Thursday, February 27, 2020

Winter whitewater

Stamp River Falls near Port Alberni...
Stamp River Falls
Stamp River pours through a cleft in the rocks as it makes it way down to Port Alberni.

The falls are impressive to see. Even more impressive is the fact that salmon somehow fight upstream past this barrier, although they have help from an installed fish ladder.

Stamp River on its way to Port Alberni...

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A peek from the peak...

A view from the top of a Mt Washington ski run...
Snow and clouds at five thousand feet...
A view of the nearby ranges from the top of Mt Washington. My wife and I were there for a day of skiing. This year's warmer than usual winter has thinned out the snow at the top.

My gal gets ready to do a run...
Sun, warm temperatures and no crowds... perfect!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Get in touch with your inner Dark Knight

Buddha was wise but Batman is wiser...
DO?, BE?, DO?, BE?, DO?...

Buddha once said: "The mind is everything. What you think, you become..."

You know who kicks Buddha's ass? Batman!

Batman said: "It's not who I am underneath... but what I DO... that defines me."

You don't become by thinking. You become by doing.

I overcame my fear of heights through a series of bungy jumps and a jump from the 900 foot high Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas.

I couldn't trick myself into thinking I was brave or unafraid of heights. I essentially went BERSERKER and simply threw myself off the edge. THEN I became less fearful of heights.

Patience, bravery, sympathy... we tend to think of these as character traits that we either have or don't have. That makes it difficult to see how you can become something that you're "not".

But, if you think of them not as traits, but as skills to be learned, then it becomes easier to change who we are by taking ACTION sometimes in spite of what you think of yourself.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Regal


A sand sculpted queen casts a royal look.
Casting a royal look...
One of the sand sculptures from last summer's sand sculpting competition in Parksville BC.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Find your happy place

A lazy river flows through central Oregon.
Lush greenery lines a slow moving river...
Everyone should have a place where they can escape to whenever their immediate situation is frustrating them to the point where they would just like to punch somebody in the face.

This is my place... a lazy river that is lined with lush green trees under warm blue skies.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Biblical

Russell Farms Market... hard hit by January floods.
Receding flood waters flow in and out
of the popular Russell Farms Market
Vancouver Island set a record for rainfall during the month of January, particularly during the last weekend. At time it came down in sheets that continued for hours.

The result was that some roadside businesses -- such as the one pictured above -- suffered catastrophic flooding. This roadside produce stand is expected to be closed for months as a result.

Further up island, debris and downed trees were swept down swollen and surging rivers and out to sea. As tides rolled in, they simply redistributed all that flotsam on to nearby beaches.

Parksville Bay's main beach after the flood...
A carpet of root balls, down trees and debris...

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Gong hei fat choy!

Dragons dance to celebrate the Chinese New Year...
A traditional dragon dance put on by our hosts...
My wife and I recently celebrated the Chinese New Year thanks to one of her co-workers who purchased a restaurant table at a charity event.

It was attended by many high-profile locals in business and politics. One politician -- who shall remain nameless -- proudly congratulated the attendees for their good will and charity in not giving in to the racism that was rearing its head in other parts of the country, thanks to the current corornavirus situation.

The irony that the statement itself was a sort of subtle virtue-signalling racism of its own was lost on this politician.

Gingerbread Gates of Chinatown...
A gingerbread house depicting our local Chinatown...
This year is the Year of the Rat. I was born in The Year of the Dog, while my wife was born in The Year of the Monkey. Apparently, that makes us strongly sexually attractive to each other.

Just sayin'... 😜


Monday, February 3, 2020

Brentwood Bay

A ferry crosses the Saanich Inlet...
The Mill Bay to Brentwood ferry chugs along...
To the north of Victoria on the east shore of Saanich Inlet is bucolic Brentwood Bay. There are a couple of nice restaurants there, but not much else. It's mostly a bedroom community for Victoria.

It's a nice staging point for a kayak ride down Todd Inlet which will take you in behind Butchart Gardens.

It's also one end of the Mill Bay ferry route, one of only two ways of getting past the Malahat. The ferry doesn't take a lot of cars though, and periodically there are calls for a bridge across the Saanich Inlet.

Brentwood Bay seen from the top of the Malahat...
The tiny town of Brentwood Bay...

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Street art

A painted cargo container in the middle of Puerto Morelos...
A colourful mural adorns a cargo container...
My wife and I spent an afternoon strolling the streets of Puerto Morelos admiring some of the local art... and trying hard to dodge the many aggressive vendors.

Colourful carpets pay tribute to Mexican painter Frida Kahlo...
If you hold your face close to the screen
she'll appear in 3D   ;)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Play ball!

