michelel72 (michelel72) wrote,

Notes from the Road:19th - 20th September

19th September, Vancouver:
Breakfast. Coffee was Tim Horton's. (Come on, it's Canada; we had to. But we have Tim's where I live, so it wasn't exactly a novel experience, and the vaunted toffee coffee was not in evidence here; the iced cappuccino was okay but nothing to dream about.)

Mostly a recovery day, since it was supposed to rain — the Weather Network assured us that we could expect 20-40 mm plus a full red-screen warning for an additional 20-40. So of course it sprinkled a bit in the morning and then cleared right up. Mom did laundry, and we got a late start before heading out. (Getting back onto East Coast time is going to suck).

We got to the Museum of Anthropology around 3pm. (The area, once again, was absolutely lovely.) We lucked out; they were having a special event with discounted admission, so we were able to see pretty much everything for $15 CAD total. We only had about two hours before their closing, so we caught a little bit of a performance by a First Nations dance troupe (I didn't catch the name any better than that) and checked out much of what was on display but didn't dig too deeply in the closed displays or spend terribly long with any particular content. Even so, I was left furious and ashamed, just from the little I learned about the federal suppression of potlatch ceremonies from the late 1800s to the 1950s, as well as the few stories I had time to read about various segregation policies and experiences.

So many peoples, languages, customs, legends, rituals; so much lost for so long, and so much lost perhaps forever.

On another note, I then think about the simplistic representation of cultures on TV, such as the (almost literal) Planet of Hats approach taken by shows like SGA for planetary cultures. If Teyla were real, how would she react to learning of all these cultures? (How overwhelming would the sheer scale of Earth's population and history be anyway? It regularly overwhelms me, and I was born to it.)

We visited the gift shop briefly and then drove back along the beach into Vancouver proper, just exploring. I decided I wasn't hungry enough to check out The Naam, so we drove up to see what "The Crescent" and Shaughnessy Park were all about. (Sometimes a circular hilltop road around a park is just a circular hilltop road around a park.) Then, of course, I was hungry after all, so we doubled back.

We had to wait; they're popular enough to generate lines and they don't take names for a list. The rain decided to put in an appearance at that point. We got sprinkled on; it wasn't too bad. A man approached at one point to ask for change, not rudely, but persistently. When we got in, within about fifteen minutes, we got a seat in the front, at the windows. It was a nifty corner booth in a little nook, with the window as one side of the table and a wraparound bench for two other sides ... but the couch was a bit musty. It started pouring once we were seated.

Mom ordered the nachos, which were just chips with cheese and tomatoes, as well as the cashew and avocado enchilada, which was pretty much just guacamole with a cheese topping and nuts atop that. She quite liked it. I went with their "steak", which is badly named; I've had faux steaks, and this tasted nothing like that, so the name led me to a greater dissonance than I would have had if they'd simply advertised a grain loaf (or "celery seed loaf", which it tasted more like, or whatever it was). The "gravy" did not mesh well at all with the "steak", but it was fantastic on the "sesame fries" (potato wedges with sesame seeds) and acceptable on the steamed vegetables. The gravy was very familiar, but it took me ages to realize it was almost identical to Annie's Goddess Dressing.

The rain cleared up before we left, to nothing more than a sprinkle. We then drove back towards the hotel, but I diverted us briefly. I had seen enough signs to suspect that the ritzy shopping strip I had seen was not, in itself, "Granville Island"; I had been misled by the neighborhood banners and the necessity of paying attention to driving, but the actual Island is below the bridge on a, y'know, island. We drove around it briefly (since everything was closed by then) and then actually went back to the hotel, trying to turn in early so we could get a swift start the next day.

20th September, Victoria:
We got up early, though not as early as we really should have, and we didn't get out nearly as quickly as we'd hoped. That's pretty much entirely my fault, of course — I'm not good at getting places early or quickly. (I slept horribly, which didn't help.) The weekday schedule meant we could catch a 10am ferry if we missed the 9, which we certainly did. In the attempt to get there, though, and not risk too long a delay, I figured I would get coffee somewhere at the terminal or on the island; I felt a headache creeping on but didn't think it would get too bad before I could get caffeine and painkillers on board.

