Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Miss Coffee Crisp Bars!

Just got home from ten exciting days in British Columbia! What an amazing place! It has everything: beautiful mountains, gorgeous beaches, peaceful forests, and fun cities.

We saw totem poles in Stanley Park and in Victoria, visited the aquarium, Science World, and several museums, and took an amazing wildlife tour. (I guess it's clear now why Super and Dude completed a Canadian unit study in October!)

It was fun to watch the sea planes take off and land.

We got to feed Schoona, the green sea turtle. She was rescued in the chilly waters near Prince Rupert. She probably rode a warm current that took her way off course on her way to Hawaii! Luckily, the Canadian Coast Guard spotted her and brought her to the aquarium.

And here's Izzy, the Stellar sea lion. Look at those cute whiskers! Izzy is part of a fascinating scientific study. The Stellar sea lion population is dropping dramatically, and marine biologists at the aquarium are studying the problem. We learned that the sea lions need lots calories to survive and reproduce, and salmon is the most nutritious food for them. Unfortunately, salmon populations are also declining.

Speaking of calories, we treated ourselves to lots of candy bars that they don't sell in the States. (Hey, it's important to experience the culture when you're traveling, right?) Super and Dude prefer Aero Bars. Dad liked Maltesers and Mr. Big. I liked Maltesers, too. And Coffee Crisp!

Here's the sunset at English Bay...

...and the Sun Yat Sen Garden.

The Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC has a blue whale skeleton! It's so big, the building had to be specially designed with a huge room and tall ceiling just to display it!

The Beaty museum also has lots of Victorian nature collections. Apparently, doing amateur nature studies was all the rage in Victorian times. These bird eggs were part of someone's living room display. Good thing we can just take pictures today!

Did you know people can use different lichens to dye yarn?

The Anthropology Museum displays amazing art from Coastal First Nations.

This is a giant three-car rolling sugar bowl! It's big enough for a person to sit in. It was used at potlatches to bring gifts of sugar to esteemed guests. The tongue is a giant wooden spoon!

We took a wildlife tour and saw sinister-looking jellies floating by.

Look at the creepy tentacles on this one!

We passed a rowdy gang of Stellar sea lions. We didn't feed these--but they look pretty well fed already!

And we saw humpbacks!!!!! Two of them, swimming together, surfacing every 5 or 6 minutes. They were so massive--by the time you see the little dorsal fin sticking up, most of the whale has already gone by!

We would have enjoyed the boat ride anyway, but seeing whales was definitely a highlight!

This was my third trip to Canada, and I can't wait to go back. There are so many beautiful places to see and fun things to do! Also, at least in my experience, Canadians display the kind of civility and politeness that America is so often missing these days.

Maybe it's just too cold there, but I have to say that I didn't see a single person, male or female, wearing their pants in a way that showed their underwear. I watched the CBC news several times and never heard anyone yell at anyone else. People still bother to say "Excuse me," or "Sorry," when they bump into you, and they kindly offer directions to lost tourists. Most of all, Canadians will actually ALLOW YOU TO MERGE INTO TRAFFIC WHEN YOUR LANE IS ENDING. I'm not kidding! This didn't happen just once or twice, but every single time I needed to change lanes. Here's a big thank-you wave, Canada!


Julie Ann said...

A few random comments:

I am so envious you got to go whale watching. I would love that.

Aero bars are available at Cost Plus World Market (just north of Southwest Plaza and west of Sunflower Market).

How awesome of you to give a thank you wave to Canada. The thank you wave, I tell Zoe frequently, is part of the glue that holds society together.

The Adventurer said...

What a fantastic trip. I have been to Hawaii twice and still haven't seen a whale:( The only place in Canada I have been is Toronto to the Hockey Hall of Fame. My husband is a huge hockey fan:) When we get back to the states we will definitely be heading to Canada.

Can't say enough about the Piano program we are using My kids are really playing songs and practice on their own. We move on to reading notes in the next book probably after Christmas.

Karen said...

I'm Canadian by birth, only naturalized these ten years past in fact and with relatives in at least four provinces, and I just LOVE this post.

You've captured the very essence of Canadians, who put civility at the forefront of daily life, and also have a lot of cool stuff to do.

And eat! Coffee Crisps are favorites in our family, as are Canadian Smarties, which are like M&Ms. Only far, far better :-)

Denise said...

One of my plans is to go whale watching! My kids have wanted to do it for so long! Canada has so much beauty and wildlife- we plan to explore there some day. Currently we have only seen the boring parts as we are only about 30 minutes from Windsor (sorry Windsor...)