Victoria, BC, Canada

June 5th, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
First of all, it’s a pity that Victoria is completely unaffordable for two teachers
to live in because both Justin and I absolutely loved Victoria, BC, Canada, and
I would totally move there if it was within reality.


Victoria was founded as a trading post in 1843. Greater Victoria is located in the
province of British Columbia, Canada, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
It has a population of 80,000 within the metropolitan area, and about 345,000
in Greater Victoria, and according to our tour guide today, the population
keeps rising because people keep on moving into Victoria. Victoria was also
named after Queen Victoria of England.
Victoria has an amazing climate; it has some of the most moderate weather in Canada. It
averages 2,183 hours of sunshine a year, and an average rainfall of 26.2
inches. Spring and summer months have temperatures that range from 65 to 90
degrees.  I cannot fathom living in a
place that barely gets over two feet of rain all year, and it must be amazing.
I hate rain. Though I didn’t hate rain until I moved to Houston, and realized
that the Houston roads cannot handle all the rain that it gets, and until my
car drowned about two years ago due to flooding Texas rains.
The ship was really only spending a few hours in port in Victoria, which is a pity
because I would’ve loved to spend a lot more time in the city, and I would’ve
loved time to visit one of the five Starbucks’ that I counted as we drove
through the city on our tour. But since we were barely in port at Victoria, we
had to get up really early, and meet in the ship’s theater to meet our tour
group. We got some breakfast in the room. I had a really hard time waking up
today because I didn’t feel well. I think I’ve caught a cold from something…
who knows, it could be the changing climate [Texas heat to Alaskan Cold to
freezing Glacier Bay to moderate Victoria], or it could just be from the
numerous people on this ship. But that cold made it really hard to get out of
Justin and I chose to go to the Butchart Gardens and the Victoria Butterfly Gardens
for our tour. The Victoria Butterfly Gardens is a 12,000 square foot enclosure
which is filled with a multitude of free-flying butterflies. There are also
other animals in the gardens including birds, koi, and a kimono dragon. It
actually reminded me a lot of a smaller version of the Rainforest Pyramid at
Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas.  My camera lens fogged up the second we got in the gardens due to the humidity used
to make it feel like a rainforest to support the animals that live in it, and
we only had about thirty minutes in the butterfly gardens, and fifteen of those
thirty minutes consisting of me waiting for my lenses to de-fog. But the
butterflies were pretty. Justin and I have been to the butterfly gardens at the
Houston Science Museum many times, and it was very similar to that.









After the butterfly gardens, we went to Butchart Gardens. The gardens were gorgeous.
There was the Sunken Gardens, which were formed from a limestone quarry.  The only real remainder of the quarry is the
Quarry Lake, which the original owner actually filled with trout, when they
were first made, and he trained the trout to come when he clapped his hands. He
must’ve had a lot of free time on his hands… After the sunken gardens, we went
to the Rose Garden, however, since it was early in the season, there weren’t
actually a lot of roses that had bloomed, but there were a few. There was also
a wishing well fountain, and I saw a lot of people cleaning their money with
water that sprayed from a frog, making a wish, and throwing it in the fountain,
had I had coins, I probably would’ve made a wish as well. I was very impressed
with how many different roses there are!
After the rose garden, we ventured to the Japanese Garden. The Japanese Garden was
actually one of the first gardens that were created at Butchart Gardens. The
garden began in 1906.  It was much different than the Japanese Garden at Memorial Hermann Park in Houston. This
garden had a lot of Torri Gates and stairs. There was a stepping stone path
across a stream that you got to step across, and there were tons of poppies and
other flowers. There were also a lot of hidden enclaves to sit in, if you
wanted to just sit and relax or meditate or something, however, we didn’t
really have the time to explore the gardens in details due to the fact that our
ship was only in port till 1:30 pm.
After the Japanese Gardens, we went to the Star Pond, which is a star shaped pond
with lily pads, and frog statue. Then there was the Italian Garden, which was
shaped as a cross. There were a few bronze statues in it, one of
Hermes/Mercury, and the other was of a child holding a fish, and the entire
pond was surrounded by purple flowers. It was very pretty.













































