miriam and i went on a little weekend jaunt to victoria, on vancouver island. it was very pleasant. lots of tea drinking and beautiful views. particularly lots of beautiful trees - we went walking in beacon park and found lots of garry oaks, which look like this:
and three whole gum trees! i was very excited and a bit homesick - it was the first gum trees i've seen in over a year, except for one sad looking tree in london, and oh, i miss them. they smell so good! i responded to my discovery in the only sensible way:
this is one of the gumtrees all mixed up with the arbutus tree next to it. arbutus is a local coastal tree, with red twisty limbs somewhat like a gum tree, but with very different leaves. see the beautiful melding of cultures!
mmm, so the trees were good, and i did a lot of window shopping and some actual shopping (very bad, so poor again, but there were such pretty things and good books). this is munro's book shop. i spent a lot of time there:
victoria is very pretty in general, a bit ye olde, but not tacky. vancouver seems like a very young city in comparison (and in comparison to melbourne - it's the lack of sandstone what does it).
this is a very old chinese cemetery, out by the sea. very peaceful.
if you were able to look off the left of this picture you could see america's shores looming in the distance. victoria is actually south of the mainland border. most odd. thus:
(on my last trip i was way up near campbell river. next time i want to catch a ferry to seattle - it's very expensive but i think it'd be fun.)
oh, and you'll never guess what we saw from the ferry on the way over! whales! lots of whales! well, at least four, leaping out of the water. they were orcas, with pointy black fins. i didn't have my camera out (too many tourists round, very embarrassing), but if i did take a photo it would have looked something like this photo which i stole from someone else's account of a trip to victoria: it was a world of exciting. later we got a very close view from a pier of a seal bobbing along the top of the water then diving under the water and swimming off slowly; a heron balancing on great piles of kelp watching for fish; a small black bird which dived under the water and swum for quite some time using its wings to move.
such a nice relaxing weekend. i think my favourite bit was when miriam, her friend j and i all went for a late night walk to the supermarket in toques and mittens then sat on the beach and ate icecream with take away chopsticks, looking at the sea and the sparkly lights of america on the other shore.
again it's a bit rough to be back. i'm still fighting with visa stuff (boring and stressful) and GRE stuff (not stressful enough, should be working harder) and phd stuff (likewise). i spent another day sitting in meetings and have signed myself up for various working committees, mainly union stuff. i've also been to a couple of dinner parties, which was fun, and one impromptu wine drinking night. i like having friends. puck (the human) is coming round for pizza tonight, which should be fun.