On the way from Nanaimo to Ucluelet is a quirky little place called Coombs.
Coombs is a small community on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, situated on provincial highway 4A approximately 10 km (6.2 mi) west of Parksville. Coombs is home to approximately 1,327 people and is renowned for its Old Country Market (which features a family of goats living on the roof), Butterfly World (which includes a small indoor tropical rainforest ), and the Coombs Bluegrass Festival held every B.C. Day weekend.
-Wikipedia. November 2017
We arrived looking for the ‘goats on the roof’ but couldn’t find them. Instead we were diverted by this Seussian structure.
Captivated we wandered into a courtyard of humongous stone monuments. Native American gods, Chinese and Hindu Buddhas, Disney-esque orangutans and the Lion King?
Welcome to Coombs Emporium.
Inside the store was the largest collection of wood carvings and hand carved items I have ever seen in one place. Individually, I’ve seen them in night markets and souvenir shops all across South East Asia, but all together in one shop? It felt like someone had gone to an Indonesian island and said “I’ll buy everything.”
The fellow in the cafe said that the display was the result of forty years of collection by his parents. The statues which had cost a couple hundred thousand to ship back twenty years ago were valued at half a million each today. I could believe it. If I had a 500K to spare I would buy a three storey high statue of Buddha.
We never did see the goats on the roof. Apparently they had been taken in for the winter. If we had seen them, they would have looked something like this.
Coombs, Vancouver Island. BC. 2017