Unmask the people behind the mask

It’s back to school time and when better to offer a test of your travel, art, culture, and anthropology knowledge?   We’ll give you a list of the masks and then you can try to match the mask with the people who make them (or their place of origin).

We visited the wonderful Museum of Anthropology on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. After taking the excellent (free) guided tour, we started exploring on our own. We knew masks were old (can you believe the oldest known mask is 9,000 years old?) but never realized how widespread their use was – and still is.

So, are you ready? Here goes: The masks are from A. Ecuador; B. Inuit – indigenous people of Canada; C. Korea; D. Kwagu’l – indigenous people of Canada; E. Melanesia – a culture area in the Pacific; F. Tonga, a Polynesian kingdom; G. Sri Lanka; H. Yoruba, an ethnic tribe in Nigeria and Benin.

Who made these masks?

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Mask 1

Mask 2

Mask 2

Mask 3

Mask 3

Mask 4

Mask 4

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Mask 5

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Mask 6

Mask 7

Mask 7

Mask 8

Mask 8

Once you’ve matched the masks with the people or places, find the answers below. Good luck!

 

 

August 2015

 

ANSWERS: 1F; 2D; 3C; 4H; 5A; 6E; 7B; 8G

 

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Summer idyll

We spent our summer in Canada, and, by late August, too few summer days were ahead of us. Time to look back and assess this summer to better plan our next grand SUMMER VACATION!

What were we looking for? First up, our priority was the BEST WEATHER we could AFFORD.   (We’re on a budget.) For summer 2015, we wanted our days to be perfectly warm but not hot and steamy. Since we planned to economize and stay in North America, Canada’s exchange rate looked favorable.

We knew what would keep us happy and settled on Victoria at the southern tip of Vancouver Island in British Columbia for a summer idyll. It had exactly what we were looking for.

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PLEASANT WALKING (Plus, for Joe, miles of bike paths.)

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WATER VIEWS

FUN WITH FRIENDS

FUN WITH FRIENDS

INTERESTING ARCHITECTURE

INTERESTING ARCHITECTURE

GARDENS

FLOWERS

CULTURE

CULTURE @ the Royal BC Museum

ADVENTURE

ADVENTURE

HAPPINESS ….One of our last days in Victoria we stopped at Bliss, a vegan café, to share a (delicious!) mocha milkshake. The subtle smile said it all.

HAPPINESS ….One of our last days in Victoria we stopped at Bliss, a vegan café, to share a (delicious!) mocha milkshake. The subtle smile said it all.

 

 

August 2015

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Arts observed here and there

We love seeing art pop up on our everyday walks. Why do we see this kind of art encouraged (and thriving!) in only some places? The best-of-the-best so far on our travels has been in Porto, Portugal – with amazing art everywhere we went – and in Funchal on the Madeira Islands (also Portugal) – with its artfully painted doors. But, hey, we’re now in staid Victoria on Vancouver Island in Canada. Our expectations were pretty much “zero” for seeing random art as we walked through a neighborhood of mostly Victorian houses.

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We were confused when we heard piano music as we strolled along the coast at Cattle Point. Then we saw the piano. The arts are alive in this part of the world!”

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The neighborhood was all Victorian, but the funky lizard on the gate looked perfectly placed to us.

A nearby window brought a smile to our faces with “Summer. Aa…”

A nearby window brought a smile to our faces with “Summer. Ah…”

We saw the painted pole some distance ahead, and, as we approached, it was as if we were on a ship at sea, coming upon a small island.

We saw the painted pole some distance ahead, and, as we approached, it was as if we were on a ship at sea, coming upon a small island.

Utility poles in Victoria are usually blocking part of the sidewalk. The lovely painted pole safely guided us past.

Utility poles in Victoria are usually blocking part of the sidewalk. The lovely painted pole safely guided us past.

We were ready to post this blog when an invitation appeared in our email inbox. So, we eagerly headed up to an art opening for “ABOUT FACE, a group ‘selfie’ exhibition.”

The Martin Batchelor Gallery was overflowing with people when we arrived. With some effort and patience, we were able to see almost all the ‘selfies’ before we ran into our friends.

Our invitation was from Brian Grison, who posed in front of his portrait, completed when he was 17 years old.

Our invitation was from Brian Grison, who posed in front of his portrait, completed when he was 17 years old.

A favorite work, by artist Barry Herring, hung nearby.

A favorite work, by artist Barry Herring, hung nearby.

So, we’re happy to report that – aside from galleries – it is possible to observe art on the street in Victoria. You may need to look a bit harder, but the search makes the finding that much more rewarding.

