This will be yet another random post, but it will be full of visual delights. I was thinking about about doing the Museum post last night, but then I got lost in the pictures. It's amazing how much detail I miss in person, but it's all there to see in the photos. A phone with a camera is a wonderful thing. [Except, of course, when it gets wet. Which mine did. I sweated into it because it took me two hours to mow the lawn when I got back from vacation. Because even though I left specific instructions about mowing the lawn and watering the plants (and emptying the litter boxes), none of that actually got done. Ahem. So I blame my now wonky phone on the Lad.]
But I think I'll just plow through the other random interesting stuff and see what happens. If I have time for post #7 tomorrow, then so be it. If not, then I will still have done 5 more posts this month than usual...
Let's begin, shall we?
The first post-museum photo is a photo of St. Andrew's Church. I have no idea what the affiliation is all about. But it's another beautiful church. I appreciate the architecture. To be honest, I think the sign is ugly and detracts from the rest of it. But look at all those turrety things above the bell tower. It's like a Disney castle. And look at that little cupola thing on top of the church over the rose window. How adorable is that? It's like the Halifax Citadel clock tower.
It's hard to get photos of things in shop windows without the glare. So unfortunately some of these photos are glare-riffic.
The stuff in the store windows in Victoria is amazing. This is part of a big fancy display in some otherwise utterly forgettable store. I think it was on Government Street. But look at these olde fashionde girls doing some kind of can can. And look at the little baskets of flowers. How utterly delightful. This display took up the full window. This is just a wee part of it.
In case it's not glaringly obvious, I am fond of things both quirky and whimsical.
Some of the crosswalks in Victoria are amazing.
Here in Halifax the city decided to venture out of its comfort zone and paint pride rainbows at three of the crosswalks in Halifax / Dartmouth. Halifax is a very diverse city and is very inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly. In fact, one of the pride-focused love boat cruise ships comes here because Nova Scotia is so welcoming. I think a lot of couples came here to get married when Canada permitted same-sex marriages. (I think we were the fourth country in the world to do so).
So we painted some strips of colour on the crosswalks. They were colourful and I thought they were amazing until I went to Victoria.
Here's a pride crosswalk from Victoria. They don't mess around. None of this accent-type rainbow nonsense in Victoria. It's full scale, full rainbow across the full width of the road. I was going to say I think it's on Pandora Street, and then I can see that is in fact the case because I caught the street sign in one of the photos. I'm a genius in so many ways...
If that were the only intresting example of crosswalks, that would be sufficient.
But wait. There's more.
On the corner of Fort Street and something or other there are painted white lacey designs on the crosswalk.
Wait a minute. That's not lacey at all. I think those are stylized headdress images. (Makes sense, duh). Okay, I take the genius crack back. I am a dimwit. But that does prove my point about looking at a photo of something compared to looking at the thing with your actual eyes. There's more time to take it in and process it when it's a photograph.
And there are still more sidewalk and crosswalk things. There are a number of large stylized puzzle pieces at the corner of Douglas and something else. Maybe View Street? There are some on the sidewalks as well as on the road. I think they represent autism awareness. Or at least I have a vague recollection that's what they're for. [I only know that because of knitting project bags. Who says knitting is a useless pastime?] I think that there's even a piece painted onto the side of the wall at Shoppers Drug Mart on the corner of Douglas and whatever the intersection is.
The pieces are orange, red, blue and green.
The view of the skyline from Princess's condo is quite amazing. And there were some amazing sunsets. If I had a real camera and not a phone camera, I'm sure I could capture these things much better. But I'm okay with my phone. I could live without all the apps (mostly), but I could not live without the camera. If my lawn mowing sweatfest had damaged the camera on my phone, there would have been bloodshed. As it is, I am merely miffed. [And hoping the phone will last until bonus time in February].
I'm just going to throw in a bunch of quite spiffy condo vista photos here.
Yup. I'm all about the skyp0rn.
The problem with having taken about 800 photos on vacation is that it involves a fair bit of scrolling through and enlarging the thumbnails in order to find what I want for the posts. Trust me, I could bore you endlessly with photos of stuff.
There are so many interesting architectural details in the city.
I think when you see it all the time, you become inured to it. I don't recall being impressed by all this as a teenager / young adult.
Maybe I'm just growing old.
We took a trip down through Chinatown. It's the oldest Chinatown in Canada and the second oldest in North America (I think). The buildings are amazing, the artwork is amazing, and even the sidewalks are amazing.
Feast your eyes.
This is the Chinese school. What an absolutely stunning building.
