be considered Treason or Espionage and I could get lined up against the wall and shot by the Admin team.

Hey by the way, can I send you some teens from down here. But you have to promise to leave the shotgun at home OK?
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Old 11-07-2007, 01:04   #6
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Hi rsn48
Actually there are two more Wal-Marts in Northern B.C. Fort St. John and Dawson Creek both have them. I know that you might not consider that to be North but, anything 5 hours North of Prince George is North in my book. I lived in that area for 4 years. You will probably need your shotgun skills to kill the mosquitoes.
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Old 11-07-2007, 20:02   #7
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Hoary Hoards of Locusts, Batman

All right, I'll be the bold one and tell the author of the Whitehorse Walmart Opening article that "horde" and "hoard" are two different words. Was this his mistake?

But then he wrote it 6 years ago and hopefully has gone on to have a successful career somewhere. I googled his name and he's published as a Science Fiction author, and writes articles about literature too, and it looks like this was his first month in the Yukon, so I can forgive him a bit, as he ended up, as far as I can tell, living there for three years. I'm sure a Wal-Mart looked pretty familiar and strange to him in that context of being a foreigner.

I once went to Germany and ate at a Wendy. There's no "'s" and the food, though looking similar to Wendy's burgers was not even close to the quality. It's odd finding an American icon standing in the midst of another culture....

Here's to Jerome and all other Americans heading off to the Yukon--may they find peace and beauty and adventures beyond Walmart's doors.

(By the way, was that the mistake he made? I checked the spelling and the Canadian references....and that's all I could find...)

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Old 11-07-2007, 20:09   #8
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RSN48

If you can't find an internet hookup in the place you're staying, try Zola's Cafe, or the various places you can find internet access through coin-slotted computers around the city--they're everywhere. I also think there's an internet shack somewhere in the city. Hope you enjoy your longest day. Make sure to bet on a rubber ducky as it floats down the river. You could win a lot of money.

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