Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Walk Around Saint Jean Sur Richelieu

I normally do not use Wi-Fi for Internet on my phone because I don't like small screens but I'm sitting in a McDonald's in the town, waiting for my $1.94 medium coffee to cool off! I walked from the garrison in a chilly, windy 4 ℃ (around 0 perhaps with windchill). It took between 50 min. and one hour and having a bad cold and coughing chest didn't make it a pleasant walk but it was better than sitting in Subway or the cubical! I'm going for a little shopping in a few min. but I probably take a cab, although I might not be able to get one! When we were going to P. E. T. Airport in Montreal I called a cab but it came we got to another one which the driver was not able to find his customer.
(Photo: It's a big two-story McDonald's in the town, the only one rather than the one inside Wal-Mart. The entire second floor was almost empty. Richelieu River at the east side)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

CFLRS Notes (6): The Abusers

It didn't take long to me to learn that there is a good percentage of the recruits who actually come to CFLRS for things rather than being part of CAF! Yes! It might sound strange but the following a few categories of those individuals:
1) Collect cheques from the Federal Government, spend the money on computer, strippers, prostitutes, alcohol, weed and other drugs and go back home because they never saw that much money (as much as $1200 per months) in their life and probably that would be as much as they make, if they found a job.
2) Find a mate (girlfriend/boyfriend). Fuck her/him for a while. Stay with her/him for a while to see if it taste good after that while or not and go from there.
3) Find a way to file for VR (Voluntary Release) and possibly combine that with do-nothing-for-as-long-as-possible and if they're smart enough, (in their philosophy of living!), get permanent disability fund.
There might be other reasons but these are the three main ones. 
I understand that someone might go to CFLRS (or any other work-place or school for that matter) and finds it hard to continue. Abusing the system is wrong and unfortunately I have to say that the Government provides them with that opportunity. 
(Photo: Regular [Perhaps better to say old], Canadian Armed Forces recruit uniform, also called Combat Shirt. Unlike what I said above, majority of the recruits go to the school with the aim of finishing it and join the Forces but many plan to leave by the end of their first contract)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

CFLRS Notes (5): FORCE Test

Many, including me, thought if they passed FORCE Test, everything else would be as easy as a piece of cake! Wrong! Big time! FORCE Test is important and everyone had to pass it in order to get to the training sequence but not as important as it might seem because the times which should be beaten is easily accessible by most of the recruits with average fitness level. Many were extremely nervous before the test but I was as cool as cucumber(!) because I was 100% certain I would pass it easily. 
Look at one of the tests: Sandbag lift. The recruit has to lift a bag of 20 Kg to the height of 1 m., drop it, jumps sideways to right (or to left, if started from right) lift another one to the same height and then drop it. The recruit has to repeat this 30 times (15 each side) in 03:30 min. I did that in 01:32 min.
I did not do badly in the next station either but in the third one I felt tired and in the last exercise, after I was told timing didn't matter, I got slow and the trainer thought I had difficulty! Overall I passed the test in Bronze Zone with 26 points away from Silver while it could have been much better, had I preformed better in the last station. 
One another reason why I think I could have done better is that the day before we worked hard to get our personal stuff to the fifth floor where our pods were located. I don't remember how many times I went up and down those damn stairs but It was a lot! I'm sure it was deliberately planned to have that moving day scheduled before FORCE Test day but what the hell? I passed that and I'm not worried about it any more.
(Photo: The result of each individual's test is recorded in a system where later PSP [Personal Support Programs] staff explain to them. I assume there will be another test in a few weeks to see whether there has been any improvement or not. There would be a post about that)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

