Monday, March 17, 2014


Nelson, B.C. on a busier day.
For the past eight years, I have been urban-deprived. So when I came across the road sign that said, “CAUTION: Sheep on the road next 18 km”, it dawned on me that maybe I’d erred in my vacation planning.

I keep going for scenic, rustic, peaceful. I have learned nothing.

Day 1 of my travels and I felt so calm—at least after navigating through a ninety-minute snowy patch with my dog sitting and shaking riding shotgun, while enduring a panic attack. The mountain fog was a breeze after that. I also felt disconnected, but that’s status quo.

Nelson is a lovely little town in the Kootenays of British Columbia. It’s also mighty sleepy on a rainy Sunday in mid-March. After checking in to my hotel, the dog and I went for a walkie. He was thrilled to mark new territory. But then, he was just as excited piddling on a littered yogurt cup in a dirt parking lot during a quick road stop in seemingly abandoned Princeton, B.C. (While he did his thing, I kept my eye out for zombies. Freaky interaction averted. Maybe zombies just want a dairy fix.)

The streets of central Nelson are lined with beautiful old buildings. But at 4:40 on a Sunday afternoon, the sidewalks were empty. Well, there was an off-key busker, looking for a nuisance fee. (I’d rather encounter yogurt-deficient zombies.) To wholly avoid him, I jaywalked to the other side of the street. No risk of being struck by traffic. Unfortunately, stores closed at 4. Or even 3. Restaurants didn’t even bother opening, sticking to that Closed on Sundays norm from sixty years ago. I started to wonder if Nelson was the original homestead of Ozzie and Harriet.

Dinner ended up being a burrito from the co-op grocery store—open until 6 in the evening! The dog and I retreated to our hotel room for more quiet time. I almost welcomed the nonstop coughing wall. Interaction! I named it Wally. If Tom Hanks can name a volleyball, I can bond with a too-thin wall.

Sadly, as I pulled my pillow ear plugs away in the morning, Wally said nothing. A wall of silence. Time to say goodbye to Nelson.

Surely things will be bustling in Spokane.

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