The ancient ball court at Chichen Itza...
Not a game for the physically challenged...
At Mexico's Chichen Itza, you'll find the remains of the Pok-A-Tok court. Pok-A-Tok was a unique ball game in which the players manhandled a ball about the size of a basketball while trying to pass it through stone hoops set along the walls of the court. (You can see one such hoop on the upper right hand wall in this photo.)

These hoops were set quite high, and the game was made even more challenging by the fact that the players could not use their hands or feet. Not surprisingly, games could last for days before a single point was scored, leaving players exhausted.

You can watch a modern version of the game being played in this video.


The REAL downer about playing this game though is that the winners(!) were sacrificed to the gods. It was considered an honour.

The Mayans were effectively killing off their genetically superior males which perhaps goes some way to explaining why their civilization went extinct.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Cenote

A view from the top of a cenote near Cancun...
A refreshing swim...
Cenotes are a common feature of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. They are essentially sinkholes which appear when limestone bedrock dissolves to the point it collapses to expose the river underneath.

Tourists will often go for a swim in these cenotes after a day spent doing tourist-y stuff. I'm always surprised by how clear and warm the water is. It's also surprising to see fish swimming in them.

Here on Vancouver Island we have our very own cenote. Wikipedia tells me that it is known as the Devil's Bath. I can't say I've ever heard it called that... it's difficult to get to and I don't think swimming it would be a fun experience at our latitude.

Tourists play around in a cenote...
Waterplay at the end of a hot day...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The last dinosaurs

A Cooper's hawk pays us a visit.
A Cooper's hawk...
Recent surveys have concluded that bird populations are falling across North America. It's attributed to such things as disappearing habitat due to climate change and development, and hunting by exploding unrestrained cat populations.

When we first moved to our current house fifteen years ago, we were entertained by a family of grouse living in our back yard. In fact, it was not uncommon to see grouse throughout the rural parts of Saanich.

The grouse are gone now. The ones in our yard disappeared within two years... just about the same time that a notorious grey and white cat appeared to use our backyard to transit the neighbourhood.

Periodically, birds of prey used to land in our yard and it was always a thrill to see them. We haven't seen any of them in years either.

Birds are descended from dinosaurs. Once they go extinct the "terrible lizards" will be well and truly gone.

A red-tailed hawk looking for a meal in our yard.
A red-tailed hawk...

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Ornery ostrich

One of the big birds at the Oregon Wildlife Safari...
"Come at me, bro!"
At Oregon's Wildlife Safari, once we stopped feeding this guy/gal food pellets, s/he got a little bit aggressive about sticking its head in our van to look for more handouts.

I had to shoo it away from the van... which it didn't like at all. We got into a bit of a staring match and, for awhile, I wasn't sure if I was going to win.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

A colourful street in Mexico is all shades of pastel colours...
Colourful buildings line a street in Mexico....
During a tour day, we stopped briefly at this colourful village. It featured a number of churches overlooking the village's town square.

A church overlooks the main square of a Mexican village.
Palm trees and colourful flags blow in the breeze...

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Colourful Kaua...

The colourful little village of Kaua...
Friendly Kaua...
At one point during our tour of Chichen Itza, we stopped into the village of Kaua.

I posed with a statue of one of the local deities... I hope the gods have a sense of humour.

Don't mock the local gods!
I hope I'm not cursed for this...

Thursday, January 9, 2020

An explorer is never lost...

Exploring Saturna Island...

Risk is about going beyond your comfort zone into the realm of the unknowable. That's also the very definition of exploration.

Risk is about exposing yourself, feeling uncomfortable or awkward.

Exploring is about adventure, discovering new things, opening up possibilities, boldly going where no one has gone before...

So instead of 'I'm not comfortable with the risk' it should be 'hey, let's go exploring!'

Get your Captain Kirk on and seek out those strange new worlds, baby...

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Return of an Ancient God

A three legged monster emerges from the Caribbean.
A creature from before human history...
At our resort in Mexico, there was this tall four-legged shelter that served as the altar for the many weddings that took place during our stay there.

Seen as just a silhouette against an early morning sky, it looked like some ancient god -- perhaps one as old as Cthulu -- emerging from the sea.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Critters

A large colourful beetle that collided with me at the resort...
It's not easy being green... and floundering on your back...

During our Mexico stay we encountered some animal life that was new to us. One was this huge colourful beetle who ricocheted off my head and wound up on his back. His shell had this highly polished green sheen to it... it almost look metallic.

We promptly uprighted him and sent him on his way.

Another was this iguana who was a minor celebrity as it sunned itself on one of the boardwalk loungers to the amusement of the many tourists taking photos.

An iguana poses for the touristos...