Monday, July 05, 2004

WORKING IN A NEW FOUND LAND



One of the joys and privileges of the work we do, and the ways we are sometimes able to do it, is getting a chance to offer short courses in places we have not previously been and to work with people we have not previously met. These invariably turn out to be such valuable learning experiences for us that we come close at times to feeling guilty about receiving payment for them. On the other hand, we need to earn our daily bread, so our part of the bargain becomes one of doing the very best work we can manage and putting everything we have got into the courses.

So it was that less than 20 hours after getting back to Mexico City from the Learning Conference in Cuba that we found ourselves back again in the Benito Juárez International Airport in the east of our beloved DF, outward bound for Newark, New Jersey. At least, in the first instance.

Getting to Newark was the quick and easy part. A small confusion over ticketing meant that we had to drive from Newark to Halifax in Nova Scotia, and then journey on by car and ferry to Corner Brook on the western coast of Newfoundland. It was a long drive. We are not fast drivers, but have a certain tenacity. We eventually set off from New Jersey a little after 3pm on the Friday of the weekend culminating in the 4th of July. NOT a good choice of time to leave. Traffic was dense through the first few states, and only began to free up once we were in the northern half of Maine. Fog (and total unfamiliarity with the area) made a short cut into Canada a dodgy prospect, so we took the longer option of riding the I-95 all the way to the Canadian border. It added around 80 miles to the trip, but almost certainly saved us from getting badly lost.

We made the border a bit after 2am and pressed on. Fatigue called for a ‘power nap’ of an hour around 4.30. Somehow the power didn’t check in as much as it might have, but we made it to the car swap at Halifax Airport around 10.30am. We duly swapped a Subaru Outback for a wee Nissan, and decided to take the slower coastal road from Dartmouth in the south of Nova Scotia to Sydney in the north. This is a stunning scenic drive, even by the lofty standards of the Maritimes. Digital camera memories filled quickly, and uploading to the traveling laptops became the order of the day. We arrived at the hotel in Sydney around 6pm. Half way between the entry point to Cape Breton and Sydney we found a totally unexpected memory of Mexico. Unexpected, but welcome, warming, and uplifting – a donation from a man in Massachusetts to the people of Cape Breton. What amazing and unexpected things transpire in a world on which it is impossible entirely to lose hope. (see the pic).

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