When the sun shines and the skies are blue there is no place more scenic and awe inspiring then the dotted, pale blue waters of the Salish sea, rimmed by the snow peaked coastal mountains. As the days are getting longer by the minute, walking along the shore to our watering hole always lifts my spirits, rain, snow or shine. We’ve had some extreme winter weather lately, with snow falls not seen since 2008. The white stuff turned the Sunshine Coast into winter wonderland with kids tobogganing up and down residential neighbourhoods, being the only traffic on these streets. We were all getting our exercise shovelling the white stuff, clearing our driveways and meeting our neighbours who we never really talk to since everybody is always coming and going. Playing in the white stuff wasn’t just for kids. Clare and I managed to go snow shoeing on Dakota Ridge which is every bit as alpine and snowbound as the well-known resorts and ski hills on the mainland.
‘Well, I’m glad you’re able to appreciate the snow which basically slows down traffic at the book store to a wintry freeze frame. Time to go over some depressing Christmas bills and back orders. We’re not equipped for winter or prolonged arctic freezes. We can deal with the rain but when it turns white, it’s a whole other world out there.’
‘Last year you mentioned taking January off and heading to some sunny spot.’
‘Indeed, until the poxy pandemic that was the plan but now, I’m not so sure.’
‘Mexico is welcoming travellers. No tests, no vaccines, just dollars and pesos required. My travel agent friend told me that all the flights to Mexico are full.’
‘Yes, maybe we’re all watching too much news and listening to too many depressing statistics and reports. I get it. Thousands are sick and even dying but millions are not.’
‘Mostly thanks to the vaccines. Two shots and a booster should count for some kind of personal security and should enable us to travel without fear or paranoia.’
‘You may be right but you’d have to convince Muriel. She has dug her heels in and claims that she is happiest at home, in her own comfort zone. Escape tourism isn’t on her current wish list but snow shoeing on Dakota Ridge would be right up her alley. You can count me out though. I’m not an outdoors enthusiast at the best of time. Give me a comfy chair in a warm pub or living room, a cold beer and a good book. Mind you, I can picture myself sipping a Corona at a beach side bar in sunny Mexico.’
‘Maybe this will be the year when we can return to some kind of normal, when we don’t have to be suspicious of strangers and can start dancing again. I still don’t understand why dancing is one of the forbidden activities here in British Columbia.’
‘We need to get back to where we can book flights and be reasonably assured that they fly. Travelling today is like a crap shoot with thousands of flights delayed or cancelled on short notice. I hear all the hotels close to the airport are completely full of cancelled and furloughed travellers.’
‘I hear a lot of arguments that we should just let this Omicron rip through the population and together with the accelerated vaccine rollout we will achieve herd immunity before long and the virus will be downgraded to endemic from pandemic.’
‘It’s the early Swedish approach to the virus all over again,’ Camp said. ‘This latest omicron wave seems to support that argument but is still mostly driven by the unvaccinated who clog up the healthcare system. Let them pay I say, just like smokers pay higher insurance costs.’
‘Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?’ Vicky asked Camp who gave me a wink and a nudge.
‘Be nicer to my wife, loose about 10 lbs, eat less meat, give more money to charity, volunteer at the food bank, drink less and give higher tips.’
‘I love it all, especially the last bit,’ Vicky laughed.
‘You’re kidding,’ I said.
‘Do I sound like a kidder?’
‘More like a politician running for re-election.’