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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Weekend Escape - Day 1

I live by the firm belief that there are two ways to deal with problems. You can either face them head on OR you can run far far away as fast as possible. I often choose the latter which explains my lack of confrontation skills and inability to cope with conflict. It also explains why I spend lots of time not at home. My go-to retreat is a lovely home on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. My dearest Auntie Nadine and Uncle Owen call this place home where as I call it my personal B&B. Their home is a safe haven for me where I can just relax, be me, and leave all my worries 176 miles away. It’s just a short drive, ferry ride, and another drive away. From beginning to end, my weekend escapes inevitably are blog-worthy, so here I go.

My Weekend Escape - Day 1:
I hit the road after leaving work around noon. Headed north, I made a quick stop for lunch in Mill Creek and continued on. There was little traffic and I was making good time. I quite enjoy the drive to the border. It’s all very picturesque with the fields and mountains and trees and lakes as it reminds me that country really isn't too far from the city. I passed the time with a phone date with Stacy and eventually reached the border.

Now, a quick word about the border. I quite enjoy going through because 1.) I'm so close to Canada I can see it, 2.) Without fail, I get asked the same questions (where do I live, purpose of my trip, destination, duration of stay, what do I do for a living, where do I work and is the car mine?) so I'm never really nervous like some people get and 3.) I'm always interested about what border patrol officer I'll get. I find that occupation so fascinating I wish I could talk to a border patrol agent and just quiz about crazy stories. As I approached the booth I saw the border patrol officer was a rounder, 35ish gentleman with a friendly yet serious and dry disposition. He asked the purpose of my trip to which I replied, "visiting my aunt." At the end of the standard questions, he threw in the "What will you and your aunt be doing?" I inadvertently chuckled out loud and response with, "You never know." He handed me back my passport and with a sly smile said, "Lucky aunt." I nervously smiled back and drove away. As I'm pulling away, I think, "Did that border patrol agent just hit on me?" And the answer is yes. God Bless Canada. That totally makes up for the homeless guy that called Chester and I "Skanky Bitches" in the tunnel not 6 hours prior.

Onward to the ferry, through Vancouver, and to the terminal. We had a smooth sailing, minus the late departure. I have great memories of that ferry ride but it is also the part of the trip when you realize you are so close yet still have a bit of a ways to travel before getting to the final destination. Since the ferry left late there was a weird timing situation with Auntie Nadine and Uncle Owen and getting me fed (clearly very important). Nadine is kind of a big deal in town so she phoned MaMa's (A little restaurant in town) and asked if Paulette (the owner) would stay open for me as the ferry was late and I hadn't eaten. In true coastal hospitality she stayed open until I arrived just in time to scarf down a Panini and run off to the evening's festivities.

We head over to the Artesia Coffehouse/Art Gallery (which oddly enough wasn't serving coffee, only herbal teas and apple cider) to have an evening watching local musicians perform. I sipped on hot apple cider and partook in the evening of music and revelry. The line up started with Metomorphosis, a trio of young ladies (still in high school I presume) who did great renditions of "Warwick Avenue" and "Strawberry Wine." They were followed up by a French Canadian guitarist and vocalist, Gaetan Begevin, has a vague likeness to Gerard Depardieu with longer thinning hair and his shirt unbuttoned one button too far. Nonetheless he was a good vocalist and guitarist who did a great cover of The Animals, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." The third act consisted of 2 soprano saxophonists who felt the need to "improvise" for 15 minutes, of which sounded more like barnyard animals wailing on New Year's Eve, but then again, I prefer music that generally has rhythm, a melody, a harmony, or any other such "generics." I'm sure they are very talented. Lastly, and the best was definitely saved for last, was this great 5 person band called "Sweet Cascadia." Consisting of a guitarist/harmonica player, bass cellist, banjo, and couple folks on the percussion/back-up vocalists - totally rocked the house in the calmest tree hugging, granola-eating-sustainable-resource-using way. They sang about second-hand bikes, Wal-Mart (and keeping it out of their town), kingfishers, and they encouraged the audience to sing (which I heartily participated). They even got an encore which they seemed so surprise at that they were a loss of what to do with themselves. When all the acts where done, we helped clean up the place, put the chairs away and socialized with the locals, then headed home to call it a night.

At this point I've been up since 5:30 am, traveled several hundred miles and its now 11:00 pm. I'm exhausted but relaxed and calmly energized. Shockingly (ha!), Nadine and I always find the energy to chat and laugh more so we gathered in the living room and talked about music, French Canadians, learning languages, plans for the next day and other such irrelevant topics. Midnight roles around which obviously means one thing in this house: snack time. Owen runs down to the fridge and unwraps this smoked Gouda cheese (from the Okanogan in Washington) which tastes like bliss and we all chowed down on a midnight snack of cheese and rye bread. It was delicious and the most pleasant way to wrap of a lovely evening. I made my way to bed so excited to crawl in, read and fade into sleep.


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