British Columbia: Where Mammoths May Come Alive
14.06.2008 - 14.06.2008 22 °C
The Victoria Clipper out of Seattle was our mode of transport to Victoria, British Columbia, and that thing really does clip! Arriving before we knew it (first off the ship along with the wheelchairs because Patrice likes to do things his way – “aren’t you glad to travel with me?” he asks.) we made our way past the Parliament Building and what must be the Empress Hotel that I’ve heard so much about.
We went to a very old Dutch Bakery where I gobbled down a tuna melt to get something in my stomach. I felt better then after the rollicking Clipper. We found our hostel called the Turtle Hostel but no one was there to check us in so Patrice climbed up the stairs on the outside and got in somehow and scared this strange lady who I realized later actually did work there. I guess the owner was in the laundry room at the time. They were able to check us in 3 hours early which was great. We began by walking through Chinatown and noticing it was rather quaint with nice markets. We found our way to the waterfront where we found a place to eat called The Local where we had fish and chips and enjoyed a Canadian lager in the sun.
There was a street performer juggling knives and fire while rotating on a tipsy piece of wood. We watched for about a minute, saw him do one measly thing and the show was over. He was begging people to give a dollar or two if they wanted, and I was recalling how my friends used to juggle their knives in my basement and how much better that was and we never paid them at all – and all of a sudden the man next to me says, “It went in the water!” and Patrice at my side begins to laugh – turns out he decided to throw a dollar coin from up above where we were standing and he totally missed the juggler’s hat and it rolled into the harbour, Sploosh! The most frugal French Canadian I’ve ever known is throwing his money away!
We made our way to Beacon Hill Park where we realized the petting zoo was free! We saw some strange chickens with funny coifs and the most amazing goats with small faces. They were very tiny and were jumping around and standing on their mothers. Some of the older goats looked rather sinister. Then at one point decided I needed to say Goodbye to each and every one of them, so I pet about 25 little goats. Good thing we got to wash our hands. Patrice seemed obsessed with waiting for the peacock to turn around so he could get his photo and he finally put on a show for us all. Next, Patrice threw a ball at some bunnies to get them to open their eyes which I didn’t really like. Well he wasn’t really throwing it at the bunnies, but near them and I totally he thought he was going to give a bunny a black eye. Then we laid n the grass and watched some Ukrainian dancers and admired a big shaggy doggiebear.
We were beginning to get quite tired so we went looking for some picante chips and wine. The bums are so nice in Victoria that they lead you directly to the liquor store and open their toothless mouths and say “Ta ta.” We found a toy store that had a tiny stuffed manatee like my big one and a stuffed sea lion that looked exactly like a shar pei dog.
So back at the hostel we had some wine and began to plan our itinerary. He told me he once pissed his brother off by asking him if Star Trek was a true story. He had a brochure from the museum with a mammoth on it and he showed it to me. I was really excited. I said, “Do you think he’ll come alive and talk to us?”
Patrice asked me what the long thing on the elephant is called and I told him “a trunk.” He said in French it’s called a trumpet. I wanted to know which came first, the trumpet or the elephant. He told me that the trumpet was invented by L.F. “Tromp” Ent.
I'll throw another goat in here:
We walked past a nice graphic novel store and then came to another alley of shops and took some pictures of a nice garden and looked at the store called “Baggins” with the world’s largest selection of Converse and turned to walk out of the alley. Next thing we know, there is a metal gate that is now blocking our entrance for some reason. But alongside this alley is a fancy Italian restaurant so I suggested we wave at waiter and he could come help us. The man comes out and he’s completely baffled: "How did you get here? It's impossible. There's no way to open this gate either! I think you are utterly STUCK HERE." We assured him that there must be a way to get out. A second later he came back with a key. He had no sense of humor. I mean why put that shoe store there if people can get locked in an alley so easily?
Feeling grateful that we didn’t have to spend the rest of our weekend locked behind a gate, we decided to get a drink so we walked toward the Strathcona hotel but instead of going into the Strath, we went into this place next door called Big Bad John’s Hillbilly Pub. It was a complete surprise! The place was “exactly what I was looking for,” said Patrice. There were bras hanging from the ceiling, graffiti scribbles, people’s i.d.s everywhere, just a mess of stuff and they only played honky-tonk country on the jukebox. Amazing!