Across the road from it is a mural. Princess pointed out that it's by the same person who did the murals of the people in the windows on that yellow building. (See the other Art & Architecture post).
In Chinatown even the streetlights are interesting. Look how beautiful the bases are. Too bad I didn't get a decent shot of the top part. The lights themselves are quite ornate.
Subtle but lovely details abound. [The tall one looks more Moorish than Chinese to me, but what do I know?]
The gateway is beautiful and the details are amazing.
There are lanterns galore.
I recognized most of the fruits and vegetables for sale, but this one had me stumped. Please leave me a comment if you have any idea what a jackfruit is or how to eat/prepare it. Perhaps it should be called a lantern fruit.
At $1.99 a pound, I'm thinking that's an expensive fruit.
Even the sidewalks in Chinatown are intricate and interesting.
Fan Tan Alley is a little brick alleyway running between Pandora and ? (Johnson - no, it's the one further past that. Can't remember). The opening is literally about two feet wide and there are strings of lights overhead leading to the various stores which open off it. The other end empties out onto the main road whose name escapes me.
And here there be dragons.
But even the non-Chinatown stuff in Victoria is amazing. There is such attention to detail. There are flowers everywhere.
We found one store that sells all kinds of interesting homey clutter and interesting knickknacks. They sell rock pillows which have apparently been featured in Canadian Living magazine (or something). They're pillows whose covers are shaped like rocks and are imprinted with photos of rocks in whatever fabric. I imagine a couch covered in them would look quite interesting. This isn't a great photo but the proprietress of the store was giving me the hairy eyeball.
But you get the idea.
Some of the places which I remembered have seen better days. Market Square is nowhere near as vibrant as it used to be. There are a couple of interesting shops, but its funky eclectic style is long gone. There are a lot of empty spaces and it's not terribly interesting any more. But there was an interesting tiled mural on the wall which made the visit worthwhile.
It does have quite a snazzy drinking fountain on the way out. And look - there's the store where we bought the fish oil purses. Oscar and Libby's. My mistake. I believe I called it Ozzy and Lizzie. Again with the value of the photographic record. I am clearly an unreliable narrator.
There's a millinery store on either Douglas or Government. It even had a steampunk hat in the widow. I took the photo before Princess pointed out the "No Photographs Allowed" sign. Oops.
One of the things I love about Victoria is that there aren't a lot of really tall buildings downtown. Or there didn't used to be. With all those condos going up, the skyline is starting to be dominated by them. But in a lot of areas (where there is nowhere left to build) the buildings are only a couple of storeys high. I think that's what appeals to me about St. John's, Newfoundland. (Not that I've ever been. But it's on my bucket list. Can you just imagine all the photo fun I'd have in Newfoundland?).
Sometimes I look up for inspiration.
And sometimes I look down.
There are oodles of chalk drawings on the sidewalk and they change fairly often. Here are the ones I managed to capture. These are amazing. They obviously get wiped away by weather and foot traffic. I was lucky enough to capture the last two when they were fairly fresh.
And more beautiful architecture.
One of the things I like doing in other cities is going into the grocery stores. It's like tourism and voyeurism all wrapped into one.
I was shocked, for example, at the price of refried beans. Um, what? We pay about $2 per can for Old El Paso refried beans (even the refried black beans) and slightly less for the no-name brands.
Man, I could buy a bunch out here and then resell them in Victoria for $3 a can and make a whopping profit while undercutting the grocery stores. I could possibly even retire before age 90 if I did that.
And Victoria is such a hipster city. The describe the cage situation for the different types of eggs. Good grief. Who does that? Can't you just read the carton? Is it snide of me to point out that only on the Island would they point out that the eggs are laid by "veggie fed" hens?
They can't really point out anything positive about the collection of the egg whites which come from "Cage Egg" hens, so they extoll the virtues (fat-free, full of protein, zero cholesterol, cost a fortune).
As compared with the egg whites from the hens which are free to stretch their legs ...
And can I tell you about the liquor stores? Out here we have the NSLC which stands for Nova Scotia Liquor Commission. Most of them carry all the same products and there's not a ton of variety. There are a couple of boutique liquor stores (wine stores such as Port of Wines and Bishop's Cellar), but they're in the distinct minority. At my local liquor store, for example, I don't think I've ever seen a bottle of regular red or white wine priced more than about $24 and you have to look hard for something in that price range.
But most of the liquor stores in Victoria seem to be privatized. And they all have different selections. (Or so Princess tells me - we only went into one). And they sell not a ton of different varieties, but they sell some unusual stuff. And some pricey stuff. I saw quite a few bottles of wine in the $70 range. And this was at a sketchy liquor store in a strip mall.
