Welcome to the Island Rambles Blog

Welcome to my blog world. This is a photo blog, poetry and short story blog about my life on Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. I take photos of the birds and scenery I find. I hope you enjoy your time here and please come back again. PHOTOS WILL ENLARGE IF CLICKED. The photos are slide show enabled if you click on them. If you click on the top lighthouse photo it always takes you to the most recent summary list of my postings.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

China Town for "C"

Today I am posting again for the ABC Wednesday meme and the letter we are on to is "C" .  I will continue my series on China Town in Victoria, B.C. on Vancouver Island for the letter C.  Check out what the other bloggers have for you on the ABC page.
I have mixed in some of my summer shots for the China Town blog as we have had so much rain and dark gloomy weather here lately. I like to recycle some of my summer shots in the winter.  These two pictures show the Gates of Harmonious Interest built in Suzhou.
The Victoria China Town is the oldest in Canada and second oldest in North America as San Francisco is older.  It all started around 1858 when there was a gold rush in the Fraser Canyon.  The miners came from California and then the Chinese came across the Pacific to Vancouver Island on their way to the gold fields.  They heard about the gold and were escaping war, famine and drought in China.  About one third of the miners were Chinese and most came from Guangdong in South China.  Then later the Canadian Pacific Railway brought in Chinese workers.  They were mostly men and would try to bring in their families later.
As I wandered around the streets, I stopped here and listened to these talented buskers...the young guitar player had become quite a local favorite.

In the early years there were rows of wood huts here and it had a reputation of having gambling and opium dens.
In 1911 China Town was at it's peak and covered six city blocks and had around 3,158 people there.  Later on it got  smaller in size.
Here we  see one of  the amazing fruit and vegetable stands.
These shots show Fan Tan Alley.
This was the original gambling district.  Now it has small shops.
This is known as the narrowest street in Canada and it is only 0.9 metres wide in some areas.
More of the open markets.
Some samples of the interior of the shops.
I have not seen it but apparently there is the oldest Buddhist Temple in Canada here.




The area is now revitalized with shops and studios and is a major tourist attraction.
I hope you like our China Town and hello to all the ABC group of bloggers.

 See the ABC Wednesday meme.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year

This year is the year of the Water  Dragon.  It is the Chinese year 4710 and started on January 23, 2012.  We had our parade on Sunday here in Victoria, B.C. Canada.  The parade goes through our China Town streets.  The smoke effect in the background is from the fireworks.  I know it looks like a lot of the shots are out of focus but it really is just smoke. This blog is for Our World Tuesday and also for Ruby Tuesday2.  Check out the links as you will find more photos of our world blogging community.
The parade had lots of Lion and Dragon dancers.
This year of the Dragon is supposed to be a very powerful year and also a year of good luck.
People celebrate with fireworks and feasting.
The Lunar New Year is the time of the biggest family reunions.
In ancient times the dragon was a symbol reserved for the Chinese emperor.

The New Year festivities continue for fifteen days.
In Chinese culture the dragon is a positive symbol standing for power, strength and good luck.
The year of the water dragon only occurs every 60 years.  You can see more of the smoke from the fire crackers that they throw on the street. 
In the Chinese zodiac the dragon is the fifth sign and the only one which is a mythical creature.

There are lots of preparations for the New Years celebrations,  the house has to be cleaned before the start or all your luck goes out the door. 


This was the most difficult shooting I ever have done as there was such a large crowd and I could not get to the front of the line as I am not the most pushy person.  Someone was always putting an arm or hand in front of me or holding up a camera in front of mine.

Doors and windows can be painted red as red keeps evil away.  I found the best shots were at the end of the parade when the crowd wandered off and I was the only crazy paparazzi chasing them.

The dragon will suppress  wrong doers it is believed.
You can see a really old brick building in the background here.
In our local parade we had both the white dragon and the black one.  There were many children participating and it must have been so exciting for them.
As they passed this art store I loved the colors in the background.

