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My Provincial Birthday

Waterfalls & Wine at Goldstream

sunny 21 °C

June 16
My birthday! How lovely to be in British Columbia! We checked out of the hostel, beer-drenched bag and all, and stopped at the Wildfire Bakery on Quadra St. for a millet pumpkin seed muffin and got some coffee. We found a place to rent a car and drove about 17 km to a place called Goldstream Provincial Park.

At the volunteer center the lady was very, very excited to tell us about the trails we could go on and they even had a camera that showed a nest of barn swallows on the roof! The same birds that trusted Patrice back in Quebec to feed their babies! Anyway, we began the hike and saw some very nice moss and ferns and very interesting tree stumps and a spectacular waterfall.


Everything was very appealing and awe-inspiring, more so than plain old Washington hiking. We stopped at a great viewpoint and had a picnic with our wine, melted cheese, and olives. Yum. At one point, a butterfly landed on me and then we saw a hawk fly over. Amazing!


Then we had to begin our walk back because we didn’t want to be late for the ferry. We had a wonderful time and then returned the car with Patrice walking strangely and I said, “What are you doing?” and he said, “Criss-cross walking!” I almost urinated a little I laughed so hard.

We began the little drive back to Victoria. We got some ice coffee and people watched and walked past the Miniature World and I took a brochure because it looks like the people looking at the mini tableau are Monsters. Gillian and I need to make a pilgrimage there for sure someday. So we milled around the Empress Hotel looking at some old photos and old hotel menus from the 1920s, one for Dr. Rush Salad. Then we stopped to finish our food on the lawn of the Government Buildings and walked to the ferry line.

On the ride back, we were sitting by some old ladies and they asked Patrice to take a picture of them and he said, “Before you get sick, or after?” I realized the Dramamine was only 25 cents so I was like, “uh, why didn’t I take any on the ride here?” So then we thought it would be funny if the Dramamine was 25 cents but the puke bags were 50 cents. Patrice took a bag and wrote “Puke Bag, 50 cents, ask for a discount.” We ate the birthday truffles but they were so melted by this time that we licked them from the wrappers.

Victoria in conclusion: So Patrice learned about the caste system from a graphic novel, he “trows” balls at bunnies to get them to make cute faces, and to sum up his trip he says “Oh, I like Vic-tro-lia!” He's still getting it mixed up with one of his favorite coffee shops in Seattle. A wonderful birthday in a wonderful province. What more could I ask for?


Posted by seabear 14:18 Archived in Canada Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Victorian Kidnappers and Criss-cross walkers

Royal B.C. Museum & Other Small 'Tings'

sunny 25 °C

We woke up to a very beautiful, sunny Sunday and made our way to the Royal BC Museum where the first exhibit was on the people of British Columbia and it had some of the drawings the Native Canadians had doodled in school and then some of the homework from kids who were homeschooled in the early 1900s and their journals were open for perusal. We began to read over their homework and suddenly we were both SO TIRED within like 5 minutes of walking through the door of the museum.

So then we were about to go on to the natural history section and we stopped to find the loo and Patrice saw the Mammoth by mistake before I did and he was swearing because he spoiled it for himself. So we walked up to it, but some kid had set off an alarm because he got too close and then vanished. An old museum guard came up to me and asked how long the thing had been going off. I told him a kid did it and then he pointed out to us that there was actual ice in the exhibit and Patrice wanted to know if the mammoth was the size of a real one and the man said he had no clue at all but that he was pretty sure it wasn’t a real one and that when “the museum started it was much smaller but it grew up from a baby to a big one.”


The exhibits really put most natural history museums to shame because they had real running water (like better than some zoos) for taxidermied animals and it even smelled like you were outside on the shore frolicking with sea lions and seals. We saw a bunch of hawks and eagles and I was saying so many “Oh Nos” it was ridiculous. Then at one point there was this really neat oceanic exhibit and there was this gigantic king crab and I was totally terrified of it and it was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I mean the thing wasn’t even prehistoric, this awful guy is alive and out to get us Somewhere Nearby. The exhibit was very Steve Zissou-esque. Kind of like this

And I’ve never seen such a thorough, modern museum. I mean most museums tend to have some part of them that are outdated but this one was so consistently awesome. Kind of like British Columbia itself. So on the second floor there was this exhibit called War Brides (Description: Meet war brides who, in the name of love, left behind everything they’d ever known to join their servicemen husbands overseas and see their portraits done by a BC artist) As we walked up to it I was thinking that Patrice probably wouldn’t like this exhibit so much because there are no falcons or mammoths but we started reading the sign for 30 seconds and Patrice turned around and said to me, “There are tears in my eyes!” I said, “WHY?” He said, “This woman during WWII from Saskatchewan had to move to New Zealand with her husband and every time she heard the Bing Crosby song ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ she would cry because she missed the snow in Canada!” He was serious! He was sad for this Saskatchewan woman– I started laughing really hard and my heart also melted.