CFLRS Notes (4): Farnham Leadership Skills and Ability Test

Our platoon was driven to Farnham, a nearby village and training center for an obstacle challenge or something like that. I don't really remember the term they use for that but what the recruits do is they are divided to groups of 5 or 6 with a leader and they have a limited time to pass an obstacle. This should be led by the team leader. They then evaluate his communication, leadership and other skills of him or her. This is a nice challenge that I had not been exposed to previously. 
Surprisingly mine was the toughest: A detonated bridge which only had a few pillars of it left! We had to use pieces of wood, cut in different length and make small bridges between pillars to get ourselves to the other side of the river. Parts of the said pillars are painted red and cannot be touched. I only got 3 out of 5 on that while it could be much better but as I said, and it's according to everyone, the Blown-up Bridge is the most difficult one. Anyways we had some marching after everyone did the challenge at least once and then we ate in a local hall. The point in this challenge, rather than the skills I mentioned above, is also physical fitness and attention to detail. One of my platoon members stepped on a red area as soon as he was dedicated to his challenge which means he blew himself up in a minefield! There is a few minutes of penalty for that and he can continue afterwards. Also people might lose their balance while walking or climbing and fall. That eliminates them from the challenge since there's either a minefield or deep water underneath! 
(Photo: It's almost impossible and also against the rules to take photos from the garrison and training, as far as I know. I'm not going to risk a career with the CAF by taking a few silly photos! For that reason to depict Farnham I use this photo which is provided by the company which designed and perhaps build the buildings of Farnham. This is where we had our lunch after the challenge. A very modern and nice place compare to Mega, the main garrison's building)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Five Rivers Restaurant

I'm back to Calgary for a few days and hanging out with The Chef as well as The Brave. One day we were wondering where we should go for lunch and we decided to try Five Rivers restaurant in Falconridge neighbourhood of NE close to The Chef's place. This restaurant used to be a Pizza Hut when I first came to Calgary but I assume due to the increase in population of foreigners (who mostly don't eat Western food), mostly from Indian sub-continent, Pizza Hut decided to give up the location. Pizza Hut is now operating on a corner and only as a take-out place but it's busy and making a good business, I believe. 
Anyways we were there for a buffet and we realized that it would cost $12 each. The food is mostly vegetables, either in form of cut and ready to mix for salad or cooked in East Indian traditional way. The Chef attacked the counter(!) as soon as we got in and I got some too. I normally stick to vegetables when I go to East Indian restaurants because I know they use old meat but this time it was not as good as what I had thought. They use lots of Potato in their meals which has no nutrition but is very filling. They mixed it with other vegetables and some herbs and spices. It's very cheap but I guess that makes people fill quickly so they don't go back again! I had some Chickpea, two thin slices of Pizza (although I know the crust was not Whole Wheat but I ate them because they were made very nicely), some Carrot, Bell Pepper, Onion and Potato meal and a little of this and that. It made me full really fast and I just had a little room for their dessert. I just picked a little of a paste which had a mild sweet taste (unlike most of Indian sweets which are so sweet that you feel your throat is hurt!). The Chef, all of a sudden, felt discomfort in his system! He ate too much and too fast. So I paid the bill and we got the hell out of there. He decided to have a nap with the hope that it will heal his upset stomach, as soon as we got home. He said that he was feeling much better after 2 hours of nap/laying down/sleep! Overall Five Rivers is not such a bad place to eat in. The Brave said, the next day, that they mix new and old food together and refused to eat there with us. He instead invited to his place and asked us to cook. I cooked Eggplant Stew (an Iranian dish) for him and he liked it. It's a separate story which I don't think I should say or maybe I will!
They also offer a variety of drinks but I think no alcoholic beverages are served because they need a special licence for that. The drinks are the regular Soda Pops and I guess traditional East Indian drinks as well. If you're fine with vegetable meats, don't care about a dirty and not well-maintained environment which air doesn't flow and you feel suffocated after a few minutes of sitting at the table or booth (I guess they have tried to make an environment quite similar to India's! Warm, no air flow and humid!), then you'll be fine in Five Rivers. You get what you pay for.
(Photo: This view looking at north shows where Five Rivers restaurant is located in NE Calgary. The architecture shows, clearly, a Pizza Hut restaurant)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

