We should take a leaf from the Sound of Music, and start from the very beginning.
When I left you, dear reader, we had just wrapped up the first night of the conference. i hope you followed the link to the Rev Al's Youtube clip. Worth the visit.
Monday began with a business session of the Centre executive from 0700-0800. Much too little time really for the agenda we had - although we made a fair fist of it. If this is our only face to face meeting each year, though, we need much more time to do creative work.
I didn't have any particular roles on Monday, so I was able to simply go to the various sessions. Chris Branson gave a keynote first up which provided some food for thought. The next couple of parallel sessions I went to were a bit ho-hum - partly because they weren't quite what I was hoping/expecting. Par for the course for a conference, I guess. Lunchtime was a surprise presentation to Paul Begley, who founded the association running the conference and has been a key player in it for 16 years. He is now retiring - for the third time. I think we managed to pull the surprise element off as Jerry Starratt and Jackie Stefkovich spoke in tribute to him and he was presented with a couple of bottles of good Australian wine (Charlie selected them), a crystal plaque (organised by Soma) and the establishment of an award associated with the conference in his name.
After lunch Charles, Chris, Phil Pettit and I had to meet to reorganise our session for tomorrow. We had hoped to engage participants in a wiki including the full text of our papers in advance of the conference. This was to get around the ridiculous practice of trying to present three papers in an hour including discussion that seems to be normal at these conferences. Since very few had actually accessed the wiki (for those seriously underemployed it is here ) we had to compromise and do a very brief abstract of each paper to keep 30 minutes for discussion. The consensus was that it went very well.
Jumping back again to Monday, I went up to the Visitors' Centre and bought a combined bus/ferry ticket to downtown Vancouver for Wednesday) and declined an invitation to go out for dinner with the Burfords- having a quiet evening instead.
Nancy Tuana - with whom I had worked at Penn State- gave the opening keynote the next day and mentioned our collaboration, as did Jerry Starratt during his - so ACU was well figured in proceedings. Our paper followed Nancy's, then I had to chair another session so I had to run between them. Need to avoid that when we schedule next year's in Brisbane - which we formally launched at the end of the conference. A mob of us went out to dinner at the Irish pub this time and all had an early night due to various early departures.
My perceptions of Victoria - even with the limited time i had to look around - were of a breathtaking surface beauty, with its grand buidings and busy harbour life. There is, however, a less appealing element beneath the. Even before hearing Al Tysick, I had been aware of the number of pan handlers on the street. No corner was without someone with a cigarette in one hand, a piece of cardboard asking for money in the other, and a baseball cap on the ground to gather up the coins. A number of these were First Nations people. There were a few shops obviously closed down - in a very genteel kind of way - no big signs, just blank windows and an apologetic look. There's more to Victoria than first meets the eye.
Today began with check out at 0630, walk about 10 minutes to the bus station (during which the suitcase performed very well on its wheels) and check in for the bus. It was a great way to travel as you don't handle your luggage from the time of putting it on the bus until you get off in Vancouver a little before 12.
The weather was kind, and the trip was gorgeous as we sailed between the islands into the more open passage and hence to Vancouver. (Pix of course) When I got off outside the Vancouver Hotel (another old CP establishment from the looks of it) I only had to walk 2 blocks to the Carmana Suites on Alberni Street, my home for two nights. I have a small apartment - more than I need really, but very well located.
I thought I had sussed out a walking tour while using the internet on the ferry. Dumped my bag and located the renezvous. Waited past the appointed hour - no luck. Headed for the tourist office, to deal with a woman who just kept saying you can just use this handout and do it yourself. Didn't get to the bottom of where my walk had gone! I eventually got online at a cafe and noted that the walks finished a couple of weeks ago - the old seasonal thing we are not used to. The same was true of the cycle tour I thought looked good. I may just see if I can rent a bike tomorrow and try my hand.
Anyway, I decided to go to Granville, once I worked out the tour business was a bust. Yes- Granville -(we used to live in an Australian suburb of the same name - probably named after the same guy). This one is actually an island with a public market and a lot of crafty types of stores. Getting there was a bit more complex than I had thought. On the map it was simple, just follow Granville Street (past Granville Station) and hey presto. The trouble is Granville Street becomes Granville Bridge, which actually flies over the island. OK if you have a car. This is a fact that I did not ascertain until I had walked its entire length (great views) and then returned to find the little ferry that does the short trip across. I always find when I visit places like this when away from home that I want to buy half of the fresh fruit and produce which looks so good - but of course as a tourist .....
Staggered back to the hotel for a rest and now this.