Thursday, 30 May 2013

Good breakfast (or WTF? I'm actually eating at White Spot? )

White Spot has a certain place in my memory.

When Canada Customs & Immigration released this new immigrant into my grandfather JJ's hands 26 years ago (a story in itself), our first stop on the way to the home in North Vancouver was the White Spot in North Vancouver.  I can't remember the food. But I remember the beer.  If you order a beer in Germany and use the word Budweiser, the waiter will bring you a glass of beer that was brewed in the Czech Republic and is a dream of a beer that outclasses most if not all German beers. Suffice to say that I saw the word Budweiser on the White Spot menu, ordered a beer, and pretty much instantly became a convinced wine drinker ;-)

There were three occasions in the following years where I went to White Spot, consumed some of their Coal  Slaw, and was rewarded by instant diarrhea.  So not being too much of a masochist, I started making wide circles around any threatening White Spots that I saw.

Until a few days ago when I ended up starving at the White Spot attached to the Coast Hotel at Oak Street and SW Marine Drive in South Vancouver.  I ordered a Hearty Breakfast (NO, it's not good for the heart but the included bacon and sausages are yummy ;-) and when asked whether I wanted pancakes, toast, or French toast, I chose the latter. When subsequently asked whether I wanted Blueberry or Strawberry Syrup with that I went for Blueberry.  What arrived was Yummy Blueberries in sauce and in a quantity sufficient to fill a Miso soup bowl at any Sushi place.  The French toast and Blueberries does not even carry an extra charge.  Was it good you ask?  I went back two more times just for that breakfast (not on the same morning though ;-) All three times I had to leave the potatoes on the plate (Despite their horrible name of Smashbrowns (TM) (and I am not kidding; they actually trademarked that ugly name ;-) they are actually quite good but my stomach was just too full)
Now if they only would serve Americano instead of drip coffee ;-)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Salmonberries and Fault Lines (or the local 'neck of the woods' )

Having to choose between finishing my taxes and accompanying Denise and Robin on a walk Denise calls 'our Christmas walk', my procrastination processor does not have to choose hard!

Take time to smell the blackberry blossoms!

The 'Christmas walk' leads uphill to the beach. Yes, confused I was too. At particularly steep uphill sections, I could never refuse the urge to utter my pseudo Magritte comment "This is not uphill". And Yes, I know, it doesn't really work, since it was not a picture of 'uphill' I was describing in this manner.

The uphill sections lead through forest. I can't imagine how many bridges and bridgelets the locals have built over the myriad of creeks in the local woods!

Spirits of the Forest? 

When I could smell the beach already (there were some downhill sections ;-),  I ran into these:
At first I thought they were wild raspberries and I excitedly inquired with Denise whether they would be edible. I was informed that they actually were Thimble Berries and that they would be edible.  I just Googled images of Thimbleberries now and realized that the pictured berries that I ate are actually: Salmonberries!  Anyway: I like them better than Raspberries, which have to be completely ripe before they loose their sourness, whereas Salmonberries are already yummy when they are only yellow or orange!

Oh, you imagined a white sandy beach?
Then it's beach time!

How long would this survive un-stolen on a Vancouver beach?

You'll need a tiny  bit of imagination for the following two  ;-)
Frog trapped in log?

If I had a hammer .....

Did they choose the colours of the Kayaks to match the broom plant?

Low tide!
And in the final 4 pics: Beach meets Art!

Nice beach stairs!

shifty business!

reminds me of Zuni inlay work ;-)

The beauty of fault lines!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Stephens Creek Guesthouse in Roberts Creek is now OPEN

A sign of the times:  The royal palace that moi calls home now is open to the general public.    They even advertise it in the internet!   Whatever will be next? or

Yes, even Ferries have a downside (or @#$%@&%&@!)

