Once I get home from a trip, I have to wonder if it really happened. Yes, it did and we
Here are some photos followed by a few stories of random and fun happening on the island. And, of course, no meal truly happens unless you have photos of it, so food photos at the end.
Liz and Bob hiked at Collier Dam in Nanaimo. I sat reading a book as the paths were icy.
In the winter the goats-on-roof are goats-in-back-pasture but we visited them anyway.
More snow on the mountains than we had ever seen before.
This gnome at Nanoose was once a tourist attraction and is now in bad shape. The owners of the property will destroy him at the end of April unless someone carts him away. There is a committee trying to raise $20,000 to save his life.
Stupid freighter off Chemainus beach.
We had such interesting conversations and experiences wherever we went.
A lady in Duncan saw me looking at the beautiful shoes in a shop window. She must have taken me for a Duncanite (Duncantonian?). As she said to me, “did you ever imagine Duncan would be a town where shoes cost more than $400.” It made me take a second look in the shop window, and, let me tell you, all the shoes were fabulous.
Bob and I went to pick up groceries in Chemainus and all of a sudden Bob is talking to a fellow like they are long-lost buddies. Who is this man that Bob knows but I don't? He was a Rotarian whom Bob had met the night before. We ran into Eric and Linda Douglas from Victoria at The Sound of Music. Originally they were from Weyburn and after that from Chemainus. Those of you who knew Carlos from the confectionery on South Hill may not know that later he ran Carlos' Confectionery in Chemainus. He's now moved back to Ecuador so if you want his famous cinnamon buns, that's where you'll have to go to get them.
Chemainus is a little town and everywhere we went, people asked why we were in town. Since it is a real tourist town, I'm sure they know the answer is to attend the Chemainus Theatre Festival or to see the murals or to do both. Anyway, I would always respond that we were there for the theater and that our daughter is stage managing The Sound of Music. Inevitably the response would be something like, "oh, you are Liz's mom! She's a sweetheart." I would concur that she is a sweetheart even though she beat me in 12 of 24 games of Scrabble. That makes us seem like equals but she beat me 441 to 331 in one game which really hurt as I was winning until she played bingos in her last two plays of that game.
One lady working in the antique store said, "oh, Liz's mom" and told me she was the mom of the costume designer. I said I had just met her daughter at the buffet at the theater and her response was "no, she wouldn't be there." I proceeded to describe the daughter right down to her nose stud and the woman said, "that's her, but she didn't tell me she would be here." With that she asked the other clerk to mind the shop, and off she went to see her daughter. She returned before I left the store and commented, "you know more about my daughter than I do."
Bob always wants to talk to strangers. We were on Qualicum Beach and he talked to a stranger who was visiting from Sydney Australia. That fellow wandered off and not thirty steps later Bob talked to another stranger and that one was from Melbourne, Australia. It was a neat coincidence.
However, without a doubt, the biggest experience of the trip wasn't The Sound of Music, it wasn't seeing our daughter (sorry, Liz), and it wasn't beach time. It was going to the Chemainus Salvation Army Thrift Store. Elizabeth told me that it is considered the best thrift store on the island and that because new items are put out on Monday when the store is closed, people line up before the store opens on Tuesday. Yah, right! (sarcasm) before I checked it out and Yah, right!! (stupendous belief) after I checked it out.
I went to see for myself and fifteen minutes before opening time there were about twenty people lined up. One lady came RUNNING down the street to get in line. When the store opened, you could tell people knew which part of the store they wanted to be in. A lady right ahead of me got two incredible silver Celtic bracelets and a silver Celtic necklace. I didn't see the prices, but I saw her huge grin. The whole place had a party atmosphere with people chatting, shopping, laughing, shopping, showing treasures to other people, exclaiming over others' finds. If I lived there, I would be a Tuesday morning regular.
We are so happy we'll be back to Chemainus in the summer.
And now on to the food.
Bob and I had to cancel our trip to Chemainus at Christmas when I was called to have my hip replacement. Air Canada told us we would have full vouchers for the cost of our tickets. When we rebooked, they informed us there was a $300 rebooking fee. We attempted to convince them this hadn't been part of the deal, but we lost that argument. They said the best they could do was put us in premium seats on the return flight from Vancouver to Regina. I thought "big deal ... two inches more of seat space and a free bottle of water." Since I'm ethically opposed to bottled water, it didn't seem like great compensation.
However, we discovered the premium seats included a meal served on real plates with real cutlery. The meals were adequate and I like to refer to them as our "$150-each-meals."
We ate a lot of great food on the island and I rated the best from Thai Pinto in Chemainus. Try the place if you are ever in the area. There was plenty for leftovers the next day. (Note to self: google how to make carrot flowers so as to impress the grandkids.)
Some of our meals and all of our coffee shop excursions included Scrabble. Here are our morning crepes at Ironworks Crepery in Ladysmith.
Vacations are fun. Coming home isn't bad either. Until next time, Chemainus.