Travel Log 2012: VICTORIA, Day 2

I got up fairly early on the second day, and decided to try out a local coffee shop for breakfast. So I headed to a place called Picnic, which had good reviews. The blueberry muffin was nice, but alas, the hot chocolate was mediocre. I’m sure the coffee is great, but I don’t really care for coffee. I’ve never understood why there’s such a coffee culture and not a hot chocolate culture. Well, whatever, onward and upward.

The weather was wet, which kind of rained on my initial plan of maybe going on a kayak tour (on the list for next time though) so I modified my plans slightly. I went for a wander around the Bay Centre, which is a fairly nice little mall/shopping centre.

The Bay Centre is small, quiet, and pleasant, unlike Metropolis at Metrotown, which is 18,000km long, yet somehow has a customer density of four hundred slow people per square metre.

When I had booked the hostel, I took advantage of a discount for the Royal BC Museum, which I was told is quite something. So I went back to the hostel, picked up my ticket, and headed over to the museum. Plenty of walking to and fro. Next to the museum is BC’s Parliament Building – and on the lawn of this building, a huge mass of people was gathering, with big plaques about oil. More on that later…

In front of the museum, a strange tower. Which I soon discovered, to my absolute joy, is a frickin’ carillon.

Okay, I admit it, I’m in love with carillon.

For those who don’t know what a carillon is, shame on you, but I’ll tell you. It’s basically a bell tower, but not with one bell, a whole bunch of bells, played with a giant keyboard. It’s a musical instrument, it’s architecture, it’s design. I love it.

Anyway, on to the museum. Low lighting so not many good photos, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Good exhibits on the Canadian Scottish Regiment, local history, the local first nations (some incredible totem poles and masks), local wildlife, cartography and so on.

Just in case you can’t read it, the woman’s skirt reads “BC LIBERALS”, while the blanket hanging off the child reads “THE JOB OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THESE TIMES”. Proof, as if any were needed, that political cartoons have always been horribly lazy and unfunny.
Hey, I didn’t know S-Club 7 had reformed!

There’s also an IMAX theatre in the building, so after touring the exhibits I decided to get a ticket for The Dark Knight Rises, which I had somehow not yet seen. Why not see it on BC’s largest screen? Especially with the poor weather.

I headed outside and across the road to the ongoing protest, and ended up standing around for at least an hour listening to the speakers, and getting a sense about what was going on.Turns out it was the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project they were protesting.

Colourful and non-violent. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a member of the Conservative Party. British Columbia is a province full of perpetually-stoned hipsters and liberals, so naturally he’s not especially popular here.
In front of the British Columbia Funkadelic buildings. Sorry, I meant Parliament. No I didn’t, I actually did that on purpose.

The proposed pipeline would run through first nation lands and represent a great risk for environmental damage. I’m generally anti-oil so I figured I’d stick around for a while and see what was happening.

After a while, I was getting a little cold and wet, so I decided to go explore some shops, and eat a late lunch. So I wandered around town, checked out a few local book stores and novelty shoppes for a couple of hours, didn’t buy anything, and found myself in the local Fatburger. Fatburger is a chain that serves very excellent burgers, and I do love a good burger, so I figured I couldn’t really go wrong with that. They even had a deal on so a combo meal was cheap and seriously tasty. More Dark Tower.

Little known fact, fatburgers originate from the town of Fatburg, East Swentzria.

After the Fatburger, it still being wet out, I headed back to the hostel to dry off, and read yet more Dark Tower.

Speaking of The Dark Tower, it’s a really great series of books. I’m on Book III, The Wastelands, in which Roland pulls together his ka-tet, and there are a series of encounters with absolutely ridiculous monsters. Really really awesome.

Because it got pretty wet, I wound up sitting in the common area watching TED videos on my Nexus to kill time until Batman. TED is very worthwhile.

Then, time for IMAX Batman. Being a Monday night the theatre was quite empty. So my review of The Dark Knight Rises? I think it’s a pretty swell motion picture, and on an IMAX screen, a very decent way to spend three hours on a rainy evening.

After the movie I headed outside, waited for the lights to cross the street, as I was taught to as a child (thanks Mum and Dad!). The walk sign came up (it’s a white man, not a green man here) and I naturally started to cross the street, continuing to look left and right, as per the Green Cross Code. Then, from the right hand side some crazy guy drove right up to me, without stopping, forcing me to step back a couple steps, while he drove right through the crossing. Way to go you asshole.

Well, I guess he was right all a long.

Being the meek kind of fellow I am, I didn’t so much shout at the guy as gesture my anger vaguely in his direction. Like an ineffectual shrug. A few seconds after making it to the other side, a guy slowed his car, wound down the window, and shouted to me that he saw what happened, and told me that had anything actually happened, he would have reported the driver immediately. Thanks whoever you were! Good to know there are some drivers who respect pedestrians here in North America.

Anyway, I went back to the hostel, and I tried to sleep. Needed earplugs because there were some people having fun in the streets outside, but whatever, no big deal. It was a shame it was so wet, didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but it was nice to just rest and read a bit. An enjoyable low stress day, I guess, making up for a bunch of 6-7 day work weeks in a row.

Next time: Day 3, in which I sadly leave Victoria.

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