Wed. Aug. 26, 2015:
Vancouver to Victoria:
I grabbed a coffee and some mini muffins from the hotel for the walk over to the bus terminal which was at the train station. This time the walk was much easier, as it was downhill. Our tickets warned that we should show up at least 30 minutes early. This was unnecessary and showing up 5 minutes early worked out perfectly. We were taking a coach bus to a ferry terminal to get to Victoria, BC. The bus went through a tunnel that had a sign banning people from wearing sunglasses. It makes perfect sense but still it made me giggle. We were unsure of the exact process of getting to Victoria. I did not expect the coach bus to drive right onto the ferry, dropping us off in the cargo bay. As it turned out the ferry not in downtown Victoria, so we would have to board the bus again in an hour and a half.
There were annoying people cramming into the elevator and yelling to each other as if it was the end of the world and all 6 of them had to be in this elevator, god forbid they split up or wait for the next one. We had all of our bags with us and I did not feel like going to the open deck. I found a comfy window seat and dug in for the long haul with all our bags. I arranged them so I could put my feet up. It was great, sitting there staring out the window at the passing landscape and listening to podcasts. My peace was soon broken as we had to get back on the coach bus. It was odd to be sitting on a coach bus in a cargo bay. I was getting antsy, this was not helped when a baby started crying.
The bus station in Victoria was across the street from the Royal BC Museum but we had to backtrack to the hotel first to drop off our bags. As it turned out, the place that Brent had decided on for dinner was connected to our hotel and we got a discount there. We had a nice little hotel room that got a million bonus points for having a stovetop and a kettle. This almost made up for the lack of a/c and no screens in the windows. The Royal BC Museum was much smaller than what I had anticipated. I was expecting a huge museum like the Royal Ontario Museum. They had an interesting exhibit about the BC gold rush. Apparently there was a lot I had not known. There were no dinosaur bones. The last exhibit we saw was more geared towards children with a lot of recreated spaces from the turn of the century, interactive gold panning and pop culture objects.
I had grabbed a tourist map from the hotel front desk and circled a bunch of things I wanted to see. Thankfully we were in Canada now, so we could supplement the tourist map with our phones. The British Columbia legislature was next door to the museum. Unfortunately the sun was right behind it, making it difficult to photograph and to appreciate the architecture. Making things even worse, I had not brought my sunglasses because when we checked the weather it said it would be cloudy all day. Cloudy my foot, my fried retinas beg to differ. I was starting to get hangry as we meandered along a waterfront path through marinas on our way to Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a very inefficient path, they could have built a bridge instead of making us go up to the main road and then back down into the next marina. It was in complaining (and swearing) about this inefficiency that I realized how bad my hanger was getting. In my notebook it says “yeesh” referring to it.
Fisherman’s Wharf turned out to be a few restaurants and houseboats. At the end of the dock there was a hilarious sign that said, “if you are past this point you are in the ocean.” Knowing that we still had a 20 minute walk ahead of us to lunch, I remedied my hanger with chocolate soft serve from the ice cream shop. When I ordered I said “small” to save face, but this was all ruined when he called out my order, “kiddie size.” We took a more direct route to Red Fish, Blue Fish: a taco stand in a repurposed steel shipping container. We walked right by and did not realize, the directions could have been clearer. We had to go down a set of stairs to a marina to get there. We were hungry and this place was apparently really good. We ordered one of each type of hand-rolled fish taco for a total of five: grilled salmon, tuna, tempura fish, jerk fish and another iteration of salmon. They were all really good and it was difficult to rank them, there was a lot of hemming and hawing. We finished all but one and ate that one as we walked.
On the map I had seen another nearby point of interest: Bastion Square. We walked through it and I did not understand for the life of me why it was a POI. It was just a few restaurant patios and cobblestones. It was nothing special. Up next was Canada’s oldest Chinatown. We walked down one side of the street, dipped into an alley, crossed the street and walked back to the main arches. It was nice to see, but not that many shops and not very busy. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at Starbucks. When we ordered the tacos I had made the mistake of not ordering soda and I was feeling dehydrated, I was in desperate need of a green tea lemonade. Afterwards we walked through Centennial Square. Apparently there was a fringe theatre festival happening because the square was packed. There was an annoying guy in a spacesuit on a unicycle and I wanted to get away from there and fast.
We stopped at TD bank so I could get coins for Sunday (I did not enjoy this reminder of the real world, having to think about being back home and doing laundry). I was exhausted by the time we were back in the hotel. I wasted time on the iPad while drinking tea. I was desperate for some nice products from LUSH. My face had layers on sunburn on it and now it was starting to get dry and peely. It was a truly awful feeling. As it turned out there was a LUSH nearby and Brent was in need of restocking his beer supply. Having rested a little, we headed back out. On the way to LUSH we passed a liquor store, rather than having to walk to the one Brent had Googled, we checked out this one to save us a trip. The stock was amazing, I found two different BC ciders. It felt so good to buy a massage bar from LUSH, I also got free samples of hair product and a lotion for Brent’s sunburnt neck. We saw the best passive-aggressive mad kid of all time, she was walking really slow, little shuffles and with every step she stuck her tongue out.
The first of my two ciders, Tod Cider (fermented apples and sulphites said the ingredients list) was terrible. It had a funny aftertaste. Thankfully Firefly and Futurama on Netflix were enough to distract me. Instead of cracking open another drink we headed downstairs to the Argyle Attic. On the website the menu had listed perogies, but they were nowhere to be found when we got there. Instead I ordered the whisky-BBQ chicken wings. Thankfully they do half-orders and so it was the perfect amount of food, as we were still full from the tacos earlier. I decided to change it up from ciders to cocktails. The first one had Old Dad bourbon and a locally-made cola. The second one had Okanagan (local-ish?) peach vodka in it. I did not even know that Okanagan peaches were a thing. The restaurant was really busy and the service was slow, but we had been forewarned so it was OK. At least the drinks arrived fairly quickly. There was no way we would be ordering dessert, partly because had already eaten so much and partly the slow service.