2003 Netletter #781 Aug 9/03 - The NetLetter

#781 Aug 9/03 - The NetLetter
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Subject: [The NetLetter] NetLetter nr 781 Aug 9/03 - The NetLetter
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2003 18:15:55 -0700
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T H E                    _| TCA |_
_|| AIR |/|_
N E T L E T T E R   >  CANADA   <
( For retirees of the new Air Canada family)

Number 781  Aug 9th., 2003. We first published in October 1995.
Circulation: 2700+
Circulation: 2700+

Chief Pilot - Vesta Stevenson   -      Co-pilot  - Terry Baker

To get in touch with either editor/pilot our  email address is
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


. Found on the internet.
New Visa Waiver Program Has Tighter Requirements

FORT WORTH -- American Airlines is advising passengers
traveling to the
United States that the U.S. State Department will require
passport controls that have been designed to increase
security. Effective
Oct. 1, all citizens from 27 countries participating in a
new visa waiver
program must present a machine-readable passport upon
arrival at their
port of entry into the United States. The machine-readable
have coded data on the photo page, and all participating
countries now
are issuing the new type of passport. Airline agents will
ensure that
passengers have the correct documentation before they can
be checked
in for a flight.

Also effective with the new policy, passengers without
passports no longer will be able to take advantage of the
visa waiver
program. Nationals of a visa waiver-eligible country who do
not yet have
a machine-readable passport should either obtain one or
apply for a visa
from the U.S. Consulate in their country of residence or
country of
nationality prior to travel. In addition, all children,
including babies, must
have their own machine-readable passport and can no longer be
included on one of their parents' passports for entry into
the United
States under the visa waiver program.

Countries participating in the visa waiver program include:
Andorra France Luxembourg Singapore Australia Germany Monaco
Slovenia Austria Iceland Netherlands Spain Belgium Ireland
New Zealand
Sweden Brunei Italy Norway Switzerland Denmark Japan
Portugal United
Kingdom Finland Liechtenstein San Marino

Information regarding the new visa policy and procedures
can be found
at the Department of State’s Visa Services Web site,
www.unitedstatesvisas.gov or on the State Department’s Web
site for
travelers at: http://travel.state.gov/vwp.

Now that we are in the busy summer period, make sure you allow plenty of
time to check in for your flight. As heightened security measures are in
place at airports across Europe, easyJet check-in desks close 40 minutes
before the scheduled departure time of all flights.

Virgin Atlantic Airways has revolutionized its Upper Class seat and cabin
in a 50m ($80 million) overhaul which has been in development for over two
years. It will be introduced on all of Virgin's Boeing 747-400 and Airbus
A340-600 aircraft starting from this summer, and will be on all those
aircraft based at Heathrow by spring 2004 and all those at Gatwick by
autumn 2004

" ' "

. Another story about Porquis Junction!
I was regional spare radio operator for the "Central Region" in the late
'40s and provided vacation relief at North Bay, Porquis and Kapuskasing .
When a vacancy occurred at Porquis in 1948/49 I bid on it successfully and
worked there until June of 1952 when I transferred to North Bay. In June of
1953 I transferred to Dorval Telecoms Lab as a Technician.
I enjoyed my time at YQJ.. You basically did everything and were by
yourself about half the time since the Station Manager had to make the
rounds of the travel agents (Cochrane/Timmins area) so you made
reservations, sold tickets, billed cargo, check passengers in, went
"remote" and did the control tower thing when the flight came in range,
guided the aircraft to park, did the weight and balance, loaded the
aircraft, fueled the aircraft(not often), did the start up, went "remote"
to get the flight out, sent all the dispatches, ran the mail down to the
Porquis Junction Post Office (it went by train to Timmins) cleaned the
place up and went home. Home was Timmins, 40 miles away. TCA supplied a war
surplus rag-top jeep to get us to and fro and carry the mail.. This was a
tad cool in the winter. Communication was by HF radio to North Bay. They
put it on teletype.
I think the YYZ/YYB/YQJ/YYU route was probably the last one served by
Loadstars. While I was there they were succeeded by DC3s. The Loadstar's
weight and balance was actually done on a computer called a Librascope so
from that point of view the DC3 was a step backward!! I've got some snaps
somewhere of Loadstars at Porky and the jeep.
The airport is one of the really great blueberry patches.. The locals used
to pick them and sell them to the passing aircrew, but the local black
bears really like blueberrys and a couple of them were shot in a sort of
turf war with the human pickers.
I have fond memories if the place
Wilson Quigley

