When visitors arrive in Nanaimo in their canoes, they ask permission to land.
We learned this traipsing through Departure Bay, the waterfront of our new and temporary digs on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
We found a carving that faces the inlet.
Two eagles, and two whales, greet visitors arriving in the Bay: a huge wooden portal created from red cedar by local carvers.
According to the plaque, the Snuneynmuxw First Nation (I am told the pronunciation is Snoo-NAI-muk or Snuh-NAY-mow) and the city worked together to install the display.
The plaque says the eagles represent strength and wisdom, and they protect the land. The whales represent good luck and guide visitors to safe harbor.
We asked permission to land.
We arrived safely in Nanaimo after a brief delay at the border to get my permits sorted so I could work on my research through the end of 2019.
The staff at Vancouver Island University have taken me under wing, providing me a coveted working space, and pointing out the koi pond and favorite walking trails.
Our home host hails from Oman via Shiraz, so I practice my pigeon Persian on him.
In exchange, he brings us homemade hummus and dried mulberries, which my pal Alistair calls Toot-e-khoshk.
Tonight I will make Persian chicken.
20 August 2019