Victoria Day Parade and wrap up

Alrighty so let me continue where I left off!
In the morning when I went down for breakfast I noticed that the streets were quiet but that there were people and families setting up chairs and blankets by the side of the road. I then realised how big this parade was going to be. After eating I rugged up with my scarf and jacket and gloves and headed out into the street. There were huge crowds and the parade had started!!


The floats were hilarious! Everyone was waving and having fun.

I’m not sure what the requirements were for being in the parade, but every average joe seemed to be there!! Local business owners and a lot of people had come across from the USA to perform.

Even the mysterious stonecutters/freemasons made an appearance! I forget their real name.

There were cheerleaders,floats, bands, bagpipes, flags bearers, dragons, everything you can imagine!!


I watched for about an hour but they were still going strong for a lot longer. I decided to head to the Royal BC Museum, which was absolutely amazing!!! There are 2 levels of exhibits and so so so much to see. They have diaramas of animals in their native habitat.

WOOLY MAMMOTH!

NOOOOOOO BADGER. EHHHHH BADGER. BADGER!!!!

Awesome!! They have a ship you can walk through, old towns with artifacts set up that look so real. They had a huge section on native first nations and there was an area with different masks that featured narration by the people with stories etc. I sat there in the darkness listening to them speak and I cried. It was incredible.

So then I decided to go back and buy some art from the market. I got there and there was only about 3 stalls left, but one guy was selling the carving that I wanted to buy. After standing there for a while he told me I could pick it up and so I did, and told him I wanted to buy it. He smiled at me and asked me where I was from. I told him Australia and that made it easier for me to ask him a few questions. I asked what clan he was from, how long he had been carving and who taught him to carve. I walked away feeling better about things, and with a beautifully carved hummingbird.

I decided to get a sundae from an old soda shop I walked past, so I got one called Muddy Sneakers which was choc and vanilla icecream, hot fudge, caramel sauce, cream and marshmallow on it. WOW it was yum hahaha.

I also went thrifting and ended up finding a vintage 70’s floral dress from a consignment store for $10. Bargain!
And that was pretty much my trip.

Travelling on the prince of whales.

One of the big things on my to do list was seeing Orcas. I have watched many nature documentaries and often seen these powerful beasts hunting seals and even dolphins. I always dreaded being in the water near where they are. So when I booked my Victoria trip I decided to go whale watching too. The Prince of Whales is the whale watching boat/company that I travelled with on my whale watching adventure.

That was the last photo I took with my digi cam before the battery died completely. Bad luck yes. But luckily I knew that it was running out and so I bought a disposable film camera with me too. I just got it developed and put onto disk so I can share some of those photos with you. It had been so long since I had worked with film! The anticipation of wondering how they’d turn out is something you just dont get with digi cameras and I liked remembering that.

So I learnt a lot on the tour. It went for three hours, I was sitting up on the top deck outside and an older english couple chatted to me for most of the time. It’s funny how English and Australians seem to have an easy connection.

The water was quite calm and although it was freezing we were lucky in the fact that it was perfect spotting conditions and it didnt really rain. Our guide was really informative, he had been in the job for a while and loved the environment and the animals. He told us that there are actually 3 different types of Orcas – each with seperate DNA (even though they look the same). The first are the RESIDENTS – they live in family groups around the same areas and they eat salmon or fish they never eat mammals. Next we have the TRANSIENTS – they roam around in groups and these are the ones that track and hunt mammals – seals, dolphins and even small whales. He said that they have been known to attack a baby humpback whale and then once they have eaten the tongue they leave the rest of it for other creatures to eat. Lastly we have OFFSHORE and these ones eat mammals too but they live in the middle of the ocean.

First on the tour we saw TRANSIENTS – he thought they were hunting porpoises but thankfully we didnt see anything.


Then after a bit of watching them we decided to head to see the RESIDENTS. We found them around San Juan Island, hunting salmon that were coming out from the river into the ocean. There were lots of them around, but unfortunately we couldnt get too close due to the fact it was a US island.

It was amazing seeing these creatures up close. They were so majestic, it was magical.

Then on our way back we got news of a humpback whale sighting and were very very lucky to catch sight of it too. The only thing about film is that you cant zoom so these look really far away but we were actually a lot closer than it looks.

