Sunday, November 15, 2009
Igor's Excellent Victoria Adventure
It's been my first trip out of the country in like four years, so I was really quite excited. I took off early on Thursday morning.
Here's Belltown from the water. Not very impressive, is it? The journey on the Victoria Clipper was very smooth all the way. Me and Juan de Fuca go way back, so why wouldn't it be? Just in case, I popped a pair of Dramamine. That turned me into a zombie for the next few hours.
After arriving, I took a city tour that included a trip out to Butchart Gardens. The first and only time I've been to Victoria was when I was four years old. All I remember from that trip is double-decker buses and Butchart Gardens. I thought the buses were cool and the gardens were oppressively dull. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why all these dumb grownups would want to look at plants. I wanted to revisit it to see if I remembered anything. Here's what was going on there:
Yeah, not much. Here is part of the famous Rose Garden. It wasn't a total bust, though. There were cool totem poles:
And a bronze pig:
And that was it for Butchart Gardens. On the way back, I kept falling asleep due to that stupid Dramamine, so I only remember part of the city tour.
I stayed here, at the Empress, because I'm, y'know, all class. It was a really fab hotel. Their bar is the greatest. If you ever go, order a Clover Club. It will change your life. So I checked in, slept off the rest of my Dramamine and went out to explore. That evening, I caught my opera (The Rake's Progress) at the Royal Theater. I haven't reivewed it yet, but will shortly. For the moment, just suffice to say that it was 60% good, 40% not good. But it was still nice to see it with so many well-behaved, good-smelling Canadians.
By the next day, I was totally used to seeing Canadian flags, spending their colorful money and reading all their extra vowels. Speaking of money, Canada's gotten pretty expensive, what with the US dollar sinking and all. Back when the Canadian dollar was worth 60-75 cents, you could live, well, not like a king, but maybe like a prince. But alas, those times are gone. The US dollar is worth $1.01 Canadian. So anyhow, the next day, I went out to the BC Natural History Museum. This is what it was like:
Well, to be honest, it had some very good indian exhibits. They're called the First Nations up there, and, after a long period of oppression, the Canadian government is a lot nicer to their indigenous peoples than we are. But Canada's First Nations don't have magic casinos. None of that makes up for anybody's misdeeds, but at least that's a tiny bit of consolation for more than a century of bad behavior by the government.
Here's something different:
This the entrance to Victoria's minuscule Chinatown. Apparently, it's the oldest in all of Canada. This is called the Gate of Harmonious Interests. Harmonious Interests, eh? Something like this in the US would be called the Gate of Takin' Numbers and Kickin' Ass. Those Canadians and their peacefulness! How unlike us!
By now, one thing struck me as kind of strange: you know, for all the Socialism and whatnot that goes on in Canada, there sure are a lot of bums. You don't see many crazy people at all, but bums abound all over the place.
OK, by my last day there, I was on a mission. I heard a completely unconfirmed rumor that the University of Victoria campus was home to many bunny rabbits. I was told that they roam free. I had to see it with my own eyes - if it was indeed true. I took the bus out to campus and began my search. Yes, over there in the distance was a bunny rabbit. I approached. He was very friendly and let me pet his ears.
Then I saw more:
They were all over the place, just grazing and hanging out. So yes, it's absolutely true. The University of Victoria is a good place to see bunny rabbits.
Shortly after that, I left on the Clipper. It was rather rough, but no rougher than, say, a bus ride to Ballard. And then I arrived back in Belltown. The end.