And that downside becomes very apparent when the BC Ferries Person 5 cars in front of you starts waving the cars in front of you away from the ferry ramp and towards the parking area.   It's not tragic, but the same friggin' thing happened to me only 9 days ago.  And today I was 1 car closer to the cut-off, which makes it just a tad more annoying.
At least this didn't happen in Langdale because in Langdale there is absolutely nothing else to do but wait in your car. Here in Horeshoe Bay I'm trying to follow my own advice of 9 days ago, namely I try to make the best of it.  Mussels and white Boutari at Bay Moorings Restaurant are helping (Alas, no kickbacks ;-); the view I avoid since i get ghost images of the ferry pulling away without me on board. Actually, the view is gorgeous and the fact that I can't see or hear any cars doesn't hurt either ;-)

Monday, 13 May 2013

Grandmother's Day

Mother's Day was spent with my grandmother, Margarethe Janssen, who will celebrate her 95th birthday in August.
It was her wish to have lunch at the Salmon House in West Vancouver, and that is what we did.  We did not get a table until 1:30 but the Chef had not grown tired yet and the food was good and we both enjoyed it.

The culinary highlight was a Rose wine from Joie Farm, while the Mission Hill Rose blushed because it didn't have much to offer in the comparison.

A Space Oddity (or Another Great Canadian)

OK, so maybe this is OLD news. Not watching television or reading newspapers I might just have found out something that is widely known in kindergartens and retirement homes.  People that know me also know that I probably would be the first person to grab my temples and to distort my face in pain upon hearing the words "A Great Canadian", but one's gotta start somewhen ;-)
There is a Canadian by the name of Chris Hadfield and he is the commander of the International Space Station (ISS).  Apparently he is quite a pop star, with 800,000 Twitter followers.
Now the space agency (don't ask me which one) released a video of him performing David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' in the ISS. This is the Major Tom floating in a Tin Can song! While I prefer Bowie's voice, Hadfield's is not bad. But the real reason why you should WATCH this (click on the capitals of the word WATCH to WATCH it) is the footage shot in the ISS.
Another reason to watch it is of course that mustache. Only Canadians or German mathematicians could get away with something like that ;-)
Image stolen from Der Spiegel/YouTube/Hadfield

Friday, 10 May 2013

A Motley Crew (or Cruising the Strait of Georgia with Dr. J)

Dr. J (his last name is Jakonowski or something similar so everyone just calls him Dr. J) is Hans' friend who Hans bought his house from. Joerg (Dr. J's first name) today offered to take us for a ride in his motorboat.  At first I was not too excited since I had never really understood the allure of motor boats.

Getting started
 But once we got going, the scenery and company did their magic.

Captain J.

There be pirates!

making waves!

The Motley Crew

me gusta!

What did you think they come here for?

A slimming pose

Another beach landing to find oysters.The black areas are rocks covered entirely by mussels.

Fresh oysters were found!

and eaten ;-)

Heading home

The mussels went into the pot the same evening and the writer for the 2nd time in 26 years had to resort to an emergency visit to a gas station toilet. Of course, these events might be completely unrelated!

P.S.: Anyone who 1)  has issues with their photographic depiction appearing on this blog, or 2) has no issue with such appearance but would like to point out that s/he should have been consulted prior to the fact,  please contact the author sine mora to rectify the situation.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Why missing your ferry isn't necessarily a bad thing

When I passed the BC Ferries toll booth at Horseshoe Bay at 2:54 pm and was told that I'd be on the 3:10 pm sailing, I wondered what fancy deed I had done to be rewarded such by Karma!  At about 3:10 when I watched the ferry undock from the dock (NO, I also saw it from the dock!) I became aware of 2 things:  1) I guess I hadn't done enough good things to be rewarded such, and 2)  BC FERRIES staff should really whip the sheep they call passengers to park their bloody cars closer together.  There were definitely not enough cars there to properly fill the Queen of Surrey!

But always remember:  Life is what you make of it :I am typing this sitting on the upstairs deck of Bayside
Moorings Restaurant in Horseshoe Bay. A large patio umbrella keeps me in the shade while I work on a glass of Boutari and a plate of mussels. But I could also be sitting down by the dock, eating take-out fish&chips or a Mars bar. There are quite a few people still in their car now at 3:46 pm, waiting for the 5:30 sailing!

