Monday, December 17, 2007

Sometimes Life's Like That - A Weekend in Victoria

I was really looking forward to my weekend in Victoria, brought there for a two day clinic unrelated to Vingo. Unfortunately, things didn't all turn out the way I had hoped.

It started when we got to the hotel and realized I had forgotten my suitcase at home. I remembered everything else, laptop, camera bag, hockey gear, rubber boots, raincoat, spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch. Wouldn't you know it? So instead of catching the last of the daylight at the inner harbour as we had planned, we had to get to the mall for a change of underwear, socks and a shirt for the evening's revelry.

Things didn't get better once I checked into the City Centre Traveller's Inn to find I couldn't get my wireless internet connectivity up. The front desk couldn't help and reminded me they can only guarantee that I can log on, connectivity is another matter beyond their in control. The hotel's in the middle of some badly needed renovations and there was minor mess and chaos about. We were in a hurry to hit the town and I decided to just take my lumps and check out the next day for something better.

I wanted to try the Caribbean restaurant, The Reef, due to their very creative and exciting website. Fun atmosphere, good music, service, and the food was very satisfying. I had Jamaican jerk chicken and some delicous prawns. Well worth a visit.

Then on to an early evening house party, and from there to the Fox Lounge 'showroom'. Showroom is a fancy word for strip bar. Strip bars have changed, at least around here. and the place was jumping with young people, couples and groups of partiers here as a saucy prelude to the rest of their night. Upstairs is the V Lounge, a very tasteful dance club full of good looking UVIc students and such. I've enjoyed dancing here in the past, be we headed instead from the peelers to the gay bar, Prism, on Johnson Street, a favorite destination of my travelling companion. Is was alright, the music wasn't loud enough and there wasn't much atmosphere but who can complain about drinking and dancing with a gaggle of lesbians.

I got my 6:45 am wakeup Saturday morning and spent the day at a hockey coaching clinic, stopping to lunch at Maude Hunter's pub on Shelbourne St. Typical pub food and the beer was good. I missed my chance to check out of the hotel, rushed as I was in the morning, not to mention that my travelling companion got lucky the night before and probably wouldn't be back in time for checkout time to pick up her stuff.

That evening, after a much needed nap, I headed to Swan's, a spectacular boutique art hotel with a brewpub and bistro, set in what amounts to an art gallery containing some 1600 pieces from the founder, Michael Williams Legacy Collection. Kudos to them for not having any TV's in the bar, however I was hoping to watch the hockey game and so headed around the corner to the first pub I could find.

Steamers was dead at 7:00 pm, everyone still busy doing their Christmas shopping, but the game was on, the wings were hot and the beer was cold. A longtime live music venue, Steamers is set to close its doors for good. Pretty tired from the previous night's excess, I headed back to my bleak hotel room to watch the 3rd period in bed. Even the TV picture was awful, there were stains on the ceiling, and the ice machine was broken. I complained to the front desk and gave them an opportunity to peace me off and comp a night, but no luck. The hotel's only saving grace is its budget price, walk-in availability, and proximity to downtown. Next time I'll spend the extra money.

Another 6:45 am wakeup and off to the rink. By the time we finished at noon, I was hungry. I considered driving 20 minutes into the city for lunch and some shopping, or 20 minutes to the Malahat Mountain Inn and onwards home. I chose the Malahat. It boasts some very well-done local artisan decor and a decent menu, but the biggest appeal is the view, perched on a cliff overlooking Finlayson Arm between the main island and the Saanich Peninsula. Nice but not too bourgeois, the Inn features accomodations as well as the restaurant.

There were a hundred other things I could have done bewteen Vic and home in Parksville, bungee jumping, gallery browsing, kayaking, shopping and more eating, but I had a family to get back to.

For more Vancouver Island travel and eco-tourism info and websites visit a hand-indexed directory of Victoria hotels, Duncan restaurants, Tofino whale watching, Port Alberni fishing and more

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Englishman River Falls Video Near Parksville, Vancouver Island, BC

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park and campground, located in Errington on Vancouver Island BC, the park features vehicle access camping and many trails around the river, the waterfalls feature an 85 foot and a 20 foot drop. Brought to you by, your Vancouver Island eco-tourism directory and resource.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New technology unstalls the blogspot

The blog's been stalled these past months due to the fact I wrecked both my video and still camera towards the end of the summer. While I've been doing as much travelling on the Island as ever, I had no flash to back up my stories. Now, with two new cameras and a renewed energy, I look forward to showing off my Island and my website,, a sleek and powerful Vancouver Island eco-tourism website. Here are some recent photos and videos of Rathtrevor Park, Nootka Sound, Englishman River Falls and more.

Here an ironic look at Vancouver Island Winter, 4-5 inches of fluffy white snow one day, washed away by torrential rains 24 hours later.

And here's a look at the Tofino surf from last summer, a gorgeous panoramic view of the Long Beach coastline at Pacific Rim National Park. That was my old camera and you can see the light meter failing.