 

August 2015

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Revisiting and discovering the ties that bind us

When we revisit a favorite place, we expect the same magic we found on our first visit. Of course, every visit is a little different, and, usually, knowing what’s around the next bend in the trail turns into a comfortable experience of remembering why we so loved this place and returned. So that’s how it went with our return to a beautiful area on Vancouver Island, East Sooke Regional Park. However, this visit presented a surprise and heartwarming ending for us.

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The park is an hour’s drive from Victoria and fairly remote. We parked in the lot, donated a few coins for a hiking map offered by a park volunteer, and off we went across the meadow towards the forest, and beyond, the coast.

The path alternates between scrambling over glacially-grooved stone and navigating a dirt path littered with large rocks.

The path alternates between scrambling over glacially-grooved stone and navigating a dirt path littered with large rocks.

We stopped to see the ancient  petroglyph (rock carvings) by the shore. When a bird swooped nearby, we got a wonderful view of a belted kingfisher. A vole (or was it a mouse?) scurried for cover. A snake startled us. It had just consumed some other little critter and was engorged at its front end. It slithered into the undergrowth before we could get a good photo.

The variety of tree species in the forest surprised us. We have continued snapping photos of tree bark to add to our growing collection.

The variety of tree species in the forest surprised us. We have continued snapping photos of tree bark to add to our growing collection.

Tired after a three-hour hike we made it back to the parking lot to discover a dead car battery. (Who left the lights on in the car?) We had our trusty portable battery charger. For the first time in years, it didn’t work. (Maybe since it’s 25-years old we should replace it?) So, we found ourselves in a parking lot a long way from anywhere with a dead battery, a dead spare battery, and no jumper cables. A cold feeling settled in as we wondered how could we possibly get out of this isolated parking lot.

The park volunteer came over to see what she could do to help, and Dean, a visitor from Manitoba, offered his assistance. More help arrived as jumper cables were loaned to us by workers from a Telus phone truck doing repairs a long way down the road.

Dean (left) and Joe (right) making the connection.

Dean (left) and Joe (right) making the connection.

Our hearts warmed up, as we heard our car’s ignition turn over and the engine began to purr as usual.

If you’re in a bind, what better place to be than Canada? In our experience here, Canadians are unfailingly polite and helpful. Those of us from across the border can be grateful to – and learn something from – such good neighbors! We hope to repay the favor someday.

 

August 2015

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A totem town

Joyce suggested we take a day-trip up the road to Duncan on Vancouver Island. Really? For starters, we had no idea where Duncan was or why we’d drive all the way up there. But Joyce and Jerry were visiting us for a few days on their whirlwind trip to the Pacific Northwest, and we decided if that’s what they want to do…

Who knew that Duncan’s streets are dotted with 40 totem poles? We started off with a helpful map provided by the Visitor’s Center.

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The Chief from the “Owl Spirit” Totem by Tom LaFortune of Coast Salish heritage

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The Owl (top, representing the artist’s grandmother) and the Human Spirit (below) also from the “Owl Spirit” Totem

The Thunderbird brings together both strength and supernatural in the “Sea and Sky” Totem by Harold Alfred of the Kwakwaka’wakw people

The Thunderbird brings together both strength and supernatural in the “Sea and Sky” Totem by Harold Alfred of the Kwakwaka’wakw people

The Eagle Spirit from the “Raven Stealing the Sun” Totem by Donald Smith of the Qw’umiyiqun and Quw’utsun’ Tribes

The Eagle Spirit from the “Raven Stealing the Sun” Totem by Donald Smith of the Qw’umiyiqun and Quw’utsun’ Tribes

The Maquinna Sun Mask, carved on feast bowls given to tribes when a fishing and hunting boundaries settlement was agreed, on the “Peaceful Boundaries” Totem by Norman John of Coast Salish heritage

The Maquinna Sun Mask, carved on feast bowls given to tribes when a fishing and hunting boundaries settlement was agreed, on the “Peaceful Boundaries” Totem by Norman John of Coast Salish heritage

 The Great Chief (represented as a killer whale) whose hand is protectively near the small Man (who represents the members of the artist’s tribe) from “Cedar Man Walking out of the Log” Totem by Richard Hunt of the Kwaguilth people

The Great Chief (represented as a killer whale) whose hand is protectively near the small Man (who represents the members of the artist’s tribe) from “Cedar Man Walking out of the Log” Totem by Richard Hunt of the Kwaguilth people

Some Totem Poles rose up from sidewalks. Others stood in a few small grassy areas. One purpose of the poles was to attract visitors to Duncan, so we imagine the city thought it important to place them right in the business district and not in a separate larger space away from the shops.

