The final stop on the Canadian portion of my travels was the “City of Gardens,” Victoria, which is the capital city of British Columbia. It is about a 90-minute ferry ride from Vancouver. There’s a lot of flowers and boats and beauty and shit.
There are also a lot of expensive coffee shops and hipsters.
One of my favorite things about the city is how much signage there is about its history. As one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest (founded in 1843), Victoria has many impressive buildings, including their parliament, called “The Birdcages.”
Victoria is home to the second oldest Chinatown in North America. San Francisco’s is the oldest.
Yesterday, I went on a three-hour whale-watching tour, but, alas, we saw NO whales. At least I got to wear a fancy orange suit.
I also went on a walk through Beacon Hill Park.
I heard piercing birdcalls coming from the treetops. There were signs saying that it was heron nesting season, so I thought maybe this was normal. I glimpsed a heron, flapping its wings and stretching itself out above its nest.
When I got to the clearing, I saw a group of people craning their necks. I looked up just in time to see a huge bald eagle halting in the open for a moment, chased by darting missiles of little black birds, like fighter pilots attacking a much larger, more powerful enemy.
Having never seen a wild bald eagle before, I felt a rush of pride—an automatic reaction from a lifetime of nationalistic propaganda. For a few seconds, I was like, America … Fuck, yeah!
But then I overheard the onlookers saying that the eagles come to kill the babies, and that they are a huge threat to the heron population in the area. Apparently, some people thought the herons were under attack from a single adult eagle, dubbed “Birdzilla.”
So I turned to the other folks and said, “What’s that aboot? Take off, you hoser eagles! Go Canucks!” and slinked off to the other side of the park.
Today, it’s back to Portland and tomorrow I board a train for Chicago!