Timely free trip!

Yesterday a former employer shared a post asking if anyone was interested in a free trip from Victoria/Vancouver anytime between May 1-7. She works for a new, luxury ferry vacation company. The new ship will be christened at the end of April – I also made an RSVP to that – and the maiden voyage will be May 1st. I decided to put in my name for an invitation and was added to the passenger list. I was hankering for something to do without breaking my rapidly depleted travel fund after dipping into it for veterinary care of my nearly 15 year old cat, this was indeed a timely, unexpected invitation!

The trip will also be primarily for the experience as the two items on my Vancouver list will not work out. Which is fine when I remember this is more of a trip for itself rather than getting from one place to another with the goal being the other side. I envision a relaxed cruise that might include whale sightings, will include stunning vistas, and be comfortable. The whale mention is important as I have never gone on a whale cruise and have never wanted to – the orange, heavy, hot suits are enough to put me off. Chasing these magnificent creatures for photo ops turns me off. I have seen whales in the oceans, from a ferry and from land. I am hopeful V2V does not veer off to chase whales for the pleasure of passengers. Let it happen as naturally as possible without disturbance – if that is even possible with engines running.

I will keep everyone posted. Meanwhile, here is a picture of the ferry.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/timely/”>Timely</a&gt;

Looking Back

I must admit that the Facebook Memories is extremely useful. I ended up reading entries from my first blog. Although not strictly travel related, although it is about travelling to places, it does provide some insight to why I am where I now am in life. Still moving, still exploring, still searching. Perhaps closing in on 60 years has brought some wistfulness. With some edits I am sharing some of those entries. Having not finished reading the entries I am not sure how many times I added photos. The following entry explains that. 

Go East Old Woman 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

What to do with my mother and my cat

Fortunately I do have family – they should be able to help out my not yet 76 year old mother. Bigger problem – telling her, clearly versus beating around the bush – that I have, once again, accepted a job in China. This time is different, I will be going alone, and she no longer has my father here.

However, what else is a 54 year old woman with no job in sight to do? I came up with the answer one day walking or driving, might even have been biking – although that less likely. Write a travel book about going through China, with eye catching photograpsh and catchy snatches. Call it, Go East Old Woman; surely some would get it. Problem with that is I do not even own a camera – cell phones do not count – nor the skills to take even passable pictures. I also do not have the means to pay for getting to China let alone traversing around without direction. Then there is Mozzy.

A New Path

The Garry Oak Loop consists of two loops. One through that is a pleasant 1km meander in the woods, the other loops around a golf course. I chose the former. Located in the Municipality of Colwood (one of 9 in Greater Victoria) the path begIns near the library and is a perfect place to end a workout or swim at the Recreation Centre next door. Spring has sprung.


 The daffodil bulbs were most likely not planted. Crows and seagulls pick them up then drop them. Garry Oak forests seem to have great soil for the daffodils to propagate.

Be a Tourist at Home

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Home is where the heart is. Home is where we can let down our hair. Home is familiar. Home is far too often taken for granted. Of course I am talking about beyond the walls of where one resides. Travelling can be in your own back yard or across an ocean, each having something to take home a memory of a time well spent. Some activities are familiar, annual events, others are opportunities to join like minded individuals in the pursuit of music, art, dance or some other form of artistic indulgence. Today I had the pleasure of being a spectator at a cultural event and a choir performance.

My morning started with leftover, store bought, Chinese food. I was determined to celebrate Spring Festival the night before even if it was only with a dinner for one. Not nearly as wonderful as celebrating with a sumptuous meal in China but it made me feel good. Then it was off to Chinatown for the annual Chinese New Year Lion Dance and parade, a Dragon Dance, and various performances. All outdoors of course. In the rain.

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The celebration starts at The Gate of Harmonious Interest, in the oldest Chinatown in Canada (second oldest in North America), on the very popular Fisgard Street. Although I could not find a source for how many years the festival has been held I am confident in saying most likely minimum 25 years as I took my children to see the lion dances when they were young. (We would eventually see these in China)

We arrived later than planned which meant I could not see anything. I did get a sneak peek at one of the Lions hiding from the rain behind a set of red doors. The cabbages were strung from lintels, red lanterns crisscrossed above the heads of onlookers and a sense of anticipation hung in the air. There is always a thrill that runs through a crowd waiting for the first snap, snap of firecrackers, the black, slightly greasy smell of spent gun powder.

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Unfortunately the weather got the best of me, I managed to stay long enough to hear the bells, gongs and drums for the dragon dance but did not remain for the lions and their prancing, playful lunges to eat the cabbages and gobble the red envelopes. As one may surmise, I have been attending such festivities for many years.

A hasty retreat to a local Chinese bakery, where I encountered far more patrons at one time than I would on any other day, to buy a BBQ pork bun and two glutinous balls filled with beef. This is a rare treat for me that I had no intention of missing out on. It was rather sad to think I no longer relish standing in the rain, waiting in anticipation, with such a diverse, united, happy mass of people. (I have no idea how many makes a mass, but the sidewalks of Fisgard Street were filled). My Chinese cravings, cultural and gastronomical, were sated.

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Then off to listen to the Starlight Pops, a local choir, and their four piece combo. This concert featured the Disco era. Sad to admit this, but I recalled most of the pieces. The audience clapped along, some were singing under their breath and a few intrepid souls took the invitation to dance in the aisles literally. I wonder if the church they use for their performances has ever had such raucous patrons in their pews before.

It is a United Church, I have no idea if rocking, or in this case, doing the bump (look it up all you young people) to Saturday Night Fever, is frowned upon or not. If I did not know one of the choir members and the guitar player in the combo I would have been easily tempted to do the hustle. Not that they would have been surprised.

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Take a look at the events in your area. Step out of your comfort zone, go to an exhibit, a concert, a cultural activity. Be prepared to be dazzled at home just as when you are away. The experiences will enrich your life.