After the museum, we went to get some espresso that I enjoyed while listening to a banjo and had cigar smoke blown on me by some guy sitting nearby who was probably 19 but wearing a fedora and reading Henry James. And when a man on a motorcycle holding a dog wearing goggles rode by, the cigar-kid totally scoffed at him. Come on! Doggiegoggles! Then we got a bag of lychees at the Chinese market and ate those (delightful fruit) while listening to a folk man sing Leonard Cohen songs and right as I was talking about mandarin oranges the man sang “she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China…”

We began our lovely walk to the neighborhood of Oak Bay where we found the Penny Farthing Pub, a nice British pub in a old Queen Anne house, we had a Canadian beer and the waitress was very helpful in telling us where to walk and she had a funny accent for sure. At one point there was a shop called Déjà vu and I kept saying “are you getting the feeling that we’ve been here before? There’s a place called Déjà vu, doesn’t that seem familiar?” Patrice didn’t seem to think it was as funny as I did.


We saw some big fancy houses and walked down a street actually called Sommass Drive which turned out to be a cul-de-sac. I thought I cul-de-sac was a circular drive way to ride your bike in, but it literally means dead end or “bottom of the sack” according to French-speaker Patrice. As we walked down to the beach a dog came running towards us with a GIANT stick in his mouth the size of a small tree trunk and his masters didn’t even smile.

We walked to a beach where we enjoyed the sun and a great view of Mt. Baker. We saw lots of people playing with kids and decided that those kids had all been kidnapped. That’s why the people in Victoria are so nice because they’re kidnappers in disguise. At one point we saw some Indian “kidnappers” in front of us and Patrice asked the girl where a store was nearby and we ended up walking with her and her friend and the little kids for a long time. The girl told us all about her family and Indians coming to Canada and a story about someone marrying out of her caste and how the elders wouldn’t participate in certain wedding customs. We made a friend! At one point she was saying her brother-in-law was a smart cookie and Patrice wanted to know what that was. I said, “It’s not an Oreo.” We said bye to them and found the market, bought some stuff and took it to Gyro Park and sat on the beach again.

Then we took a bus which luckily went right downtown. A man got on the bus carrying a hockey stick and some bags of cans that he had collected. Everyone on the bus was talking to him about when he plays hockey each Sunday and where he gets the cans. Back at the hostel, we changed our clothes and oh, we drank a beer that we got at the store and then decided to take a shower to remove the sand. Later, Patrice said, “Where did my beer go?” I said, “It probably spilled out in my bag.” Turns out, it did! So we tried to rescue everything that got wet and it was a horrible mess. The picture fell off the wall, it was pandemonium. Patrice said, “We’re in British Columbia and our hostel is called Turtle Hostel and there’s a picture of Greece hanging in the room.”

After that, we walked to find the Caribbean restaurant and had plantain chips, a good ginger ale and Appleton rum and then shared jerk tuna which was SO GOOD and a kind of curried red snapper and prawns. Oh yeah, the menu had headings that said things like “Small tings” and “featured tings.” So we looked over the menu and Patrice said, “So should we just get a couple of tings then?” which is his normal accent. Is Patrice from the Caribbean? The waitress was talking weird and then it turned out she was also from Quebec and she was really distracted and out of it. She offered us the hot sauce only after our meal was over and said she could put it in a container for us. Why?

We did stop in the graphic novel shop at one point and found some interesting titles. We discussed who learned more in their life from graphic novels and Patrice said that from Tintin he learned about “a clown in china and the seceding war.” From Asterix he learned about Julius Caesar and the “Goals.” What else did he learn? “Not too much, obviously,” he admitted.

We were pretty tired after the restaurant but were able to walk to take a picture of the Government Building lit up at night which did remind me of the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney World. We planned our trip for tomorrow and I found a book called Sarah Binks. She is the Saskatchewan songstress poet and Patrice read aloud one of her poems. It sounded very nice. Then he said, “I have no idea what I just read.” I said, “Well it was totally amazing!” The poem was about someone who walks with crisscross feet!! I had to get up and show him what I meant. Later I found out the Sarah Binks biography is totally fake. She never existed.


Posted by seabear 11:48 Archived in Canada Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Victoria: Posh bums & sinister billy goats

British Columbia: Where Mammoths May Come Alive

sunny 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!


Posted by seabear 10:17 Archived in Canada Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

My Outfit

Tourists at Multnomah Falls, ogle over tourist's outfit

Sept. 4
We drove outside of Portland to an offshoot of Oregon Tech where Charlie met with the professor who is his age and wants him to start his semester tomorrow, if he wants. I stayed at Dennys and did crosswords.

There was an older couple who ordered extra butter and every time the waiter came over the man would say “did we ask for butter? We could ask for more butter we should really ask for more.” It happened four times. So when the food came I overheard this.

Man: “Three pancakes? I wouldn’t want that many. You’d have to put syrup on 3 pancakes then.
Woman: Ask for more butter.
Man: I have some. Do you want some more of my butter? If you want butter, have this butter. This is way too much butter for me. I’ve got gobs of it. Share this butter with me. Please!”

