Saturday, July 26, 2008

Random observations from our B.C. Road Trip

Every town in British Columbia has:
  1. a community center - usually large and quite beautiful, no matter how small the town
  2. one or more of the following - Subway, A&W, Dairy Queen- all three usually unless town is very small
  3. log house builder
  4. at least one liquor store - no exceptions; three or four unless the town has a population under 50; often they are combined with something else - liquor store and tavern, liquor store and gas station, etc. - very efficient
  5. at least one "Chinese and Western" restaurant
  6. taxidermist
  7. An official 'Information Center - in which the employees are paid by the number of maps and brochures they are able to hand out to visitors, more points if they can mark up the map with random points of interest first; but the Info Centers always have a restroom, so I am a big fan
  8. a drop-dead gorgeous scenic view - including rivers, forests and mountains in the distance
OK, maybe there are just a few generalizations here, but not too many. Most of all, it is a beautiful province and we felt welcomed by friendly people every place we stopped or stayed.

Two Highlights of the trip:
1. Visits to two first nations cultural centers and several galleries that specialize in native arts in Victoria -
'KSan Historic Village - for centuries, the home of the Gitxan in the upper Skeena River region near Hazelton; a replication of the houses, totem poles, and other artifacts of their culture
Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre
run by the Cowichan Tribes; in addition to an interpretive tour and opportunity to talk with a basket-weaver and a carver, we lucked into an opportunity to see a performance of aboriginal songs and dances by the Cowichan Tzinquaw Dancers.

In Victoria, we browsed through several galleries that focus on art of the northwest coast. Our favorite were prints by Coast Salish artist, lessLIE at Alcheringa Gallery. After a fair amount of looking, hemming and hawing, we managed to decide on one print to bring home.

2. The ferry trip from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy
A 15-hour ride through the inland passage along the west coast of B.C.. Again, gorgeous scenery on both sides of the boat. And many wildlife-viewing opportunities throughout the day- LOTS of whales, dolphins playing in the wake of the boat, eagles flying overhead and a few seals. Observation of the wildlife on board also helped pass the time. I believe we were among a small minority of people on the boat who were native speakers of English. It seems to be quite a popular trip with European tourists. It was also my observation that we were among a similarly small minority of people on the boat not wearing travel pants - men, women, children, couples in matching travel pants. (If you ever see Grady and I wearing matching travel pants and matching jackets, please put us out of our misery.)

Lastly, here are a couple of the house fronts and totems in the 'KSan village:

And, for those of you who heard (or read in last year's travel blog) about our "rough crossing" of Lake Michigan, I thought I might show you a picture of me not throwing up on this ferry ride. Note: no white knuckles on the seat arms, no extra large barf bags in sight. Whew, what a better way to travel.

A group of my photos from this trip are on my flickr page.
I'm hoping Grady will get his developed soon. He actually took two FILM cameras. On the ferry ride, he was stopped frequently by other folks who were curious about these antique cameras he was using! But, of course, he has not only a better camera, but actual knowledge and skill in using it. So, his pictures of the whales and dolphins are likely to actually look like something. And, maybe I can get digital versions to post later on.


Anonymous said...

I just want to say thanks for the heads up that there would be no gory photos of the bruised and bloody arm and leg. Just typing the words makes me quesy!

:) Catherine

Anonymous said...

Oh brother, a typo, and on my teacher-sister's blog.

Why, oh why, couldn't it have been on my other sister's blog?

:( Catherine