Friday, 23 July 2010

Vancouver day 4

Jane is off today, yey, so we can go on an adventure together. We catch the slightly more upmarket number 22 bus downtown. It is raining pretty heavy. Thankfully Jane is the same size shoe as me and has given me her walking trainers as my converse would be a soggy mess in this. When it rains in Vancouver it is relentless. It can rain all day long and all night with no let up! People here don’t seem too bothered by it though, choosing to still sit outdoors sipping their morning coffee and a lot of people walk around with no umbrellas.

Downtown we have a wander down Robson and find the most amazing Rocky Mountaineer Chocolate shop which has chocolate toffee apple animals in the window alongside massive cookies. Yum! I make a mental note to return here...

We walk down to the Waterfront and I take a photo of a whale sculpture ‘Digital Orca’. When you stand back from it, it looks like a 3D digital image. When we wander over to a sign beside it we discover it is by none other than Douglas Coupland.

We go in to the Convention Centre which has a massive globe of the world hanging inside (which looks like the size of the actual world). We discover there is an Eat Vancouver event on and so begins a culinary delight of local food...we get to taste amazing goodies ranging from Cinnamon Cake (yummy), cinnamon honey, breads dipped in various olive oils, Japanese pop, the most tasty pomegranate juice from a shop on Victoria Drive. We get asked for ID when we try to enter the wine tasting section and are very confused by what the guard is actually asking – we try to show him our entrance tickets and then it dawns on us that he is wanting actual ID to prove we are of drinking age. Har!

Next, on to Stanley Park. We pass the Sea Plane harbour along the way and pop in to get leaflets about their trips.

In the Park we head to the Aquarium and I get to see Dolphins. I feel a mixture of joy at being able to see them in the flesh but also concern that one of them looks like it is diving down and swimming round and round the same place like he is not a happy dolphin... There are strange white whales swimming around a pool – their faces look flat and they look like ghosts. I also see a massive turtle and a scary looking alligator, standing hanging over a glass case, looking a bit hungry...

On the walk back through the Parkland we follow the sounds of music into some woodland. We approach a queue of teenagers who inform an enquiring Jane that Massive Attack are playing. We peek through gaps in the fence and stand and listen to a few minutes of the sound check.

Rain, rain, rain all the way home...

Downtown Vancouver is strangely quiet for a Saturday tea time. Jane explains that people don’t seem to go out here so much. I find downtown lacking a bit in ‘buzz’ and atmosphere. The glass buildings reflect back more glass buildings and it’s almost like they are soaking up any noise...

We head out to the ‘Drive’ for dinner. Here, there is noise and life! We pass an enthusiastic busking Banjo player along the way. “Wanna join me?” He calls out in a twangy Vancouverite accent.

We eat at a restaurant called El Salvador. It smells amazing inside and as soon as the door shuts it is as though we are in El Salvador. There is one authentic waiter and foreign sounding music on the player, with fake palm trees above the counter. I have the most amazing grilled chicken with rice and tortilla wraps. It feels like being in a whole other country.

We detour through some backstreets on the way home and I marvel at the massive houses. On the way past someone’s living room window we can see cool art work on their wall. I wonder how many artists live on this street.

We walk past some small houses which look a bit like cardboard houses. There are other great looking houses with porches. We pass a man sitting out on the porch of his small house, drinking a beer, Canada flag flying from his roof, his dog at his feet.
He says: “This is one of the oldest houses, built 1912.” He then says something about the people leaving the house in bags (because a lot of drug addicts around).

His dog comes over and sticks his head up the front of my coat.
“Little too personal, too soon,” he tells his dog.

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