Thursday, 8 May 2008

Off the Grid (i)

I took a ferry to Vancouver Island which unveiled some surprisingly amazing scenery reminiscent of what i'd imagine you'd find in New Zealand or Norway.

With the irregularity and expense of the bus service I'd said i'd chance hitching out to Tofino. And so started a wonderful week of great scenery and extremely generous people. Tofino is the surf capital of Canada but is extremely isolated, at the edge of a rain forest and only has one road accessing it.

I got picked up before i'd even started thumbing and overall it was a relatively straightforward experience. A few rides later (one from a wheel chair-bound old lady; talk about perceptions...) and i got collected by George in Port Alberni. He was going all the way to Tofino - sweet ! We stopped off at all the hot-spots along the way - amazing scenery all over Vancouver Island. If that wasn't enough, he insisted that crash in his place and he gave me his campervan for the night. what a sound guy. The next morning we finished the sightseeing tour and I headed on my way. Overall, Tofino was a lovely, really rugged, chilled spot. It reminded me of Itacare or parts of Hawaii eh except in the rain...

Speaking of rain, it had really started to bucket down when i started on my way again. This was far less of a joyous experience ! Walked for a fckin hour as the tourists/rich fucks sprayed water on me as they sped past. Eventually I got picked up by a former hitcher (this is usually the way; hitchers are big believers in Karma !) and dropped me off 40km down the road with a can of Smirnoff Ice in my hand (???). Another half hour of getting drenched and despair mounting before Tony and Linda from England came to the rescue. They were sound out and good company and dropped only an hour from my end destination - Victoria.

I've always found hitching to be a great leveller. The moment you think you've mastered it and get cocky, it drops you right in the shit and when you think you're fcked and are about to give in, it picks you up with a dollop of good fortune.

It was getting dark in this shit hole called Duncan and I was about to call it a night having come so close when a car veered across two lanes and jammed on the breaks in front of me. Luke was another former hitcher and a lovely fella. Brought me back to his gaff so i could check my email and tried to make me eat dinner. As much as it pained me, i had to say no, felt guilty enough about his generosity already. They dropped me at my hostel and i went out to meet the two Geordies - Ricky and Dave for one.

And so the next morning I left for the States with Canada a country high in my estimation. Nice people, fantastic scenery and overall a nation with an unassuming opinion of itself.

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