Friday 14 June 2013

Kamloops compo

We were a little slow on the uptake yesterday (blame 7 days of assiduous unwinding on the Silver Shadow) so it didn’t occur to us to wonder until this morning why we weren’t taking the coach to Kamloops instead of flying, since at least that way we would see some of the route we were missing on our cancelled Rocky Mountaineer trip, day one. Obedient as ever, we were just doing as we were told by our minders – but, as it happened, within minutes of thinking of it our minds were put to rest by Tara here in Kamloops, who assured us that the best of the rail trip was assuredly still to come. So that was all right.

And, in compensation, we had an afternoon exploring Kamloops that we wouldn’t have been able to do had today’s rail trip not been made impossible by a rogue derailment (is there any other sort?).

So first of all we went out of town to the BC Wildlife Park, where David showed us the mostly indigenous, mostly rehabilitated animals in their natural and spacious enclosures, including 3 black bears happily wrestling, two wolves, a lynx and two cougars contentedly dozing in the long grass, some busy raccoons, an even busier badger, a poser elk called Thunder, a couple of young grizzlies hunting for hidden food, and a pair of dainty coyotes. We learned some interesting and useful stuff: take it from me, you never want to risk getting vomited on by a turkey vulture.

Then there was some sad stuff to do with the Secwepemc people, who for the best part of 100 years had their children taken from them by the Church who wanted to ‘Christianise, civilise and assimilate’ them. Sound familiar? Australian Aboriginal stolen generation all over again, except worse because for longer. Sigh.

And then I wandered around a leafy suburb of Kamloops, charmed by the pretty mock-Victorian and Arts & Crafts houses with their shingles and verandas and tapered pillars, their shutters and stained glass and pastel colours, and their cottage gardens bright with peonies and irises. Finally we had a tasty dinner at Quattro Bistro, excellent from start to finish – and that’s not just the Marlborough wine speaking. As compensations go, today was one of the better ones

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