Monday, February 25, 2013

Urban Selunking and Roman festivals

I oft seem in a time warp, not the groovy trip to the 70’s but once the haze of pain, exercise, recovery or sleeping 24+ hours, finding it to be a week later. So, in recap, for Valentines Day, Lupercalia: the Roman festival of fertility kept on Feb 14th. That Festival is notable as the day Mark Anthony (of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra fame) ran naked through the streets proclaiming Julius Caesar as god and striking women with a whip made out of bull balls (it was like catching the flowers from the bride; if you get hit by the whip you are likely to get pregnant soon).

No whips were used in THIS household for Feb. 14th, I did however get Linda a West Coast Native art mug for work and helped buy a hoodie designed by Tony Hunt. Love is proclaimed in variety, isn’t it?

Then it was off to the shops to buy half price chocolate. Not quite a good a haul as Xmas when I scored on toblerone and marzepan, but got a decent sale priced chocolate.

This weekend Linda made Swedish Meatballs with rice. Hers were made of beef, NOT horsemeat, as has been found to be the case with IKEA. I always did wonder why the meals were so inexpensive.

We also went to the University of Victoria Library to look at the native art collection on the third floor. Limited traditional art prints from Davidson, Hunt to Henry Roy Vickers.

I took a left out of the library building to show Cheryl and Linda the Tunnels under the Science building, which run under the grass and walkways as well as two further university buildings.  Sadly I brought no camera, but the first sign you see is a large ‘Radiation’ and ‘Radioactive’ sign. The ceiling is stacked and lined with pipes carrying all sorts of fun stuff. Which is why the outside of the Science Building has a ‘free air’ pump for bicycles on the side, next to a small sign. The tunnels are still used as labs with lots of ‘if light is on laser is firing’ and ‘hazardous materials’ signs across from a hazmet shower.  It used to handy, when raining or snowing, to be able to go from the library to the science building then take the underground tunnel most of the way across campus. Of course, the flickering lights and sparse grad students holding beakers and wearing goggles peering out of labs just added to the fun.

That was my urban spelunking for the day. Though Linda and I used to use the tunnels and spans in Winnipeg to get from one end of downtown all the way to the Science Museum. We even used to practice dancing there on the weekend, when we both wanted to get away from housemates as well as the snow. The malls were empty so hey, lots of places to dance….until a guard came out and told us they had been watching us all the time on the monitors. Oops.

Have you been anywhere interesting in Urban Spelunking?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Urban spelunking... Well, there's a tunnel from the University Conservatory to Darke Hall here in Regina. It goes under the building that formerly housed the MacKenzie Art Gallery, and is now part of the Contining Education department.

Darke Hall, financed by Francis Darke, is a lovely old building, and one of the better theatres in the city. And Mr. Darke's ghost is still there! A friend of my Beloved's was the lighting technician there for years, and never EVER left work in the evening without calling "Good night, Frank!"

The tunnel was only 7 feet high, about 8 feet wide, and possibly less than a hundred feet long. But it had a few electrical conduits and looked rather unfinished. I assume it's still there, but I don't know if it's still available for use. I don't think I ever photographed it, but if I did, it was in the early 1980s and the negatives are long since lost. :(

There are also tunnels in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; they were supposedly used during prohibition to move alcohol, and rumour says that Al Capone may have used them. They're hardly considered spelunking these days, since the tours of the tunnels are so popular, but they are real, live tunnels. And I've never been in them. Maybe there's a reader in Moose Jaw who has been down there?

Love and zen hugs,
Neil

Anonymous said...

Cheryl here

I really enjoyed the UVic library. There’s a lot of very good art and I never tire of exploring spaces with so many incredible books. The tunnels were cool and would be fun to explore further. I like exploring tunnels and underground places. There were the steam tunnels under my university to explore. I also really liked the underground tour in Seattle. Now that I’ve read so much Cherie Priest I should go take that tour again. In Death Valley National Park at Scotty’s Castle they do tours through the utility tunnels under the house. They are pretty cool.

GirlWithTheCane said...

No urban spelunking for me recently. There are caves about an hour away where you can do actual spelunking. I've never gone very deep into them, though.

In Florida, a man was swallowed by a sinkhole last night. Probably not the sort of spelunking he was hoping to do. :(

Take good care of yourself...I think of you often.

- Sarah

Kate J said...

Thanks for teaching me a new word... I never came across the word 'spelunking' before and had to look it up. Great word though, I'll have to find myself an opportunity to use it!

D. Emerson Evans said...

The North Wales School of Art and Design is housed in a Victorian-era hosptital building, complete with subterranean morgue. Most of the interior access points to the basement are closed off, but there is an exterior entrance to the morgue in the parking lot, which, though routinely locked, is not connected to the building's security system. The morgue itself has been left largely undisturbed for over sixty years, and is a fantastic location for spooky photos and Hallowe'en campouts...provided one can engineer access.