Rolling down the Columbia River

Photos of Trail 100

Cruising down the Columbia. Lana Rodlie photo

The government, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to withdraw the upkeep of navigational markers on the Columbia River. This is a mystery, because, as the story notes, it was Scotty Tait, formerly of Scotty’s Marina, who placed all the markers between the Arrow Lakes and the border in the first place. And by the time we cruised down in 2008, most of them were in pretty bad shape. I don’t know what they are like today but can’t imagine anyone has improved on them since Scotty.

Here is a glimpse of what the river has to offer. The story was printed in the Trail Times in July 2008. Gary Crombie no longer operates his raft business on the river, but it is sorely missed.

By Lana Rodlie

Photos of Trail 092

A quiet spot – the river back eddies around islands near Selkirk College in Castlegar. The hanging trees, still waters . . . it’s awesome. Lana Rodlie photo

To float down the Columbia  — no loud motors – just the sounds of the rippling water, the birds in the trees and the various animals running along the shoreline, is an incredible experience.

“It’s hard to believe there aren’t more boats out here,” quipped Doug DeProy of Nanaimo who enjoyed Columbia River Rafter’s adventure from the Hugh Keenleyside locks to the Trail marina on Sunday. “If this was the Nechako, there’d be tons of boats.”

But West Kootenay residents are only just discovering their river. Continue reading

Red China Blues

Tiananmen Mao

Bordering Tiananmen Square is the giant picture of Chairman Mao. Lana Rodlie photo

Tiananmen Square security

Just getting to the square is an ordeal. You have to walk under the multi-laned roadway through a subway tunnel. Of course, there are guards to make sure no one gets lost. Lana Rodlie photo

This is a book review of Jan Wong’s Red China Blues, but I’ve added my own photos and some insights of when we attended the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

From the book: “Tiananmen is gargantuan, the biggest square in the world. Moscow’s Red Square was intimate in comparison. Tiananen could simultaneously accommodate the entire 28 teams of the National Football League plus 192 other teams, each playing separate games. It could stage an entire Summer Olympics, with all events taking place at the same time. Tiananmen, which means Gate of Heavenly Peace is also one of the least hospitable squares in the world. There is no bench or place to rest, nowhere to get a drink, no leafy tree to offer respite from the sun. Only the one-hundred-foot high Monument to the People’s Heroes punctuates it, and after 1977, Mao’s white and gold mausoleum. Its huge lampposts are equipped with giant speakers for crowd control and swiveling video cameras’. The commercial photographers  with white pushcarts and colorful shade umbrellas are actually plainclothes police. For a modest fee, they snap photos of Chinese tourists posing in the square and mail you the pictures a week later. That way, they have your name and address, too.” Continue reading