SI Vault
 
Angling and Some Acts of God
Thomas McGuane
August 09, 1971
Delayed by a poisonous prawn and torrential rains suggesting disinterest—if not anger—from above, the fishermen finally found their British Columbia rainbows
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
August 09, 1971

Angling And Some Acts Of God

Delayed by a poisonous prawn and torrential rains suggesting disinterest—if not anger—from above, the fishermen finally found their British Columbia rainbows

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Every traveler here soon discovers the considerable piety about the British connection. If the Queen ever gets run out of England, bag and baggage or otherwise, this is where you're going to find her holed up; the Victoria Chamber of Commerce will have drawn its wagons in a circle around her.

Anyway, in addition to the good transpositions like the unmatched gardens of the city or the numerous bookstores, you get double-decker buses imported from London, a lot of stuff about coats of arms in woolen-store windows and tea and crumpets bombarding the eye everywhere from the Empress itself to the Rexall drugstore.

But to emphasize the town's studied dowdiness is unfair. It is a tourist trick. It is obvious that Victoria is a town of what used to be called graciousness, and any ride around its perimeter will put the traveler's back to the unparalleled gardens and, in contrast to such cultivation, his face to the headlands of the San Juan Islands.

There had been heavy weather immediately prior to our arrival, and long golden log booms, the shape and color of egg yolks, had been towed inside the bays for protection. Beyond, handsome trawlers were moored under clouds of gulls. If you squinted, it looked like Anchorage or Seattle or San Francisco or Monterey or—squinting tighter—Mazatl�n: the Pacific community seemed continuous.

That first morning I picked up the menu downstairs in the hotel. A number of breakfasts were described: "The Charlotte," "The Windsor," "The Albert," "The Edward," "The Victoria" and "The Mountbatten."

"I'll have The Mountbatten," I said, "over lightly."

Frank made a number of order changes in his Edward.

"If you're going to substitute oatmeal and an extra egg on your Edward," said the waitress, "you might just as well order a la carte."

I was hungry and ate The Mountbatten with abrupt gestures of my right arm.

We spent the day driving around as far up the coast as Saltspring Island. At one of the ferry crossings, watching the wind-striped water and high, beautiful fjords, I innocently poisoned myself with a prawn.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8