It was such a wonderful trip, if you get the chance to see wild animals in their natural habitat then please do so, you wont regret it.

Where to begin? At the beginning!

I’m going to have to cut this down into a few posts because I have so much info and pics and not enough time. SO here is the long version first day of my trip to Vancouver Island.

Wow, Vancouver Island is beautiful! It has such a big British influence, and with lots of English tourists too. It is, afterall, the capital city of British Columbia!
I got the fancy pacific coach bus from Vancouver and it drove me to the ferry. Sitting up so high and in my comfy seat it made me want to do some more bus touring – like maybe a coach trip somewhere? I’m investigating!! Anyway, we then got to walk around for an hour and a half while the ferry went along.

It was HUGE! Like a mini cruise ship!

It had about 4 restaurants and shops and then another level on top with just seating.


This is what our ship looked like (another one passed us)

We passed through all these little islands with houses and it made me think about the people who must live there.

Then the bus drove me to Douglas Street (which is the main street in Victoria) and I walked up to my hotel and checked in. The place I stayed at has several restaurants, a pub and nightclub on site. The first night my room looked out on the rooftop sand volleyball court and bar.

That was all well and good during the day but when the music didnt stop until 2am it was a bit much for me. I ended up going down at about midnight to complain to the front desk, but they were all booked out and couldnt move me. He gave me some earplugs but they didnt work. So the next afternoon when the music started I ended up going down to inquire if there were any other rooms available since I was still there for 2 more nights. It turned out that I was in luck, and they moved me to another room on the other side of the hotel. I slept like a LOG for the rest of my trip. AMEN! Anyway, back to day one haha.

So after I’d settled a bit in my room I went for a walk down to the harbour.

There were so many people about!! I walked in some souveneir stores and then headed down towards the empress hotel.

It’s a beautiful ivy covered old building, and a bit further along was the parliament buildings.

I really felt the English touches, and noticed English accents and even Irish around. I hadnt noticed that in Vancouver for a while and it was nice!! Then I noticed right down beside the harbour there was a market on. As I walked down to check it out I realised that there were about 12 stalls that featured native first nations selling their wares.

They were actually sitting there, on the grass with their beads and wooden carvings on the ground – proud and strong. I had to stop myself from crying. I’m such a strange person. This was the first real group of first nations I had ever seen together in one spot and it touched me so deeply. I was way too shy to ask the questions I wanted to and couldnt buy anything. I felt unworthy.

So I walked around some more and then I got a lemon lime float. The sound of a brass band drew me back to the parliament buildings and I noticed signs saying that the roads will be closed off tomorrow.

I later found out that there was actually going to be a proper parade with floats and bands and everything the next day! Very exciting! hahaha.

Stay tuned for day two!

Did I just do that? It doesnt sound like me.

I did something this morning that is very out of character. I got into the lift in my hotel to go down to breakfast and there was a guy in there with a suitcase – I presumed he was checking out. I’m staying on the 2nd floor, and I noticed that the 1st floor button was pressed as well as the ground lobby, but I didnt think anything of it. I did my usual ‘stare at the door’ thing, and then we stopped at the first floor. The doors opened and I moved out of the way to either let the guy off or someone else in but there was no-one at the door and he didnt move. Then he said (laughing) “sorry, that was me. I pressed the wrong button.” I turned around for a second and noticed that he was quite cute, then smiled and said “no problem!”

I got out at the lobby and went to the breakfast room and I presumed he went to check out. Then when I was sitting at a seat I noticed him walk past outside and he didnt have his suitcase with him. He must have left it at the desk while he did a few things around the city, I thought. As I ate my breakfast some strange part of me formulated a plan. I would go upstairs after I’d eaten and I would write him a letter and then I would ask the front desk to give it to him.

