Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Eve 2008 -False Creek Vancouver.
Roads are impassable, buses stopped running but the Aqua Bus keeps chugging.

Despite the challenging weather conditions I had a spectacular time in Vancouver. I also discovered the beauty of living without technology and the opportunities to connect with others in the absence of technical self sufficiency.

Let me explain.

All my friends and family in Vancouver own cell phones. I love using technology but I purposefully nourish a healthy detachment from the lure of the latest and greatest gadgets. I guess I am one of the remaining 'cell phone resistors' left among people in my demographic. Sometimes I find myself stranded without immediate access to communication. This happened on my way home to Victoria.

The Pacific Coach Lines bus was suppose to pick me up at a designated stop that I previously arranged by phone (land line of course:); however, when I arrived at the stop and waited a few minutes the bus just zoomed by me despite my frantic waving and shouts to stop.

I found myself shivering in the freezing cold thinking about my options. I looked around me and saw a public phone across the street and a despised Cash Store behind me. I decided to go inside the Cash Store to see if they had a phone book I could borrow. As I entered the store I approached a bored looking employee behind bullet proof plexiglass. I asked for a phone book and without even looking away from her computer the employee said that she did not have a phone book. I took a breath and explained that I was visiting from out of town and expected to take the Pacific Coach Lines bus. I asked if she could look up the number of the PCL bus line on the computer. Her demeanor softened and she was very gracious and even printed out a sheet of numbers that I could use. Bolstered by this considerate response I walked back to the bus stop and asked an elderly gentleman if he had a cell phone that I could use. He couldn't speak English well but when I slowly explained my situation he phoned the PCL bus line for me. I'm not sure what he said since the traffic noise was ear splitting at that point but when he passed me his phone I heard a very apologetic representative say that the next bus would be along in 30 minutes and I would receive the ride to Victoria for free.

Randy Pausch said 'Sometimes you just have to wait a little longer to discover the best qualities in people'.
I witnessed the best qualities in several Vancouverites that day. Being a little vulnerable and not so self sufficient allowed me to experience the kindness of strangers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quintessential Victoria.
As cars slip around the city in their bald all season tires there are still cyclists dodging traffic and probably arriving at their destinations faster.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What a beautiful day...if you were able to dig out. This is taken on Pandora and Government. This dragon has been on the corner for a couple of years. Very occasionally a dragon may be depicted as carrying a dragon orb known as the Yuh-Yi-Joo in its claws. Modeled after the mythical Cintamani jewel or pearl, it was said that whoever could wield the Yuh-Yi-Joo was blessed with the abilities of omnipotence and creation at will.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nine days and counting.
That's how many days we have been living with snow in Canada's lotus land.

This is why the world thinks we live in igloos.

It's not cold enough to skate on ponds or lakes. It's not warm enough to drink a latte outside.
But I'm savouring the silence that descends upon the city after a snowfall. The traffic disappears and the loudest sound is the courageous birds who have stayed for the winter and forage for food among the firs and cedars.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Well, at least the dog is in his glory! Victoria has been under a blanket of snow and ice for a couple of days. Much to the amusement of other Canadians, Victoria shuts down when a couple of centimeters of snow descends on the city.
Since I couldn't be bothered to replace my bald tires I took the bus to work for the first time in years. I discovered that people really are polite in this quirky little town. Young and old shouted, 'thank you' to the bus driver when stepping off the bus and people patiently held doors open at the local grocer. Inclement weather brings out the best in islanders. Maybe I'll leave my car in the driveway for another day!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Here is another shameless photo of my companion, D.J. He is sitting on the rocks at Cattle Point just outside Victoria in the "oh I forgot we're no longer a colony" district of Oak Bay. Cattle Point earned this name because it was once a drop off point for Uplands Farm, which occupied the surrounding land at the time. Cattle would be barged to the bay in front of what is now the parking lot to swim and wade the short distance to shore. Hmm... sounds like a selling feature to me. Get your organic, sea infused steak here! In the distance is a Great Blue Heron probably patiently waiting for his next snack.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why do I take so many photos on the Dallas Rd. waterfront? Well, this six kilometer path is the city's most beautiful treasure. Half of the route is an 'off leash' park so dogs of all shapes and sizes can run to their heart's content. Dog owners are also aware of this privilege and they enforce a responsible code of conduct among the dogs. More than once I have seen a dog owner chastised for not keeping control of their canine.

Some of the most memorable walks have been in the winter. On Christmas day a few years ago, we saw a pod of Orcas swimming off the point in this photo.

Unfortunately, the cliffs that border this spectacular vista are receding twelve centimeters every year. Efforts are made to reinforce the beaches and cliffs. But each year the storms arrive more fierce than ever.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 the show or run for cover? Since I have been caught in many a storm along Dallas Rd. I meandered quickly to my car!

Friday, December 5, 2008

This was one of my last shots on a recent visit to Beacon Hill Park.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Surfs Up
Willow's Beach

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Day of December

No, this isn't what December 1, 2008 looked like but we do get shimmery days of bright blue skies and the Garry Oaks look like cotton candy tuffs at sunset.