Published: July 23rd 2006
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REFLECTIONS ON THE WATER….Sleepless in Seattle….Reflections of Vancouver and Seattle, the “World View” and The Seal of Approval…..AT THE POINT WHERE INFINITY BECOMES NOTHINGNESS….

BUT back to the beginning…I got the impression I was in the gay end of town in Vancouver, or else they were all really, really friendly…some odd looks as I went into some bars…too gay?…too straight?…who knows?…lots of couples…partners?
Lots of homeless street people, always people with their hands out, putting the squeeze on, sleeping (passed out?) on the streets, forever botting smokes (altho’ this was understandable, cigs v exy here) some great bars/restaurants around the beaches and as it is an island, lots, giant-super-mega-cruise liners at the dock, size of small cities, 3,500 passengers on one…unbelievable, watched the ants loading tons of supplies thru’ the lower hatches…huge crates of fruits and veges, cartons of all sorts of ingredients, later to become fabulous culinary delights, no doubt…maybe a photo! And lots of great Japanese restaurants, and Vietnamese. In so many ways Canada is soo very similar to the US, despite their protestations to the contrary….there are differences, of course, but by-and-large a lot the same….and a lot of these views of mine are from either or
Achillles Heeled OverAchillles Heeled OverAchillles Heeled Over

Our Ducky has a Leaky Pontoony
both without acknowledgement..
..maybe more small 'l' liberal, lefter and friendlier and politer in Canada but I did meet these same qualiities in the US...

The World Cup (don’t mention OUR game with the Italians)..I was in Canada, where there’s no question at all…there’s ice hockey and there‘s…well, more ice hockey…nada mas…(even more disappointing when the Stanley Cup was won by an americano team…shlock horreur!) I watched a couple of the finals series but with little knowledge of the finer points and without HD TV I couldn’t see the puck, or the point, but lots of biffo…cool…

So, what do you call someone from the USA? ..Usadian?… Unitedstatesian??…always a dilemma, not wanting to offend all the other inhabitants of North, Central and South America…..but they all seem to feel “american” is the rightful, correct term for citizens of the USA….so I’ll go along with it…somewhat reluctantly!
And the need for recognition as a citizen of the USA..(and this happened in Canada as well)…people obviously from other ethnic backgrounds are just soo quick, too quick, and emphatic in emphasising their citizenships of the US, is this to counteract some (real or imagined) fear of prejudice?..I meet some people from obvious differing racial/ethnic backgrounds but when I ask them where they come from they are jumping out of their skins to tell me they are citizens of the US, like really keen that I don’t associate them with their (obvious) native heritage…a bit sad…is this happening in Oz as well?…I hope not…should we not be encouraging new arrivals to remember their cultural heritages?…isn’t this what has made us stronger, richer, better? Ah, the philosophising gene breaks out again…
Then I went back to Seattle and had a great couple of days looking around, this is one place I could come back to, very interesting, pretty laid-back, friendly people, lots to do etc etc …expensive bloody motel but that’s the same everywhere!

But back to the soccer….I met just so many Americans who know and love soccer, send their kids to play, follow the World Cup… but the mainstream media has an almost obsessive scorn for it….but for all their rantings and excuses it is clearly obvious that, as everywhere, television rules sport and no American network will ever cover a sport that goes for 45 mins without a break, they just can’t cope!!! and until they can get ad breaks into soccer, it will never flourish here.
TV ads are interesting….the majority are definitely weight loss promotions, followed by how to borrow more money, followed by how to reduce your debts, a real tail-chaser! And all the ads to do with ingesting anything have a 100 mph disclaimer in soto voce crammed into the last few seconds, scary stuff! I can’t imagine anyone buying them after this information of impending doom. And also some very funny ads, really clever, but like always after the 200th viewing you stop laughing!
And nothing is small, particularly in the US, I can’t buy milk unless it’s a quart at the smallest….I just want a tad for my tea but I can’t get anything smaller than a quart…and the juices and other drinks, ginormous containers, same with most produce, absolutely huge bulk packs of everything. The bacon package has the label “Thick sliced, uncured, dry rubbed, all natural, pork raised without antibiotics, range sliced, 40% less fat, no nitrates, not preserved”…but it fries up just fine!
And fabulously spotlessly clean toilets, whoops, restrooms, or bathrooms, don’t ever say ‘toilet’ it’s a hex word I think….and the hotels all have hundreds of towels…of all sizes. And ‘yachts’ get people confused….and small change, still they persevere with the one cent coins, nobody needs them and at all points of payment they have a jar of one cent bits that you use to make up the odd amounts…
I know it’s nearly time to go as my wardrobe goes into meltdown…the jeans have that sought-after-by-teenagers tear across the knee and the shorts are shredding at an alarming rate, Rip, being the apocryphal half of the brand name!
I’m still in negotiations with the insurance company over the accident damage to the bike…the first quote, from BMW Vancouver was over $5,000 and the Seattle BMW nearly $8,000 (almost a write-off!) absolutely excessive but we’ll see how it all pans out. The bike is having a rest in Seattle, getting new gearbox bearings while I go sailing for 2 or 3 weeks with the Bro and friends…fabulous 48’ yacht, sorry, sailboat, up around Vancouver Island, should be cool, I’ve been living on board for a couple of days in the marina at Poulsbo, off Seattle and it is a paradise, tres beautiful and peaceful…nice to be back on the sea again, I seem to be spending more time at sea than on land..hmmm

