Sunday, April 27, 2003

I just got home from my week's trip to Vancouver Island, wherein I discovered no computers, at least not any fast enough to attempt to check my email on (as I get roughly 1.3 spam per half hour, from people named Gilie and Leslie, inviting me to watch thier sexual exploits or learn how to enlarge my penis). So the other option was to ignore the web completely, and as it turned out, I was quite adept at it. This is what I did instead of emailing folk or blogging:

Tofino: we ate at the awful Fisherman's Net, (consider this a warning not to eat there if you visit Tofino), then we slept the night in a B and B which was a well cozy little place. We woke up happy to hear the sound of rain on the roof, lying there in fine linens under down duvets, and were fed a delicious breakfast to boot. Then we checked out The Common Loaf (if you're in Tofino find this bakery, it's not hard to do) and then we went to MacKenzie Beach. I think in the sunshine this place would be the bomb, it's your typical West Coast beach, long and fat with sweet surf rolling in, but we were there in the pissing rain, so we did the only available thing to do and got well soaked. Mat found a sand-dollar and even though it smelled like rotting insisted on taking it home with us.

Cathedral Grove: This is just after Port Alberni, a huge stand of old-growth forest along the highway. We took the interpretive paths around and were astounded at the size of the trees, which is pretty much a mandatory reaction. Some of these trees were 300 years old back when Columbus was kicking. There was one with a big split in it that you could stand in, and there were odd lime green fungi growing in there so we didn't hang around. There was also an alder about 400 times the size of an alder on the east coast, sticking its long languid limbs out over a river, so we sat in it. Most of the highway wound through stands of enormous trees like this so it was a really nice trip up to...

Port Hardy: we drove here after Tofino. It took us a little while and most of the trip went through very rural mountainous areas, plus it was raining and foggy so whatever views there were you couldn't see. Frankly I was wondering what sort of town we would find at the end of this trip; whatever it was, I thought, would have not much but loggers, fisherman and Natives. And for the most part, you know, I was right, but it was also a lot more than that. For one thing: this is where my mother spent five years, on and off, back when she was in her twenties, before I was born; for another, it's where I was conceived. To name a few others: we got to know some of her old friends, the ones who hadn't left long ago, and we stayed there just long enough (4 days) to get a feel for the place. It was sunny most of the time we were there, and for those of you who know that end of the island, its a rare occurence. I turned 19 there and went out drinking twice, playing pool both times (I'm getting better!) and generally having a grand time, the kind of grand time you can have in bars where there are no reputations to uphold (except that of being a dive) nor presumptuous clientele to cater to. It seems a lot like Cape Breton, that end of the island, an economy based on natural resources (while ours is dying, North Van Island's is still kicking), the kind of people who live in small communities like that, and the beautiful scenery half-ravaged by humans.

Nanaimo: after a lengthy stay in P. Hardy, we stayed here a night. Mat and I wandered around the sunny town, me searching for the perfect magnolia tree. We saw lots of tugboats and scrappy little watercraft, and then found an old closed museum, where Mat tried to push an old train cart off the track bit it was kept on. It didn't fall for it. Then we were followed suspiciously by a pseudo-Pete character (not like you Gielen, this guy was creepy) until we veered off onto a side street, and then we crossed Terminal Ave. again and made our way up the hill to the Old Village Quarter or some other tourist-y name. This is where we stumbled upon an art gallery opening, and wandered in to enjoy the free wine and, uh, art. After this we walked until I found a rhododendron to put in my hair, and we took pictures by a parking lot enclosed by yellow flowers of some sort.

So then we took the morning ferry back this morning, and I got back to Whistler around noon, feeling very out of place. It's odd to leave your home-town for a week--just long enough to miss some things, not long enough to feel like you've really left.

Has anyone played Disc Golf (or Frisbee Golf)? I want to find courses back home on CB. I played today, a very extreme course involving a lot of uphill climbing and run-ins with trees. But that's Whistler for you.

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