Andy Mercer sends his memories -
just read your article in NetLetter. I remember Porquis quite well, in
fact I, along with my wife Julie and our daughter Elaine, then a baby in
arms, were the first (and only) passengers to board the inaugural flight
southbound ex Porquis for Toronto. I can't remember the date but the a/c
was a Lockheed 14 or 1808. The service began after the transcontinental
flights stopped flying the route through northern Ontario. Before that time
Porquis was not a regular stop for TCA but was used as an alternate. The
Lockheed operated Toronto-North Bay-Porquis-Kapuskasing and return. It was
eventually operated with DC-3 equipment until Timmins opened. It was a
grass strip and usually was closed for a couple of weeks each spring due to
ground conditions. Best regards, Andy Mercer.

" ' "
. Having read the trip report from your co-pilot, Arlene Frolick thought
you may like to read about an alternative routing through the Baltic -
I am Art Frolick's traveling wife. He showed me your latest trip to
Scandinavia and since I just returned from there, here is my journal. It's
very long, and you may not want to read it all.
BTW, on five legs of my flights, Air Canada and Lufthansa upgraded me to
Business Class three times. What a wonderful company.
June 3 and 4 - Copenhagen, Denmark - I left Regina on June 3, via Toronto,
and arrived in Copenhagen early the next morning where I was to meet up
with my tour group the next day.
The hotel was two train stops from the airport. I found my way down town
and hung out for 4 hours ‘people-watching’. The blond blue-eyed Danes are
very tanned, which surprised me for so early in the season. They all ride
bicycles, and I learned they are able to bike almost all year long, even in
the mild winters. Bicycle stands and parking lots are everywhere. As in the
Netherlands, there is a bicycle path between the pedestrian sidewalk and
the street.
June 5 - The tour group arrived.. Nick Copcutt from London, England, is our
tour director.
Our first walking tour in Copenhagen (population 1.7 million) included a
stroll along Strøget, a pedestrian-only street. Today is Constitution Day
and people are out celebrating. Denmark and Norway have an important soccer
match on Saturday, June 7. The streets are crowded with very friendly
party-goers dressed in their colors, and drinking lots of beer! We climbed
the 685 foot staircase of the Round Tower, opened in 1642 by King Christian
IV, to see a beautiful view of the city. Dinner was Mediterranean
vegetarian and very spicy.
June 6 - Bus tour included a stop at the Amalienborg Palace, the residence
of the Danish Royal Family. Amalienborg is made up of four almost identical
separate palaces which border onto an octagonal open square and built by
four noblemen in the years 1750-54, on land granted them by King Frederik
V. One of the palaces is home to Queen Margrethe, who celebrated her 25th
anniversary as Monarch, and her husband Prince Henrik. The second palace is
the home of Queen Ingrid (the Queen Mother), who was married to Denmark's
previous king, King Frederik IX, who died in 1972. The third is the home of
the second son of the royal family, and the fourth palace is a museum. We
witnessed the changing of the guard, saw the royal horses being exercised
and visited the royal stables of marble floors and stalls.
Our next stop is to see The Little Mermaid, a statute that sits close to
the shore in the Copenhagen harbour. Although many think the statue is a
symbol of the old seaport, the inspiration was Hans Christian Andersen's
fairy tale, "The Little Mermaid.".
Nyhavn ( New Harbour), a picturesque canal filled with moored sailing
boats, runs down to the main harbour. The canal is lined with colorful
buildings including the home of Hans Christian Anderson. This is part of
the original Copenhagen Harbor dating back to the 12th century.
We took an hour long canal cruise out of the canal to the main harbour. The
Royal Yacht is docked in the harbour. We pass the Museum of Sculpture and
see Michaelangelo’s David, in copper, on the harbour front. After a fondue
dinner, we spend an hour at Tivoli, an amusement park that has been
entertaining Danes since 1843. The trees are lined with lanterns and
lights; there are 38 restaurants in the park; many outdoor theater areas,
and the amusement rides are very busy.
June 7 - Before leaving Copenhagen, we spend our free time in a nearby park
and touring the Carlsberg Brewery. I.C.Jacobsen (1811-87) revolutionized
the art of beer brewing, not only in Denmark, but also in the rest of
Europe. We see a variety of exhibitions displaying brewery making
techniques in the brewery built in 1847 -- from the grain storing area to
the processing area to the stables. We are treated to two glasses of beer
at the end of the tour. The name ‘Carlsberg’ was inspired by Jacobsen's
5-year old son, Carl.
By 3:00 p.m., we leave for the Port of Copenhagen in order to board the
DFGS Seaways ‘Crown of Scandinavia’ for our overnight cruise to Oslo,
Norway. We had a wonderful buffet, walked the decks and played cards till late.
June 8 - Oslo, Norway - We get up early and go on deck to view the fjords