CFLRS Notes (3): Food and Drinks

The recruits have three rations every day at CFLRS. Eating is prohibited in the pods (rest area in general) and is only allowed in the break areas during training hours. There's a Subway that many hang out there after hours when they want to try something different and be connected to Internet.
Breakfast is good. It contains freshly cracked fried Egg, Bacon (which is not freshly made and I've never tried!), baked Beans (which looks like has come out of a can. I tried once and didn't like as somehow was under-cooked), Pork Sausage (similar to what you get in Denny's. They are tasty but not good for you! I, at times, try one), boiled Egg, Oatmeal, different types of fake Jams(!), different types of breads and bagels and of course Tea, Coffee and artificial(!) fruit Juices and other horrible, disgusting drinks!
Lunch and dinner are quite similar and there's only two words to describe them for what you get: Disgusting and horrible!
The food is old and always covered with a disgusting sauce! They don't even ask if you need it or not! Salad is available too but you can see how old it is by just looking at the pieces but it's better than many other food. I mostly eat salad for many of my meals. Different types of fruits are available as dessert: Cut Watermelon (which looks so disgusting that I turn my head away every time I reach the fruit section!), cut Cantaloupe (not so good either. Tried a few times and felt bad. The cuts are unreasonably thin!) Kiwi is not bad. You can find good pieces. Grapes are OK. Never tried apples. They don't look very appetizing! cut Pineapple are tried a few times and most of the time they tasted like rind!) Pears are mostly unripe! Barely found a good piece. Sugary desserts of different kinds are served in huge amounts: Cakes, Cookies, slices of Pies and other similar products. Mostly just full of sugar and colours and nothing else. Tried different kinds, several times and I'm ashamed of that!
The amount of waste is unbelievable. People stack food in their trays as much as they can and then a great amount of that goes to waste. You can eat healthy there but your choices are very limited and the food is always boring, bland and bad looking!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

CFLRS Notes (2): Daily Rutine

Daily routines in CFLRS are not easy. At least that's how I look at it. Wake up is at 05:00 hours but if you really want to get your things done, you either have to wake up between 04:15 and 04:30 or don't sleep at all! I remember that I slept only 20 min. one night but still was not able to get the things done completely! I guess the average sleep hours in the garrison does not go over 2.5 to 3 hours at its best! The first 4 weeks are crucial. It gets better after that.
Breakfast starts at 05:30 hours and there's always a damn long line when you get there and you barely can breath. Lunch is at around 11:00 hours, if I remember correctly. Same story. Sometimes easier. I will write about the quality of food separably but it's funny that getting to the restaurant (Or as it's called in the garrison, the kitchen[!]) requires going up a set of stairs and then going down another set of stairs! Everything is designed to have some sort of discomfort for the recruits! They should not feel ease or comfort at all at any stage of their miserable life during BMOQ or BMQ.
Dinner or supper starts at 16:30 or 17:00! As bad as the food is, it's nothing worse than eating too early or too late! Many go to the local Subway in an hour or two and stuff themselves with other food-like items! But I have to mention here that access to Subway or the only store in the garrison, is only available after a certain number of weeks. Subway also offers a Wi-Fi environment. Many hang out in there just to use their computers and laptop, mostly to chat or play video games. Lights out is at 23:00 hours but many have to stay up long after to get their things done or they will be screwed the day after. However if the staff catch them, they will be in world of shit! Fortunately I never experienced or witness any one being caught after the hours. Moving from place to place in garrison is performed only by the way of marching, unless the recruit is ill or sick and has a special permit from the clinic which is called MIR in the garrison, with no one knows what it stands for! It's even written clinic on the top of the building, itself (and in French Clinique)! The clinic is a controversial section of the school which I will have a separate post for that. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

CFLRS Notes (1): Arrival

I finally got to fly to Montreal in early Mar. but due to lack of access to Internet I post the stories of my BMOQ with a month delay and for a few days. It's obvious that I have no intention to reveal anything that must not be known to the public. With that being said the sickos who intend to harm me by finding secrets revealed by me, I have to say: I'm not sorry to disappoint you!
Anyways we arrived at Pierre E. Trudeau International Airport in Montreal in the evening. I don't know what time it was because it's been a month since that night but I know we only had the time to walk across the airport to get ourselves at the gathering point where other recruits were supposed to meet to get on a bus and get to the garrison.  The trip to the training center was no fun. One hour on a packed bus on Quebec roads to Saint Jean Sur Richelieu
After a few preliminary things we were directed to a room with mats on the floor and we were ordered to open our baggage for inspection. Our room was inspected by SGT Senior Instructor who, I later found, to be one of our instructors. He was fair but he told me that I cannot take my food (nuts, date) with me and had to put them in a bag. He gave me a receipt for that after I did so. This was not what I had been told in the recruiting center but that was OK. 
We then were dirrected to our pods. Each pod contains 6 individual rooms, one common room and one bathroom. It's hard to remember any detail but I remember I dislikes the pillow the moment I saw it because it was very puffy but after a month it's not a thing even to mention! That's all about the arrival night or arriving night, whichever is correct. Might not easy to sleep the first night as jet lag is added to being displaced but like many other things, you're get used to it.