What a wonderful idea to walk through town and, at the same time, see the beautiful totem poles. Alas, the totem poles may have exceeded what the city and the Cowichan tribe had ever dreamed possible. The totem poles truly are wonderful pieces of art, but, in their confined spaces, we found it difficult to view and fully appreciate them.

That’s not to say we didn’t think it was worthwhile to visit wonderful little Duncan and see these amazing totem poles. We spent quite a long time visiting each and did a little shopping as well. Mission accomplished. When we finished, the lovely Hudson’s On First restaurant welcomed us, and we dined very well indeed. The combination of the Totem Poles and Hudson’s On First turned the trip to Duncan from worthwhile into truly memorable.

If we had ended our day then and there with Joyce and Jerry, we all would have been happy, but, we had planned one more stop to make on our drive back to Victoria, and we hoped our friends would enjoy it: 18 holes of miniature golf! One of us made par, 49, which means three of us didn’t, but we’re not naming names here. What a glorious day!

 

July 2015

 

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Three strikes and we were out!

The day looked to be perfect for an outing, and we chose Point Ellice House as our destination. The historic house belonged to the same family for over 100 years, and, in a place like Victoria, that’s a long time. The bonus for the trip would be the café there, with service in the garden and rolling green lawn overlooking the water. Our plan was to walk there and then take a little water ferry back to our side of the harbor.

The 45-minute walk took us past the scenic harbor, then down a not-so-scenic busy street...

The 45-minute walk took us past the scenic harbor, then down a not-so-scenic busy street…

...and before we knew it we were walking in an industrial area.

…and before we knew it we were walking in an industrial area.

The sidewalk ended for a time, the noise increased, and we breathed a sigh of relief when we came within sight of Point Ellice House.

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An OPEN sign hung on the fence and we were happy to escape the industrial neighborhood and enter the green, wooded grounds only to discover the House was closed to visitors.

A kindly gardener told us the house is only open Thursday thru Sunday. We had checked their website before leaving and never saw any mention about their being closed on Tuesdays. Arggh! He felt badly and said we could look around the garden if we’d like.

We did stroll the garden and went down to the water taxi dock, but knew no one would be stopping today to pick us up. We were hungry and needed a plan. Why not head for the nearby and highly recommended Fry’s Red Wheat Bakery? That would be a treat! We wouldn’t let a closing ruin our day.

Again we walked through an industrial area (where we stopped to watch the heavy working machinery at the gravel plant), and, in 15 minutes, we arrived at Fry’s.

CLOSED. It hadn’t even occurred to us to check their hours. Now, we’d had 2 strikes against us. Enough!

CLOSED. It hadn’t even occurred to us to check their hours. Now, we’d had 2 strikes against us. Enough!

Where to now? Did we mention we were hungry? Another popular spot, Fol Epi, was a15-minute walk away.

We picked up our pace but did stop long enough to watch work on ships and nibble a few blackberries growing wild by the side of the road.

We picked up our pace but did stop long enough to watch work on ships.

When we arrived, we saw customers coming out and others on the patio. Relief! We bounded up the steps.

When we arrived, we saw customers coming out and others on the patio. Relief! We bounded up the steps.

The little next-door coffee shop, Caffé Fantastico, was serving drinks, but, as we rounded the corner for Fol Epi, a “fantastic organic bakery” acording to a revew on Tripadvisor, a familiar CLOSED sign hung on the door. Normally they would have been open but this was an unexpected holiday closing.

We had three strikes against us and no food yet, but we weren’t down. Resigned, we sat down at 2:30pm in Caffé Fantastico and had a coffee (him) and hot chocolate (her). Both very good.

We have been (exceedingly) lucky in our travels. Our arrangements almost always work well. We often seem to stumble upon wonderful new finds. Life generally rolls our way. We can’t really complain about one day like this one – even though it did have not one, not two, but three misses!

P.S. We made it to Fry’s Red Wheat Bakery the next day and sampled a savory Danish pastry with oyster mushroom on hazelnut pesto and a sweet Danish pastry with fig on vanilla crème. Both were very, very good.

P.S. We made it to Fry’s Red Wheat Bakery the next day and sampled a savory Danish pastry with oyster mushroom on hazelnut pesto and a sweet Danish pastry with fig on vanilla crème. Both were very, very good.

A return to Point Ellice House and Fol Epi depends upon whether we’re feeling really lucky.

 

August 2015

 

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Remember

We take a moment from our usual travel post to remember the events of 70 years ago when at least 190,000 people died when U.S. nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

There is a saying that “Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.” So, while we remember the horrors of 70 years past, we live with the hope of a world with NO nuclear weapons.

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Paper lanterns with little lights were set into the water…

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…and drifted off with others in a act of remembrance.

 

August 2015

 

 

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