We crossed the border on Canada Day, which just sings with appropriateness, however unplanned it was. Already we felt Canuck. Slightly french, but with beer undertones.
Victoria is on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada, and unlike Hawaii, you can take a ferry to get there. On a map, the whole area looks like a crushed potato chip floating in a water glass.
We took the longest ferry ride they offered and scanned islands in every direction, waiting in vain for explosions.
I can watch a dozen fireworks shows from the hill in my backyard on the Fourth of July.
Come on Canada, blow something up. It’s a party, eh?
Our hostess with the mostest baked this lush beauty for the occasion, so we had some party after all.
Our week was packed with shenanigans, and the very next morning we planned to get onto a(nother) ferry and head to Salt Spring Island for the day.
The girls took the van early, to get a good spot on the boat. The boys decided to take bikes for some manly fresh air. Somehow I missed the memo.
I woke to an empty house and a lone teenager who was assigned one job: getting me to the ferry on time.
Now there’s a good first impression.
By the time I was dropped off at the bustling docks, it was ten minutes to launch.
Striding down to the wharf in a manner that showed I clearly knew what the heck I was doing, it occurred to me that there were multiple ferries going to multiple islands, and none of them were labeled.
Vehicles began to snake their way along the asphalt. Where was ours?
I turned to the nearest orange-vested custodian of the seas, and asked which ferry went to Salt Spring. He pointed to all of them and I didn’t hear his reply because suddenly I realized:
- All of my people were on a boat somewhere right now and I was not.
- All of my people had a ticket. I did not, because I had been dropped at the curb.
- What if my people had my ticket but now they – and my ticket – are on a boat?
- My cell phone was internationally useless. I was on my own.
What is this nonsense? Who has to hop on a boat anytime they want to go somewhere? Where are the bridges? Why do we all need tickets? Where do you buy tickets?
It was five minutes to launch.
I must have babbled some of that out loud in a properly befuddled American tourist accent, because the orange vest then pointed in the opposite direction. I retraced my steps at a trot now, fondling the one thing that could save my bacon: a credit card.
The tiny office held a lone officer who was talking a tourist through something that was obviously not as important as my imminent hysterics.
Taking a deep breath, I tried to communicate my plight telepathically.
Manners are so overrated.
Just then, another officer walked through the door and I leapt into her personal space crying, “Ineedtogetonthesaltspringferrythatleavesrightnowandidonthaveaticket!”
“Oh, honey, I think it’s too late to sell you one, but I’ll just call up there and ask.”
Maybe they just like to watch the tourists writhe a little.
She sold me a ticket, one eye on the clock, and I flat out ran the entire length of the landing, past startled shoppers and through queues of moving cars and lounging coffee sippers and disapproving orange vests.
Dignity is so overrated.
The last vest pointed to a boat and breathless, I reached the gate.
There was the Hubbs.
He was standing on my side of the ferry.
An orange vest escorted us on board and closed the gate. The engines started up.
“What were you going to do” I asked, “if I missed the boat?”
“Stay here and have Tim’s with you,” he said.
I reckon that guy can pack the luggage in the car any way he wants, eh?