Some advice from Edmonton

  • Don’t stay at the Day’s Inn. It was booked on my behalf, sight unseen. The $69/night rate should have been a red flag. Fred, the photographer I’m travelling with, rolled a towel at the base of his door to keep out mice. A sign in the elevator:

Maximum 7 people (or 2000 lbs)
Do not overload.
The elevator will get stuck if it’s overloaded.
Candy and chips available at Reception.

  • Good luck finding something to read. The National Post is everywhere, which says nothing about the literacy rate.

  • There are more RV and CAT dealers than Tim Horton’s locations.

I interviewed a half-dozen Aboriginal welder inmates today. Big tattooed guys with blow torches. They were eager to be in the photos. Later, at a women’s prison across town, I met a young woman who was serving 2 years for fraud. By the time she was 19, she’d figured out how to grab personal ID and credit data off the web, assume an identity, and transfer funds or purchase stocks. She was making $30,000/week by the time she was caught, and was convicted for stealing $3.5 million.

She’s now learning computer networking and plotting programs for screen printing machines — part of CORCAN’s rehabilitation/work training program.

“I never was confident enough for a real job. Now I know I can do legal stuff with computers!”

I told her that she should be fine, and that Scotiabank should hire her — if they were smart.

“So you were able to hack into banks, steal identity, invest money, and remain anonymous? I think you don’t have to worry about smarts. But maybe you should have bought real estate in another country!”

She leaned in close and winked.

“I’ll be fine when I get out.”

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