Now just to explain everything, Nk’mip is the name of the band of aboriginal people who lived and owned much of this land. I’ll get into a bit of the history later and will warn those who have no taste for the past to skip over that section. Then again, people who aren’t into history are probably not interested in this account of what was my history, so maybe that warning was not needed.
So to recap, a random local named George drove us to our final destination at the Nk’mip Campgrounds. We checked in at the entrance and George drove us right to our campsite, spot 157, right along the water, with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and town. Shaking his hand I thanked him for his kindness, as this type of event would never happen back home, either out of fear, warranted or not, or simply out of generations of implanted thought processes that humans do not give to each other out of the simple goodness of their hearts without recuperating financial or otherwise. Show me the money, they say, and we’ll pour out our souls, become religious, or marry old, dying people.
And later on I wrote: Well….I am behind to let’s just do a quick update. Osoyoos was great. While the Nk’mip campsite offered nothing beyond a place on rocky patch where RVs usually sit upon to place our tent and a 5 dollar WiFi fee, the pluses were a lakeside view of the beautiful surrounding mountains and rock formations, as well as being near to some amazing trails and pretty damn good restaurant that served it’s sandwiches and burgers on bannock (a terrible slogan to the end of “don’t panic, we use bannock”). The first day we arrived and explored downtown Osoyoos. Not much there, really. One street, a town hall, an arrow pointing in the direction of Subway (I found that sign interesting, I mean, usually the effort and cost to make those prominent displays of importance are usually set aside for historic sites, accommodations…not a chain sandwich store to makes overweight people they are taking a stand against they’re love handles by eating veggies…like a smoker switching to cigars). Ate at Smitty’s, which gave me a heck of a lot of unwanted ammunition that I would later unwillingly unleash within the confines of our small orange tent, much to the “delight” of it’s other occupant.
The next day it was off to the Nk’mip Desert Culture Centre to learn about the original inhabitants on this land and the nature itself that still resided here. A well produced drama about Coyote, the Trickster and a lights and special effects recreated fireside stories to explain some of the myth and history of this tribe that use to roam north and south of the American Canadian boarder. An interesting fact that the Nk’Mip, a tribe of the Okanogan People were not all dragged off to residential schools, as they had their own school on the reserve.
Outside we followed one of the many trails that can be accessed from the centre. Seems quite ironic, come to think of it, that if you do not pay the 8 dollar fee to see the centre you are not allowed to walk among the nature that is described throughout all the exhibits and films as an untamable, unmanageable force that at a better time was free to roam, without lines and boarders restricting the natural ebb and flow of people.
So we hiked. We sweat. We touched a gopher snake. We marched around a faux native village. I know I was suppose to learn something while marching around tee pees and hanging fur pelts, but I’m sorry, when you create a life sized theme park, complete with buildings you can ENTER, you lost the educational part for me.
We read about the flora and fauna and how they were used as medicine, clothing and food. Then hunger set in like an axe into a Californian sequoia. Our first thought was see what the restaurant facilites were like near the centre. Silly us, as the wealthy apartment community near the centre, complete with swimming pools and a winery, had never heard of value for dollar. The saying up here was, a cheque for at least 350,000 dollars for your thoughts.
So down the hill we frolicked, upon the dusty and sun laden trail, passing by vineyards on the left and a iron laser cut Native in full stereotypical feathered regalia on the right. It was time for something I wanted to relive. Something one may not consider a fond memory, let alone something that should occupy even a thin space on the highest, unreachable shelf in the memory library. A Chinese buffet that I had once ate at before was now the object of our crusade into town. Oh wait, first there was locally made ice cream of the peanut brittle variety, as well as nanaimo bar flavored scoopage served in a building set out to look like a windmill, within a theme park set out to attract parents of children that would like to strap them into a ride that spins them ridiculously fast a zillion times and occupies their attention a zillion times more as they slip off on a wine tour or to have marital coutus in the grey scaled and itchy blanketed motel room bed, complete with a bed bug mariachi band playing la bamba.
The sign loomed before us, off colored and titled at a Hitchcock’ian angle. Golden Chopsticks. Chinese restaurant. Buffet. Not a very happy girlfriend. Her expression alone was worth the visit along with the Jello Pudding as an authentic mainland desert. The only reason we went was to relive an old memory of a trip I took through Osoyoos, 5 years earlier, in my love of life car, a putt putt Geo Metro.
And the next day, with the sun, we were off. Slowly. Through the back door of the campsite, following a pack of awkard running quails in the morning light. Even more awkard running was the red suitcase whose wheels were at 45 degree angles of where they are suppose to be to properly be spinning and with a dragging, torn bottom, fighting mercilessly with the puller to take a break, like a heavy packed donkey. So after some swear words rising with the dust from the desert floor and some unnecessary sweating, I finally screeched to halt in defeat, gave into Rachel’s I told you sos and called a cab. The man in the turban who sat beside me, the first Sikh Hippy I had ever met said to my ear’s and soul’s amusement:
“Man, you’re going to Nelson? All you need to do is stand out in the streets and you’ll get high”
Scarfed down some McDix, took photos of this particular member of the yellow arched branch for spelling smokey with an “e”, which makes SO much more sense than smoky, which I had seen at all the Vancouver restaurants advertising their new burger. To me, smoky reads like trying create an adjective out smock, which has no place describing a burger, let alone anything else asides from an actual smock.
With a few hours to kill we marched down to the Main Street Market, where little girls danced to Britney Spears bursting out of an ancient boombox in matching leatards and locals sold pickled veggies, arts and crafts and Graznya, a holistic nutritionist and biochemist, born in Poland, living in Greenwood, gave out samples of her gluten free baking. She invited us to stay and bake with her. A later adventure was set into action and we promised we’d come. As fast as forest fire, we were ablaze along the treeline, our eyes catching everything their sight darted upon.