Monday, December 11, 2006

Retracing New Journeys

I'm sitting on my uninflated, unrolled thermarest; resting with my back upon my backpack. Small components occasionally rattling draw my attention from the engines thrum and vibrations. An excited, boisterous boy exuberantly cavorts after his mother. A cup of soup floats by; held aloft by an attractive apparition in blue jeans wearing an earring and close clip cropped hair. Two sports bags rest alongside me, twixt the Swartz Bay Foot Passenger Exit and I. They have the look of a sports team. Perhaps it's the Diadora blazoned on their side. Or perhaps the mother who hovers over them, coffee and newspaper in hand.

The fish, in their stationary movement, climb the wall going nowhere outside of the Pacific Buffet. Lunch is available on the 1 and 3pm sailings. $15.75 for an adult. $8.75 for a child. Squinting at the sign it would appear that children are those between the ages of 5 and 11. If you are an adult at 12 then even if I were to shave I don't think I could pass for 11. I could claim an overactive pituitary gland and cite Andre the Giant but then they'd ask where my parent/guardian is. Perhaps a lost unaccompanied minor would get a discount. I could use my Bobby from Bobby's World voice. Or Kermit the Frog. Mind you I'm not really hungry having been treated to a Costco hot dog as I received a ride to the ferry from the Tiessen family in their people's car. I got the back middle seat from Hope to Abbotsford, wedged in between Eli's baby carrier, Josiah's car seat, and the front seats. We're a cozy bunch!

Two more ladies have positioned themselves upon the floor. With 6 foot buffers. A guy with a black leather jacket, dress slacks, gray hair and a mustache walks by, stops, half turns and gazes through the glass doors towards the Pacific Buffet. People with mustaches often remind me of walruses. Or sea lions. He then resumes his nautical circumnavigation. I recognize him from Saanich Baptist Church. He walks back again, scrapping his circumnavigous journey.

The sign of welcome to the buffet strongly proclaims
Welcome to our Pacific Buffet

Enjoy one of BC's most unique waterfront dining experiences. Spectacular coastal views and a wide selection of delicious choices offer great value for one all-inclusive price.

Join us for a memorable dining experience throughout the day.

This has me thinking of other dining experiences that could fit that criteria. Like, say, the gutter in a fisherman's market down by the sea.
Unique BC Experience? Check
Spectacular Views? Sure
Wide selection of delicious choices? Ok
Great Value/All-inclusive price? Can't beat free.
Memorable Dining Experience? You bet!

Any out of towner treated to that would remember it.
Perhaps that was a bit silly. I'll be a tad more serious. A quaint seaside restaurant where they slap you in the face with a fish. I think that could qualify as one of BC's most unique waterfront dining experiences. That is of course until it becomes an "in" thing and all the other restaurants do it too. Maybe in time for the 2010 Olympics.

A girl has joined the immobile jumping fish across from me. Purple nail polish adorns her left, book holding, hand with which she removes her reddish brown leather jacket. Green comfy pants and green snow boots. A white scraggly scruffy scarf adorns her neck. And glancing outside I see that we are through the Inside Passage. I look up and she has vanished. Without a trace. Someone call Anthony La Paglia. All that is left behind is what looks like an instrument case, a pull along mini-suitcase with two plastic bags slung over top, one containing a purple nalgene, and her coat.

I think she may return.

She did. With a little black hoody and an accompanying black pursy thing with orange and red flowers. I figured she'd be back because it's cold outside and people don't generally abandon nice jackets without cause. Brown hair with some grown out blonde bang highlights, a nose ring, and pensive eyes, as she scans her book of plays. Perhaps time for a sports pun? Her playbook?

A tiny little girl giggles and squiggles by; her parents in tow. They retrieve her from her dash through the doors. Though she looked to be under five so she would've been allowed in for free. But you probably aren't supposed to use it as free daycare. Though there is no sign saying "no unaccompanied minors" so.....

A gentleman with salt & pepper hair, graying out at the temples, walks by in brown dress shoes, olive dress pants, and a black down jacket, holding aloft a black tray with 3 cafeteria coffees. He must really like coffee. Ferry cafeterita coffee no less. A true connoisseur.

My neighbor to the left has departed. 12 feet to the lady in the corner wearing her blue adidas zip up. However a young red bag toting, book reading woman has taken up residency between us. Though only 3 feet from me. Leaving 9ish feet betwixt them.

I am no longer the only male waiting near the door to the overhead walkway exit. A young lad sits over to the right between the two sets of doors. He's fully plugged in. IPod on his lap, earbuds in his aural cavities, and Nintendo DS in his hands. Stopping only to spare the occasional hurried glance at his wrist watch. He's in his own world, which is much smaller than the one I'm currently aware of, yet perhaps unlimitedly large as well. For who can demark the limits of human experience?

What is this? The sports bag watching mother has taken up conversation with the 12 foot distant Adidas wearing lady. They've taken off to destination unknown? Perhaps to coffee, discussion, a brief impassioned tryst? A ferry romance? Who knows.

A fuzzy blue dry mop works it's way around the corner and into the open floor of our waiting area. It drags it's female ferry handler after it and around. As quickly as it appears it is gone once more.

The Adidas lady is back dragging a black bag! Not enough time has passed for it to've been a murder. Sports bag Mom is back too, with other bags to place 12 feet to my left. I'm re-evaluating her mom status when two girls fill in the large left space. One has a blue nike bag. One a blue diadora! The sports team theory is strengthened. The mother theory is waffling towards coach/chaperone.

Straw broom and mobile dustpan on a stick conspire and combine forces to bring the female ferry handler back around and through.

More people arrive and I believe it is time to roll up my thermarest and let it re-assume its familiar spot atop my backpack. 10 minutes to scheduled docking time. Might as well prepare. Plus I think my ass has gone to sleep. At least the left cheek.

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