Thursday, April 12, 2007


As I write this I'm sitting in a hotel room in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Predictably (at least to a Texan like me...) it is snowing outside. This is my first trip to Canada and so far I like it. Here is a picture out the hotel window.

The good part is I'm in Canada, the bad part is my checked bags, including my survival gear and gun are still in Chicago. As anyone who has been watching the Weather Channel knows, yesterday there was some snow and ice in the northern mid-west yesterday. Flights out of Chicago into Ottawa were canceled. I found out about this while sitting at my gate in Denver waiting to catch a flight to Chicago to later catch a connect to Ottawa. Through some quick work on the part of Maria, my travel agent at Accent Travel in Austin, Paul Graham and I were able to get on another connecting flight to Washington - Dulles then on to Ottawa. My airline was virtually no help. They sent me to stand in a line that was 100meters long and would have caused me to miss both flights had I not called Maria. Unfortunately while I made the DC connection, my bags went on to Chicago to spend the night.

We got to Ottawa last night at 11pm local time. Then I got to do Canadian Customs. In all it wasn't too bad. They just grilled me for about 30 minutes in Immigration since I'm staying so long. In the end I had good documents to vouch for my reasons to be in Canada for 4 months, and they gave me this cool immigration document which is stapled to my passport. It is all official looking, has seals, the multi-color security paper, and a hologram. It says that I'm authorized to be in Canada until October 10th and says "MEMBER OF ARCTIC RESEARCH TEAM FOR FLASHLINE MARS ARCTIC RESEARCH STATION. JOINT VENTURE OF NASA/[and an agency in Canada that I can't mention because their PR people have not cleared it, but they have three initials and build arms for Space Shuttles and ISS's]" Maybe this will help me get my gun through customs when it gets here? Here is a pic of the cool part:
We'll see how it goes from here. The current plan is to spend today in Ottawa and wait on the bags. Then I have to go back to the airport to retrieve my baggage and go through screening. Hopefully at the end of which I'll get my gun and license and all my gear. We have rebooked flights north to Resolute tomorrow. This means we miss our own Yuri's Night party in Res, but such is life -"C'est la vie", as the Quebecers say.


georgi said...

I hope that you remembered to celebrate Yuri's Night!!!

SaNdY said...

Hey Fixit,

You are in my 'homecity'.
If you want a place to drink, go downtown to the Market, and there is a pub called the Heart and Crown. It's a good spot!

Anonymous said...

Homepage of CSA, the Canadian Space Agency:

James Harris said...

Thanks Greg, to paraphrase a couple of actors, "yea, thats them, man!"

Geo, if by celebrating you mean passing out after fighting with lost baggage service persons in India, then yea we celebrated. We toasted Yuri with McDonalds before we passed out to meet our early flight.

Sands! I do like your country. I do also wish we had the time to do any drinking while in Ottawa, but we didn't. We even lost the Scotch at the airport screening. It will be comming soon though.

James Harris said...

I just saw that NASA Watch picked up the crosspost of this to the crew FMARS blog. Just to clarify, for those who can't read or see humor (like Keith), the document I pictured and referred to is my Canadian Visitor Record which was stapled to my passport upon admission to Canada. Neither NASA or that Canadian agency which I haven't mentioned gave that to me. It was Canadian Customs and Immigration. Whatever notes they choose to make are based on the documents they were presented. Things like research licenses, outlines of research, and other documentation of our program (or as Keith calls them "exploits"). While this blog may be a listing of my personal growth and exploits, what we are doing on Devon is a program. Hopefully one that will lead to a real human presence on Mars. Even the editor of NASA Watch claims to be a proponent of that. If you want to see that email exchange from back during the last Presidential election, I still have it saved and will be happy to post it on my blog. Hi Keith!