Monday, July 19, 2010

The Trip West, part the third

I really didn't expect to be able to write this much while moving, but I must say, being able to write while staring out at tree covered mountains is truly an inspirational joy.

For those of you who are wondering, or mapping such things, I am currently sitting in Merritt, BC, getting ready to head into Vancouver this morning. From there, we will take the ferry across to our new home of Vancouver Island. Why Victoria is on Vancouver Island, I will never know. It seems to me that Vancouver should be on Vancouver Island, or perhaps that they should rename the island Victoria Island. Of course, if they went through the trouble of changing the name, I would expect them to pick something Aboriginal, which Victoria definitely isn't. Come to think of it, neither is Vancouver.

But before I continue on names, let me go back to the beginning of yesterday morning. After a mediocre breakfast (have you noticed that I don't plug any restaurants here? There's a reason.) we continued our drive west. I drove while Marielle and Shoghi ate in the car. You see, I got up a few hours earlier and had the dubious pleasure of eating in the little restaurant at the hotel we had stayed at. While they really knew how to make a good Ceasar salad (which I knew from the night before), they were singularly lacking in the breakfast department. And I just didn't feel like another Ceasar salad.

So there I was, driving, while they were eating, and I had little else to do but enjoy the scenery and the signs.

The signs?

Yes, the signs.

Sometimes I really have to wonder about signage, who designs them, and what they were thinking. For example, why do they have those little warning signs about falling rocks?

What can you, as a driver, possibly do about it if you see those rocks falling like that? Swerve? You'd go flying off a mountain! Or crashing into one, and then be covered by those same no-longer-falling rocks. Neither option is particularly good.

As Marielle said, "If it's so dangerous, why did they put the road there?"

Nice as it may seem to caution you about the fact that becoming a road pancake is possible while travelling in the mountains, it doesn't really seem to do much other than raising one's blood pressure, which may be concern for other difficulties.

Once their breakfast was finished, we pulled over and filled the tank with gas, which gave me the opportunity to grab a newspaper. Now I have to tell you, one of my vices is the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.

Oh, here's an aside: The NYT X-word puzzle. I love it. On a typical Sunday, or Saturday depending upon the newspaper, it takes me about an hour to finish it. There was the one memorable morning when I was sitting in a coffee shop and my dear friend Aaron Maciejko came by with  a buddy of his. He said to his friend, "Here watch this." Then he gave me the puzzle for the week. Without a word, I picked up my pen and wrote in the first clue, 1-across. Then I went to the next across clue and wrote that in. One by one, without any pause, I continued to fill in the first quarter of the puzzle, from top to bottom, and handed it back. His friend's eyes were agog. So were Aaron's. I can't recall if I mentioned that I had just finished it a few minutes before they walked in, or not. But their expressions were worth it.

Well, yesterday, I couldn't finish it. There are still about 15 squares left to go.

Feeling frustrated, I turned to the other puzzle in that paper, the London Times cryptic crossword. And I couldn't even get a single clue. I think I finally got about 4 or 5 clues this morning.

Now I know why they are called "cross words".

Back to the drive. And back to the question of names.

Sicamous, BC? Sounds like they found a large, ill deer there. If they waited a little while longer, perhaps they could have called it Moose Jaw. That's a reference to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in case you don't know.

After Sick Moose, we passed through Kamloops. The little voice in the car said, "Camel poop?" "No. Kam-loops." I couldn't supress the smile, even though I was that first voice. (What? Who did you think it was?)

As we were driving, and as I was fascinated by the dimishing size, and increasing age, of the mountains, and as I increasingly desapired of completing those cross word puzzles, I happened to look at the headlines on the newspaper. (First things first, after all.) And there, on the front page, it said, "Vader Considered Armed and Dangerous".

No matter how long I stared, that headline never rearranged itself into something sensible.

It turned out to be a sad story of a couple who have gone missing, and the guy considered the prime suspect had the last name of Vader. Surely the copy editor could not have been unaware of how that headline would read.

A couple of times during the drive we stopped and played in some parks. In the first one, Shoghi and I climbed all over a play structure, which he made into an airplane that flew between Kamloops (or Camel Poop) and Victoria. I went from being the passenger to the co-pilot to a real, actual pilot. The other kids in the park just loved playing with him.

The second park was the Rotary Club's Park in Merritt, which, if you've been paying attention, you know is where I currently am. We were so struck by the park, and its beauty, and the wonderful walk (we found three different types of mustard plant, and each were so delicious), that we decided to spend the night here. They also had an awesome splash pad, and even a nice bandshell stage that was dedicated to Lady Diana (the woman formerly known as Princess), and was funded by Elton John (the artist formerly known as Elton John).

When we checked in to the hotel, here in rural inner British Columbia, we noticed a flyer by the front desk for a Sushi restaurant: "I Love Sushi".

After thoroughly enjoying a swim in the hotel pool, we decided to go for dinner, and hesitantly went to the "western sushi" place. It is in an old Red Top diner, and boasts not only sushi, but "Western Food".

Western sushi? Sushi for cowboys? Don't cowboys call sushi "bait"?

We walked in anyways, despite our misgivings.

And we were promptly greeted by a young Korean man with the most winning smile.

This place was so friendly that we immediately forgot any of our misgivings.

When we ordered the Maki Tray, with the thought that we could always order more if we needed, we were ready to forgive them for whatever they served us.

We need not have been concerned.

Not only was the food excellent, but we could not possibly have finished it. It was the first time in Marielle's life, and only the second or thrid time in mine, that we came out of a sushi place stuffed. Sated beyond belief. We could not have eaten another flying fish roe without bursting.

And still they were even more friendly.

As we asked for the leftovers to be packed up, they gave us a free BC Roll to try.

And the conversation! Oh, they were so great to talk with. We even exchanged contact info with our waitress, Hye Young, who at first introduced herself as Grace.

The chefs came out and chatted with us, and the owner also came out to talk with us. They were all from Korea and truly did their culture proud.

Remember earlier how I said that I don't recommend restaurants here? Well, this is the exception that proves the rule. if you ever have the pleasure of visiting Merritt, BC, please be sure to go to "I Love Sushi", or "Red Top Sushi", at 2099 Nicola Avenue. It is well worth it.

And now Marielle and Shoghi are just finishing their breakfast, so it's time for us to go.

See you in Victoria!

1 comment:

  1. We're only an hour from Merritt...Farahmand drives through there twice a week. Next time he goes, I'll phone in my order and he can pick it up on the way're smart!