So I went to my room and I wrote:
“Hi! My name is Alesha. We met on the lift, I got on at the 2nd floor and you accidently pressed the 1st floor button. I dont ever do this but I thought you seemed really nice so I wanted to give you my email address in the off chance that you might be heading to Vancouver and want to hang out sometime. I’m Australian and on a working holiday, staying in North Van. It’s an adventure! (insert email address) Take care, Alesha. :)”

On the way down to the lobby I kept debating about whether to do it or not and decided if there was no-one at the desk I would. I always tend to do those little tests. And there was no-one there. So I spoke to the lady and I said “A guy just checked out before and left his suitcase here..”
“Yeah,” she said “did you want to get into it?”
“Oh no, I just wanted to leave him a letter.” I replied.
“Ok sure.” she answered.
“Did you see him?” I said
“Yeah.” she replied.
“Did he have short hair, kinda curly.”
“Yeah, and a suitcase.” she replied.
“Was it a small suitcase?” I answered.
“Hang on.” she said, and went and got it to show me.
“I think thats it, yeah.” I answered.
“Cool, wouldnt want you to give your letter to the wrong guy!” she said.
“Thanks!” I answered and walked away.

I’m not expecting to hear anything (it might not even be the right guy haha) but it was good to do something out of my comfort zone. I’ve always wanted to get a letter like that!

I will be doing a HUGE post all about my time here on Vancouver Island when I get back to North Van. I’m leaving here tomorrow. My camera battery died, so I cant upload the photos I have taken and had to buy a disposable camera today.
I have so many little stories I wouldnt know where to start, so the wrap up post should be up soon!

Snippet from Vancouver Island

It’s pretty here.

These are the Victoria Parliament Buildings. The first second I saw them as I walked around the corner I literally gasped. I felt like I could be somewhere in England. And then I just realised why they resonated with me so much, the dome reminds me a little of Flinders St station back home.

Apparently they are having a street parade tomorrow for Victoria Day – with floats and marching bands and everything. One of the marching bands was rehearsing on the steps tonight.

OMG!

the curse of the blogger

I need to stop looking at my blog views and reader country list and wondering why so many people just read and dont comment and remember why I started this blog in the first place. Yes, it was in part to meet new people and show my friends/family what I’m doing whilst away but a big part of it was for myself. I didnt go into it thinking that if I dont get people commenting it’d be a big deal, but somehow it has turned into one.

I think that the thing for me is that when I know people from back home are reading and keeping up to date I am happy, but I dont know who exactly is reading and what is happening in their lives. They walk away feeling in contact with me and all filled in on my life but I never know. I dont even know that they’ve checked in on me unless they comment. Or send me a private email! Either way, I want to know what is happening in your lives too!! This was never supposed to be a selfish one way communication. It was about sharing – and that goes both ways!!

The thing I miss the most about home (apart from the weather) is my family and friends. In all of my life I can honestly say that I havent had a better bunch of friends than I do now. Every one of my friends has been hand picked, tested, challenged and appreciated. And my family? Well they know how strange I can be and they love me for it.

((some family shots not uploaded due to request -but imagine Mum, my bro and sis in law also here))

They are a big chunk of the heart and soul of my life in Australia. I feel like I am being a bad friend as I am not in as much contact as I’d like to be, but each time I write a blog I feel like I send them an email with my news. I kinda feel like in a way I have to pause my life back in Australia and hope when I get home and press play they will all still be there. I have this fear now and then that they’ll all find better friends and forget about me. I know it’s silly, but thats me sometimes. I know that friendship isnt about comments, or emails – its about the truth. It’s about the actions and not the words.

Anyway, I have realised that even though everything you see can be totally different in a new country the people and underlying issues remain the same. Friendship is so important, never forget to take the time to tell someone how much you care!

I have been lucky enough to make a few new friends whilst being in Canada too, and I cherish them equally. Sometimes I stand there, in my silent world, and I think “gee I am boring. I cant even think of anything interesting to say. How can anyone want to spend time with me?” But they do. They keep inviting me out, and I am so grateful for that. My social skills leave a lot to be desired. Sometimes I ramble on and sometimes I just sit there blankly. I dont have all the answers, and thats not always a bad thing.



So on a news front I’ll be going to Vancouver Island for the Victoria Day long weekend (which I just found out is to honour Queen Victoria’s birthday) so I am excited about that – adventure and new discoveries await. I have booked a whale watching trip, so fingers crossed I get to see some Orcas and cross that off the list too! Not sure if I’ll be blogging from there or not, will see how I go. Might take a break, but then again…

Take care and happy adventuring!!