How many of my posts have begun with "I had a job in..." or variations thereof? At any rate, last month I had a job in Washington state, on Whidbey Island to be precise. Whidbey Island is a lovely place, but to hell with that. I was there to work. The good stuff came up during the two days I had off. Julie came along with me for the fun of course, and so we took a couple of ferry rides and found ourselves in Victoria, British Columbia! Pictured above as below is the iconic harbor view of the Empress Hotel. I guess it's pretty or something.
The big red tree is a Madrona tree. They were everywhere from Whidbey Island to Canada. I am developing a thing for trees with pretty colors. Anyway, we didn't ferry the car all the way to Canada, so we had roughly 24 hours to hoof it around town. The harbor area is like one of those Richard Scarry kids' books; it's so freaking cute you want to strangle a puppy or something. The inner harbor, consisting of downtown, houseboats, promenades, and general touristy orgasmology, is apparently the only official seaplane port in North America.
It is also one of the most-walkable cities anywhere ever of all damn time because it's so damn precious. But just in case you get tired of circumnavigating the harbor to get from cute point A to point cute B, they have various taxi boot, er, heh heh, taxi BOAT services for your convenience.
I stopped taking pictures of gimmicky street buskers a long time ago, because invariably when you see one that you think is awesome, original, and hilarious, you soon discover that in fact it is only the latest trend, and you'll begin to see the same gimmick everywhere you go and people who take tourist pictures of "oh my gawsh isn't that CLEVER?!" buskers wind up looking like complete idiots. I got burned by those damn statuesque buskers that way back in the day. Those chumps are everywhere, including Victoria. Having said that, here's the coolest busker I ever saw.
I took a few pictures of him that technically had better composition, but there's something about his jaunty dark-sidey pose and flippantly flapping cape that make this one my favorite. So here's the same picture blacked and whited up because I can't decide.
So town was cute, food was delicious. They have this thing called Poutine... it's essentially just cheese and gravy fries but they use cheese curds instead of meltish provolone or mozzarella and it's pretty awesome. They also have a fried dough thing they like, but they do it with garlic instead of sugar and it's awesome too; Lungosh. Anyway, to make sure that we did something besides eat local oddities and take pictures of next-year's busker has-beens, we decided to go for a morning boat ride.
So it's really an Orca. There are a bunch of whale-watching outfits that set up shop around Victoria harbor that take you out on various types of boats in an effort to see killer whales. They weren't extremely positive about our chances of seeing one that day because it had been about three days since they'd had any indication that any Killer Whales were paying any attention to the finer points of their contracts. So we opted for what is known as a zodiac boat: I guess various Navies use them in order to transport one or nine navy dudes somewhere fast. We wanted to sit in the front so we'd have the best view, and our zodiac pilot thought it was funny, because people who sit in the front of these things get slapped down on the water pretty hard about every three seconds.
That's a competing Killer Whale watch zodiac boat. It's funny; when we were trying to decide which company to go with, all of them said they had the best guides and pilots and highest Orca-sighting stats, but when someone spotted T-103 (the designation for our particular lone Orca), the dudes piloting the zodiacs for all the different companies got on the cb radio and told each other where it was at, and pretty soon about 6 zodiacs and 2 or 3 deluxe whale watching boats (without the slap-happy bows, and offering hot chocolate and bathrooms) all showed up to get in my way. So they're all in cahoots and their propaganda is mere marketing, is what I'm saying.
Trailer park Orca! Well that's the best shot I got of him. He was totally on the hunt, and not interested in the slightest in doing any fabulously picturesque leaps for us. Pretty cool though. After we got tired of the awesome wonders of nature and blah blah blah, our zodiac pilot took us to a secret spot that only he knows about and that no one else knows about and yeah yeah yeah right buddy. Anyway, harbor seals!
That's B.C. parliament. We had a day in Seattle before we flew back home, and other than getting to hang out with an old Garmisch friend, I decidedly have nothing much to say about Washington. I mean, we were excited because pot's legal there now, but turns out it's not officially legal until December or something. So no over the counter for us. Not that I'm particularly interested in partaking; I'm more just curious about whether or not I'll go insane and start snorting broken glass and heroin if I start a life of the pot addiction, you know?