Monday, July 05, 2004

June 12, 2004: Hourly Pictures

Today was our first ever breakfast at a bed and breakfast. The only problem was that it was at 8:30, and we both barely stumbled out of bed at 8:20. This means that we forgot our camera, and thus don't have our hourly 9:00 picture for that first breakfast. It was a great meal that started off with some delicious homemade croissants, a fruit plate, tea and fresh squeezed orange juice, and then was followed up by eggs benedict with smoked salmon. The smoked salmon was delicious and the eggs were beautifully done (the egg yolks were also strangely orange … I wonder why).

After breakfast we made our way back to our room and promptly fell asleep for another few hours. We woke up again at noon and went out to Butchart Gardens for a rainy afternoon of plant observation. We showed our zoologist/biologist nature by spending more time in the Italian garden watching a mated pair of robins hunt for worms than observing the few plants in the area. The worm hunting was very cool: the female hopped along behind the male, who did all the hunting by twisting his head sideways and peering into the soil before lunging. When the male caught a worm it looked like he may have taken a little bite and then hopped over to the female to give her the rest of the worm. How sweet [ed. note: and also likely evolutionarily beneficial, since the female is responsible for creating the pair's eggs. The female also looked noticeably plumper than the male.].

After the gardens we made our way to Haultain’s Fish & Chips, a little neighborhood place that was packed with locals getting takeout. The fish and chips were excellent (good, light batter, though I'm no F&C expert) and the people were very nice. As we ate we were surrounded by the smells and sounds of frying fish and potatoes from the nearby open kitchen (which made up ~1/3 of the building). Since the meal coincided with one of my hourly pictures I took a shot of the table and then thought that a perfect picture would be of the kitchen since it added so much to the environment.

I went up to the counter to ask if I could get a picture, expecting to lean over and quickly snap a shot, but the women behind the counter said, "Oh no, come over here, you can get a better shot" and waved me behind the counter. She asked one of the other women to start tossing some fries, and only once the fries were being tossed did she allow me to take the picture. I showed the picture to the woman on the back of my camera and she was ecstatic. She proceeded to show the picture to the rest of the cooks and servers behind the counter, and they all grouped around and chatted excitedly. It quickly became apparent that my picture didn't capture everything they wanted it to (and also had one of the women's back-sides in it, which she wasn't too happy about), so they said I should take another. Off went the fry-tosser to toss some more fries, and this time they made sure that the owner of the restaurant (Mary) was working visibly in the picture (she's on the left). They approved of the second picture, and I happily went back to the table to finish my meal. This was, by far, the most enjoyable picture taking experience I've ever had. I absolutely love this picture an hour deal.

After dinner we headed back to our room and spent the evening relaxing. Our hourly pictures from the day are below.

06-12-04: 1200 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 1300 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 1400 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 1500 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 1600 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 1700 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 1800 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 1900 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 2000 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 2110 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 2200 Posted by Hello

06-12-04: 2320 Posted by Hello

1 comment:

Radagast said...

Importing comments:

Hmm, cool. There weren't any chickens that I saw, but the owners were pretty environmentally conscious in their food choices (e.g. purchasing wild salmon from a local fisherman), so I wouldn't be surprised if they got free-range chicken eggs as well.

As a biologist I can't explain what the compounds are (yet), but Google nicely led me to a paper that contains a decent summary of the molecules and the role they play in the retina (there's apparently debate as to whether they help macular degeneration):

"The two major carotenoids in the human macula and retina are lutein and zeaxanthin [1,2]. Similar to β-carotene, these pigments are found in various coloured fruits and green leafy vegetables. Of the 40 to 50 carotenoids typically consumed in the human diet [3,4], lutein and zeaxanthin, are deposited at an up to 5 fold higher content in the macular region of the retina [1] as compared to the peripheral retina ... These pigments are collectively referred to as the macular pigment (MP). Although the role of the macular pigment remains uncertain, several functions have been hypothesised and these include limitation of the damaging photo-oxidative effects of blue light through its absorption [6-8], reduction of the effects of light scatter and chromatic aberration on visual performance, [9,10], and protection against the adverse effects of photochemical reactions because of the antioxidant properties of the carotenoids [5,11,12]." (Mozaffarieh et al., Nutrition Journal 2003, 2:20)
July 6, 2004, 12:26:45 AM PDT – Like – Reply

Did the B&B have their own chickens? Bright orange yolks usually indicate free-range chickens. According to this organic foods website "the deeper the yellow-orange color of yolks, the more lutein and zeaxanthin they contain."

As a biologist, you can now explain to us what lutein and zeaxanthin are.
July 5, 2004, 11:16:18 PM PDT