Roger has put up a great post about his standard DHSI kit, and I wanted to make my own contribution of practical info if you’re coming this year. The following are all things that I wish I’d known in advance, or discoveries that have made my life at DHSI easier. I have a wheat/gluten allergy, so some of the information below may be useful if you, too, are dealing with food allergies.
Keeping track of impromptu events
Even if you don’t use Twitter much, following the #dhsi2014 hashtag is a great way to see what’s going on, and you don’t even need a Twitter account to do it. Just go here, and select “All”, rather than “Top” to see the most recent tweets. People talk about what they’re learning in their workshops and in events, but they also make plans to grab lunch or dinner in groups, or visit yarn shops (or shops pertaining to whatever particular interest you might have).
Likewise, if you want to start an impromptu event (last year I organized a yarn store trip), Twitter’s a good place to do it — and if you don’t have a Twitter account, and really don’t want one, get someone else to start it for you.
There are several buses that go between downtown and UVic, and the ride takes about 15-25 minutes depending on the route. Bus fare is $2.50, and I find that one of the easiest ways of avoiding needing exact change is to pay for a friend with a fiver, and have them pay on the way back. For reasons I’ll get into below, you’ll definitely want to go downtown.
If you’re staying in the cluster apartments and haven’t paid extra for them to be stocked with kitchen supplies, then you may want to bring a few vital essentials from home (last year I brought a pour-over coffee set-up; this year, I’m bringing a bottle of coldbrew coffee concentrate). Plastic food containers can be very useful too, if you’re planning on packing your lunch; so can an insulated lunchbox and icepack (or ziploc baggies to make simple icepacks using soda machine ice). Lunch lines can be very long indeed; thus the value of the insulated lunchbox and icepack (which can allow you to grab something during a workshop break and store it for later).
Food (places to get it, etc., food allergies, etc.)
There’s a small grocery store (Peppers Grocery) down at Cadboro Bay (i.e., within walking distance from campus), as well a Starbucks Coffee –the grocery is open till 9 on weeknights, but closes early (7:30) on Sunday evening.
My experience with the UVic campus dining options at lunch has been generally good: they have several gluten-free options both for entrees and snacks; however, the on-campus dinner options are less good (or were last year) — the on-campus pub doesn’t have a dedicated GF fryer. You’re better off seeking out your evening meals downtown. Really, this is true for almost anyone: Victoria has really nice restaurants! If you’re looking for vegan restaurants, try this listing (The Victoria Vegan); if you’re gluten-free, try this one (The Celiac Scene). My personal favorite GF/vegan venue is Origin Bakery, which is a 10-15 minute ride, depending on which bus you take (the 4, 11, and 14 are all good bets). It has delicious baguettes, eclairs, and tarts, all GF — and mostly vegan — and they’re delicious. Sadly, it’s closed on Sunday and Monday, but you can bet that I’ll be making an early trip on Tuesday morning.
Do all the things! Or don’t.
It is so tempting to try and do everything, but truthfully, unless you have the energy level of a 7-year old, I don’t think it’s possible, and come Wednesday or Thursday night, I usually feel too exhausted to make intelligent conversation. So: pace yourself. (I say this even while encouraging you to suggest an unconference session over at the Google doc.)
See you in Victoria!