Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Chabanel Christmas party

Top three things I learned at this year's office Christmas party (really a sit-down dinner):

1. It's very difficult to get drunk on martinis.

2. In Maoist China, some children were essentially isolated and raised away from their parents. A Chinese colleague told me how, as a child, she was sent to live with grandparents for the first six years of her life while her parents both worked as chemical engineers on China's burgeoning space/missile defense program. "They helped to build rockets," she said. When I asked her what it was like to live away from her parents she said, "I didn't know my father for the first six years of my life. He was a stranger. There were times when I was left alone in my house for half the day while my grandparents worked. No one was there. I cried a lot. I remember."

3. The Canadian government built an armoury on Chabanel during WWII. The main building still stands as a sprawling 500,000 square foot single-storey facility that currently houses a plastics manufacturing facilty. But along Meilleur and Chabanel, near the train tracks, there is a subterranean complex that was part of the original armoury which descends six-stories deep. The man who swore to its underground existence could not say what it was being used for at the moment or what purpose it might have served when it was built. But he said that it was still there. A maze of rooms and corridors that went deep underground.

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