of Norway. There are 150,000 islands around Norway, but we see only a few
dozen. There are many different styles of lighthouses, many boats and other
vessels on the waterways. The islands have quaint villages and even the
very smallest island has a house or building on it. After our huge buffet
breakfast on board, we dock in Oslo at 9 a.m. in brilliant sunshine and
board our bus for our tour. Population of Oslo is 500,000.
The Viking era lasted for 250 years from A.D.800 to A.D.1050. A Viking was
a member of the Scandinavian bands of sea rovers who pillaged and raided
their way through northern Europe. Vikings were also called Norsemen, and
were the ancestors of the Norwegians, Swedes and Danes of today. Eric the
Red settled Greenland in A.D.985, and around A.D.1000, his son, Leif
Ericson sailed west to what is now Newfoundland.
We make our way to the Bygdøy Peninsula where we view preserved authentic
Viking ships retrieved from ritual burial mounds along the fjords near
Oslo. ‘Valhalla’ was the great hall of dead heroes in Norse mythology.
Viking elites wanted to ensure that their dead were well-equipped in the
afterlife, so they carefully buried them in their ships with all the
necessities. A Viking ship built between A.D.810-820 used to carry goods
between islands is the oldest unearthed vessel in the museum. It is huge.
Displays included burial items found on these ships. The polar-ship, Fram,
built in 1892 is claimed to be the strongest vessel in the world and was
used for 3 arctic expeditions: 2 to the North Pole and Amundsen to the
South Pole. The Fram sits in the harbour.
Our next stop was ‘The Kon-Tiki Museum’. Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) was a
world famous adventurer who won fame in 1947 when he crossed approx. 4,500
miles of the Pacific Ocean in the Kon-Tiki, a balsa raft constructed of 9
logs from Equador and built as a copy of a prehistoric South American
vessel. The successful voyage of 101 days proved that the islands in
Polynesia were within the range of this type of ancient vessel. The Oscar
received in 1951 for the documentary "Kon-Tiki", which traces Heyerdahls’
raft trip, is on display in the museum.
Heyerdahl built Ra I at the foot of the Egyptian Pyramids in 1969 of
papyrus reeds. He set sail for Barbados, but there were problems with the
construction and the boat was abandoned. Ra II was built in 1970,
transported to Morocco from where it set sail for Barbados. This boat
completed a successful transatlantic crossing, covering the 4000 miles to
Barbados in just 57 days. The voyages with Ra I and Ra II proved that it
had been possible to have transatlantic contacts between the old
civilizations and the Americas.
To prove that there could have been contact and influences between the
great cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Indus valley across the sea,
the Tigris was built. This was Heyerdahl´s largest reed craft. In 1978, he
set out to recreate the voyage that would have taken place over 1,000 years
ago. Due to wars ranging all around the area at the time, Heyerdahl banded
the voyage and eventually set fire to Tigris.
The actual Kon-Tiki and Ra II vessels are on display in the museum, plus
models of Ra I and Tigris. Many artifacts from the voyages, including a
collection of archaeological finds from Easter Island, East Polynesia,
Galapagos, are displayed in the museum.
"Vigeland Sculpture Park" is our next stop. The park contains 212
sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought-iron with more than 600 figures,
all modeled in full size by Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943). The stone
sculptures of unclothed family members depict all the various stages in the
life of man, from birth to death, one generation to the next, the circle of
life. One hour was not long enough to fully appreciate the reason Vigeland
designed and built this park. In short, he spent so much time sculpting
that he felt he had abandoned his wife and infant son, and this was a way
of making up it to them. The statues are unclothed so that no one can
ascribe a race or religion to them. For more on this interesting subject,
go to <http://members.cox.net/c.kau/Vigeland>
The 1952 Winter Olympics were held in Oslo. We went to the Holmenkollen ski
jump area when we had a fantastic view of Oslo. At the bottom of the ski
jump is an amphitheater. In the summer, it is filled with water for
swimming, but drained in the winter. On the winding road to the top of the
area, we passed the summer and winter residences of Norway’s Royal Family.
Our walking tour included a stroll alongside Oslo’s charming harbour. That
night, we dine on lamb at a quaint harbour restaurant.
June 9 - Oslo, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden - we leave Oslo and motored to
Stockholm on the eastern side of Sweden. Our motorcoach ride is about 550
km. long in pouring rain. The countryside is much like B.C. in some areas -
rugged rocks, lush pine, spruce and deciduous trees The roadsides are in
bloom with wild lupine and Queen Anne’s Lace. There aren’t as many grazing