I was taken by the Skull whisky. The NSLC scotch whisky section is bigger than it was 20 years ago, but I've NEVER seen this. I've never even heard of Smokehead. But I'm not a fan of the peaty malts - that's more up the Lad's alley. Even though it was cheap in comparison, I wasn't going there.
Even the wine has a skull variety. I did, in fact, buy this one. I am going to soak off the label once the bottle is empty. This is a genius label. What a great print. It's a work of art.
See? In Victoria even the wine is beautiful.
I was tempted to buy one of these, but didn't.
And some of the liquor stores deliver. (?!?).
And they have signs saying that any employee who is caught selling alcohol to a minor will be personally fined $575 (in addition to whatever punishment awaits the store itself).
And they sell cigarettes.
Not just in the liquor stores (but I guess you're getting two vices with one go there..), but EVERYWHERE. Groceries sell cigarettes.
One of my friends said that the pharmacies no longer sell cigarettes. Oh my heart be still. This is apparently a recent phenomenon.
But the irony is that there is almost nowhere you can smoke outside in Victoria. It peeves Princess to no end. There's lots of supply but nowhere you can do it except the privacy of your own abode.
And there are cannabis dispensers EVERYWHERE. If I were a pothead with a prescription, I would only have to go about two blocks in any direction before getting a fix. It's unreal. Only in BC...
And speaking of odd retail anomalies, the Walmart has two floors and an escalator. You hook your cart onto a thingy between the up and down escalator, and it propels your cart upstairs (and back down0 with you so that you can maximize your Walmart shopping experience.
They are very big on murals in Victoria. I discovered a card / stationery store called the Papery when I was wandering on my own one day.
Fort Street / Antiques Row is one of those places which hasn't fared so well in the interim. It's kind of dilapidated with a bunch of empty stores now. It used to be very vibrant and eclectic and there were TONS of art and antique stores (hence the moniker). Now it's kind of shabby and pathetic. So I didn't even bother to take photos. It was too heart wrenching.
But other areas have gentrified quite nicely.
Nootka Court used to be very sketchy when I was a teenager. Now it's most respectable with fancy art and a UK phone booth and a tea place that sells matcha tea and expensive mugs and teapots.
Oh, and there's a bug museum there too. My mistake. It's a Bug Zoo. I guess that means the inhabitants are still alive.
This is the view of the 122 bell cathedral from the side. There's a fancy manse house thingy attached to it. It has a sign warning people to go away unless they're there on parish business.
When we went to Nanaimo for lunch we went to the Longwood Brew Pub. I posted this on Instagram already, but it's worth repeating in full size. They have an original Grant Leier painting on the wall. It's stunning.
More murals and faux windows (or is it trompe l'oeil windows?).
Then there's the plain odd stuff. Like this restaurant, for example.
Um, no. There is no such thing as Japanese Tapas. It's like saying Spanish sushi.
And there is a urinal in the middle of the sidewalk. Um, what?
I know I have lots of dreams about being on a toilet in front of a bunch of people, but those are weird uncontrollable freaks of my subconscious. I would never in a million years want to pee on the street. Even if I were a man. And even if it were in a funky artsy wavy green pipe enclosure.
Even some of the empty buildings have neat art works. Perhaps it's a sales feature.
Development site. That's code for MORE HIGHRISE CONDOS.
This store has a bust with a bunch of painted toy soldiers on the head.
I never did venture in to see the weird t-shirts. I'll save that for my next visit.
I also posted this photo of the floor painting in the Bay Centre. I wish I were going to be in Victoria for the chalk art festival. That would be something to behold. But this 2D/3D picture is amazing. It's flat on the ground, but if you stand at a particular viewing point, it appears 3D.
And back to speaking of interesting but glare-riffic displays in store windows, there's a shoe store with some VERY funky shoes. I can't remember what the store is called - So Shoe Me, I think.
I want the flamingos.
This is a seriously long post, so I will save the final cloud p0rn for another day and another post.
For now, good night. No knitting again, but at least I've accomplished my six blog posts for the month. Whether I get the museum post out tomorrow is another matter. Likely not, but it's okay. I have the pictures for the future.
It occurs to me that I never did a full blog post about all the fabulously interesting things I took pictures of when I went to Maryland 2 years ago. This is why I need to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. You'll just have to indulge me here. We'll be back to the regular yarn and knitting posts soon. But perhaps I should take some time to wander around Halifax and take some interesting photos. It may not be as interesting as Victoria, but there are definitely pockets of interesting stuff.
Ciao for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.