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Sunday, July 20, 2014


To The North - Oregon, Washington, Victoria BC

Despite the somewhat long and bleak winters in coastal areas, Oregon continues to appeal. 

So, it was a pleasure to visit friends who offered their hospitality in Oregon and, when opportunity came up for a road trip from Hillsboro OR  to Victoria BC, with car ferry across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles to Victoria, that was the icing on the cake.  My previous visit to Victoria was in 1994.

Found the weather in Oregon surprisingly different from my previous visits. Except for the day I arrived, sunny days and high temperatures (above 90 degrees) were the norm. In fact, I missed cool and breezy west San Mateo.  

Also noticeable were the prices for gasoline and foodstuff.  Gas prices were not far behind what we pay here in the Bay area. Prices of fruits and vegetables were somewhat higher. 

The Oregon micro-breweries doing very well.  Excellent beers and pleasant outlets where one can enjoy them.  Far from inexpensive but worth it. On this trip, we didn't go to wineries in the Willamette Valley.  Local stores, including Trader Joe's and Safeway carry decent stocks of Oregon wines and beers.

Photographs below cover three weeks of random shots; not of high quality, nor of interest to those who were not part of the group.

Portland OR - Brew Pubs

At The Storm Breaker, 832 N. Beech St © Musafir

The Sampler - Photo, Courtesy of Yelp, Portland

At The Bridgeport, Pearl District

The mussels were great, as were the beers  © Musafir

.Cascade Brewing, Belmont Street 
Another pub with ambience   © Musafir

Friday evening, friends, good beer and food. Life is sweet © Musafir

McMenamins, Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave

Glass of hard cider in The Courtyard, ahh!   © Musafir


And the Sampler  © Musafir

Ken's Artisan Pizza, 304 28th Ave

Portland is a haven for foodies.  Good eateries abound in all areas of the town. Ken's Artisan Pizza is certainly worth a visit.

BG and Niklu   © Musafir

Niklu and Brinda  © Musafir

Scrumptious !  © Musafir

LaTourelle Falls

About 50 miles from Hillsboro, LaTourelle Falls is accessible from the Columbia Gorge scenic highway.

First view from the trail © Musafir

View from further up © Musafir

RS, Niklu, Brinda © BG 

Wild Berries © Musafir

White Globe Lily ? © Musafir

More Wild Flowers © Musafir

Met, Sarah,  a hiker from Portland when we took a wrong turn
going back to the trailhead © Musafir

We hiked down together the rest of the way © Musafir

At the end of the downhill leg © Musafir
To Victoria BC 

The drive from Hillsboro to Port Angeles (just under 250 miles) was estimated to take 4.5 hours.  On July 3rd afternoon we encountered unusually heavy traffic due to the long weekend ahead.  Took us an hour and a half to go past Portland, a distance of 15 miles. We needed to board the ferry by 8:30 PM and began to worry whether we would be able to make it. But once past Portland the traffic became lighter.

Driving through Washington,when we stopped for gas,  I asked about marijuana.  I was under the impression that the legalization of marijuana in Washington meant that one could walk into a store and buy it. Not so.  I was told that it would be necessary to have a prescription to buy for medical purposes. Duh !  Our country and its hypocrisy about pot is astounding. The politicians are either in the pockets of special interest groups who are opposed to easy availability of marijuana or they are gutless to take a position to lift the restrictions.  Alcohol is OK, lighting up a joint is not ! Kick them in their goolies.  

However, a few days later there were reports about opening of the first outlet in Seattle to sell marijuana to consumers without medical needs. Let's hope that the barriers continue to fold. 

We boarded the MV COHO for Canada.  A very pleasant 90-minute ride to downtown Victoria. In the past  a valid driving license was enough to travel between Canada and the USA.  After 9/11, the formalities tightened up but it is still a fairly painless process.

Before driving on to the MV COHO - © Musafir

  In the hold of the MV COHO © Musafir

Evening sky, from the MV COHO - © Musafir

With friends, Saanich, Victoria BC © Musafir

The Garden, I - © Musafir

 The Garden, II - © Musafir

The Garden, III - © Musafir

Jam session © Musafir

View from Mount Doug © Musafir

On Mount Doug, I © Musafir

On Mount Doug, II © Musafir

On Mount Doug, III © Musafir
On Mount Doug, IV © Musafir

Strutting peacock at a park © Musafir

The Trip back - All Good things come to an end 

Back on the MV COHO for Port Angeles © Musafir

Receding Victoria skyline - © Musafir

Back in the USA - Olympic National Forest © Musafir

View from US 101 South © Musafir

Wild Flowers © Musafir

How Green is the Valley © Musafir

A stop to admire the view © Musafir

Back in Portland - Dinner at Por Que No?  © Musafir


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Friday, July 18, 2014


Young Men With Horns and Guitar

Victoria BC - July 3-6, 2014

Highlight of the trip to Victoria BC was to listen to music being made by a group of talented budding artists. 

Nikhil Ghosh, Palo Alto, CA, trombone, tenor 
Cyrus Bhiladvala, Victoria BC, alto sax
Simon Farintosh, Victoria BC, guitar
Rowan Farintosh, Victoria BC, tenor sax

We were fortunate to stay with Rustom and Kamal Bhiladvala, parents of Cyrus. 

On July 4th we drove to Bastion Square, downtown Victoria.  The boys took out their instruments and began busking to the pleasure of passers by.  It was a bright afternoon, full of shoppers and sightseers. 

Jazz on July 4th at Bastion Square, Victoria BC © Musafir

Buskers warming up  © Musafir
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” 
― Bob Marley  

From the left: Nikhil Ghosh, Cyrus Bhiladvala, Simon Farintosh, Rowan Farintosh  
                                                                                                      © Musafir
Admiring dad Rustom Bhiladvala  © Musafir
Beaming Bhaskar Ghosh, a mean tabla player himself  © Musafir

Across from Empress Hotel © Musafir

We were not far from the venerable Empress Hotel, now a part of the Fairmont Group.

The afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel continues to be popular with visitors. Not many locals go to have tea at close to $60.00 (Canadian) per person. 

Meantime, the young musicians had warmed up and the sound of jazz filled the air.  They were rewarded fairly well.  But more than the collection it was the pleasure of performing in public that energized them.  Good vibrations. More power to them.

Simon Farintosh, who graduated from high school, is going to pursue musical studies in college.

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Why Do People Who Fish Have a Tendency to Despoil the Environment ?

A recent day at Henry Hagg Lake, about 25 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon, drove home the point that when it comes to leaving a mess behind the Oregonians are no better than those who fish in California.

Found discarded water and beer bottles, food containers, plastic bags, and fishing tackles. You wonder about the state of their homes.  But perhaps they believe in the right to leave garbage in public places and keep their homes clean. 

Scumbags, I

Scumbags, II

Scumbags, III

What makes them turn a nice cove into a garbage dump and go home at the end of the day without giving a damn about others is a mystery.  Posted signs "Pack It In - Pack It Out" are very visible.  Perhaps they cannot read.

Hikers and backpackers don't do it.  Bicyclists don't do it. Some picnic grounds show the effects of piggish behavior but not as much as fishing spots.

In California, apart from those who fish, commercial mushroom pickers are the only ones that leave a lot of detritus behind them.  


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