Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bye-bye Canada... *sniff, sniff* but... *Arnie voice* we'll be back!

We spent our last few days in Canada just chilling out in Comox. I really liked the place. Back when I was single, I thought I'd die in a place that didn't have at least 5 shopping malls and a big modern bookstore. But now that I'm married and am expecting a little boy, my priorities have changed when it comes to picking a place to live. I'm thinking more of education and prospects for my little one, I'm thinking of how safe the place can be and whether he'll be able to get out on his bike and go riding for fun as I did as a child. Comox is a small town and when I see tons of kids out playing footie, riding bikes or skateboarding and looking healthy and bright, I thought it would be a great place to raise our little one. Plus, Mt Washington is just half an hour away and we can take him snowboarding in the winter. Dear Hubby enjoys snowboarding, I've already declared I want to learn and if we're doing it, the little one's coming along!

We stayed in a friend's family cabin just along the beach. It's so cool to have the beach as your backyard! (Click here for a view of the backyard) The only disadvantage is that in the winter, the waves crashing up on the beach erodes your property and I saw many people who've had to reinforce their backyards with stone walls to stop the erosion.

We visited all of Dear Hubby's old friends and caught up on the news. At the Everetts, we got to sample grilled elk! God, it was delicious!!! Len is a hunter and the family doesn't buy any meat because he hunts enough to feed them all year long. His freezer is like a safari - it has elk, deer, moose, wild salmon... stuff you don't exactly find at the butcher's. I thought Len was just fascinating, he's so skillful that he goes hunting for deer with bow and arrow and at the same time, he sits on the board of some Canadian animal conservation programme. Len is no killer. He clearly respects nature and his skill is used just to feed his family, just as generations of men before him did.

It was summertime, so everyone had their barbies out and I thoroughly enjoyed it. At the McMahons', hummingbirds joined us... not on the barbie! They had a bird feeder out and we enjoyed seeing those speedy birds zoom in and out. They're highly territorial, one red bird was fiercely fighting everyone else away. It was great just sitting outdoors where it's not too hot/cold and sipping drinks, the barbie's on and the view is of Mt Washington.

We spent quite a bit of time at the McMahons'. You see, the cabin had no satellite tv and we were desperate to catch the Euro 2008 matches which were usually on at 11am. LOL So we'd turn up, watch perhaps one half and then say our goodbyes. Dear Hubby took me up to Mt Washington but we couldn't go up to the summit before the ski rides weren't functioning yet. Still, I had a lot of fun because there was snow on the ground and I jumped right in to play. Hey... I don't know when's the next time I get to see snow as our trips tend to be in the summer/spring, so I'd better make the most of it while I can!

We took walks down to Comox Harbour where I stupidly dropped one of Dear Hubby's precious filters down to the rocks and he had to climb down and get it. I clutched the camera very tightly to my chest after that. We also made day trips to Courtenay, a neighbouring town where we bought yet another bag of cherries for me and other groceries. Dear Hubby was very stern this time, strictly rationing my daily intake of cherries saying that I would be sick on cherries if he didn't do it. I hate it when he's right.

What a beautiful part of the world this is. BC has a pretty mild climate compared with the interiors of Canada, so it's a lot easier to live in. I really like Canadians too, they're friendly, they're open, they're polite and they're really nice! Plus Canadian lads are really good-looking! (Canadian lasses are just as smashing!) Most of them were tall, lean and looked like they'd benefited from a lifetime of hiking and climbing. When I think about most of the UK lads I saw (white, pasty, with a defensive, dour look from under their hoodies like they'd been grumpy from standing too long in the dole line), I think I'd rather raise my little boy as a Canuck.

It was with deep regret that we packed up and left Comox on Sunday morning. Sigh... But then, there's the promise of a Bill Frisell concert that night in Vancouver for us, so I was pretty excited. But guess what??? He cancelled!!! I was so depressed, I'd been really looking forward to seeing him and we'd actually extended our trip by a day to catch him. Poop. So instead of enjoying his concert, we took a drive through Stanley Park . The more I see of healthy Canadians biking and jogging in parks, the more I want to live here.

Anyway, our last day in Vancouver wasn't all spoiled. We got to spend the afternoon going up Grouse Mt. Here I go again, going up cable cars to mountains! But this cable car was pretty big and stable and I had no problems at all. Up at the summit, there was.. yep.. snow. LOL I've never seen this stuff in my life and in the past two weeks, I've seen more than I ever thought I would. Grouse Mt is also home to two grizzly bears who were rescued by the park rangers. I think one was injured and the other was orphaned, so the park raised them and now they're the star attractions. Up close, you realise what a big powerful animal this is, just look at those claws! Yikes. Don't wanna be meeting one in the campsite.

The next day, we packed everything up and said our reluctant goodbyes. The good news is, there's every indication Dear Hubby wants to return, perhaps in the winter when Little Monkey is old enough to walk and be strapped onto a snowboard. Hehe.

The 18hr flight back to Singapore wasn't too bad and we sat next to a volunteer teacher who was on her way to Uganda for a 10-month voluntary stint at a school there. She told us that she picked the cheapest flight she could find and has another 22 hours more of flight time before she reaches Uganda. Made me feel small for whining about my 18-hr flight!

Bye Canada... I really enjoyed it. It was a pretty expensive holiday but I have to say, we had so much fun and now we've got lots of great memories. I'm really looking forward to bringing my little boy back there!

Our thanks to: the MacDonald family, the Everett family, the McMahon family, the Clement family, the Martin family and all the kind Canadians who made our stay so enjoyable, especially those two skateboarders who stopped for me at the traffic light in downtown Vancouver even though they had right of way, thanks guys!

Me at 21 weeks preggers on Comox Beach:

Me in front of Douglas firs in Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island. We stopped here on our way to Comox. Behind me is an 800-year-old fir that's still standing and growing. I'm 5'4", so I think the diameter of the trunk must have been at least 60ft. Don't ask me how high it was, I have no idea.. my neck couldn't crane enough for me to see!

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