Monday, July 30, 2007

Very Vancouver Vacation

Hmm, not so many v words I came up with. But Vancouver and Victoria, the sites of my most recent vacation, deserve some warm and enthusiastic verbiage. But enough of the travel talk. Let's get in some photos.
Such a beautiful city. Ocean, mountain, forest and city all in one place. It really is as gorgeous as this. One night there, I had sushi on the beach with Dave and Claire. It felt very exotic and actually not very Canadian, but everyone was happy.

If you like salmon, Vancouver is the place for you! It's in everything and in every form, raw, cooked, dried, candied, smoked, on salads, in sandwiches, even in pepperoni. I kid you not. It's delicious but a bit much to handle.

Vancouver has one of the largest Asian populations in the world outside of well, Asia. This was a beautiful garden in the middle of the city.

Emily Carr became famous for painting totem poles as part of trying to record them in the tribal lands they were built before they all were destroyed or, um, jumbled all together into parks and museums like this. Sigh.

I thought this particular part of the totem pole was very cool from the whole universal Madonna and Child perspective. Art is cool that way.

A big reason for my visit was to see some old friends who have been up there for years. Another reason was the third leg of my "pilgrimage" to see the homeland of the third in my trinity of amazing North American women artists: Frida Kahlo (Mexico), Georgia O'Keeffe (USA) and Emily Carr (Canada). Emily Carr worked around the same time as Kahlo and O'Keeffe. All three women produced art that contains similar themes around nature, religion, spirituality and indigenous peoples. You can learn more about their similarities on this website. The website around an amazing art exhibit was the first place I accidentally stumbled upon the three women together and I've been fascinated ever since. So now I've been to all three of their homelands and seen where they painted and it has been a very satisfying and enriching journey, especially as a woman artist myself.

Anyhow, there is lots on the web about Emily Carr so I won't go into more detail here, but she did a lot of wonderful paintings of forests and of totem poles that are very worth seeing.

I had a great time getting to know this beautiful city.

New England Reminders

I've lived in Boston for, oh, 9 years now this summer. And I still feel like a brand new resident. That's a good thing in some ways -- I feel like there is still so much I have not seen or done here, being at most two-three hours away from anything from ocean to mountains to NYC to Canada to just an incredible amount of beauty and culture. But I'm also still considered a newbie by all these locals. There is even a name for us, barnies, which is short for barnacles, those who cling onto something but aren't really a part of that place. Well, nonetheless, I can't deny that somehow New England has become home, despite my own wanderlust and despite any New Englanders' aversion to outsiders.

One of the biggest reminders of where I am is the Boston accent. I actually kinda like it. A lot of people think it's horrific. But as a girl growing up in Pittsburgh (with its own accent), when I heard people from New England speak, it seemed so terribly sophisticated and exotic. Especially because most of the New Englanders I heard speak were very intruiguing, cute boys from Worcester on whom I had crushes. It's kinda funny now when I go to Worcester, but I still have a soft spot for the accent. Although I don't try to imitate it because then everyone from here makes fun of you for not getting it right.

The other thing that reminds you unfailingly of your new geography is this occasional whiff of the sea. I only actually encounter the ocean maybe once a week or even less frequently. But sometimes the sea air is unmistakeable, rolling in from the east and enveloping you in cool saltiness.

And then you see lighthouses, and you also know exactly where you are. This one above is near Duxbury Beach and is R's favorite place in the whole wide world.

Oh and don't get me started on canned brown bread. I have to explain it to people who are visiting my workplace all the time because it is frequently donated and how am I supposed to explain bread in a can? Half the people from this area can't explain it. I've tried it. It isn't terrible. That's not exactly high praise, but it really isn't too bad.

So, here I am. New England still. Looks like I'll be around for a while longer too. Who woulda thunk it.