cattle and sheep as we’ve seen in Great Britain and Europe. That’s because
the animals are mostly kept in large barns and the grasses are put into silage.
June 10 - Stockholm, Sweden - Stockholm (population 1.2 million) is built
on 14 islands. There are no less than 57 bridges connecting the islands.
The city is 1/3 water, 1/3 buildings and 1/3 green parks.
We tour the "Vasa Museum", a ship museum on one of the islands, Djurgarden
(Deer Garden). The Vasa was built ca1628 as a Royal flagship, and sank on
her maiden voyage before ever making it out of Stockholm harbour. In 1956,
the Vasa was located 30 m. beneath the surface. Divers managed to flush 6
tunnels in the mud underneath the ship, and steel cables were drawn through
the tunnels. Brackish water was pumped out and a treasure trove was
discovered, plus a few bodies. All the iron bolts that held it together had
rusted away, and wooden plugs had to be inserted in their place so that it
would not flood again as it was being raised. In 1961, the time came for
the first lift, 333 years after sinking. Two lifting pontoons on the
surface lifted the ship using the cables. It was a great occasion, with the
King of Sweden in attendance. After years of restoration, including the
boat being entirely covered with a resin so that the wood wouldn't rot
further, the Vasa was finally moved to the museum in 1988. Many articles
such as bits of clothing, shoes, pottery, cannons, were recovered and are
We walk across a bridge to the Old Town (dating to 1255) of Stockholm that
was once a fortified island. The Old Town has very narrow streets and tall
colorful buildings dating to 1300's (restored) on basements from the
1200's. A cornerstone on one building has Viking script on it which has
been dated to A.D.1000. We saw the changing of the guard at the Royal
Palace. The Royal Military has stood guard at the palace since 1563. The
Royal Navy performed during the ceremony.
Old Town Stortorget (Square) was the site of the ‘Stockholm Blood Bath’ of
1520 when Christian II of Denmark beheaded 82 Swedish noblemen and
displayed a pyramid of their heads in the square. Sweden revolted, and
eventually separated from its union with Denmark and Norway in 1521.
We walk to another island and tour the Stockholm Town Hall where the Nobel
prizes are awarded. The 200 guests and the recipients first dine in the
Blue Hall, the main lobby, and then go upstairs to the Golden Hall. This is
an absolutely gorgeous room with a very high ceiling and glittering walls
covered in 90 million mosaic-mirror pieces about 1 inch square and pasted
with gold leaf. It only took 80 pounds of gold to cover the 90 million
tiles. Ceramic mosaic is used for wall murals within the gold walls. The
Golden Hall was decorated in 1921-23.
Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), born into a wealthy family, made his fortune with
his invention of dynamite in 1866 and was the holder of more than 350
patents. He set up a fund of $9 million with the interest from the fund to
be used to award annual prizes in at least 6 categories. We drove by his
family home and one of his laboratories.
June 11 - On a warm drizzly morning, we take a train and ferry to an island
to see the world’s oldest open-air museum, Skansen. It was founded in 1891
and consists of 150 historic buildings mostly depicting the 18th and 19th
centuries that have been moved from various parts of Sweden to this island.
People in period costume depict the actual customs of the time. Stockholm’s
only zoo is in Skansen.
At 5 p.m., we board the Viking Line ‘Mariella’ cruise ship for our
overnight cruise to Helsinki, Finland. Our tour director, Nick, talked
about the Danes, Norwegians, Swedes as compared to the Finns. The Danes are
nice friendly people, relaxed, outgoing, smile a lot; the Norwegians are
more so; and the Swedes are even nicer, more friendly and will offer their
assistance readily. The Finns are altogether different. They are more
standoffish, hardly smile, and are generally very dour. We were told ‘don't
be nice Canadians and let people push through the queues in front of you’
for elevators or meals or lineups at duty free. It's okay for Nick to be so
blunt because his mother is Finnish. He told stories of how his English
father has often had to leave the Finnish family gatherings because they
were so brash and inconsiderate.
As soon as we boarded the cruise ship, we got a feeling for what Nick was
saying. Many of the passengers are on their way to Finland just to buy
their limit of alcohol at the Duty Free and a day away. It’s like Canadians
going ‘across the line’ to US. Wine and beer is free with meals onboard,
and many people took full advantage of that. Several Finnish Romani
(Gypsies) are on board dressed in layers and layers of black velvet skirts
and white blouses. Nick was right - no smiles and very little conversation
amongst the Finns.
June 12 - Helsinki, Finland - we arrive at Helsinki, and board our bus at
10 a.m. Helsinki (population ½ million) is built around a harbour. Today is
‘Helsinki Day’ and the city is celebrating its 453rd birthday. Many shops
are closed.
