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Monday, June 02, 2008

One Guild, Plus Free Booze equals ...
...Well I Can't Quite Remember

The Hubster's Guild held their big convention in Victoria this year.

What is basically boiled down to is 3 days of mostly talking for the guild members, and 3 days of pre-paid fun for the the wives. Yes technically it was for the member's "companions", but it was completely girl time.

I flew out on Harbour Air after work on Wednesday.


If you've never flown in a seaplane, I highly recommend it. The one I flew on was a DeHavilland DHC-3 Turbine Single Otter. It only seats 14 people and you only fly @ about 5000 feet, so you can see everything.

Here's the outside:

and the inside:

We stayed @ the Harbour Towers, where I've never stayed before. I didn't like it quite as much as the James Bay Inn, our usual haunt. But it was nice.

The hotel put on quite a show for us, but then I'm sure they make a $$$$ off of conventions of this sort. Here the view from our balcony. Please note the guild flag on the left:


On Wednesday night we had a big buffet in the hotel ballroom. If I remember correctly there where about seven different food stations, including Greek, pasta, seafood, burgers and desserts. Also two carving stations with beef and ham. We never did figure out why they had the young Muslim woman carving ham.

Also at buffet: lots of free booze.

Thursday the wives spent the day at Butchart Gardens.

I hadn't been their since I was a kid, and I was thoroughly impressed.

I think they had about seven trillion different types of rhododendrons:


Like Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park, the gardens are partially built in a quarry. You get quite the view when you first approach. As you can see the park was very popular that afternoon.


I just love these colours:


There is a pretty fountain in one of the small lakes. This is my footage: (One of the other woman got a clip of me exclaiming "Ballagio!" in the middle of her video footage. Sorry!)

Shaggy wildebeests:


Formal gardens outside the dining room:


And finally, the conservatory. Gorgeous!


After the gardens we had lunch in the The Dining Room Restaurant at the gardens. Very nice food. We had:


We took a Gray Line double decker bus to the park. It's very surreal zipping down tiny country lanes thinking you're about to crash into every tree that you see.

Thursday evening was spent (the entire group, not just the wives) at the Deep Cove Chalet in Sidney. Very, very good food and a beautiful view. Also at restaurant: lots of free booze.

This trip to the restaurant was a little weird. First of all they put the entire load into three school buses. I'm sure that was a sight: three loads of adults, most over the age of 40, all dressed up on the yellow bus. About halfway to the restaurant we stop for a hitchhiker. A young hippyish guy with a full sized bass. He then proceeded to serenade us down the Pat Bay highway with the stoner hits of the 60's.

After we let him off we crossed an intersection and noticed one of the other buses had stopped too. It was letting off a guy with (it turns out) a mandolin. Can you say "set up"? Kinda cool though.

Friday was another tour day for the non-delegates. This time we were treated to a very cool tour of the Empress Hotel given by Walkabouts Tours. Very impressive. I've stayed in the Empress before, but this tour gets you into areas usually off limits.

The hotel is 100 years old this year, and they did quite a bit of refurbishing to celebrate. The floors in the tea room were getting kind of shabby and worn. So they pulled them up and reproduced them exactly with new wood. However they did find an imaginative way to reuse some of the old wood, by making tea tables out of it.


This beautiful stained glass dome was damaged several years ago by a snow storm. So of course they covered it over! A few years ago it was rediscovered (many people didn't even know it existed) and repaired with new glass. It now has a steel dome over it and is back lit with bulbs.


These are the original chandelier in the ballroom. The first time they where washed they were put into the backs of trucks and taken through the car wash. That must have been an interesting sight going down the road.


After the tour - tea. I don't know how I managed to catch everyone looking miserable. We all had a great time and couldn't finish all the goodies.


Friday night: Dinner, dancing and - lots of free booze.

We decided to stay over an extra day. So Saturday was just the Hubster and I for most of the day. Of course we couldn't go a day without booze. So here's the Hubster having the best Mojito that I have ever tasted made with Victoria Gin.


Saturday evening, dinner with the Hubster's sister at the Canoe Brewpub.

Sunday, exhausted from all the free (and some not so free) booze we stopped off to see the brother-in-law @ 2 Percent Jazz coffee shop for a couple of excellent espressos. And finally home again, home again to my own Butchart Garden....


I understand that the guild got a bunch of stuff done too.

Now that's I've put you in a coma, I'll leave you with one more link. If you want to see the few pictures I didn't post here, they can be found here.

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