Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wayback Wednesday: Big Country

First view of the Rockies in Alberta...
In a big country
dreams stay with you
like a lover's voice
--Big Country

My wife and I love BC, but it has been several years since we toured the province during the summer.

For the last couple of years, extensive wildfires have forced us to travel to the States instead. Aside from the usual wildfires this year we also face increased gas prices as a result of our unhappy provincial neighbour, Alberta.

BC and Alberta are involved in a dispute... Alberta wants to build a bigger pipeline to the west coast to expand markets for its petroleum products in Asia. Meanwhile, BC is alarmed at the environmental and economic ramifications of an oil spill off its coast.

Both provinces have engaged in low level trade wars to express their opposition, but Alberta has threatened to escalate the conflict by turning off the flow of domestic oil to BC. The result would be dramatically higher gas prices in BC which might force us again to return to the US for our summer vacation.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Grease is the word...

I got chills, they're multiplying...
"I got chills... they're multiplying..."
Yesterday, my wife and I enjoyed brunch and a play -- Grease -- at Chemainus' excellent dinner theatre.

In these days of inclusiveness and movements such as #MeToo we were struck at how some of the songs lyrics and situations would not be considered acceptable today.

Fat shaming, slut shaming, overcoming female resistance to sexual advances... it's all there. It's become a trend for millenials to look back and retroactively condemn movements and pop culture of the past, based on current attitudes. How long before this play is called out and condemned for its "sins"?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Norwegian Bliss


Norwegian Bliss takes over Victoria's breakwater...
One big boat... one colossal cruise ship...
On a recent sunny spring day, throngs of Victorians gathered along the breakwater to take in the cruise ship, Norwegian Bliss. At 1080 feet long, it is the largest cruise ship to ever pull into Victoria.

Unlike the very pedestrian cruise ship featured in my last blog post, the Bliss is almost a floating mini-Disneyland. The upper deck features these clear water slides that will carry you out over the water many decks below you...

Norwegian Bliss' upper deck playground...
Playground over the sea...
A wall of staterooms and balconies...
Just a few of the 2038 staterooms...




Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wayback Wednesday: Love, Exciting and New...

The upper deck of the cruise ship...
Lounge chairs on parade...
The title of this post? That was the promise made every week in the 70s as Jack Jones crooned the theme from The Love Boat.

The reality of cruise ships -- like this small one that pulled into Victoria several years ago -- is a lot less romantic. A cruise ship is like staying at a fancy resort… one where you can only leave the resort for a few hours every few days. Once you subtract the gambling and the night shows there really isn’t a lot else to do except eat and lounge around the decks staring at an expanse of water that never or rarely changes.

Or could I be completely wrong? Stay tuned...

Monday, June 18, 2018

Unsolved mystery..

Skulls among the shrubs...
Bigfoot remains?
Remember that old series called "Unsolved Mysteries"? By definition, mysteries are unsolved so the title is redundant... sort of like saying "dead corpse".

In Tofino's Botanical Gardens you'll find this and other mysterious giant skulls among the shrubs. Their origin is unknown, but could they be evidence of sasquatch roaming the forests of the Pacific Northwest? (Cue the music...)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Metalheads

Tiny Transformers...
Welded wee folk...
These two were part of a display we encountered last fall at a craft fair. The artist managed to imbue them with personality through the clever use of eyes and whimsical expressions.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wayback Wednesday: Same story, different players...

Same message, different project...
Is she still fighting the good fight today?
About six years ago, I attended a protest rally on the lawn of our local legislature. The crowd were there to protest Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, BC. Opposition to the pipeline eventually led to the project being cancelled by PM Justin Trudeau.

So, there is some irony in the fact, that Trudeau has firmly come out in support of a similar project, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline. Not only does he support it, but he has committed Canadian taxpayer dollars to buying the project in an determined effort to see it completed.

And, just as with the Enbridge pipeline, protesters from a wide swath of BC society have come out firmly against the project for much the same reasons they objected to the previous project.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Port Rain-frew

Curtains of rain...
A wet welcome to Port Renfrew...
Port Renfrew lies about two hours west of Victoria, but only 100 km away. The twisty, turn-y road -- dotted with the periodic single-lane bridge -- makes it as difficult to get to as Tofino.

I was there recently for a couple of nights to check out the surfing at the end of the bay. It rained when I was there. So much rain. Torrential rain. Sheets of rain. Biblical rain.

During my surf time on the water, it poured down so hard at times that I could barely see the other end of the bay for the curtain of thick grey rain.

After 36 hours of a non-stop deluge, I called it quits and scurried back to Victoria. As one local told me: "What most people call normal rain, we call mist here in Renfrew."

Lush greenery on display when it's not raining...
All that rain produces thick, lush greenery...

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wayback Wednesday: The Guardians

Sunrise over Comox Lake...
Sunrise over Comox Lake...
As the sun rises over Comox Lake on Vancouver Island, these uprights frame an ice-capped peak in the distance.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Wally Creek

Wally Creek on Vancouver Island...
On the road to Tofino...
Wally Creek is a popular rest stop on the way to Tofino on Vancouver Island's outer coast. It features spectacular views of the nearby mountains. The erosion from the fast flowing water has carved out chasms and strangely organic shapes from the rock.

When we last passed this way several years ago, we noticed the love locks hanging from the nearby fence. Over the years, the locks have given way to a wide collection of knick knacks dedicated to love, including paint brushes, air fresheners and even pairs of panties!

Love locks and other sundry items...
The many ways to express undying love on Vancouver Island...

Friday, June 1, 2018

Pacific Paradise... in Canada?!

South Pacific island?
Bali High... or Ucluelet, BC?
When we are in the United States and I tell Americans that the part of Canada that we are from is warm enough for palm trees, I will typically get a look of surprise or dubious disbelief.

BC's coast is a rain forest with all that implies. Lots of the wet stuff during the winter, but warm, dry summers of the sort that palm trees thrive in.