Sunday, February 08, 2009

sweet 'n sour road tripping

Today we ventured further north than we ever have on Vancouver Island - Gold River and then north/west to Thasis.

We almost made it there (Thasis) but had to turn back because we had tickets to a Chinese New Year dinner and music performance in Cumberland, a little town of 2,100 just north of Nanaimo.

It's been a while since we've been driving all day for 8 hours and we both got a bit nostalgic for long road trips....

Gold River we spoke to the guy who runs the sea float planes, Nootka Air.
He runs a tour which basically allows you to follow him on his 'mail route', stopping in different fly-in villages and harbours. Definitely on our to-do list!

We made it to Cumberland just in time.

Although the Lunar New Year was a couple of weeks ago, this event was advertised online and we thought it would be fun to attend, given we didn't really do anything special to celebrate.

Apparently Cumberland was a huge mining town with a lot of Japanese and Chinese immigrants and many here are 3rd or 4th generation.

There was a guest band called Silk Road
, a husband (from Montreal) and wife (from China) team who tour the world, giving concerts and educational seminars to school-children.

We didn't know anyone there but met quite a few nice folk from around the area. The local chinese restaurant, Panda Gardens, catered the event.. it's been a while since we've eaten sweet and sour pork and fried rice and deep-fried jumbo shrimp!! Once in a while, it doesn't hurt to have a heavy dose of MGS eh?

The duo even did a piece from Xinjiang province, although neither of them have been there before (we went up to talk to them afterwards), and she showed us some 'uygher dancing' which involved some neck twitches and chicken flapping... either they've drastically changed their dancing style or we totally missed out when we were living there.

Overall, it was a really interesting evening and we even bid and won a silent auction item - two bamboo mats for beach use! $5 for both, well we were the only bidders, but all the funds raised are going towards a big Chinese pavillion that they're building for the community.

Ok, bed now. I've got to work tomorrow afternoon. There's a special community info event happening in the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre where our organization is putting up a booth to attract interest in our programs and to get volunteers in to come and help us get our new centre opening up in March..... and anyways, it means we're all working a half-day.

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