Thursday, May 10, 2018

Beacon Hill Park, et al

Camas flowers in bloom
in B.C.'s West Kootenay region. (kootenaynativeplants.ca/)

Wyona and Greg were in the parking lot at the port in Victoria, as were we.

She called to see where we were and finally said, raise your hands and we will raise our hands as well.

Rebecca didn’t wait to get the message. She strode ahead, probably having spotted the waving couple before I did.

When the cruise ship lands the people pour off of the boat.

Some take the carriage ride around the centre of town, two beautiful white horses, their feet clooping along the pavement. There were a couple of buses, presumably to take people on tours – maybe to the Buchart gardens. A trolley had some other people on it, going off in the same direction. There were 2 black limos and one white one, waiting for private tour groups.

We drove along the side of the ocean. Wyona said driving would be better for her than walking. A couple of nights ago, Greg and she jived the night away and the next morning, her body was paying for it. So we went to Mile Zero of the Trans Canada high, the spot where Terry Fox began his run. Then we drove through Beacon Hill Park, a place some mistake for the Buchart Gardens, it is so lovely. But Rebecca cautioned us from thinking this way for apparently the Buchart Gardens ends with fireworks in the evening and is so over the top with its display of flowers in every season, that it is well worth taking it in.

We stopped first at Beacon Hill Park, at the petting zoo, even though we had no children with us.

Baby goats are there, so tiny, and so many of them.

Children and parents can feed the goats or brush their fur, or as one woman did, just sat so still that a baby goat leapt up on her back.

The goat pen had in it a peacock with its feathers on display.

Two, then three baby goats tried to nibble on the ends of the feathers on display. When the peacock ruffled its feathers a bit, a couple of the baby goats came in from the back side, trying to eat some of the brilliant colour on the feathers. There was a pea hen in the trees, high above us, nesting. A couple of peacocks were on the roof of the shelter, and done was outside, somewhat ignoring the four of us. I have never been so close to a bird of that magnificence, for so long a time.

Rebecca continued to drive us along the magnificent seawall, telling us about walks she has taken there with her family, spotting at one point where kite-flyers gather because the wind is so spectacular there. Just right for kits.

Rebecca’s regular driving route as she was touristing for us was interrupted with road repair, so she wove us through the side streets where we admired the lawns, the massive red flowers on the rhododendrons, the delicate azaleas, the blue camas beneath the garry oak, the sight of the water rolling in from the ocean.

Rebecca drove us to the top of Mt Tolmie, after first driving by her house. Wyona asked for the car to stop for there was a deer only a few feet to the side of us. Usually the animals are skittish but Wyona is an animal whisperer and this deer offered many closeup for her photographing pleasure. This stop was right outside of Rebecca’s house, but we didn’t go in – just doing a drive-by for Greg.

At the the top of Mt Tolmie we got out to see that 360 degree view of the world, the mountains in Canada, the mountains in Washington, the small uninhabited islands in the ocean. Rebecca also narrates a story of indigenous peoples on this spot, many of them, historically occupying this land, going back as far as 20,000 years. I always listen carefully for when she talks, she drops another piece of the puzzle of indigenous occupation that I have probably missed.

The homeless are apparent downtown, men and women along the beautiful green meridian of the road, just waking, rolling up their blankets and putting whatever they own back in the shopping carts that they will push all day.

We stopped for a Dr’s appointment for Rebecca. She has been waiting for this appointment for a year. She has a cycst on her finger which she pokes to relieve the pressure. Her Dr told her, no more poking yourself with a needle, which advice she also got from the specialist. My guess is that Rebecca will find a way to take care of this, more suited to medical practise. And then wait her turn in the cue for an operation to come up for her.

Wyona walking beside a peacock at the petting zoo.
While we were waiting for Rebecca’s appointment, really waiting in the hall for the Drs locked office to open, Wyona got a call from her Dr. in Calgary.

Just saying, why not get these appointments over at the same time.

We dropped Wyona and Greg off downtown, Rebecca telling them to stand at a bus stop and ask any driver how to get back to Ogden Point where the Celebrity was docked. Wyona and Greg had laughingly said that it would be nice to go back on the ship’s shuttle.

When they hopped out of the car at red light and got to the sidewalk, we were driving away, but could see Wyona and Greg laughing and calling out to us, “Look, the shuttle.”

Yes, it was just across the road.

As Rebecca said, “Odd when these things line up, as though they are supposed to happen.

Rebecca asked me the best parts of the tour:

1. The forecast was for rain, but the clouds opened up and gave us a beautiful sunny day. Not even a spit of rain. A day that no one could ask for better.

2. I like hearing Greg say that he was enjoying the personalized tour. The one that took us through side streets and into the little boroughs: Oak Bay and Sanich, etc., instead of to the parliament buildings. I liked hearing he enjoyed those little coves.

3. Wyona brought brunch for us, taking cae of all of our chocolate croissant or banana bread needs, plus drinks for all. As well she distributred Maui Caramacs (chocolate, creamy caramel and macadamias), Salt Water Taffy with the flavours of Hawaii, and Candy Coated Popcorn with Macadamia nuts. She brought the theme of Hawaii home to us.

4. I liked seeing Greg and Wyona get out of the car in downtown Victoria, and then stand on the sidewalk, the intrepid travellers finding their own way back to the ship. They have done that job with more difficulty when they don’t speak the language. The English is easy here – often a British accent, though the guy at the Passport Office last week had a definite French Canadian accent. I had forgotten until then, that we do things in two languages since we never hear the second language here on the other side of the world.

5. I liked Rebecca’s account of the land, how those beautiful blue camas flowers have underneath them bulbs that have been traded up and down the coast for 10,000’s of years. 
And she knows how they have to be cooked, slowly for 2 days until they are edible. And how they can sustain people through the winter. Just a wonderful story about how the indigenous people lived off of the land.

6. Rebecca told us that when she picks up visitors to Victoria for conferences, she gives them a similar tour, but has them stop by the ocean where she buys frozen fish which can then be fed to the seals. I have heard her talk about this many times, but haven’t tried it myself.

Maybe next time.

Arta

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