Sunday, January 18, 2015

Harrison Hotsprings Getaway

My home continues to be under repairs.  Mould damage now. On Saturday I repaired the boat’s hot water heater so might well have a home.  It’s been couch surfing since I arrived back from Istanbul.  Gilbert and I have been welcomed at Laura’s saving me from checking into a hotel like I did last year.  Gilbert loves Laura and gets much better care and walks with her. I’ve been doing the 12 hour doctor day backlog catch up which follows any time off.
Thankfully in the street practice colleagues covered but in my own office it’s just been steady.  My new staff, Angel, has faced the steep learning curve and thanks to her nothing was missed while I was away.  In Istanbul I only had a half dozen or so emails regarding emergencies and a few phone calls.  It was light compared to other times off.
I’ve been bothered a little more recently by the criticism of doctors incomes without the recognition we don’t have pensions, we don’t get paid overtime, we lost 12 years of income in study, the job is dirty and dangerous, very very dangerous at times,  and in my case, I’v  have spent years on call without pay.  I’m actually thankful for some of the ‘equity’ we’ve achieved in recent years with the public sector and many of the corporate employees.  I still don't know if on an hourly basis I've ever got 'minimum' wage but I surely have appreciated that I've a job where I can if needed work long hours and weekends and not take holidays to pay the bills. That was the only way I got through the horrendous divorce costs in bygone years.  Unfortunately because of shortages and cutbacks we feel somewhat guilty when we don't go to work since the need today is so great.  I'm also seeing the fulfillment of 30 years of steady 'service' after the early lean years. I'm thankful to have made it to today when, while I can't afford to own a house in Vancouver like rich people can, I have enough income that I can have a boat and sports car.  Young man's dreams and reality in an old man's body.
I’ve been impressed too with others I know who are doing continuing education realizing that their jobs today might not be available in the future.  So many people left school and got paid while we've been continuing to learn. Today the rest of the world seems to be doing what we took for granted. The computer folk I know are always upgrading just like doctors.  It's the way of the future .I continue to learn and am thankful for these opportunities to address my own areas of profound ignorance.
My time away was mostly study and touring.  So often my travel is really just learning.  These last couple of years I’ve been astonished by how much I’ve learned about Russia and Turkey, a couple of countries I really was ignorant about because of the western bias of news and education.  I don’t think it’s wrong. It’s just the way it is.  Neither country knows much about Canada or even America either. I learned so much about Islam but know that Moslems in general are equally if not more ignorant of Christianity.   I learned so much on the ground. Admittedly I brought a lot of university education and research to the equations so could truly appreciate what I was seeing.  I might well have missed the opportunity to attend Sema, the Sufi Whirling Dervish religious ceremony if I didn’t have the background I do in mysticism.  I certainly appreciated the museums because what I was seeing was from times in history I've studied through my sometimes 'applied' reading aimed as it is at a deeper understanding of the world we live in.  I was truly fascinated by the ride on the Bosphorus and the divide between west and east that Istanbul embodies.
That said, I’m really having a very conventional ‘relaxing escape’ here in Harrisons.  It's  my favourite getaway place near Vancouver.  I love the Harrison Spa Resort  but they charge a $100 for Gilbert to stay so it’s not a place I come to overnight anymore.  .If I can get away for a few days I still like it.  I don't mind that most places like the Ramada charge $20 extra for Gilbert. My favourite Harrison Hotsprings stays have been the Bungalow Cabins. I love these best in autumn. In the summer everyone else loves them and you have to book a week or two in advance.  Right now I’m in the Ramada. This was the old Executive Hotel. I loved the Executive Hotel mostly because of location and comfort.  Since Ramada took over there's a little bit more efficiency but nothing much has changed thankfully. It’s such a short walk to Harrison Hot Springs Public Pool. The public pool gets the mineral hot springs water direct just like at the Resort spa.
Laura and I left Gilbert to have an hour soak in this healing hot spring big hot tub.  I’d put in a take out order before our dip with the Black Forest Restaurant (604-796-9343).  In summer I enjoy this fabulous restaurant because it has great patio seating on the main drag.  Gilbert can sit beside us then on the street.  the food and service are excellent.
With Black Forest Restaurant  take out food in hand, so relaxed I felt like a wet noodle after our soak, we walked back to the Ramada. Gilbert was so pleased we’d returned with his dinner.  The Avengers was on the Ramada’s Shaw Cable.  I loved my Peppercorn steak and Laura loved her Schitzel.  Gilbert loved the tidbits.
I must still be recovering from jet lag and the mass of work because I’d hardly finished dinner before I fell asleep in front of the tv.  It couldn’t have been 9 pm.  I slept till 6 am.  I really ought to have worked out for an hour or read the latest physics text and the Lancet and NEJM . Instead I read Facebook for an hour or so.  Talk about being on vacation.  I might as well have been in Mexico.  Reading Facebook it’s so much fun to see what my friends and their friends are up to and interested in.  I’m so thankful so many of my friends are nut bars with interest in baby animals, silly jokes, inspirational messages and all aspects of the latest political fads and fashion.
I loved the long shower.  People take showers for granted but for us who conserve water, hotels are the place to indulge in the true regal luxury of endless hot water.
Gilbert and  I then had a walk in the rain.  It’s ugly out there. Really windy. White caps on the lake. None of the boats are out. Grey skies. Can’t even see the white capped mountains.  I ordered bagel egg and bacon sandwiches .  Another 5 minutes of walking for Gilbert then collecting the take out and back to the hotel.  Laura, still in bed, enjoyed the ‘hotel’s room service’.
Now I’m watching tv.  There’s a great West Coast BC channel with all these zip lining, hang gliding, shorts about all the things people can do in BC.  There’s just so much to do here.  I love all the activities on the coast.  The church channels were great too with the amazing music and song.  Can’t say I’m a fan of the televangical preaching style but I do like the singing.  The only down side of weakend getaways is missing church.  I love seeing Kevin, AJ and the kids, and all the others,  as well as our choir and the sermons. I’ll miss Father Mark Greenaway Robbins,  his lovely wife Ruth, their kids and dogs.  They’re now in Wales and I’m anxious about whose going to step into their very big shoes.
When I finally get mobile again we’re probably going to visit in Chilliwack as well as check out my RV being repaired in Abbotsford.  It’s definitely a laid back day.  I’ve got the little Miata  . Gilbert shares his seat with Laura and they seem to fair quite well.  At least the kids don't fight.  If Laura wanted to hang her head out the window, there might be trouble.
I think what’s best about this is being in the country. I realize that in Istanbul I was in the heart of 12 million people most of the time I was there. Then I returned to a city of a couple of million. There’s something just restful about being in the country.
I love that I’ve been coming to Harrison Hot Springs for a quarter of a century and love it as much today as I loved it way back when.
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