Our time at the gardens was basically up by the time we finished walking through
it. We had almost two hours there, which was plenty of time to buy souvenirs,
and to meander through the gardens and take some pretty pictures. I definitely
could’ve spent more time there, but that’s okay, I plan to come back to
Victoria in the future. Justin and I were talking about doing a cross-Canadian
road trip in a few years, and driving from east Canada to west Canada and then
down through the west coast and back to Texas… Granted that trip probably won’t
be for a good 7-8 years, but I think it’s something we both would really enjoy
doing in the future.
We went back to the ship, and grabbed some lunch. I had a tuna sandwich and some
Greek salad from the International Café, and Justin had three slices of pizza.
I truly think Justin will miss being able to get as much pizza as he wants for
12 hours a day, the most, out of everything else from the cruise.
After we ate, we changed into our bathing suits, and went up to the “hidden” hot tubs
we had discovered yesterday, only the deck wasn’t as empty as it had been the
day before. There were tons of people watching and waiting for the ship to
disembark from Victoria, as well as a shuffle board tournament. Justin and I
talked to a nice couple from California, in the hot tub, and sat there as the
ship disembarked for awhile since it really did have a nice view, probably one
of the best views on all the ship.
We came back to our cabin, and I slept for basically four hours, you can tell when
I don’t feel well because I can actually nap. While I slept, Justin played more
of his Link game on the switch.
I eventually woke up, after a very strange dream. Justin and I went up one deck
to get some soda, and as we were getting soda, a US fighter jet flew by and it
was one of the loudest things I think I’ve ever heard in my life. It was
literally a few feet from us. It was so loud that it seemed to shake the entire
deck. My parents even heard it from their stateroom, which is four floors below
where we were and said it was super loud, so you can only imagine how loud it
was when it was literally a few feet from you and you were outside. The jet
didn’t break the sound barrier though, but man was it loud, and it was super
My dad felt better today and joined us for dinner. For dinner, I had a chicken
Caesar salad for an appetizer and vegetable tempura for a meal. For dessert, I
made my own ice cream sandwich with oatmeal cookies, vanilla ice cream, and
chocolate chips, sort of like a homemade chipwich.
After dinner, Justin and I watched the last karaoke performances of the cruise. There
were some very interesting performances today, though I really missed Vick and
his rendition of “My Way” though a guy named KK from Hong Kong sang that song today
[I guess it’s just a really popular older people song], and his performance of
it was interesting, though it lacked the life-lessons that Vick’s did because
it sounds like Vick really lived that song, though KK was good. There were some
very AWFUL performances, though AWFUL does make really good karaoke, including
one of “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher that brought back traumatic memories
of the time I went to a diner with my parents and they sang it really loud
along with a jukebox to torture and embarrass me.  Justin and I played more Carcassonne
together, while we watched the performances, and I am happy to say that I
ALMOST won, I only lost by 3pts instead of the 60+ that I usually lose by.
We walked back to our room after karaoke and there was some balloon drop party,
which I guess is how the end of the cruise is celebrated and it was REALLY
loud, and there were a bunch of people dancing and getting drunk on the
promenade, that isn’t really our scene, so we went back to our room, but they
looked like they were having fun.
Tomorrow is the last day of the cruise, and it’s bittersweet. I mean I’m super happy
that I finally get to have Baked Alaska because I’ve been looking forward to it
all cruise [and it seems appropriate since we actually went to Alaska], but at
the same time it means the end of relaxation and no responsibility, and back to
everyday life. Tomorrow will be spent packing and recharging electronics in
anticipation of our 4 hour plane ride from California to Texas.
But really, the cruise has been a lot of fun, and we’ve had a really good time, and
as Vick would sing “I did it my way”, and our way led to a blast!

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