Sunday, November 01, 2009

Travel: 12/6/09, Friday: Tofino, Vancouver Island

As the trip was drawing to a sad close, it was time to buy gifts. We spent a small fortune at an Aboriginal store / gallery and then went to a Hitchcockian bakery for lunch. Hitchcockian because here we noticed for the first time that in this town, ravens outnumber gulls. They strut around like they own the place, and quite possibly they do. It's unusual to be in a seaside town with hardly any gulls. It's clear the ravens had taken over.Struttin' crow

We had another "slice of life" moment with a lawyer talking to a father and new wife about a child-custody issue with lurid allegations flying from both the father and the absent wife. Do all lawyers in the Americas conduct private meetings in public places? Maybe they all think they're on TV and need an audience. I'm not complaining, but it means that the writer in me needs to hang out in more American caf├ęs. It means that my new legal soap opera, The Bar, set in a bar near law courts, will practically write itself.

That evening we chose the Spotted Bear Bistro to be our place du mange, as the French probably don't put it. We didn't book, but were early enough that we could nab the last non-reserved table. It's a small place that does tasty, well-sculpted food. I had some great duck and Cath some holy butt. Every meal was served with froth. Now before you start asking what is this froth? Is it some crazy American side dish like grits or fries? No, it's basically vegetable (or other) juice whipped up into a frothy pile. Intriguing and very molecularly gastronomic. The name of the place is very molecularly gastronomic as well: they all seem to have names that are .Beach at eveningIt was clear after tonight that all Tofino restaurants play reggae music while you are eating. The odd thing is that all the local radio stations play exclusively classic rock. I get the remote North American town / classic rock thing. The remote Canadian town restaurant / reggae connection is not so clear. It's probably so they can do all the old jokes when a customer asks things like, "what's this pudding got?" "Jam in."

Despite what is depicted in the literature, the bear illustrations and many totem poles, the local fish of choice is not actually the salmon, but the halibut. The halibut, or holy butt (I kid you not), or hippoglossus (I kid you not), which literally means horse tongue (I'm not sure if I'm kidding you here), is one of the world's favourite flat fishes. But it doesn't have the glamour of the salmon with its quintessential fish shape and heart-warming and -rending struggle upstream to have kids and die. The salmon is the self-sacrificing parent of the piscine world. The halibut is the bottom-lying loafer.

Buoy in treeAfter dinner we took a strole on the beach and watched a large band of kids light a bonfire. It was Friday night and the kids have gotta do something for entertainment.

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