A scribbled travelogue, II

Under normal circumstances I would agree that the journey taken is better than the destination reached. This, however, I do not believe could be termed a normal set of circumstances. Our flights home: a truly nasty bit of thunderstorm downdraft coupled with delayed flights and sleep deprivation. In my mind, those can't compare to a relatively normal vacation.

I am home. To prolong the quiet joy of recounting my vacation time, I am writing this entry with pen instead of keyboard, sprawled out on the couch. Stomach down, chin propped on left fist, I can rest my pen and close my eyes when yielding to the power of a still-fresh memory. I will translate these scribbles into typed words tomorrow afternoon and leave them as a fait accompli.

I have two rolls of vacation pictures to be developed. A few of the pictures from the first roll, I think, will be absolutely stunning. The Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry route holds no shortage of exquisitely powerful vistas—that, I should add, vistas that the 'native folk' routinely ignore.

The smaller islands are accessible only by boat or ferry. The houses face out, toward the water; roads appear to be almost nonexistent on the islands. The houses may as well have dragged themselves up from out of the water and left themselves sprawled gloriously on the beach; they certainly do not seem to have been built by means of roads. They are, I think, houses for people like myself—houses for people who are appreciative of human contact but yet have urges in their heart to live intentionally distant, quiet, remote. I understand the kind of person who would choose to live in such a place.

The landscape bears almost no resemblance to the landscapes I know from home: a rough, starkly beautiful set of juxtapositions. Water and rock, rock and snow, rock and sky, cloud and sand, sky and water. At home I could pick a scattering of these and see them individually in different places, but here in British Columbia they are thrown together into a landscape made beautiful precisely through its dissonance.

A simple thing, a ferry, but the differences between island and mainland are more than can be quantified by distance. Living on a piece of land reachable only by 1.5-hour ferry rides teaches a type of patience, slowness, relaxation, acceptance unseen on the mainland. No need to scurry off to the mainland for every little thing. Be patient, and go back only when you truly need to. It is a thoroughly different mode of thought, and one whose very alienness attracts me.

While on the island, I performed the required ablutions: the harbour, the walking, the rummaging-through of book / CD / assorted shops. We ate, we laughed, we saw Brad's apartment and met his girlfriend for the first time. We walked, we rested, we bickered and got over it, we danced …

So much to tell.

… for now, Jeff sleeps. It is 8:50 p.m., by my watch. Jeff crawled into bed, fully clothed, at 7:00 p.m. Since that hour I have occasionally heard his soft snoring coming from our bedroom, but other than those faint noises of breathing, he has made no sound nor movement this evening. He was unable to sleep on last night's planes, and that inability—plus jet lag—is catching up with him the day after we returned home.

In my memories, Vancouver is faster-paced than Victoria. More pedestrians, a different tempo, more definite delineations between neighborhoods. An hour's intense shopping with $40 in Vancouver's Punjabi Market purchased me a few lengths of silk, which I shall make into various bits of clothing.

As I write, I hold one of those in my hand; the seven-yard bolt of tan silk, delicate, strong, soft. I first held it up in the crammed shop and could not imagine what I would do with it, only that I must have take it home with me so that when the inspiration came, I would not regret having left it behind, unbought, in Vancouver.

I lean toward having a dress made from it; something softly skirted, comfortable, and elegant. For now, my cats sniff it warily, trusting their noses to know that this piece of cloth does not come from home, but instead some faraway place that they do not understand or recognize.

Tenzing suspects it would make an excellent kitty bed; I must convince him otherwise.

Next up: airport thoughts, the variegation of humans, and whatever else my pen produces.