I hope you enjoyed the parade, our weather here on Vancouver Island has been very dark and gloomy so I had to recycle some of my past photos for this blog as we had heavy rain showers on the day of the parade.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Timmy the Star

Today it is Camera Critters...check out the wonderful shots of everyones pets.  This is Timmy the terrible who has come to visit me for a while.  This is her dreamy look just before she attacks you.  She has many looks and moods just like a movie star.  Her favorite is to roll on her belly and look really cuddly and cute and just as you reach down to pat her belly she transforms into a wild cat and it is all claws and teeth and rolling about.
Sometimes she likes to look way way up for birds or anything that resembles a bird....even a fly.  She believes she is fierce and will jump into action when there is anything that moves through her air space.  And she is an expert at making involuntary chin wagging squeaks and squeals when she sees a bird out the window.

Here she keeps one eye open just to be sure that her siesta does not make her miss some food.  She is just barely tolerating whatever it is I am doing to try to get this shot.... probably standing on my head. I am disturbing her royal highness.
Then I changed my white balance from shade which gives you such warm colors to sunlight and the colors become cool. I prefer to keep my white balance on shade or cloudy almost all the time unless it distorts the colors way too much as Canon has such cold auto settings.  Here we  have the ears back and very annoyed look and about to attack.   She can't believe I am still taking pictures of her.
Timmy says look at the strange toys she gives me ....can I eat it?  She will try to eat anything and everything.  She ate a needle once and lived to tell about it.  She is called Timmy because they did not know she was a girl and they liked South Park Timmy.

Ahhhhh....a nice nap after a long hard day of playing and eating.   That is a day in the life of Timmy the terrible.  Is she a star or not?  What do you think?  (This is a slight deviation in my normal mode of blogging as Timmy was way too adorable not to share with you!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blue Sky Again

Back for Sky Watch Friday and follow into Weekend Reflections, two of the very popular themes for bloggers to play with. Have a look at some of the photos there.   I took these shots a few weeks ago when we noticed this popcorn cloud above Beacon Hill Park and the tall totem which is in the park facing the water.

This shot is from Anderson Hill just above Beacon Hill park.  Beacon Hill park is named for the two beacons which used to be placed there and if you could see through the triangle beacon then you were on Brochie Ledge and probably going to be in some kind of sinking trouble! You would be at risk of running up on the reef.




Beacon Hill was originally the burial site for the First Nations Coast Salish and a beautiful spot it was for them with a view of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains in Washington. This totem was the tallest in the world when it was made but now is the fourth tallest.  It is 38.8 metres tall and was carved by Mungo Martin, a Kwakwaka'wakw carver and erected in 1956.
Then we moved onto Fisherman's Wharf and I saw some reflections there. You can see portions of the inner harbour of Victoria B.C. on Vancouver Island here in the background.  It is a pretty harbour for the middle of a city to have. The Coast Salish, Songhees lived here originally and along the Gorge nearby there are shell middens dating back 4000 years.
These are the boat houses on the wharf.  People go there and have amazing fish and chips and feed herring to the seals. You can also go on whale watching trips, rent kayaks or board a pirate ship.  I go there and wander along the dock as usual.  Looking at boats.  The light is terrible there on the dock in the afternoon for shots as it goes into shade quickly.
It is a busy harbour as the sea planes and ferries are coming and going constantly.  There are small ferry boats to take you across to the other side and in summer there are many festivals going on all along the waterfront. The entire city dresses up in summer with gigantic flower baskets on every light stand and it is a tourist attraction for people to visit here.

Hope you enjoyed  a peek at the harbour and have a great weekend.  Thanks to all the bloggers for stopping by. I started blogging in 2006 and then I quit blogging for a long time and I removed most of this blog, so it is nice to start to build my readers again and to see some of the bloggers that I used to know return and pop in.

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