Saturday, June 29, 2013

Island hopping and more visiting

View from train crossing Fraser River in New West
I am on the train heading for Seattle to visit a friend there. I have a "window seat" but really it is between windows so not much of a view. And I overhear another passenger saying that the real view is on the other side of the train anyway. Oh well.

I've been scrambling around, Vancouver Island, Hornby Island, Gambier Island, Whistler, back and forth between North Vancouver and Langley with stops in between in Vancouver proper. Too busy to stop and write about it.

Also repairs to the truck, had to replace all of the tire rims and in the process found out that one rear brake was leaky. After that was fixed then a front brake hose gave out. Then I thought the heater core gave out but I think now that it didn't, I was just low on coolant and there was a bunch of water under the floor carpet that was causing the windows to steam up. The source of the water is as yet unknown but most likely due to intense rain the other day.

My brother did the rear brake repair. It took a long time and he was not pleased to be doing that job, a lot of things went wrong. It took him a whole day. He thought I ought not to be driving such an old truck so far. The mechanic who replaced the tire rims said as much too.

Totem in the woods, Denman Island
Hornby Island deer
Hornby Island water tank, in lieu of fire hydrant
Hapi is staying in Langley and I think she is reasonably content there but I sure do get an ecstatic welcome when I do show up there. One time, she jumped up into my arms and then Hiro thought he should jump on me too---he never jumps on people---so he jumped on my back. Sam had to haul him off, between the two dogs they were going to knock me over. It was gratifying though that Hapi missed me so much.

I think the time I spent on Gambier was the most relaxing, we didn't do much except the occasional dog walk with my hosts' dog.

Whistler was interesting, my hosts there took me to see Nairn Falls and the Sunday Market, and on Sunday evening we went for dinner at one of their friends' place. It was quite magnificent, with a fabulous view from the deck and windows of the mountains, surrounding forest and lake below. Their house is situated on a high slope surrounded by tall trees. The slope is so steep that from the deck you are looking at the tops of the trees below. Besides myself there were four couples, all of whom were recently returned from world travels. Our hostess wanted each couple to give a ten minute synopsis of their travels before dinner, so I heard about Peru and Equador, China, the West Indies, and the El Camino. There were some interesting things from each trip.

View from Whistler home deck
One thing I learned is that there is not one El Camino but many. You can go back again and again to try a different one and some people do exactly that, making the El Camino a kind of obsession.

One night I had dinner with some friends in Vancouver who were recently returned from a vacation on the canals of England. They discovered the canal boats several years ago and every year now they go back to explore another canal. They quite love it. They also often take a guest along so who knows perhaps one day I'll get an invite and go too. It did sound quite lovely.

The train is still moving slowly through the Vancouver area, we are just now crossing the bridge from New Westminster to Surrey over the Fraser River. It is quite neat to see my old home from a very different perspective. At the rate we are going we will reach the US border in maybe an hour! It is probably a 15 minute drive on the highway.

One day in Vancouver I was going to meet a friend in the morning and go for a walk. She had something to do in the afternoon, we thought that I could find something else to do and then we would meet again for dinner. We decided to walk in Van Dusen Gardens, which was very nice but rather brief. I've been there before but each time has also been brief so I hadn't ever seen the entire Gardens. This time I decided to stay in the Gardens while my friend went off to her other activity and I quite enjoyed spending another three hours systematically following every trail and path in the Gardens. I can now check it off my list, I have well and truly "done" the Van Dusen. Of course it changes with the seasons but that's another story. My favourite part of the Gardens was the Canadian Heritage area, where among other things they grow many plants that First Nations use for medicinal purposes. Very interesting.

Harp concert in the Gardens
Model of Haida dugout canoe in Van Dusen

Afterward my friend picked me up and we went to All India Sweets for their all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet. It hasn't changed much, although for $5 you can now get a meat addition to the vegetarian buffet. There are a couple of TVs in the restaurant playing Bollywood movies and music videos all the time, I quite enjoy that as well. They are so colourful and joyful, it is hard not to be uplifted by them. My opinion anyway.

The train has picked up speed so maybe it won't take an hour to get to the border after all.

Once I get back from Seattle I will be just about ready to head back to Nova Scotia. I had intended to be back by this weekend but I won't even leave until sometime after the weekend. There was just so much to do, so many people to see.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

Delightful photos and sharing of your trip and the things you did. I've been to Vancouver several times but didn't do those gardens; so it's something to try in the future. I spent most of my time at their great museum.