Wednesday, August 31, 2011
My last night in Barkerville was a blast.
I attended the Fireman's Masqurade Ball, which is a victorian tradidition in Barkerville dating back many, many years. Everyone had to dress in formal victorian wear (or the best they could come up with), wear masks, fascinators and get formally announced at the door. There was a formal sit-down dinner and then a dance.
I had a beautiful dress all planned out, but 5 minutes before we left when I put it on, the zipper split so at the last minute I had to borrow a dress from a friend. It worked out ok, but my dress was better. Sad, sad, day.
It was an awesome event, not just because it was something random that I had never done before, but because the only people allowed to come were people that worked in Barkerville. It was great to just hang out for an entire night with all the people that make the town come alive during the day. No entertaining tourists, no strangers, just all Barkerville people. It was great.
Here's some pictures.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Since my first day here this season, a group of friends and I have been planning on driving to a town called Stanley which is along the Cariboo Wagon Road that leads to Barkerville. Our plan was to go as soon as we had a nice evening. That nice evening came on August 5. (I kid you not, August five was the first nice evening). Because the Cariboo Wagon Road (often considered the 8th wonder of the world) is 160 years old, it is virtually impassable unless by foot, we drove around and came in from the far side instead.
Stanley was a booming town just like Richfield, Barkerville, Camerontown, Marysville and Wells, but when the gold played out, the town became abandoned and slowly rotted into the ground. Today all that is left is a dilapidated cemetery and two buildings. We walked around and explored the area for quite some time before heading back to Wells.
When I wander around these old cemeteries I often think of the people that lay beneath the rotting, moss covered headstones. Is there anyone left in the world that remembers that that person is buried there? What kind of a life did the person live? What kind of legacy did he leave?
I think when I die, I’ll have a florescent pink, twinkle and neon-lighted statue built on my grave - Las Vegas style. With my life story engraved around the bottom. Ooohhhh, OR the statue will talk and move and tell my story. It’ll be a major attraction that people will come to see from all over the world. Forget about me? Heck no!
The truth is, I’m not concerned with the legacy I leave here on earth. Obviously I want to be a decent person and have people think well of me, but my few years on this earth is so little compared to eternity that I’m living for that part of my life instead of this one.
Today, think about what legacy you are living for.
On Monday my mom and Granny came to visit me in Barkerville. My granny is out here from Ontario so I was really glad that she made the trek all the way to Barkerville to see me. We had a great time meandering though the town, visiting with all the characters, shopping, seeing a show and eating lunch. As part of the day my mom, granny and I got our picture taken at L.A. Blanc Photographic Gallery and Studio where I work. I really wanted us all to be outlaws, and I had granny in this awesome dress and buckskin jacket and cowboy hat, but she didn’t like it so she got a fancy dress instead and me and mom were outlaws.
My response? “You lived through World War Two, and THIS is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?”
That sent us into fits of laughter for the rest of the day.
Last weekend was the long awaited Arts Wells Festival. This festival is a celebration of all things art. Music, dance, crafts, painting, drawing, weaving, instruments etc. You name it and it was probably there (including a workshop on how to play the bass - not the guitar, not the cello-like instrument, but the washtub-broomstick-string combination).
Last year I didn’t attend the festival, but this year I purchased a weekend pass and had a surprisingly good time at the festival. I was impressed with the quality and quantity of bands that performed and although I had to work and couldn’t attend any of the workshops, I did wish I could have gone to a few.
The Arts Wells Festival draws in people (mostly hippies) from around Canada and the states. For 4 days around 10 000 hippies descend on the town of Wells (population 250). Tents are pitched anywhere and everywhere and despite large amounts of drinking and smoking there is very little, if any, crime. Everyone is polite and curteous and friendly.
On the first night of the festival I knew that I was in for something different. An impromptu band popped up in the middle of the street and started playing music. A crowd formed and the crowd started to dance. In the middle of the street. The entire weekend was like that.
Although I am not a hippie - far from it- I decided to use the weekend as an opportunity to observe a culture different from my own. While participating on an exchange with Canada World Youth I learned that no culture is “weird’, they are just “different.” So I bring you my list of observations and I do not state them because they are ‘weird’ I state them because they are ‘different.’
- 10,000 campers + 3 public showers in town = smelly weekend.
- Dreads are really cool. Double cool if you play the cello or violin.
- Pee wherever you want. On my front lawn, no problem.
- Camp wherever you want. The baseball field, the ditch, my back yard, the side of the road, whatever works for you.
- Dance. All the time.
- Men can wear flowery silk skirts.
- Barefeet make you 100% more hippie than the guy beside you wearing sandals.
- Clowns are the new fad. Forget vampires, it’s all about clowns now.
- Make music whenever, wherever with whatever you can find.
- You are never too old to be a hippie. (85 yr old)
- You are never too young to be a hippie. (1 month old)
I actually really enjoyed myself on the weekend. Caught up with some old friends, danced a bit, watched many, many bands and just chilled. Good Times.