Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Convocation Vacation

After my graduation we went on a mini vacation with our American friends. Here's a brief summary in photos of where I went.

The Legislature
We went on a free tour of the Legislature. On our way there we saw a wedding party with all of the men dressed in bright red turbans and the women in maroon saris and gossamer veils. We also ran into Matthew "The Hanging Judge" Begbie and Sir James Douglas outside. They thought we were inappropriately dressed and asked if we were convicts. This picture is the inside of the dome. That's real gold by the way.

The Legislative Chamber

This is where the provincial government and opposition meet to pass and discuss bills. The Speaker sits on the throne-like chair and mediates between the two. Something I found interesting is that the width of the aisle, separating the government and the opposition is two sword lengths because back in the day men brought their swords to work with them. (It's sad that today's workforce hasn't upheld this tradition). It was to keep them from cutting each other up.

Coat of Arms

This is BC's coat of arms in stained glass. The latin means "Splendour without Diminishment". Notice that there is a rose for England, a thistle for Scotland, clover for Ireland and daffodils in the background for Wales. The Union Jack is in the middle with the sun over it. This is where the designer made a mistake. The saying goes that the sun never set on the British Empire but here it looks like it's setting. The elk and the bighorn sheep symbolize the joining of two colonies to form British Columbia. They were originally the Colony of Vancouver Island and the Colony of British Columbia.

Cowichan Bay

This is a sleepy fishing town we visited on our drive. We walked out on the docks and saw a gigantic wooden pleasure boat being restored. A number of boats were in dry dock being repaired and a whole host of boats were bobbing in the bay.

True Grain Bakery

We stepped into True Grain Bakery to get something sweet for lunch. You could smell fresh baked goods from outside so you can't even imagine the intoxicating scents mingling in the air when we stepped inside. It was warm and cozy and you could tell it was a regular hang out for locals. They were seated in worn chairs, nursing mugs of coffee. A couple of mouth watering choices later we were back on the road.

The Searcher

We arrived in Chemainus, home of world famous murals and while walking around I spotted this man. It seemed a strange place to put a statue and I can only wonder at what he's looking at. If there had been a way to get up there and peek through his telescope I would have.

Anchors Away!

After spotting a pair of hummingbirds and an inn that looked like castle I found this piece of art masquerading as someone's fence. I love how the light shines through the cutouts.

Albert Einstein?

This is one of the murals I found. I can't decide if it's Albert Einstein with a feminine haircut or a woman with an Einstein moustache? What do you think?

World War One at Canada Post

I really liked this mural because of the combined elements. As well I have connections to WWI so this had special meaning for me. If you ever get the chance to drive up island do stop in Chemainus. Every time you turn around you see a new mural and it seriously discourages graffiti.

The Crow and Gate

Our next stop was for lunch at an English Pub called The Crow and Gate. It's a ways off the beaten path but well worth the drive. It sits behind this pond covered it lily pads and you have to walk under an arbor to get to the front door. An arbor! Once inside there's lots of old memorabilia and tons of coasters tacked to the ceiling from all over the world. You have to seat yourself and grab your own utensils. Then you order at the bar and bring your own meal and drinks over. I've never been so happy to serve myself food. It had a cozy atmosphere but it lacked the low ceilings and the roaring fire I'd always imagined in my head when I thought about English pubs. Of course there are building codes about minimum ceiling heights and a fire wouldn't be very cost effective in summer.

The Frog Prince

This guy was sunning himself on the lawn as we left. He was completely unafraid of me and even seemed to want to have his picture taken. Feisty little fella.

The Black Swan

And then comes the pretty boy of my vacation. He was gobbling up as much grass as his long neck could reach, the greedy pig. When we got too close he arched his neck and spread out his back wings. I think they'd been clipped or else he'd been in one crazy fight. He was aggressive but isn't he a beauty?


This is my favourite shot in the whole bunch. We were able to stay at my aunt's condo for a day. You can usually walk out about a mile to reach water and that weekend it was record low tides. My mom and I walked out, wading in pools warm as bathwater. If you do come here and want to go waiting be prepared for mudskippers. Every step brings them darting out of their holes.


I've been coming to Parksville for a long time and I've never seen one of these guys on the beach. Fortunately he was in a pool and so safe from drying out. We managed to also save a starfish from the beach and I tried to avoid stepping on the piles of sand dollars. We had a tasty dinner, a fire and watched "Superman", a movie out American friends had apparently never seen. Yeah I know, how does that happen?

Cathedral Grove

The next day we drove up to Cathedral Grove. It's a really pretty old growth forest along the highway. This is my artsy shot of the group. I have no idea what plant this is but by the time I left I'd gotten my dad to identify pretty much everything I saw.

Nurse Log

Okay so this is another artsy shot. I love the perspective here. When dead trees fall down and rot, they become great places for new plants and trees to grow. As it decays it provides nutrients and the hollows gather moisture and other detritus like soil and needles.

Organic Motherboard

I promise this is my last artsy shot. We crossed the road and saw a ton of trees that had fallen over, their shallow root system like a woven carpet. Worms left an artistic texture to the wood and I couldn't help myself.

Goats on the Roof, Say What?

On our way back down the highway we stopped in Coombs. Not only is the place a tourist trap but there are also goats on the roof. Let me explain. There's grass on the roof and what's cheaper than a natural lawnmower? If you stop here you must have ice cream. You must. It's the law. Really.

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