International Handbell Symposium
Since this isn't a handbell blog I don't want to bore you with the details of the Symposium. A few general thoughts:
* The number of ringing delegates was about 700 (I heard numbers from 675 to 750). Good turnout from USA and Canada (of course). Also a good contingent from Japan. Korea hosted the Symposium two years ago (I didn't go), but their delegation was a mere handful. That meant translations to and from Korean only happened when the Korean director was on the podium. We still had translations between English and Japanese. There were also participants from Britain, Australia (they host it in 2018), Hong Kong (hosts in 2020), Taiwan, Germany, Puerto Rico, and Singapore. At the closing banquet we heard that Singapore's handbell guild petitioned to join the International Handbell Committee and was accepted. There are now 8 countries in the Committee. I'm wondering if the 2022 event will be in Singapore. More places to visit! Here's a view across the ringing floor (alas, not while ringers are in action).
* The closing concert went well with a pretty good size audience. My favorite pieces were the one from Japan and one of two from Canada. This latter one was influenced by First Nation culture, though had no actual First Nation music.
* We were in the building that also houses the cruise ship terminal. Most days outside our rehearsal hall there was a ship being readied for another trip. A few times we heard blasts from ships signaling their departure.
* On Thursday evening we attended dinner with an Aboriginal Experience. A female trio sang aboriginal songs and a dance troupe performed, each for about 20 minutes. Many times something like this comes across as exploitive, simply entertaining the tourists. This time it felt like an intentional sharing of culture. The dancers included a dance honoring Raven the Trickster (many US tribes see the Trickster in coyote form). The dancers went out into the crowd and snatched up purses and phones, then teasing the owners by offering them and snatching away again. The audience enjoyed the tease. Before returning the phones the dancers took selfies with them. Here are the singers:
* Our closing banquet was in a room facing Burrard Inlet and Grouse Mountain. The room is advertised as the banquet hall in Vancouver with the best view.
Sunday, July 31
I was up at 4:30 this morning, out of the hotel at 5:30 to take a taxi to the train station for a 6:30 departure. Yes, I slept on the train. In contrast to the ride into Canada, on the trip south the train does stop at the border for 10 minutes while border staff collects entry cards and checks ID. That's part of the reason why the it takes 25 minutes longer for the Vancouver-Seattle trip, though I'm not sure of the reason for the other 15 minutes.
My timing was a bit off. Today was Vancouver's Pride Parade. I was at lunch in Seattle when it started. On my way back to the hotel last night I captured the 2010 Olympic Cauldron lit up in pride colors. On the ride to Grouse Mountain a few days ago the bus driver said you can have the Olympic flame turned on for your event for only $5000. For that fee a guy flicks a switch on and then off 4 hours later and about $50 worth of fuel is used.
Now in Seattle I took a taxi to a restaurant near the car rental office near the Washington Convention Center. Just after the taxi pulled away I realized I left my neck pillow behind. Oh well. I knew the restaurant would be open on a Sunday, but it was a bit pricey.
After lunch I pushed the suitcase a block to the rental office. There was some consternation when we got to insurance because I had prepaid for it – but through AAA, not the rental company. Finally on the road. Traffic was thick getting out of Seattle. Though I didn't take I-5, there was construction on that road, so there was extra traffic on the road I took.
The sky was clear and, when there weren't buildings and trees in the way, the view of Mt. Rainier was great. At a scenic rest stop I got a good picture.
I'm now at a little place between the village of Ashford and the Mt. Rainier park entrance. There are three rooms in the lodge (I'm in one of them) as well as several cabins on the hillside. I thought this room was rather charming and with lots more character than the hotel room I was in all last week.
The major task this evening was laundry. No guest facilities in the hotel, so I went back to Ashford. I had directions, but the bar that shared a parking lot (and my reference point) didn't have a sign by the road and is set back a ways. I drove past it twice without seeing it. I stopped for directions. The reply was it's, um, almost directly across the street.
Monday, August 1
Today was my assault on Mt. Rainier. I took over 100 pictures of the journey. I promise I won't inflict them all on you.
I left the lodge after 10:00. On the way up to Paradise I saw signs that said if flashing the Paradise parking lot is full. Whew! They weren't flashing. The parking lot was full. I ended up parking off the Paradise loop road about a mile from the visitor center. I started up a nearby trail, the 4th Crossing Trail. From there I took the Skyline Trail past Myrtle Falls.
This area was beautiful with sun on the glaciers and the wildflowers in bloom.
I went on to the Visitor Center for lunch and a break. After lunch I mostly took the Deadhorse Creek Trail in the general direction of up. I did that one because it was rated as less strenuous (less steep) than some of the others. I took it to where it joined the western side of the Skyline Trail. From that height – about the tree line, or near 6000 feet – I could see over the Tatoosh Mountains to see Mt. Adams...
...and Mt. St. Helens (with wisps of steam).
I descended back to the Visitor Center on Skyline Trail and Alta Vista Trail (though avoiding the climb to the lookout). The Alta Vista Trail was so steep my toes were crunched in the toes of my shoes (for a hint of dancing on point). I was glad I was going down and not up. Back at the Visitor Center the late afternoon sun prompted one more shot.
After a rest, at about 5:00 I walked back to my car along the loop road. I took the winding road east (and if it wasn't so late and I wasn't so tired I might have stopped a few times). Then I took the main road along the eastern side of the park to Crystal Mountain, where I am spending the night.