I'm sometimes an idiot.

It was gray and lightly rainy the entire drive down to the ferry (past, at one point, a sign noting it was illegal to transport honeybees beyond that point). We were well in time for the 10am ferry, after emphatically missing the 9, so we had time to explore the ferry terminal. It was raining quite firmly at that point, and I felt sorry for the woman whose job was to trundle her cart to each new car as it queued up and offer to sell a newspaper to the driver, since the rain was pretty chilly.

We bundled into raincoats and walked over to the terminal shops, within their enclosed building. We found a local coffee place at the head of the building, and a Starbucks far at the back; we started to wait, but when we then considered the time, we realized we couldn't be sure of getting coffee and getting back to the car in time, so we bailed. (Did I think of buying a bottle of water somewhere in there? Of course not.) It was bucketing down at that point, and despite my raincoat, my socks and the bottom half of my skirt got soaked. It turned out we had been a little too careful about getting back in time; we still had plenty of time left, though we didn't know.

We finally boarded the ferry and started exploring it as it filled and set out. We checked out the gift shop and noticed the high-end buffet, but we weren't impressed by the coffee on offer from the concession stand. The rain slowed, then stopped, then cleared entirely within the first half of the trip, and the rest of the day was absolutely beautiful, bright and low-60s (F). We got to see a group of ... sea otters? ... moving out of the way of the boat.

The drastically improved weather was a little hard to appreciate, because by the time we landed I had a nasty headache and Mom had a pretty bad one as well. We drove down from the landing to Victoria, which took about 40 minutes, and the moment we saw a Starbucks I parked. Coffee this day was therefore Starbucks, which is a shame but I desperately needed the caffeine. (It was too late to be able to do much about the headache, which may or may not have been triggered by having carried my laptop bag this day and the previous one. "Thanks", physical therapy, for doing anything about that. The headache explains why I'm pretty much scowling, unintentionally, in the few pictures showing me.)

We explored Victoria by car to start, getting a feel for the areas and attractions. We spent a good bit of time at a park at the southern tip of the city, enjoying the views and gardens (and getting a picture of a towering totem pole ... that shows a bit of bend in the picture, rather like the tower in a a Mariah Carey video violetcheetah once described to me ....) We drove the coastline as well, marveling at the windsurfers, and then headed back into the city. We checked out Miniature World, which Mom had especially wanted to see and found disappointing, whereas I had expected pretty much exactly what we saw and wasn't eager to see it but wasn't all that disappointed by it.

After that we went over for a bit of souvenir shopping (and I finally acquired a Coffee Crisp to try — something with such a tantalizing name really ought to taste more interesting). We both got quite a few t-shirts. I got one fewer than I otherwise would have, because one had a design and slogan I really liked ... but I cannot support comma splices and certainly wouldn't want to wear one around. ("Bring a compass, it's awkward when you have to eat your friends.") Nitpickers, represent!

We tried to find food, but we were running short on time to catch the earlier of the two remaining ferries, and the Blue Fox (?) turned out to close at something like 4pm, which it was well past at that point, so we decided not to bother. We instead headed back up (passing again through a region in Central Saanich marked as being under some sort of federal plant quarantine?) and queued up for the 7pm ferry. That ferry terminal was profoundly uninteresting, so we went back to the car.

The return ferry was the Spirit of Vancouver, I think, or something like that. Unlike the first boat, their newest one, this one was smaller ... and the motion was far more detectable. We're all lucky I don't get seasick. The time was right for sunset, but the clouds were uncooperative, so we spent most of the trip inside, with Mom getting to watch her Saints come from behind on Monday Night Football and I worked down my friends-list by wireless. (I love the modern era!)

Dinner was leftovers from The Naam. Mom liked hers; I found the "steak" somewhat improved but the potatoes-with-sauce not nearly so good, when everything was poorly reheated.

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Tags: travel

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