...Is as fun as oral surgery.
Funny that Canada's border should be where I have trouble. India? Waved me through without a blink, bypassing customs.
Canada? Well, I will admit that given the evidence- the fact that as a backpacker, everything I need to live is in a big backpack and I have no proof of my bank account's holdings on me (this is good security among thieves) that I might, just might, look like a vagrant American hippy looking to get himself lost indefinitely in the Canadian Forest because expatriotism in a Canadian forest is somehow more novel than just getting lost in a forest in the US...
Anyhow, once I told the border officer that I had a ticket to fly to Tbilisi, Georgia, and therefore a reason to return to the US, he sent me on.
Once in Canada, I found myself at the doorstep of Van Dusen Botanic in Vancouver- an old historic-private-holding-turned-public-garden. Some places are easy to blow through, check off your list, and move on, but Van Dusen's atmosphere absolutely demands that you have a sit in one of the gardens and relax. It's probably the distillate-of-Greek-siren with which they fertilise. No, it's like fish emulsion...
Vancouver itself still enjoys a residual high from the Olypic games a few months back. No, I lie, actually. It is in withdrawls, according to locals.
(Above: Horseshoe bay owes much of its economy to the hour or two people must wait there before the next ferry arrives)
Having things to see on the island, I caught the evening ferry to Nanaimo.
For those who have not had the experience: one parks his vehicle in what appears to be any multi-layered parking lot, makes his way up a level to the cafeteria for dinner, browses the mall-esque giftshop, and, if he's failed to make it up onto the outside deck (catching a fine island-studded oceanic sunset) and realise he's moving on the water, will, in an hour or two's time, find that leaving the building, he's in another town on a island. Magic, for $59.65 Canadian.
Nanaimo is a large village or small city North of Victoria, British Columbia.
I haven't been to the UK to compare, but it feels pretty British here. Or European. Folks are pretty domestic and value simple things in life- there are a lot of bookstores here. And Pet stores. And dogs. And gardens. Everyone is talking importantly about just how her mother likes to make her cherry pie, that the neighbour is getting new raspberry canes, that the dog is getting groomed. It's lovely and laid back. I could live here.
Folks are also happy because it has warmed up here, and the sun is bright behind the oft-present thin film of maritime cloud.