“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Vancouver & Vancouver Island, Canada

Getting to Alaska is a bit of a pain. I tried to stop off in Iceland, but that would cut into my Alaska time. It turned out, that the best way to get to Alaska (and be able to do the Inside Passage), was to fly to Vancouver. I booked my ticket on Sunday, to fly on Monday (a tricky thing to explain to customs in Canada!). 

I spent the night in Vancouver in the central YHA hostel, and had a glorious jog around the peninsula early Tuesday morning. Vancouver really is a great city – the psyche all along the West Coast reminds me of New Zealand. It was great to see all the cyclists, especially. Someone in a shop on Vancouver Island said that while Australia is like the US, New Zealand is like Canada. I thought it was an interesting comparison. I suppose, Australia is certainly more state-based and conservative in some ways, and there’s always the little brother complex that both Canada and New Zealand have.

I am always fascinated by the homeless people I see in Canada and the US -- this guy had a teddy bear that he was carrying. How can this happen in a functional society? Would it ever happen in New Zealand?

The other thing that absolutely shocked me were the bunnies on the University of Victoria campus -- they were everywhere. They are considered too cute to be removed and culled and animal rights advocates go nuts when anyone tries. I keep saying that they need a rabbit eating culture like Britain to ensure they all disappear. It's ridiculous because cats are kept inside, dogs are kept on a leash and so they have gone crazy without any predators.

Anyway, I visited Carole on Vancouver Island and she took me around Victoria – a beautiful city. See below for pictures of the harbor and the totems outside the fantastic museum. We also had a lovely lunch outdoors with atmospheric ivy leaves around us. The last picture is of the beaches with their amazing logs -- Carole said it's illegal to take wood from a beach now, but they were so large and there were so many of them, I was quite surprised.

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