Monday, 28 May 2012

Victorian plumbing, the girl and the Orca, Tofino Bound (End game Part I )

I arrived in Victoria with around 102 dollars remaining in the one grand budget.  My ferry across to the island was sponsored by one of my best friends, Kris, in lieu of my services as a day laborer to help him move from his condo to a new build house just outside of Victoria.

I arrived at his place around sunset, met up with his wife Kendra and baby girl Phia.  I crashed on the couch that night, having a hard time falling asleep.  The thoughts of my cross Canada journey swirling around in my head.  My first bouts of anxiety about what I was going to do after this journey was over started to take hold. I had no job, no idea what I was going to do after I got back to "reality".  I remember being comforted by the thought that I had traveled twenty thousand kilometers and not known how that was going to happen, but here I was near the end of my road.  I dozed off with a smile on my face.

The next day with the help of a couple of Kris and Kendra's friends we moved a couple truck fulls of boxes and furniture into a beautiful quaint, geo-thermal heated home.  Everything went pretty smooth except for the destruction of one glass paneled hutch which fell over and was smashed into oblivion.

The next few days were spent building chairs and tables and helping Kris and Kendra around the house.  Kris and I had our west coast cribbage competition, and after being down 4 games to one, I somehow mounted a glorious comeback and won 5 straight, claiming bragging rights and cribbage mastery over my friend. 

Kris was busy at work and taking care of the post-move responsibilities left me with a lot of solo time.  I had a few naps, watched some movies and went out exploring Victoria with my new friend Cedra.
We walked around the harbor talked about life and travel.  We meandered around under the stars and just wandered Victoria's beautiful waterfront, and Cedra mentioned that there was a Fringefest event taking place called SexSlam.  It was a slam poetry event where the topic

We arrived at the bar and watched and listened as the contestants poured out their most secret and seductive, intimate and personal moments.  The range was quite diverse and the stories for the most part were all hilarious or thought provoking.  It was an activity I normally wouldn't have dared to go check out without an accomplice, and Cedra was hip and cool to the ways of the fringe.

I began planning my last leg of the trip and my final destination: Tofino.  I put an add up in Vancouver Kijiji's rideshare to see if anyone needed a lift eastward as I planned to make the return journey home.  In the meantime, Cedra had more activities planned.  I came up with the idea of an eco date, basically we had a budget of $30 between us and we had to find a way to stretch that into an evening of entertainment.

We had a couple cups of coffee, with some great conversation, we decided to head out to the ocean to engage in one of Cedra's favourite activities; tide pool exploration.  We touched some crabs and sponges and Cedra hula hooped while I sat on the rocks facing the straights of Juan de Fuca.  I got into a meditative rhythm and watched the sun set behind Vancouver island's mini mountains.  I heard Cedra's exasperated yelp and saw to where she was pointing.  The long narrow dorsel fin of an orca cut through the waves.  I could not believe it.  We watched the great mammal dart in and out of view as it passed in between us on the island and a giant super freighter crossing through the straits.  I had seen whales on the east coast, and now here on the western side of the continent I had seen a killer whale.  Both times I was in a quiet state of mediation.... just saying...

On Vancouver Island, having a whale of a time

After the whale encounter we headed out to an Indian restaurant that Cedra had a coupon for.  We each chose a dish and had a pleasant meal and conversation.  Total cost on the date was just over 30 bucks.  Not bad for 5 hours of great company and entertainment. 

Now, I am not sure what it is exactly with me, and toilets, plumbing and No. 2, but there is a bizarre fecal thread that has run through the underpants of my life.  It is unexplainable and embarrassingly hilarious.  If you ask my friends a story about me, inevitably there will be a story about poop, most likely at the top of the list.  This is the reason why I can never have a wedding with speeches.

So I just finished using the facilities in Kris and Kendra's new home, and go to do the customary flush.  All good.  Or is it?  Kris goes to flush the toilet right after me, and the thing starts to back up.  He asks me what I did in there, I tell him:  "just your everyday generic number 2, buddy".  I go to look at the damage and grab the plunger, No problem I think to myself, I have unplugged many a toilet in my day.  For what ever reason, and for the very first time in my short life, I cannot, get this toilet to un-plug.  A fine sweat and quiet anger begin to permeate my skin and inner reaches of my mind.  I am embarrassed and can't believe that I am early on into yet another poop story.  I thought I left them behind me (pun intended).

After a trip to Canadian Tire for a new plunger (the old one was shaped funny) and a good half hour of solid plunging, nothing is doing and things are getting worse.  It is time to call in the professionals and I can tell Kris is non-plussed by the situation.  It's 6 days into his brand new home and I have already broken the plumbing in the downstairs powder room.  My stench of curry from the night before permeating the lower level of the house.  Oh, and Kris' brother Kevin and his girlfriend are set to arrive the next day.  Truly an ideal situation, at least from a blogger's perspective.

It's Friday night in Victoria and a dude from Roto-Rooter shows up in a typical white service van.  I know that this isn't a typical unplug job and I am trying to convince Kris that my chicken tandoori was soft and fully digested, that there is something else afoot, possibly a construction issue.  The rotor rooter dude, who just happens to be from Ottawa seems to disagree.  "Just a plugged toilet" he says with confidence.  I think not. And God, I hope he is wrong.

His first tool is a posedion-esque trident with a claw on the end, designed for about 20 feet of piping.  He begins the slow methodical unraveling of metal.  He is turning the tool wildly, a nice lather of sweat building on his brow.  After fully extending the contraption, he decides its time to take out the bowl.  Ca ca water sloshes around, my ca ca water, and is splashing on the fresh coat of paint all over the powder room walls of the six day old house.  The smell is increasing in its potency and now there is  a toilet in the front yard, two towels fully soaked through with my fecal art, and a really sweaty rotor rooter technician from Ottawa wondering what to do next.  All the while my adopted niece Phia is sleeping soundly upstairs. This is a true story.

After a couple of tries with the intermediate machine, designed to reach the sewer in the street, the tech pulls out the big guns, the industrial sized gas powered drain snake, equipped with a diamond studded claw for serious blockages.  I'd like to say I am as tough as nails, but there is no way that anything that has come out of my body should require this much labour to  bypass.  My one and only real concern is that if I am indeed responsible for this blockage, will 84 remaining dollars I have left cover the labour and/or parts to fix the mess created?

Fortunately for me and the budget, the plumber deduced that the source of the problem was construction waste, in the sewage line - most likely some concrete or some other industrial coagelent.  After some telephonic finagling, Kris managed to get the builder to cover the costs of the episodic comedy that was this situation.   The bill was well over $300, I would have had to been Kris' butler for a week to cover the costs.  All's well that ends smell.

The next day after thanking Kris and Kendra for their hospitality I began my journey for my final destination - Tofino.  En route I received a few texts and a few calls regarding my rideshare ad eastward,  I began juggling offers via text when my phone rang.  A young woman who introduced herself as Claire said her and a friend would each pitch in for the ride.  They said they were making there way to Vancouver and I inquired as to where they were now.

The Universe had lined up so much for me on this trip already, I didn't know anyone in Tofino and was expecting to sleep in my tent or car, and had zero plans.  So when Claire said here and her friend Jeppe were putting around in Tofino I was almost not surprised.  I told her I was a couple hours away and I would see them soon.  We agreed to meet in front of the first surfshop I'd see entering town.

After a beautiful drive through some old growth forests and along some pristine rivers I arrived in Tofino.  Coming into town I saw a kid with a mohawk riding a longboard.  I was indeed in Tofino....

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