Parry Sound

One of my friends had recommended the 30,000 island cruise around
Georgia Bay, so we made a side trip to Parry—a tourist town halfway
between Sudbury and Toronto. We managed to pull into the parking lot
*just* as the boat was filling up with people. Good thing, too – ten
minutes later and we would’ve missed it completely!

The Island Queen was a stately three-decked ship with gleaming white
sides. As I stepped onto the deck, a crew member smiled a hello. He
told me that since I had such a nice camera, I should make sure not to
miss the Hole in the Wall and the crooks and crannies of the islands
we would pass by. A Toronto Star reporter had been there just a few
days ago, he continued. I nodded and cradled my camera close, thinking
how much better my dad’s pictures would have been had he been there!

The scenery was just as spectacular as the brochures promised. The
Hole in the Wall was a narrow, twisting corridor through granite
cliffs almost close enough to touch. As the passage widened into
harbors and passages, it seemed that every bend revealed a solitary
house couched in windswept pine. Some of the larger islands had
clusters of cabins and even beaches with park benches.

Seeing all the lush greenery, W remarked that he was no longer quite
as concerned with his carbon footprint.

These remote hideaways reminded me of one of the points made by *both*
of the books I was reading: it doesn’t actually take obscene amounts
of money to enjoy the luxuries commonly associated with the lifestyles
of the super-rich. I’m sure that a determined vacationer could find a
short-term rental here. Reflecting on the amazing scenery passing by
us, though, I felt a twinge of dissonance.

This isn’t my dream. Many people aspire to going off and having their
own private island, but not me. I like a bit of green, yes. I happen
to be fond of good postal service and public transit, and I wouldn’t
want to rely on airlifts in order to get to the hospital. Besides, I
like the bustle of the city, with endless things to do and so many
people to meet. So that’s probably who I am: a city kitty, at least
for now.

Still, as I snapped picture after picture from the white rails of the
ship, I wondered—what this place must look like in the fall, with all
the maple trees aflame!

I’ll upload pictures soon. I have around a thousand photos to sort
through. Experience has taught me that my little laptop is nowhere
near up to the task. Fortunately, W.’s desktop is more than twice as
fast as my computer, and the program I found (kphotoalbum) allows me
to quickly go through pictures. A friend had recommended keeping even
the bad pictures so that we could learn from our mistakes, but who has
the disk space and attention span for that? No—I’m going to
ruthlessly discard anything that’s blurry or can’t be salvaged with a
little photo manipulation in the Gimp.

My photographs can’t do justice to the place, though. It was
beautiful. And you know what? I *know* we have beautiful places like
that in the Philippines. I know because I’ve seen the pictures taken
by my dad and my sister on their adventures throughout the country.
Sure, most of our forests have been stripped by logging and other
uses, going as far back as the slash-and-burn tactics used by
pre-Hispanic Filipinos—but there’s hope. If Sudbury could plant over
three million trees in order to reclaim a barren moonscape wrecked by
nickel mining and huge ore roasting beds, then the Philippines can
too.

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