Hodge: Tourists be warned: Kelownians are a quirky bunch

There are also a few local quirks your relatives should be aware of before heading out unattended.

You can thank me later.

For now, just breathe deep and remind yourself that summer is nearly over.

Take solace in the fact that the string of visitors who suddenly rediscovered you are alive and well and living in Kelowna are almost all gone home.

As a veteran Kelownian I comprehend the angst you are likely struggling with regarding the plethora of visiting relatives and friends. Funny how they seem to forget about you every winter, spring and fall—but are suddenly inspired to renew bonds come summer holidays.

As an Okanagan born and raised lad I have seen this all before. Annually. If you just moved here—get used to it.

Welcome to paradise.

For new Okanagan residents, recently transplanted for work or retired, the initial popularity of living here is rather comforting and complimentary. (Who does not want to be popular with friends and family?)

However, after four or five return years of summer visits from annoying Aunty Margaret and beer guzzling Uncle Fred, the shine wears off.

Today’s column is designed to assist those frustrated Kelownians who are tired of playing cook, host, tourist co-ordinator and or trip advisor.

Next time one of your long overdue-to-go-home visitors asks what you are cooking for dinner or where you are taking them for fun, hand them this list.

Tell them you will leave the key under the mat if they do not get home early. (When they are gone you can change the locks and paint the outside of the house).

I have always enjoyed telling tourists where to go and how to get there—especially when it comes to them having fun and spending money. Now you can too.

In fairness, there are also a few local quirks your relatives should be aware of before heading out unattended.

Here are a few:.

Kelowna folks are a finicky bunch. (A polite term for spoiled, pompous, self-absorbed.)

Kelownians are never fully satisfied, no matter the situation.

Our biggest complaints are about the weather and tourists. (Local definition of a tourist is visitor or resident of Kelowna for less than 15 years.)

Weather-wise, we bitch when it is too hot. We bitch when it’s too cold. Too wet, too windy, too stuffy. However we usually end most complaints with a shrug of the shoulders and a comments such as, “Oh well, at least it beats living in Toronto.”

Tourist-wise, we complain when there are not enough visitors, and then complain even louder when they finally arrive.

We have a useless HOV lane system running through Kelowna on Highway 97. (Don’t blame us, it was the provincial government’s idea). Locals ignore it but we fully expect tourists to obey it. We will honk and show you various body parts as we roar by.

If you are lost, or simply have a tourist-related question don’t ask someone at the public beach, or the table next to you in most of the major chain restaurants. They are likely tourists. (Locals hide in their yards, quiet beaches or pools, secret pubs and favourite dining spots from July 1 to Sept. 15).

The best thing about Kelowna is probably taking a casual stroll along the waterfront from City Park near the bridge to the Grand Hotel, or walking or cycling The Greenway.

There are also a number of enjoyable tours and art walks in the downtown as suggested in guides books found at various locations.

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