Friday, May 30, 2014

Here Comes Tourist Season

ferry, ferries, horseshoe bay, beautiful british columbia 

Where I live on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, we have a huge influx of tourists starting around the Victoria Day long weekend towards the end of May. I live in a small village that's swamped with tourists every summer.

I hate to generalize but you can often spot an out-of-towner pretty quickly. Usually they're the ones driving really slowly and rubber-necking. Or sometimes they drive crazy fast...the northern coast is known for its twisty-turny highway, so we get a lot of daredevil motorcyclists that love to do things like pass on the double solid lines.

If you see a group of people walking down the middle of the road in our village, you can be sure they're tourists. There's something about the laid-back atmosphere of this place that seems to encourage people to act as if the road is meant for them and them alone. Insolent tourists! 

Once in awhile you'll come across someone who's obviously just escaped from the city but can't quite shake the fast-paced impatience that seems to come with city life. You have the occasional guy who blows up in the liquor store because they don't carry his brand of whiskey, or then there's the woman who storms out of the cafe because the harassed waitresses have failed to serve her immediately. Luckily this kind of thing doesn't happen too often but the locals like to latch onto a good story when they hear it and pass it along.

I sell my photography at fairs and at the Sechelt Farmers' and Artisans' Market from April through September so of course I run into a lot of tourists. Quite often visitors from the city are completely starry-eyed about the Sunshine Coast. Many people have the dream that one day they'll be able to move here. I was one of those people about a dozen years ago. I frequently visited someone who lived here and it got harder and harder to return to the city afterwards. Eventually I moved here and embraced the slower lifestyle.

The photograph above was taken at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, which is just outside Vancouver. It's a 40-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast, and it's a spectacular trip, with lots of mountains and islands in view and the occasional pod of dolphins or group of orca whales spotted alongside the ship. Anyone who lives here likes to complain about the cost of the ferry but I have to admit, the scenery is simply amazing and I'm sure tourists are routinely blown away by the trip.

I did two versions of the Horseshoe Bay ferry image. I added some fun filters to the photograph below to make it seem more like a painting.

If you're ever on the Sunshine Coast, please drop by the Sechelt Farmers' and Artisans Market on Cowrie Street in downtown Sechelt from 9:00-2:30...I'm there most Saturdays, selling my wares.

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