All four cities that we have toured on this trip has been the capital city
of their country, and therefore parliament buildings and royal palaces are
always on our bus tour. Most have had the Olympics at one time or another,
or at least an Olympic event. Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki are near the
60th degrees latitude, the same as Canada’s northern border, but the
climates of all three cities are much milder than ours. One-quarter of
Finland is above the Arctic Circle. Lutheranism predominates in Scandinavia.
Bicycles are everywhere, and when we are walking in the cities, we must
always be careful to stay off the bike paths. We yell out ‘mind the bikes’
when one of the group is on the wrong path. In each city, there are bike
rental stations. For the currency of the county or a Euro or two, you can
rent a bicycle and drop it off at any station along the way, and get your
money back. There is very little theft in the Scandinavian countries. And
their social systems protects them from cradle to grave.
Each country has their own flag, of different colors of course, with a
horizontal stripe across the middle and a vertical stripe about one third
from the flagstaff. Each country also has a flag for government, military
or royalty identical to their national flag, except for the swallowtail fly
Our tour includes the red granite Parliament , the green-domed cathedral,
and the 1952 Olympic Stadium and the ski jump area.
Our first stop is the ‘Sibelius Monument’. After much debating and public
fund raising to decide on a monument to honour national composer Jean
Sibelius (1865-1957), a women, Eila Hiltunen, won the competition. Her
monument consists of approx. 600 acid-proof stainless steel tubes of
various diameters, welded together individually and hand-textured by
herself. It's a must-see for tourists to visit the monument dedicated to
the composer of Finland's national anthem , plus many other arrangements.
It took her 2 years to complete the structure, and because of the fumes
from welding, she suffers from a lung disease and now lives in the Italian
Tuscany Hills.
Next we visited 'Temppeliaukio Church' an International Evangelical Church
carved into a small hill of solid granite bedrock in 1968-9. There is no
dome, which is unusual for a church, on the copper roof. Huge organ pipes
line one wall. It is one of the more successful results of Finnish
architecture and each year, some half a million people go there to admire
‘the Church in the Rock’. On Saturdays, there is a wedding performed every
45 minutes here.
The roots of Nokia, the mobile phone company, is in Finland. Shipbuilding
is a major industry. The Carnival Cruise Line employs 2,000 workers to
build their ships, and 60% of the world’s icebreakers are built in Finland.
We stroll around the harbor, and spend our free time on the Esplanade full
of market stalls, venders, musicians. Yes, the Finns are a dour lot. Even
when celebrating, they aren't 'celebrating'.
June 13 - Tallinn, Estonia - early in the morning, we catch the ferry for a
trip over the Gulf of Finland to Estonia on the continent. We dock at the
port city of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The population of Estonia is
1.5 million of which 400,000 live in Tallinn.
Estonia has been under the rule of Denmark, Germany, Sweden and other
countries, and most recently Russia, for centuries. Our bus tour took us
past the Olympic site where some events were held here during Moscow's 1980
Olympics. It was strange to see a Canadian flag on the Olympic Museum. It
likely meant that a Canadian diplomat or some other government official was
We were taken to a borough where many working people live. It was row upon
row of apartment blocks badly in need of repair and painting. They cost the
equiv. of $23,000 US dollars to buy; the new ones down town are 5 times
more. With the average working wage at $360 per month, people can't afford
to live in the new apartments.
The beautiful Old Town with its fascinating 14th and 15th centuries
medieval architecture and slender church spires is included in the UNESCO
World Heritage list. We went inside the Russian Orthodox Church, where a
wedding was taking place. The only people there were the bride and groom
and one young girl, plus several chanting priests. The bride and groom must
stand for an hour with heavy crowns on their head, as part of the ceremony.
The girl was there to hold the crowns after this part of the ceremony was
over. Very strange procedure.
The Danes came to Estonia in 1219 to spread Christianity. Our next stop was
the very ancient, very large Lutheran church dating back to the
Reformation. The high walls were lined with family crests of Germany,
Russians, and others who had occupied the country for centuries.
We spent 3 hours shopping in the Old Town. Again, I saw a Canadian flag on
one of the older buildings. Perhaps the gov't. official was staying there?
Back onto the ferry by 5 p.m. and back to the hotel in Helsinki for an
early morning ride to the Airport on Saturday morning.
June 14 - Helsinki, Finland to Frankfurt, Germany to Calgary and Regina,

