Sunday, 17 April 2016

Ferry time again (or A brief escape from Helltown)

It’s time to leave this city for a while. I NEED to get out of the noise and exhaust stench of all the cars sitting in stop-and-go traffic.  Vancouver has become a giant parking lot. 
Now they're moving
Now they don't ;-(
Unfortunately, all of the parked cars have their engines running.  If you ever have wondered where all that exhaust gas goes, come to Vancouver and you not only will be able to smell it, it’s so bad you’ll be able to see it and feel it in your lungs and on your skin.  Yes, that’s right, if you hear about air quality problems having to do with ‘low level ozone’, what that really means and what no one will ever speak out loud is that your breathing is impeded by the result of an interaction between exhaust gases and sunlight; that’s how low level ozone is generated.  A term used by quite a lot of people in Vancouver now is “There’s no air in the air today”.  Ah well, go on, Vancouverites, keep on driving your cars and see how bad it will get.  But there is always China to point your finger at, so you don’t have to deal with the issue of how bad it has become where YOU live and breathe.

 Cycling to Horseshoe Bay, I have a reason to curse the Vancouver weather forecast again.  Sun was in the forecast; I’m being drizzled on.  This seems to have become standard in Vancouver. Not sure whether it’s the pollution or the weather forecasters having to beautify their forecast to satisfy their obligations for payments from real-estate developers, but Vancouver’s weather forecast notoriously paints a way too pretty picture. I’ve traveled quite a bit by now, and in most places the weather was actually nicer than the forecast. NOT in Vancouver. 
  I get to Horseshoe Bay and buy my ferry ticket with my Experience Ferry Card. I don’t know why car drivers keep whining about BC ferry prices.  A 40-minute ferry trip to Langdale AND the 40-minute return trip for me and the bicycle for CAD$ 12.40.   That’s GOOD value! Thank you, BC FERRIES. 

Within 10 minutes the fact that the bike is electric is noticed by two different people. A man with family comments “it’s a cheating bike” to which I reply “No, it’s a NO ferry wait bike”, to which he can only say “Sorry, I’m just jealous”.  I roll onto the ferry as the first vehicle and when I lean the bike against the designated railing, a BC Ferries worker says “Don’t lock it! I want to test ride it while you’re upstairs”, to which I can only say “Sorry, I’m taking the battery upstairs to charge it”.

I manage the remaining kilometers to Roberts Creek in record time (Brain surgery of the e-bike pays off big time) and am delighted to see that my hosts fulfilled my wish, namely hoisting a flag that I had ordered and delivered there for my arrival ;-)

 The rest of the day is filled with laughter, food, and good company. LIKE.

At 8 pm I call it a night.

Not really a surprise (because this happens every time I get out of Vancouver): I sleep for more than 10 hours. Gone is the sound of tires on asphalt, gone is the shaking of my bed every time a big bus or truck passes on the main road; gone is the appalling air that develops as soon as cars line up for Lions Gate Bridge. For me it's temporary (semi-permanent ;-(, but how can people live like that every day ?? 

Yes, I'm the fortunate one.

It takes me forever to get ready in the morning and part of the reason for that is that I only brought dirty laundry in my bike panniers.  Not entirely my fault, I was going to do laundry yesterday before my departure, was courteous to the two Asian kids cramped into the tiny laundry room of the motel by saying "take your time; I'll wait outside", only to find out that they separated their laundry into whites and darks and used BOTH washers.  Thanks a lot!

By 1 pm I get restless and have to hop onto the bicycle.  North!  It's not really sunny, more like sun-poking-thru-the-haze, but it's definitely better than yesterday. Davis Bay is always a nice spot to stop, even though I know that the fancy cloud layer formation on Vancouver Island south of Nanaimo is due to the giant pulp mill I cycled past almost exactly two years ago.

On to Sechelt, because there is a Vietnamese restaurant there that I haven't been to in almost two years. Again I just get a blank stare when I order ruou vang trang, a sign that I have to keep practicing if I ever want to drink white wine again in Vietnam.

Spicy and hot and sour mussels is the other thing I order.  It arrives, I take a bite/sip and CHAZZZAM, I am back in Vietnam.  The flavour! The Spices!  I hadn't realized of how much my tongue and tastebuds were deprived for the last two months!!

Koi. My lucky day?

A brief look at the amazing view from the houses of the Sechelt Band.

And a brief climb down to a beach close to Roberts Creek with the same Pulp-Mill view.
Super-Pulpy British Columbia !

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