And here, A SENSATION, are the FIRST EVER pictures taken in Horseshoe Bay by yours truly. ONLY ON THIS BLOG!

It would be hard to not notice this 'fountain':  All very nice even if of questionable taste.

BUT HEY!, you really can't do better than to use the cheapest RONA hose-connectors as fountain jets?

There were some nice picturesque spots, but nothing really new that could get me excited, since I must have completed MANY of precisely these vistas as 500pcs, 750pcs, and 1000pcs puzzles as a kid.

During the ferry ride I enjoyed the wind and the sun instead of taking more pictures. And then I was 'home'.
Always nice to come home! ;-)

Godzilla or Grizzilla? (or A T-shirt from Macau)

I can never resist buying clothes in Macau.  With 39 MOP (C$ 5.07) for a nice T-shirt one can't go wrong!  Having worn boring plain-coloured T-shirts all my life, middle age eccentricity now allows me a certain degree of wackiness. That I-don't-care-attitude also lets me wear a BEAR bolo tie as a necklace, a Navajo BEAR claw bracelet, etc etc.

Here's a T-shirt that looks like an X-ray image of the wearer wearing headphones. I have a bit of a fascination about this thing ever since I saw someone who had the bone structure of their spine tattooed right over their spine.

and here is one of Godzilla roasting Tokyo with heat rays.

Hang on! Did you spot it?  I didn't until just a few days ago.  It's not Godzilla.  It's a BEAR!

Das Trampeltier (An original poem by yours truly)

I had to check the internet first whether this came from an old memory of something heard before or whether I actually pieced it together in my own brain, and my search seems to indicate that it is only very loosely based on something existing.

Das Trampeltier,
das trampelt hier,
das trampelt immer ΓΌber mir.

These lines formed in my head after a few mornings of hearing floor boards squeak above my head in response to a German host walking on them repeatedly at 6:30 am.  Since I was awake at those times already, the squeaking was definitely of an entertaining nature.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Aerial views from a DeHavilland Beaver and air-cushioned drawers

It has been a while since I've been on a plane, so what better way to fix that on this sunny day by taking Harbour Air from Richmond to Sechelt again ;-)  Some visual impressions from a high view point:

The Grand Metropolis of Roberts Creek:

 And I thought there was just a Canadian Tire at the road side !

The south end of Davis Bay:

Sechelt's Great Gravel Pit:

Now why is the plane flying at this scary angle over Porpoise Bay?

Being the only passenger in the 50s-Chevy-style-rear bench, I have a relaxing view of this: We're going down!

Denise & Max are there to pick me up (Thank you again!).

The time between 1pm and 6pm was pretty much elusively occupied by eating and sleeping.

At 6 pm, D&H took me to an exhibition at the Inside Passage School of Fine Cabinet Making in Roberts Creek. 1st and 2nd year students were exhibiting their creations. Apparently tuition for one year amounts to C$16,000 but after looking at the pieces exhibited by the students, that is almost cheap!  My attention was instantly captivated after I opened and closed a drawer of this piece by this student by the name of Eupho Kubota.
The cushioning or resistance of the drawer pull was magical. I had never experienced anything like it.  After spending more time opening and closing the drawers (people probably thought I had a drawer fetish), I finally figured it out. The drawers were finished to have very precise tolerances to the surrounding piece of furniture and the air behind the drawer had to escape around the drawer to the front when I pushed the drawer in. Because the spaces available for the air to escape were so small, this resulted in a nice cushioned feeling.  The same was true when pulling the drawer out, i.e. the pull created a vacuum behind the drawer that was filled by air only slowly.  Every drawer should be built like that!
There were many other gorgeous pieces of furniture on display, just no others with magical drawers ;-)

After that it was a race to the ferry, because yours truly had a brain fart calculating how much of the operating delay the ferry would be able to make up on this trip. Let's just say the BC Ferries employee wasn't lying when he said "You are lucky!" and closed the passenger gate right behind me ;-)

Lucky I was also to see this light on Howe Sound.  I think I almost don't have to travel to Guilin now ;-)

And yes, there STILL is snow on those peaks just behind Horseshoe Bay: