Saturday, August 15, 2015

TWO OMANIS IN: Victoria, B.C., Canada---the whole tourist experience---from a local PT. 2; Fan Tan Alley, Market Square, and Yates Old Town

As a child I always loved Chinatown (i.e. Fisgard street). I don't know if it was the Chinese food (Don Mee's has the best Dim Sum and seafood, the little dive in Fan Tan alley cafe? the best chow mein and wonton) or the little Chinese groceries with Chinese ginger candy and pokey sticks, or the underground opium smuggling tunnels from the 1900s my uncle showed me (he used to play mujong with aged gangsters in the 50s--circa 90s-2000s chinese gansters in Victoria don't exist anymore that I am aware of) where we could find some period treasures, or the bright painted colours, or the streets filled with Chinese speaking locals themselves...
Actually, I know what I loved the best as a child, it was this little store below, which had, like, the coolest stuff ever! Wooden swords, plastic chinese cheap toys, fans, parasols, lanterns, and kites, and so many other odd and wonderful (traditional or modern) things! It was wonderful... and still is.
However, the biggest "tourist-ey thing" to do in Chinatown, is to take a photo near the "heart's content" sign in Fan Tan alley, the narrowest alley in Victoria and most of Canada I assume. (There's also another witche's shop in here;) as I told my Omani husband).
Leaving Chinatown, going up from the gate and exiting to the left (but crossing the street like the way of the Chinese school) there's oddly enough a cute little French bistro (super romantic) call Brasserie le ecole and I love it too, along with all the furniture stores one is approaching this way to circle back to Wharf Street etc... but I didn't take any pictures of those. Apparently there's also a Muslim-friendly vegetarian Chinese food joint. I haven't been but others have said.
 However, moving on, just a short walk away is...
Johnson Street is a really old-fashioned brick-front style section of row buildings painted in bright colours, where there are some really unique-to-Victoria shops, and Market Square, which is the place our traditional "souq" used to be, however now it is basically a shaded open area with shops lining. I sometimes walk down Johnson Street just to get to Wharf Street or to China town, or to Bastion Square, other sections of Victoria I like to walk or have things to do in, though I remember Market Square used to be the only place I could buy beads and crystals for abayas way back when;). And if Oman thinks its got the thing to do with witches (nobody bring up Bahla to me again, please) well in Market Square you'll find one store that stocks spell making materials and spell books for would-be witches;), one of five stores that I know to exist on the island, and of the 3 in Victoria itself.
My actual favourite thing about walking in Victoria is that Victoria has a lot of hidden back alleys, courtyards (with fountains) and underground tunnels. Most of these are locked 98% of the time, but one that is open is the alley behind Johnson street and Al Terrazo Italian restaurant. It leads to a courtyard and is somewhere more locals will wander than tourists.
Now, walking between Johnson to Yates Street (another very old section of town) there is an alley conntecting the two, just before the bottom of the road. This street is worth checking out for a couple of reasons. #1 is the Italian restaurant, Al Terrazo, here. Good restaurant. Cherry-soaked venison, is beyond words, stuffed mushrooms, all that. You'll eat like a King.
 Also, to note, this is the oldest surviving street in Victoria, and it is cobbled with wooden bricks.
 This alley takes you to Old Town in Yates, and if you climb Yates Street parkade you'll have a good view of Old Victoria. I also love "Outlooks Menswear Boutique" here, and always fancied that if I was a multi-millionaire I'd buy the old "Oriental Hotel" and rennovate it---which looks like someone is in the process of doing now. Also, "Ferris' Oyster Bar" was a popular hang-out for my friends and I in our teens---really good food. Anyways, posting all these photos takes an awful lot of time, so that's all for now... to be continued onwards and whenever...

1 comment:

kirti said...


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