Hollie’s dad bought her an early birthday present in the form of a gift certificate to the (fictional) British Columbia resort, Revelation Cove.
From Chapter 8, Revelation Cove:
I love taking the train. This one even smells nice, thanks to the fact that the dining room is just one car down. And I’d like to smooch Steve Jobs for the greatest invention this world has seen in the last one hundred years, besides antibiotics and PEZ: the iPod. I can drown out the world with audiobooks and music and podcasts. I can catch up on my monumental reading list, learn how to better market my nonexistent business, listen to the music I prefer instead of Keith’s brain-melting detritus.
Thank you, Steve Jobs, for fueling these budding antisocial tendencies. My burgeoning crazy thanks you.
Three hours later, the cab ride from the King Street Amtrak station to Pier 69 where the Victoria Clipper boards is short but eventful. Like, pretty sure the driver was pretending we were in Baghdad, or maybe Boston. No seatbelts, vinyl seats I could not bring myself to look at after that first unfortunate glance. I might have stuffed the train’s complimentary newspaper under my ass to prevent the transfer of communicable disease. Half a bottle of Purell later, I feel secure enough to present the Clipper ticket agent my credit card without worrying I will transfer microscopic pathogens to my wallet or onto her unsuspecting hands.
That’s how the next plague is going to start. With unwashed, germ-slathered hands. It’ll thin the herd. A lot.
When the giant catamaran motors out of Seattle toward Victoria, British Columbia, I am humbled by the power of such a big vessel. The whole concept of a boat this big skimming the surface of Puget Sound as if doing nothing more than giving it a wet kiss. Rainbows shimmer in the spray under a half-clouded sky, Mr. Golden Sun squeezing through stubborn puffs of gray and white to remind us that spring has sprung and he’s doing everything in his power to make sure flowers bloom and bees buzz. I forgo the iPod for the duration of the trip, instead sitting outside in the chilly May afternoon on the water, the ferry’s dull roar lulling my eardrums into a comfortable deafness, watching port towns and vast mountains covered in the planet’s lushest greens appear and disappear along the water’s edge.
This is gorgeous country. I am so lucky to live so close to such beauty.
We dock, and the excitement of being in another country sets in. Passport stamped, a “Welcome to Canada” grumbled out by someone who didn’t really look like they meant it, which sort of spoils the moment because I thought all Canadians were supposed to be super nice. Plus, no one handed me a beaver or a moose or a flask of maple syrup. I thought that was part of the deal. Americans, when you go to Victoria, British Columbia, they don’t give you syrup. You have to buy it in the gift shop next to the docks. And there are no red-coated, stud Mounties waiting for you, either. I thought there would be hunky Mounties waiting for me. I’d totally volunteer for a pat-down if it came to that. “What, me, smuggle cocaine? You’ll have to search for it, you big brute.”
Maybe not from the angry-looking woman with the very tight ponytail and paramilitary gear standing by the door.
I’m cutting it close. The email from Revelation Cove said my floatplane will be loading at the docks near the Victoria Inner Harbour Airport, across the way. Wharf Street. I can find this. Standing outside the Clipper office, a brisk breeze skips through about a minute apart. Like the sky is having contractions. Let’s just hope the clouds’ water doesn’t break and let loose all over the busy sidewalks.
The sky isn’t pregnant, Hollie. No one needs you to count them through the contractions until the ambulance arrives.
Again with the nerves. Especially now that I see those little tiny planes bobbing on the surface of the water. Without concrete under them. Just water.
So much water.
We’ll be taking off—and landing—on nothing solid, on a surface that could just as soon swallow me whole, floatplane and all, than let me roost atop. Do we wear lifejackets? In case of a water landing? Because I’m pretty sure a water landing is absolutely part of this deal. Not like a big commercial jet where a water landing is bad. I’m willingly submitting to a water landing.
This flies in the face of all things sane. Pun intended.
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.