" ' "

. Terry's travel tips.
More from  Trish and Chris Arbique
re camper trips -

The Alaska Highway
Eight fabulous days…only Interliners could have this much fun at these rates!
Choice of dates:
For 8 Days Anytime from July 25, 2003 - September 01, 2003
Whitehorse to Calgary Alberta, or Vancouver, B.C.


September 21, 2003 - September 28, 2003
Whitehorse to Calgary, Alberta

Here’s the deal for $598.00 Canadian!!




Available Anytime for 10nights
Must be in Destination by September 10, 2003

$98.00 CAD PER UNIT!!

All details available on HOT SUMMER MOTORHOME DEALS
For complete details please click on Star Alliance Employee Events at

Dargal has the following offers -
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California Classics - 9 day tour - from San Francisco to Los Angeles
Trip highlights include: Cruise San Francisco Bay, visits to a California
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" ' "
. Smilie.
From: Geoff Brewster
A pilot is flying three people in a private plane - a Tibetan lama, and Bill
Gates (the smartest man in the world), and a hippie. Suddenly the pilot
announces to his three passengers: "I have bad news for you. The plane is
going to crash. We have to bail out now. Unfortunately, we have only three
parachutes. And since I am a terrific pilot, and I don't see any reason why
I should die, I am taking one of them. Good luck!" And with that, he jumped
out of the plane. Bill Gates said: "Since I am the smartest man in the
world, and very valuable to civilization, I am also going to take a
parachute and save myself." And with that, he leapt out of the plane. The
lama said to the hippie: "I have already lived a long and fruitful life and
have no need to live longer. Therefore, you may take the remaining
parachute." "Relax, mannnn," said the hippie, putting the parachute on to
the lama's back. "The smartest man in the world just jumped out with my

" ' "
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will get an automatic copy and so we can keep up with the continuity of
news for the NetLetter.
Mailing of 'the NetLetter" is a service of the ACFamily Network