Saturday, August 23, 2014

An Uplifting, Hair-Raising Day At The PNE

THE HISTORIC Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) at the corner of Hastings and Renfrew in Vancouver is back in town. It has run at Hastings Park for over a century now despite recurring suggestions about changing its location. Debate about its need to exist has had its ups and downs.

The gigantic fair usually operates for seventeen days at the end of summer. It is a time when rain is likely to fall and families have one last chance to build fond memories before the kids return to school.

Like many in Greater Vancouver, I attended the fair at different stages of life. I went as an awestruck little girl eager to win a teddy bear, a concert loving teen enamored by the night lights, an adult interested in art and educational exhibits and a mom wanting her child to get a taste of candy apples and community fun.

Last week at the Playland section, I glanced up to see dare-devils riding in something that looked like rows of Pez dispensers. From experiencing thrilling (sometimes stomach-churning) rides ...

to spending hair-raising amounts of money to "win" an overstuffed prize ...

the annual event is part of the fabric of southwest BC life.

Having neglected the PNE for several years, I was glad my husband wanted to go. I would not be surprised if the famously fresh mini donuts lured him back. What person has not walked away with special memories of the PNE?

The Superdogs (as always) drew a huge crowd. The dogs jumped and ran through their challenges so speedily I did not snap one good picture of them in the act.

I had forgotten how loudly the music played during their performances.

I wondered how dogs with super-sensitive hearing could adjust to the heightened sound?

Humans also performed brilliantly. The agile girl in blue (below) looked as if she would fly off the stage.

Her big hoop reminded me of the Ferris Wheel we later went on.

This placid ride is just my speed nowadays. Unfortunately, it ended much quicker than I recalled. I could have gone round and round for hours.

Here I am at a wonderful animation exhibit wishing I could straighten the art that is painted on the wall behind me.

The animals looked a little bored or sedated. Seeing them being adored and petted gave me the usual twinges of guilt knowing that one day they would likely end up on someone's plate for dinner.

Squeals of fear mixed with joy were heard from the people above as they circled the sky like a swarm of mosquitoes.

Where else but at the PNE could you sip AND ride a cup of tea?

This year a traveling exhibit from the popular Game Of Thrones television series was on site. It was interesting how each person who sat on the throne suddenly looked royal.

There is so much to see at the PNE that it cannot be fully appreciated in one day. I just touched the surface in this post. During our visit, not a single drop of rain fell. People performed enthusiastically trying to please. The staff of mostly cheerful youth kept the entire grounds clean and humming. A great provider of temporary jobs for students, the PNE I hope will live on and thrive.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bird's-Eye View At Semiahmoo Mall

THIS BABY bird did not fall far from its nest that according to onlookers is located inside the crevice of a yellow cement barrier at the parking lot of a local busy mall.

It is an odd place to call home in my view but birds, like humans, are adaptable.

Waiting for its mother to return with food, the bird camouflaged well against the ground as it picked at the paint and tar and hopped on the gasoline-fumed pavement around tires and beneath vehicles.

There was a nearby restaurant with outdoor tables on the other side of the barrier. Unnatural as the treeless setting was it made sense for a city bird living at the mall to depend on crumbs and handouts from patrons.

Not necessarily as nutritious as nature intended, its diet will result hopefully in a healthy chubby bird that soon tests its wings and soars to brighter destinations.

My pictures are not clear but it seemed as if the bird was dragging feathers along its way. Was this just the shedding of baby fluff or did something more serious occur?

I left the bird ... wondering about its fate. It seemed vulnerable yet completely unconcerned.

Although it can be difficult to read the inscrutable face of an animal, author D. H. Lawrence expresses what I have observed when he wrote, "I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself."

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sun, Sea & Cycling At Jericho Beach

THE WEATHER could not have been more ideal on Sunday when my daughter and I took the new bike path to Jericho Beach located in the Point Grey area of Vancouver.

Having recently revived my childhood interest in cycling, I appreciated the lovely wide path clear of vehicles along much of the route that was interspersed with flickering views of sparkling water amid heritage and new homes.

I read that the beach was called Jerry's Cove after Jeremiah Rogers, a successful local logger, before morphing into Jericho decades later.

The sugary light brown sand seemed super fine and free of pebbles.

Colorful umbrellas dotted the shore.

There were views of the North Shore mountains as well as the unnerving and ever-present barges used for carrying cargo amid Sunday sailors and paddlers.

These two women (above) had their own cargo to contemplate as they pulled their weighty beach paraphernalia closer and closer to the shore.

Some people brought their own sparkly elements to the beach. This windsock swayed with the slightest breeze and glinted like strings of gold jewelry in the sunlight.

The atmosphere was surreal and the bicycle ride back along the new path energizing and free of the usual traffic concerns thanks to the city of Vancouver and the people who live in the area who saw their neighborhood transformed to accommodate cyclists.

I was so busy soaking in the view and peddling that I did not take one picture of the smoothly paved road on which we traveled.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms