Some birds that we don’t usually see there, that is.

The first were a couple of American wigeons.
A couple of American Wigeons2

After that it seems to be an usual day. There was a great blue heron fishing.
Great Blue Heron fishing

And a flicker watching us carefully.
Northern Flicker

But then we realized it was not us flicker was looking at. It was a couple of juvenile bald eagles on a nearby tree.
Juvenile Bald Eagle2
Then we’ve seen a couple more. A bit unusual but we’ve seen bald eagles here before. And then something completely unexpected.
Cooper's Hawk
A Cooper’s Hawk and then one that we just suspected it might be a Swainson’s hawk in its dark phase. But if someone is having a different or better idea, I am open to suggestions ๐Ÿ™‚
Then there was a couple of Green-winged Teals (ducks always go in pars, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ )…
Green-winged Teals1
… and a small Pied Billed Grebe.
Pied Billed Grebe
For the last one, San says it is pretty usual in Vancouver, but I must say I have not seen it too often – or I was just not paying attention. Ring Billed gull.
Ring billed gull

All the photos from Terra Nova Rural Park (from previous visits too) are here.

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Ever since we went to a short visit to Seattle for a first time, I wanted to go to EMP. Not so much because I am so interested in music and pop culture – this time it was Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana tribute – but because of museum’s SF and Fantasy Hall of Fame. My readers know that SF in all its forms – books, movies, photographs, etc – is my favourite kind o art. And when I read that they have one of the objects from the best movie of all times – Bladerunner – my decision to visit it, was definite.
SF & Fantasy Hall of Fame contain some familiar faces:
or this guy
Xenomorph - AlienXenomorph from first of Alien movies
They were among my favourites but you can see some… “relics”… from the old times, when SF was still in cradle, just showing its future potential:
Cowardly Lion - The Wizard of Oz
Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz
Also, I could now completely understand why Dart Vader needed to turn himself into music world: after he sold his light sabre, means of life became scarce. And man’s got to do, what man’s got to do to provide the daily bread to his family ๐Ÿ˜›
They have a part dedicated to horror movies, too. Not that I am that much into horrors, but there was a showpiece from Blair Witch Project, a movie with a little blood and gore but a lot of fear.
Humanoid stick figure - The Blair Witch Project
humanoid stick figure from Blair Witch Project
I was hoping there would be more pieces from Bladerunner but it seems they have only one. Oh, well. This one was interesting enough ๐Ÿ˜€
Police car1 - Bladerunner
police car from Bladerunner
Anyway, the museum itself is located near the Space Needle (how convenient ๐Ÿ˜€ ) and it looks unreal and very futuristic. Btw, if you followed some of the links I provided here, you can see the rest of the photographs from museum.
Discovery One - A Space Oddysey 2001
Discovery One from 2001: A Space Oddysey

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Just a short post with one photo and a You tube video.
I was flying in Seattle ๐Ÿ˜€
Ready for iSky dive
If you click on the link you can see what it looked like. Go to 2:40 to see a real fun part of it ๐Ÿ˜‰

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“Here we go, on our way down to Tofino,
maybe we can catch some waves…”

Not that we were looking for some waves to surf on them, but we were looking forward to go there again. Those of you who remember, San and I were married there on one cold and stormy December day, four years ago. Visiting that same place again was and is always something special to two of us.
Long Beach - Tofino1
Beside walking on some of the beaches in the area, our plan was to go to Vargas island, hoping to see some of the wolves that live there; unfortunately, the weather that morning was stormy and windy, cold, and we were not prepared adequately for that. However, we will come back in the summer, we want to go to northern Vancouver Island and hike there. On a way back we plan to spend few days in Tofino and maybe even kayak to Vargas island and camp there.
Anyway, instead of Vargas island we were hiking in the area – Pacific Rim National Park – and even though we didn’t see any bigger wildlife, we were aware they are around.
Possible wolf track in Cox Bay - Tofino
two days old possible wolf track on remote side of a beach; tracks were coming from the forest but never left that small clearing (wolf probably returned back to forest);
Wolf feces on a Nuu-Chah-Nulth trail
one of the trails we used to go to Valencia beach; on a way back, we’ve seen what might be a wolf feces, very fresh and definitely not there when we were going to beach, about an hour before;
But we’ve seen a lot of birds – gulls, wrens, oystercatchers, eagles,…
Ruffled feathers on a windy day - Ucluelet
And the scenery was fantastic. Even though it was not as stormy as during our previous two visits, waves were big enough. Cold, wind, rain,.. I don’t mind them at all, they make me sit there in silence and look at endless waves crashing on the beach. And forget about troubles of the everyday life. I can completely understand wave surfers and their desire to stay there forever. It is so easy to slip into oblivion, to give yourself up. The rest of the world simply doesn’t exist there.
Long Beach - Tofino2
The rest of the photographs you can find here.

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Well, not mine really, but in this case I would like to join in.
Ever since I came to Canada, I noticed that some drivers, despite strict rules in traffic, decide to follow them in their own way. Now, like in every country in the world, if you want to have a driving license, you need to pass a test, both written and driving. And as far as I know, anyone who would dare to turn on intersection without signaling, would fail it, no exception. But once some drivers get their license, they seem to forget some of the rules and one of them is using a signal when they turn or change the lane or do anything else that might interfere with the path of other drivers or pedestrians.
I am not a big driver myself, San is the one who does most of the driving while I am sitting beside her with my camera ready, in case some wildlife appears or we see something else interesting and worth of photographing. But then we would be behind someone who would not turn the signal on when changing lanes and when you are driving over 100 kmph (70 mph) this is not something you would like to see. Especially if that person is moving in front of you. That kind of behavior is so common that it really annoys me a lot. During summer I go to work on my bicycle and believe me, I have seen everything. I’ve been pushed out of a road by big trucks twice, some drivers would show me finger when I try to change the lanes and some of them would decide not to take a turn right in front of me so I would need to slam the brakes and pray to stay alive. Let’s take a look at the statistics: In British Columbia there were 260,000 reported traffic accidents in 2013, 54,000 with casualties, 260 of them fatal. I couldn’t find how many of them were caused by not using a signal light but the number is probably stunning. Most of my readers know me, and they know I was born and raised in Serbia where many drivers are having weird habits in driving and where many people died because in past police didn’t force the traffic rules (things are changing, though and with a new law, number of accidents dropped). But I don’t remember ever seeing someone turning in intersection without signaling. I mean, literally. It is a life threatening situation and no one wants to die. I’ve seen some people (and some of my friends, too) driving impaired or drunk but even they would remember to signal. How can anyone forget that!?
I am not good at ranting so I should better leave that to professionals ๐Ÿ˜€ Rick Mercer, a famous Canadian entertainer, in his previous “Rick Mercer Report” TV show made this problem a main Rant for this week.
Brief and sharp.

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A lack of government and police control on all levels, had a huge increase in crime rate. Also, nearby wars in Croatia and Bosnia didn’t help. Underground market of arms became flooded with military armament and ammunition. That caused a drop in prices – I was told that you could buy a hand grenade for 10-20 DEM, automatic riffle (Serbian version of Kalashnikov) for 150 DEM, pistols depending on a caliber between 30 and 80 DEM. One bullet was about 1 DEM. I guess even more dangerous weapon was available because there were few murder attempts with mobile rocket launchers and RPGs.
Weapon was followed by drugs. I was reading in newspapers that, while cocaine was still a privilege for the rich, marijuana and heroin were never as cheap. And, which is worse, it was available everywhere. I will never forget when I’ve seen a young couple, no more than 16, he was so doped that he could hardly walk, while she was having a crisis, shaking and still holding injection with syringe on it… And it was 2 p.m. in a very center of Belgrade, near one of the theatres.
Criminals appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Shaved heads, muscly, with sweaters tucked in sweatpants, often armed, in expensive cars and half naked girls around them, they meant trouble. I knew half a dozen of guys from my neighbourhood who were in some sort of crime – drug dealing, robberies (in Serbia and abroad), shoplifting, extortion… They were not people you would like to mess with. Many of them were killed. In one year only, five of them were killed in the area where I lived. Some of them in a broad daylight. All of them from automatic weapon. One night I returned home late from a party and found the entrance to my building demolished by hand grenade. On a Serbian New Year’s Eve (January 14, 1994, after Julian calendar) I was going home just before midnight when fire from all kind of guns and riffles started. I could see tracing bullets flying over the sky, I could even hear them buzzing. From a building next to mine, someone fired 5 magazines from Kalashnikov, one after another. Back then, celebration sometimes meant life threatening situations.
Then, everything became more cruel. An entire family was murdered (including a dog) in their apartment just because someone thought they have a lot of money stashed there. People who did it were caught few years later, after they committed few more similar murders. An retired army NCO, who just returned from Croatia (when regular army retreated), had seen one night someone taking off windshield from his car. He took a sniper rifle and killed thief on spot. He ended up in jail of course, but this just shows what were even ordinary people being ready for. In this case, PTSD was probably involved (more about it in next chapter) but we didn’t know anything about it.
But more often, criminals were killing each other. There were several clans operating in Belgrade and they were in war with each other. In time, one clan raised above them all, and took over all (or almost all) major “businesses” in Serbia, but mostly drugs. They became very strong and survived even change in political establishment in 2001 (after Slobodan Milosevic was removed from power). And they assassinated our prime minister in 2003. After that, most of them were either killed or are serving life sentences.
But crime was not a sign of criminals, only. People, desperate for money and means for life, did all kind of things illegal. Some doctors didn’t want to operate or even give treatments if they weren’t payed in cash. Teachers were giving good marks for money, professors in some universities were selling diplomas or even passing a tests. Getting a permit for building a house or even extending it, required transferring of certain amount of foreign currency to some official. We called it “under the table”. And police was not what it used to be. One of the longest streets on Belgrade, Boulevard of King Alexander became one of the biggest open markets in a city. People were selling smuggled goods on cardboard boxes or directly from parked cars. One day, while I was going home from work, I have seen a police officer approaching a woman who was selling a variety of Milka chocolates on a cardboard box. Police officer looked at her and without a word put his finger on a 400g (one pound) pack of chocolate and waited a moment. She looked at him and eventually said that he could take it, with resignation shrug on her shoulders. He just grabbed it and put it under his uniform jacket and left. A lot of my friends who were caught violating traffic laws, gave some money to policemen and in return they were never fined. Luckily, not all of them were corrupted, I knew few policemen who were fair and honest, trying to do their job surrounded by crocodiles and vultures…
Back then, if you were smart and wanted to live, you must have been very careful. Sometimes, even stepping on someone’s toes in crowded bus could end up with you looking down the muzzle of a gun. Or being stabbed… It happened often.
I don’t know how we, my brother and I, managed to go through those times without being attacked or injured. Part of it was probably our inner sense for trouble that was warning us when something was in stake. I could say for myself that I escaped from some troubles by just being sober, cool headed and self confident in potentially dangerous situations. And I know that my martial arts training helped that, too.
labovic this is a scene from a Danish movie “I Kina Spiser De Hunde”; there was a criminal gang from Balkan involved in a story and, even though they are all actors, this is how they really looked like during 90s ๐Ÿ™‚

I swear, you could walk for hours without seeing a single person smiling. Sometimes, it would be days before you yourself find a reason to smile. Happiness disappeared from our lives. Newspapers were full of bad news, war and poverty. Strangely, bad news were always sold well, from journalist’s point of view. People, being under pressure from their own troubles wanted to read about someone else’s misfortune. Their problems then probably felt easier and they could say ‘well, it could be worse’. You know what I mean.
These days sometimes I hear people talking about someone else having problems with boss on work or with other person who can influence their existence. And often I hear something like ‘no way I could accept that, I have my dignity’. I just laugh on that. Those people doesn’t know what a reality might do to person’s mind and will. One of my friends told me back then that he has met his high school teacher one day. Digging in a garbage can and taking a piece of bread from it. My friend was so shocked, their eyes met and they recognized each other. His teacher muttered something, put that piece of bread in a bag and turned away. I’ve seen grocery shop owners demanding from their underpayed workers to work longer hours without being payed; tiny girls 18 years old or younger, working illegally in same shops and carrying sacks heavier than they are. Strong will is melting like a butter on a hot pan when you don’t have a choice. Homo homini lupust est, seen too many times.
All the troubles we as a nation were suffering brought on surface the bottom of society – criminals became celebrities, easy money and the ways to get it became the highlight of many, people of low moral became role models of young people. If I was ever trying to imagine a better way of destruction of society, I wouldn’t be able to think of all that struck us. We were having several TV stations and on all of them you could see “turbo folk” (a weird and stupid version of folk music that doesn’t even deserve to be called “folk”) TV shows, senseless political discussions, prophets who were looking at cards or stars (one of them was rolling a big golden ring on his finger, claiming he can predict future) telling us when and how life is going to be better. Newspapers were not anything better. As a nation, we have been exposed to a mass brain washing – Serbia is always right!, Serbian people are the best people on world!, The rest of the world hates us, they envy us and they want to destroy us! – it was screaming through all media while only minority of people really had the opportunity to travel abroad and see the life outside our country. Also, under UN sanctions, many countries introduced visas for us (with conditions so hard to fulfill that it became futile to even try) and we could forget about travelling. Except for people who had families abroad or were working for few companies who still had some business connections in Europe or else in the world.
All of the characteristic signs of Belgrade whom I knew since my childhood, disappeared or has gone ‘under cover’ – rock, blues, alternative and classical music scene almost ceased to exist. They were pushed away from mainstream media to languish in few small clubs. One of my friends, jazz drummer, told me that he started playing turbo folk music in weddings. That money was his only income, otherwise he would starve. As a comparison: it would be like if you would ask a university professor to write articles about celebrities for some yellow press.
Many returned from war torn areas in Croatia and Bosnia – as refugees or soldiers. Many of them under impression of what they have seen there, the worse of civil war. You could see them walking in uniforms, sometimes armed. Sometimes drunk. We didn’t know much about PTSD – it was something we were listening about, something that affected American Vietnam War veterans. But this time we were having our own veterans. I couldn’t find any official data about suicide rates – I doubt anyone had enough money or will to conduct that kind of research – but people talked.
To finish this chapter I will try to summarize: destruction in society was so severe that even now, after about two decades consequences could be still seen. I doubt we will ever recover. It will never be as it was before and something new, heavily marked by the events from 90s, will continue to exist. It is better now but will never be as good as it was before. Probably not in my lifetime.

It was not all that bad. There were shiny examples that gave back the hope that troubles will not last forever. In a worse days of crisis, our sportsmen – basketball, volleyball and water polo players – got quite a few medals on European and world championships. In Olympic games in Atlanta in 1996 basketball team lost in finals from the USA team and won silver medal (not to mention few gold medals from European Championships). Volleyball team got bronze and Aleksandra Ivosev won two medals in shooting.

Slowly, a new generation of young people grew up, stronger and more prepared for troubles than we, who were born earlier, ever will be. People who didn’t have anything, decided to fight for their future and make their lives better. I am not happy with the pace things are changing in Serbia but every now and then I am glad to be denied. We learned one big lesson: no matter how bad situation is and how severe circumstances are, they can never last forever.
Recently I have read a status on a Facebook page of one of my friends: “Person is defined by patience when it has nothing and by behavior when it has everything”. What can be more true than that?

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What I am about to write down over here is part of my history – personal as well as of my friends, neighbours and people I never met but heard about. A history of a country where I lived before I moved to Canada. A part of it anyway. I mentioned to Mik Furie on his blog that I was having the idea to write about monetary hyperinflation in Serbia (actually, Yugoslavia or what was left of it after its constituting republics decided to go their own way) and how I and my family dealt with it. But before, even a thought of going through all of it again, even just remembering, would bring some bad feeling, like a big rock pressing on my chest; it felt unthinkable and even the memories were still there, I was pushing them back, somewhere in the darkest parts of my brain, to jail them forever in chains of oblivion. But now, after almost two decades, I can face them again. Both time and physical distance made it possible. Also, my life is completely different and I don’t have that bad feeling now. Even though, just a thought of living through something like that again, terrifies me.

Just a piece of history as an introduction: At the end of 80s, with opening of Berlin wall and fall of Soviet Union, Yugoslavia was slowly seething inside. We all felt a big change is about to come, we just didn’t know how bit it is going to be. And how severely it is going to affect all of us. Some of the republics that were parts of ex-Yu wanted to separate, were generously encouraged to do so by governments of USA, Germany, Italy and Great Britain. First politically and financially, then with weapons and armament. Political rulers in Serbia and Montenegro were having different idea and didn’t want country to fall and opposed that. Wars started, first in Slovenia and Croatia, then in Bosnia. In return, UN (under the pressure of previously mentioned countries) imposed economic sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia back then).

To say the truth, I didn’t know where to start from, there are so many possible beginnings, so many angles to look at. I don’t want to go into politics, this is not what this post is all about. So I will start with the most obvious thing about monetary hyperinflation.

First thing you notice is that a loaf of bread you’ve bought in a shop few days ago doesn’t cost the same as it was; or a coffee you’ve payed in your favorite cafรฉ, having a good time with your girlfriend or friends; or bus ticket – actually, everything you were spending your money for didn’t cost the same. It is more expensive. More, not in terms of few coins, but in tens of percents. At the beginning – and it was spring of 1992. that I am talking about – nothing seemed more different than it was before. During 80s we were experiencing few downfalls so having prices suddenly changed, didn’t surprise us. We were sort of used to it and we knew that after few months of instability, we would be back on track. This time, actually, prices were growing rapidly and in shorter time periods, but we were all having hope that everything will be all right. Except, that it didn’t. The end of a year brought some new paper banknotes with more zeroes on them. Shops were a bit emptier than they used to be. In a meantime, I’ve lost a job, then lost another one and then another one. And each of them was payed less and my wallet was more often empty. I can’t really remember what I did during winter, I think it was when I was selling newspapers on the street. I was working – if you can call that a work – two days per week, sometimes three and money that I got would last me for the rest of the week – and then I would work again. But even with so little money, I was earning more than my both parents would earn for a whole month. The trick was that I would go and change my worthless dinars for some more solid currency and back then it was German mark. Banks closed selling of foreign currencies about a year ago so the only way to do that was to buy them in black market. But back then it was easy: dealers were everywhere. First only in few spots in a city, then literally everywhere: on bust stops, in front of shops and supermarkets, parks, schools, you name it. So, I would change my day worth of earning and that would last me longer than my parents’ salary. Luckily, they both got it immediately and my father was doing the same as I did: change it to Deutsche Mark and spend it carefully. But my grandparents were confused. Their pension money would come once a month, usually in the morning and by the evening, they couldn’t buy anything for it. Not even a box of matches. So I told them to go to shop at once and buy whatever they can – a quarter of loaf of bread, or a candle, or… anything. Yugoslav currency was so weak by the end of 1993. that in period of October 1st 1993 until the end of January 1994 prices were doubling every 16 hours (this is inflation of 5 x 10ยนโต % per month)!!! Some money that my grandparents were having in bank (for rainy days my grandma said) disappeared into thin air long time ago and people who were having savings in foreign currency were unable to reach it because government blocked all of it – for attempting to maintain country’s stability. That was all BS of course, but on a bottom line, if you had any money in bank it was as if you didn’t have anything. We survived that year (and next, 1994) with some money I earned on a job I’ve found at the beginning of 1993 (I was not legally employed but who cared: I was bringing home some money), with money my brother earned on black market (fuel, I will tell more about it in next chapter) and on money my aunt got when her late husband’s family sold some house in a village and she got part of it (which she selflessly shared with all of us). I even managed to go to Greece that summer with my girlfriend at the time and some of our friends (earned a nice bonus on some sale but it was a splurge that costed me dearly two years later). But, most of all it was careful planning of expenditures (and a fact that my grandparents were having a small vineyard and garden in a village so we could have some fruits and vegetables grown on our own). Money was coming and going with the same speed and there was no chance to save much but somehow it all worked. And just a note: we are talking of huge amounts of German Marks that I earned. Say, about 50 when it was a good month ๐Ÿ˜› . Between 20 and 30 when it was average (when Euro came to scene it was exchanged at rate of 1 eur for 2DEM). This is how cheap life was in Serbia back then.
500milijardi 500 billion dinars – I bet you are counting zeroes now ๐Ÿ˜€

Black market
I’ve already mentioned that, gradually, shops were getting emptier month after month, as the crisis increased. But the biggest shock for me came at the end of July of 1993 when I returned from summer vacation in Greece. In June, everything seemed “as usual” but in only a month shops – government owned, that is – were literally empty. I remember entering into one near the building where I lived to find only one employee sitting there, shelves empty except for one where someone spread packs of paper napkins so it won’t look like there is nothing to sell. I asked if there is any bread left (I just came home and fridge was empty, my grandparents in the village for the rest of the summer) and she told me that it was sold in the morning, but there were just few loafs anyway. But, she said, you can go to a nearby, privately owned shop, they have everything. So I went there and they really had everything. I felt like in Greece again. Then I checked the prices and all of them were in German marks. Instead of wasting a lot of time in changing prices daily (and later, more than once a day), shop owners did the obvious – they were getting more than 70% of their stock on the black market anyway so why bothering. And by that time we all knew how to trade in foreign currency and some quick mathematics will give you the price in dinars, if you really needed to know. And goods were brought to Serbia mostly from neighbouring Hungary and Bulgaria and then sold in one of many open markets all over the country (open market is like a flee market but things you could buy there were brand new). I knew a man who was “importing” welding electrodes from Hungary and he was doing so good that he made a house, bought a good car and made himself a small boat, not to mention that he lived for about 6 years from that business. While it was impossible to go and buy a gas on a gas stations, you could buy it anywhere on the street. On major streets in cities and on major highways there were people standing, usually with a plastic bottle full of yellow or blueish liquid (Romanian or Hungarian, you could choose) and a price written on a piece of cardboard. My brother and one of my friends, being desperate and without money, decided to try their luck with gas. They put one big barrel and few cans in my friend’s small Renault R4 (google it and you will see how small that car is) and went to a village on Serbia-Romanian border where they knew smugglers will come to sell. On a way back, a police officer stopped them and asked how much did they have in a car. He didn’t ask them a money, that was a small amount (probably about 300 litres, btw) but told them to extinguish their cigarettes :doh: and get the hell out of there. Back home they’ve found themselves a corner and in few days sold all of it. They were doing that for about 3 months as far as I remember and then someone came to ask them a money “for protection” so they gave up. Refusing to pay could end up with serious repercussions from local criminals.
Winter of 1993. was cold and wet. I got some nasty cough that didn’t want to go away and farmacies were kind of too expensive. So one day my aunt and I decided to take of one so many buses that were heading to Szeged, Hungarian bordering city, to buy some food and medicines. I remember we spent about 200 DEM for 3 bags of dried meat, salami, cheese, canned food, some painkillers and antibiotics. The price for crossing the border was about 5DEM per person and it went to border police, probably. That day I counted about 150 buses on a parking lot in center of Szeged. If every bus was having about 80 passengers and every one of them spent only a 100 DEM than we can say that it was about 1.2 million DEM worth of goods bought in that day alone. In reality, you can probably double that. And that kind of trade lasted for more than one year, although not with the same intensity, I was there in a peak of the business.
benzin-102490-1-2_670x0 photo taken from

I have two more chapters to write, it will be here in a couple of days, I hope. I guessed it would be too much to read it all at once ๐Ÿ˜€

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Reality of life in British Columbia!

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Yesterday I woke up at 2 a.m. and realized that would be it for the night. Made myself a small cup of coffee and turned a TV on because looking at computer monitor was out of question. This is what is happening in my mind when I am jet lagged: I feel tired, my eyes are watering and there is a constant hum in my mind that prevents me from straight thinking but also prevents me from sleeping. Well…

So I decided to give a chance to a movie that I’ve heard about before, even seen a trailer but never really got a chance to watch it. It is called Coherence and I really hoped that a slow sci-fi drama will give me a gentle kick back to sleep. The movie is about a group of people that found themselves in a situation to experience how it is to be a Schrรถdinger’s cat. Some of you probably know about that quantum physics paradox, if not just follow the link here. Now you probably know the same as before…

Anyway, movie didn’t give me a so needed rest; instead, engaged my mind in thinking even more and that constant hum that I mentioned before, turned into a slight headache. So I decided to go for a long walk and returned tired enough for a short nap. In one of the possible realities I probably had a nap before the walk. Or I didn’t go for a walk at all. Or I slept through the night and woke up alive and kicking, happy that jet lag lasted only a day. And that was a comforting thought.

Cleo1 Our cat Cleo doesn’t care about Schrรถdinger and his cat; she is our cat and in one of those millions of possibilities she was probably telling me that I am nuts for wasting a night in watching a movie instead of sleeping.

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We spent last weekend in Little Qualicum Falls camp on Vancouver Island. The weather was kind of crappy, raining from the moment we get on a ferry until we came back home on Sunday evening. Therefore, hiking was out of question but there were enough time to check on some other things in the area. On one of the back roads we’ve seen a wolf and that really made our day…. or weekend ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t have time to make a photo for it disappeared in in bush in two seconds but after some researching – someone’s donkey was attacked by wolf recently – we can say with 95% certainty that it was wolf ๐Ÿ˜€

But the reason for this post is a visit to North Island Wildlife Recovery Association. We were watching a TV show about them and being in the area (and having rain, too) was a good excuse to go there. NIWRA provides a shelter and recovery place for animals – birds of prey and bears – injured by cars, traps, electric power lines, hunters… It is divided so that animals that could be recovered and released are separated from the ones that are incapable of living on their own. They have 4 bald eagles and ten bear cubs that are almost ready to be released and it is important for them to have as little contact with humans as possible – from about 170 bears released so far, only one came near come village and started making troubles.

Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of birds and one bear at the moment that can’t be released. Their destiny is to stay in shelter for the rest of their lives. It is not a bad life, they are sheltered, fed and taken care of.

But birds are meant to fly, right?

Elvis - swainsons hawkElvis – Swainson’s Hawk

I have only few photographs here but in time I will add more.

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