Ah, but everywhere such nice, friendly, generous people I meet, just fantastic!!
And the local seal keeps popping up next to the boat to check I’m preparing to throw fish (?)

OK, a few days later…on board the good ship Malolo… a 48 foot Californian (for those of you nautically challenged...go ask a yachtie), beautifully done out, refitted, new motored etc etc she is No. 12 of only 25 made!…I’m getting a lift with the Bro and his mate to deliver the yacht to the owner, we get a 3 week delivery job, he gets 2 weeks vacation ..Ha!!
We’re sailing up and around the most amazing complex of islands and bays, heading for Vancouver island, Michael’s mate Jim was born and raised around here and fills me in on lots of local information, great little harbours and towns like Port Friday, Sidney Harbour, Ganges and the fantastically named "Point No Point"..missed the point?..pointless?? get the picture…I wish they had a T-shirt of there. Many of the islands have houses tucked away in the forests, down by the water, little groups, communities, fabulous, and constant water traffic, and air traffic!! there are dozens of little float planes, the local taxis and privateers, they land beside us as we cruise up the the marinas!! they land and just taxi up to the wharf, then belt off, fantastic roar of the engines, always seems a little dodgey to me with float planes nosing around while yachts, motor cruisers (the RVs of the waterways) and rubber duckies going berko …it gets pretty crowded, we’re 48 foot and juggle out way into small spots…Michael loves being captain and he does a fantastic job of it, always some more maintenance work to turn his hand to…..the water pump, fridge, bilge pump, outboard motor, fan belt…just a few of the things that have failed and been put right….the owner has this sorted out…he knows by the time we get to him everything will be sweet!
We were able to get the sails up yesterday and had a fantastic run up to Ganges, right down the middle of the bay, dodging massive ferries that crisscross the area, major ships, tugs with barges thrashing up and down the main shipping lanes…we tiptoe to the main lanes, look both ways and fang it across, these big suckers really move along…+20 knots
Haven’t seen any whales lately but lots of seals and in port we can watch the whale watchers….. groups of sad looking people (maybe they didn’t see any whales) in little over-powered red rubber duckies, sometimes a spotter plane, then they zoom over to where the whales are…sometimes I guess…this morning we’re driving again, the wind has dropped away to nothing…bummer…but there will be plenty more soon…and hot!…it must have been over 35 yesterday, all the locals perishing, but the sea is still about 2 degrees!!…don’t really need a life jacket, if we go in the drink the cold will kill us long before drowning sets in!…pleasant thought??
OK, being bottom of the totem pole I get to drive when we are on the long, straight, boring bits and it feels like we’re on it now!
Don’t know when the next internet will come available…most of the marinas have some form but many are pay-as-you-go and real expensive….at other places we’re parked too far out in the harbour to get a signal…maybe this arvo at Victoria where we pick up 2 more friends for the last week.
Sunday morning...
Found a netcafe in Victoria, this is a beautiful place, the harbour
Welcome to VictoriaWelcome to VictoriaWelcome to Victoria

Floral welcome, flowers everywhere, so pretty!
is a long natural waterway, absolutely stunning...float planes again zooming in and out on their designated but narrow strip of water...gotta get up in one of those maybe I'll fly back to Seattle...its way hot...heat wave ...almost 30 for 3 days...we're about to head off up the west coast of Vancouver Island for those of you with a map....Derek and Pat coming on board....fridge full of beer...we're set...


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