Then we made our way to Multnomah Falls, the best falls in OR.

At the waterfall:
Sarah: That was pretty awesome.
Charlie: Well, it was interesting.
Sarah: Semi interesting. It was an interesting waterfall but not as interesting as my outfit.
A lady totally heard me and gave me a look.

As we walked around the falls I noted that you could totally see the bucket that made the water fall. What a waste of water too, and look at this trail: leaves and mud on the trail, the people here don’t wipe their shoes on their car mats before going hiking here. And look at this green stuff on the trees -- they should really scrape that off. Or invest in some dehumidifiers. We noted the wasted space where they could put in a Qdoba and Chipotle so we could get something more to eat.

At one point Charlie’s phone rang and he had made a special ringtone so when it was his friend Kristin calling, you heard Charlie’s voice repeating: “It’s Kristin. I thought I was in love with her but she moved to China.”

After the falls, we drove back to Portland to the only brewpub that was open: Bridgeport. It was actually pretty good because there was bread there and the beer wasn’t too bad. The porter tasted like smoked string cheese.

Posted by seabear 18:38 Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)


"But oh, if I could only get you oceanside, to lay your muscles wide, it'd be heavenly. Oh, if I could only coax you overboard, to leave these lulling shores, to get you oceanside." -- Colin Meloy

View Oregon coast on seabear's travel map.

Sept. 3

I woke up hungry, feeling weird after way too many corn chips. We went to a Safeway where their Starbucks spills coffee all over its patrons to get tips because they are a bunch of bumbling clowns that everyone loves. It was good to have Starbucks again; I can’t believe I am typing this. Oregon has a tons of those little espresso drive-ups but they aren’t very good. There was a girl in the store -- a hipster with an Amish hat on. I have to get one of those hats. I’m sure Portland will be crawling with them. We got ingredients for trail mix only to find that the dry roasted peanuts had onion powder on them which didn’t really go with M&Ms and I didn’t really think it was a big deal, but Charlie sure did.

We went to Cape Meares and saw the Lighthouse, rocks, ate our 19th peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a table in the fog.
Then we took pictures of the gross Octopus Tree, a large Sitka spruce: "A tradition handed down by the Indians is that the eerie giant is a burial tree shaped when it was young to hold canoes of a chief's family. Such deeply-rooted lore passed from generation to generation is likely to be founded on truth, and Indian history of the area will corroborate it."

    Sea lions are like water bears. Sand dunes are like sandy bears.
    Eugene is the retarded cousin of Madison that no ones talks about.
    Charlie said his city pool sold frozen candy bars and he’d never had a Charleston Chew that wasn’t frozen.


We drove through Oceanside and other sea towns and saw a "porky pine "in the middle of the road. I kept getting text messages from K, he was sending duplicates of depressive phrases. We stopped in Cannon Beach which had artsy buildings; this place was classier than the other towns. We first went to Bill’s Tavern which we had seen on the list but almost passed up and it was pretty good 75 cent tasters and then had pints over the crossword puzzle and solved the whole thing but I don’t think it was the actual NY times puzzle. Then, on to the actual beach that has the Haystack Rock and Charlie decided to body surf and he was the only one in the water -- the only one in the whole ocean, I‘m pretty sure. It was freezing.
On to Portland! There was some weird traffic and we crossed the bridge too soon but then did find our hostel. I was expecting another hippie place, but this place was gorgeous. It even smelled like Europe. I could just hang out here!
We started walking to find a brew pub of course. Ugh. We found Brewer’s block and nothing else. Stopped in Powells to look up breweries and found one called Tug Boat but it was closed. So we wandered toward the water, noting how small the city was and loving it. We walked past a dog place called “Virginia Woof Dog Daycare.” Only in Portland.

We came randomly to a place called Shanghai Tunnel which satisfied Charlie’s need for a cheap Rainier beer and it was quite hipster, but not enough people there or microbrews. So we then happened to wander into the most hipster bar in Portland called The Tube. We put on our most comfortable tattoos to be like everyone else. They had cheap vegan happy hour which was pretty good, reminding me of Comet or Palomino in Milwaukee. A TV show was on in front of us and Charles said, “Oh, this show is great. I saw an episode once, it’s called “Freaks, Geeks, and Weirdos.” It was Freaks and Geeks. Ahem. I’ve watched the whole series, years ago. Charlie apparently saw one episode, funny.

We had Mirror Pond or something from Deschutes and then left and met this messed up kid who was mesmerized by the Care Bears the window of a vintage toy store and followed him past Crystal Ballroom to a bar where we found this man named George who reminded me of the actor father on I Capture the Castle. We talked to him for quite a while and I drank water and we walked back toward the hostel to 21st street which seemed pretty cool and came to a Blue Moon pub which proved to be quite fun even after we found out it was McMennamins. Oh well. We ate hummus and talked about bad movies and music with the bartender. When anyone talks about why Portland is great they always say “I love it because it’s so small.” I agree that it is wee and I want to experience more of its diminutive-sized charm.


Posted by seabear 18:59 Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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