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Published: June 23rd 2017
Geo: 49.1892, -123.979
Just by chance, we dropped by the Harbour View seaplane office/terminal that's next to Coal Harbour in Vancouver and they had a good rate on flights to Nanaimo so, never wanting to pass up a new adventure, we booked a couple of tiny seats on one of these floating and flying tin cans. I was really impressed with the whole experience- it was a reminder of what flying used to be before government bureaucrats and airlines turned it into hours of unbroken misery. Easy check-in and luggage storage, free coffee and muffins in a comfortable lounge, and free Wifi and computers. The Captain guided us along the dock area on a beautiful sunny day, and even packed our luggage in the hold- if transiting from one place to another was always this much fun, we might never stop traveling!! The take-off and landing involved dodging a couple of wayward boats but it was actually a very smooth, if somewhat cramped, journey that allowed for a birds-eye view of some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.
A quick cab ride later and DH and her mom were having high tea out on the deck of Casa H. We've stayed
at the Casa before and while it is technically free of charge, Mama H usually produces an extended list of required manual labours in exchange for the room and board, so I was off gathering tools to rebuild the garden area. The Birthday Girls and Opal (a very recent canine addition to the Mama H household) were joined in their leisure by DH's niece- Ms Ciara, and the remaining details for the upcoming 80th B Day celebration were finalized with Ms Ciara looking to test her newly discovered bartender skills (not bad for a 10 year old?).
Although it wasn't our first time here, we did get out and explore the charms of Nanaimo- I'm not sure whether it's an insult or compliment, but the town lays claim to the title of the Box Store capital of Canada with more box stores per capita than elsewhere. The shopping extravaganzas are kept to the outskirts, however, and the downtown core along the waterfront does have a significant appeal (back in the day, when I was working in this area, it was a mining/lumber/fishing blue-collar town with a rough downtown that made Tombstone look tame, so the transformation continues to amaze me). And,
of course, every day began with a Tim Horton's run- how this home of java gold is not a mandatory worldwide institution is beyond me.
The big day for the two Birthday Girls arrived and the H clan gathered to kiss the ring of Mama H and renew sibling rivalries. Ms Ciara rigged up her own bar complete with tip jar, and developed a drink in honor of the newest 80 year old in Nanaimo, and named it the Granny Gulp. And just to top off the day, when faced with the dizzying array of local fine dining options, Mama H chose take-out Swiss Chalet for her birthday dinner. A good time was had by all, especially Opal who got the table scraps.
With most of the required work in the garden complete, I was able to build my one-year-older DH a make-shift walker and we shuffled off to catch our plane back to Vancouver.
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