Archive | July, 2009

I am a Bear Hunter

8 Jul



Bear hunting in Wells Grey Park BC, originally uploaded by benaston.

Day two of our Canadian Wells Gray Provincial Park adventure.

We began the day with our all inclusive spring-saver package with the all you can eat buffet breakfast. Oddly enough for a Canadian buffet it was a la continentale so there wasn’t a blueberry pancake in sight, yet alone the ever flowing meliflous sirop de maple. I was a moose out of Canada.

Next up was rafting. This was the one thing that I’d been really looking forward to on this trip; I wanted to be scared and ideally be thrown out of the raft and nearly drown etc. Unfortunately though, despite all the best efforts of the guides who made a valiant effort to whoop, high five, yee ha et al down the river, the rafting was actually incredibly tame and it wasn’t until I threw myself in the water to do a spot of swimming that my hair got wet. Poosticks.

Then the day took a strange turn. As we were making our way back to the lodge, we chanced upon two donkeys gently trotting down the road. It was a little incongrous; it’s not every day you see donkeys in Canada, especially donkeys trotting down a road miles from anywhere. As we got closer, we realised (albeit particularly slowly) that these beasts were not donkeys at all. They were the mighty moose. By then it was too late though, the moose had given us the slip and we were left scratching our mosquito bites.

Of course, a holiday to Canada isn’t complete without hunting a bear. I’ve heard it said that in the absence of bears, sometimes you have to make do with a large dog. So following the donkey sighting which in fact turned out to be a moose, we cocked our guns and sharpened our knives in readiness of a dog or bear sighting.

We didn’t have to wait long. Not far down the road trotted a bear pretending to be a dog (mainly on account of employing a dog-like gait, and being a tad small). It was a bit of an awkward moment so, as advised in all the good bear hunting manuals, we wound down the window for a quick chat. It was clearly quite upset that we’d found it, seeing as it had tried so hard to be inconspicuos and so the bear began picking some flowers and offered them to us in exchange for its pelt. (see picture above)

Things then turned a bit sour. I said I’d rather have the pelt than the flowers thanks. The bear then gave up on the whole ‘I can be cute like a dog’ thang and charged. Fearing for my Presidents Choice choc chip biscuits tucked away in the back seat I knew I had no choice but to face the beast. I pulled out my hunting knife and charged back at the bear (still seated in the car of course).

Seeing as we were running late for dinner, we let it go.

On tour with Joshua Radin at the Commodore in Vancouver

3 Jul

hanging out with josh radin, originally uploaded by benaston.

As any self respecting tourist would, on the day after Canada Day, today we took a trip on the wild side and made it all the way into Vancouver. It was indeed a wild time; for starters, my flip flop broke so I had to go all hippy and go bare foot; like a bear with no bearskin..

The hippyness didn’t end there though. After crepes, bellinis, honey lagers (not as good as Fullers) and more food, we stood in a line for a long time outside the Commodore Ballroom waiting for tickets for Joshua Radin and the uber hip Xavier Rudd.

It was good to see Josh again. In fact, as you can see, these days we’re practically best buds. It was all a bit rushed though, and with a half hour supporting slot, he didn’t have time to work his magic; the Commodore crowd was a bit of a let down – there wasn’t a whole lotta love and the old acoustic unplugged thing, along with a few of his new songs fell on its face a bit. Thankfully, a few classics, Closer, and Winter made it worth the trip to see him.

Then came Rudd. It has to be said that I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a whole Xavier Rudd song all the way through; they’re not exactly known for their brevity though, are they? It soon became apparent that the reason Josh wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea was because they were a bit too stoned and hippy for him.

Cue Rudd, the spliffs are unveiled across the room and an awesome world music come reggae rock cacaphony begins. He does some amazing things, combining didgeridoo, slide guitar, and drums to make what can really only be described as reggae music for white people. Of course with reggae comes dancing, and there was more than a healthy sprinkling of that. Not just any kind of white reggae dancing, but odly enough it seemed that it was all very much influenced by Kate Bush a la Wuthering Heights. Weird.

Let’s save the planet.