Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Sunshine Coast

Gizmo, a biting Pomeranian,
ordered out of Aspen, and
sentenced to death if he returns.

Well, I’m back. We had a marvelous trip. We drove to Creston, B.C., and then across Canada to the west, ending in Tsawwassen where we took the ferry to Victoria. The drive across is quite interesting, especially when you leave the lush forest country for the Okanaugan and Osoyoos, where you would swear you were in Southern California. We had a very pleasant day in Victoria, with a wonderful lunch of oysters and mussels. The next morning we drove north to Little River where we took the ferry to Powell River. We then drove first north to Lund and then down to Egmont where we caught the next ferry to Halfmoon Bay, Sechelt, and Gibson (where we feasted on oysters and prawns), then to North Vancouver, catching the ferry to Nanaimo, and then drove back to Victoria (where we dined on Sablefish (also known as Black Cod or Butterfish). Next morning we drove to Sydney to catch the ferry to Anacortes and from there to Seattle where we took in the annual Seattle Library Book Sale. Today we drove from Seattle home to Sandhill, here in Bonners Ferry. It was a great trip. However, I would not recommend the round trip down the Sunshine Coast to anyone as a one day adventure. You should spend at least one night in Powell River, Sechelt, or Gibson. If you were of the James Watt persuasion (arguably the worst political appointment in all of history, who described his rafting trip through the Grand Canyon as “dreary”), you might say this trip consisted of seeing billions of evergreen trees that all looked the same, and long waits at ferry terminals, but if you were more realistic and more in tune with nature, you would describe it as a trip through an area of natural beauty so awesome and beautiful it cannot be described in words. British Columbia is surely one of the most gorgeous places on the planet. Most of it is so huge and empty it makes you wonder how anyone could even think of us being overpopulated (I know the view of this is much different in India, China, and other places).

During this trip I did not watch TV, read a newspaper, or listen to the radio. It was wonderful! I managed to delude myself into once again believing that things are right with the world, we can all go on living happily together, and global warming, the “wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq, the failing economy, the problems with health care, and so on, are just figments of my imagination. Alas, such escapist daydreams don’t last long when you are once again confronted with ugly reality. I notice that in the five days we were gone nothing of substance changed. The focus is still on ACORN and Iran, both issues conveniently made newsworthy enough to take our minds off the more serious, important problems facing us. The entrapment charges being leveled at ACORN by Republicans, although real, are absolutely trivial compared to similar, much more serious issues, relating to Blackwater and others. The Iranian situation continues to baffle me as I do not believe Iran is a threat to anyone. Even if they are trying to develop a nuclear bomb, indeed, even if they were to succeed, the only result would be they would have less to fear from Israel and the U.S., they would be somewhat higher up in the “pecking order” than they are now, hardly an earthshaking development.

Afghanistan continues to be an unnecessary disaster as we really have little or no reason to be there and they would be much better off without us there. I hope Obama will see the light on this ridiculous situation and get us out of there quickly (even though doing so might cost him his Presidency, as the Republicans will brand him forever as a “loser,” and a gullible public will mindlessly follow suit). It just doesn’t do to do anything sensible when you are President, because unfortunately your public is easily led into collective insanity. How wonderful it is, as Hitler himself observed, that the public doesn’t think.

I do not understand why sablefish are sometimes called Black Cod as they are not codfish. I can understand why they can be called butterfish as they have such a wonderful soft flesh with those large flakes that more or less melt in your mouth. I’m not sure if anyone truly understands how wonderful it is to visit the coast and be able to buy and eat fresh fish. Although most of our food in Bonners Ferry is wonderful, free of chemicals, fresh and healthy, the one thing we truly lack is a supply and variety of fresh fish. I can truthfully say that the only thing I miss from living in Santa Monica is the Santa Monica Fish Market. It was (is) even better than Seattle in that they always have a greater variety of fish and shellfish. Sometimes in Creston we can get more variety, such as Canadian Whitefish, Arctic Char, Smelt, and occasionally even Skate wings. Having traveled fairly widely during my life I am convinced that Americans do not value food as other people do, having been fed for years on the idea of fast and easily prepared food, somehow the idea being that the less time one spends in preparing and eating food the better. What a pity.
Sham Harga had run a succesful eatery for many years by always smiling, never extending credit, and realizing that most of his customers wanted meals properly balanced between the four food groups: sugar, starch, grease, and burnt crunchy bits.
Terry Pratchett

Bonobos (also sometimes called pygmy Chimpanzees) share at least 98% of their genes with humans.

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