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August 01, 2010

From Wales to Salt Spring

Coming back from Vancouver on the ferry on Friday night and met two interesting men.

Of course, it took longer to load the ferry than anticipated. I was on the deck watching semi-controlled chaos when a young guy complete with braces came boldly up to me and started chatting as if we'd known each other for years. His name is Zak. He's 15. He's from Richmond and going to visit his grandparents who live on Salt Spring. When he started talking to me I was literally staring at him because of his confidence and his ease of talking with me. I thought back to when I was 15 and how it would not have been possible for me to do that.

He tells me that he's homeschooled and that he likes acting. He's taken a lot of acting classes and he has really bright, sweet brown eyes. Next year he's going to go to high school part-time. How come I don't meet 49 year olds that entertaining? He also has had Crohns disease since, well, forever. As a result he's on a special diet that sounds like don't eat anything but soup. I felt such an affection for him because his personality was just effervescent but not in a cloying way.
After about 20 minutes, we parted by making a bet on how long it would actually take the ferry to leave.

I wandered into the foreward lounge and moved some tourist brochures from a seat to sit down. A few minutes later, a guy with an accent said you're sitting in my seat. I looked at him and said, well actually, some paper was sitting in your seat but you weren't! Very American of me don't you think? I think a typical Canadian female would be like, "oh, oh, Sorry. I'm really sorry! Instead, I just said, "I can give you your seat back though," I said. He didn't seem to take the comment too badly so I moved over a few seats. (As an aside, I never understand how people think leaving a bit of non descript paper on a seat indicates that it's their seat and why in a ferry full of seats, attachment to a seat when their are many seats left, is so strong).

Turns out, Zack then shows up. I was sitting right behind his mother and his sister. The new guy starts talking to me. He's going to Salt Spring. He's from Wales but he's been working in Vancouver since 2008 on a special type of visa for skilled workers. He's a carpenter. I ask him where he comes from in Wales and some mumbling, bumbling, garbled line of vowels and consonants that only a lunatic could have strung together slides out of his mouth. He asks me if I have a pen.
This is what he writes:
It translates into "In the hollow of a white hazel near to a rapid whirlpool of St. Mary's Church near the red cave of St. Tysilio." 
I just have to take his word for that. I figure nobody could make that up so it must be true.

His name is David and he's the youngest in his family and he never wanted to leave Wales but he lived on an island and there was no work. Sounds like Salt Spring, I say. We spend the rest of the voyage talking and I'm struck by his openness and his humour. On a long weekend in August, while on the ferry, he was still wondering where he'd stay on Salt Spring. You don't have a reservation anywhere and you don't have a car?  He takes out a piece of paper with some phone number on it. To make a long story short. We finally arrive at the Farmhouse B&B at midnight and I let him off.

The next day he finds me at the market and buys me lunch when I can't leave my booth at the market and was in a spot surrounded by people I didn't know. I toyed with taking his photo but it just seemed a bit much.

That's the thing about travelling even short distances. People are usually in the kind of moods that allow them to connect moreso than when they are just going about their daily routine.

Why is that?

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