Monday, November 30, 2009
Rain rain rain
This has been an historically wet month in Vancouver, so I've seen plenty of rain so far! I can probably count on one finger how many hours of unfiltered sunlight I've seen. OK, maybe two fingers.
Gretel drove me to the Toronto airport for 5.30am, kind of a hurry-up-and-wait deal, where you scramble to be at the airport in time and then sit around for two hours waiting for your flight to take off. But at that hour the airplane was not crowded, I had a row to myself. I had made lunch for myself but left it at home, Gretel made me a bagel for breakfast and that had to do for lunch as well.
Johanna picked me up at the airport in Vancouver, we drove downtown for breakfast (it was just past 10 in the morning by the time we left the airport) at a little place on the harbourfront. It rained solidly all day, we didn't go outdoors all day except to get into the car. Just as well, I was thoroughly jetlagged anyway.
Last year I stayed with my friends Dave and Johanna in New Westminster, but they moved to North Vancouver just over a month ago so now I am staying with them in North Van. Since they only just moved, and they both work full-time, they are not fully unpacked, but it looks pretty good. On my first full day here I went out to buy a few groceries, including english muffins for breakfast, only to discover that they have no toaster or toaster oven. They probably do have one, they certainly used to, but it is probably buried in the as-yet unopened boxes in the basement.
They have lots of trails for walking the dog, the sense of living in a rainforest is pretty unavoidable here. Lots of very big trees dripping wet most of the time.
I connected with number 2 son Josh for dinner and a walk on the harbour seawall, last time I was here parts of it were blocked off due to construction but it is all open now. Walking the seawall after dark was quite lovely with all the lights and seaplanes. Out in the harbour there's a float with gigantic Olympic rings displayed, they light up after dark but the middle ring is for some reason not lit. The 2010 winter games will be here in February so they are still working on getting the city ready for that. I'm kind of glad to be missing that, it'll be a madhouse.
We are going to drive up to D'Arcy to see Sam on Wednesday, Josh has never been there. Sam plans to take some time off work to show us a good time in the boonies. He said to be sure to check weather and road conditions before setting out, most of mainland BC is under snow already and some roads in his area are already a bit tricky. After that I have a busy schedule of trips to the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island, back to D'Arcy for Christmas and Whistler for New Year's, then down to Seattle for a quick visit there before flying back to Toronto in the new year.
I got out to a movie at Tinseltown with an old friend, we saw Pirate Radio. Quite funny with a lot of good '60s rock and roll. Last time I was at Tinseltown it was like a ghost town. Huge downtown shopping centre with no shops except the movie theatre. They built it just in time for the housing and dot com crash in Vancouver around 2000, it sat empty for years. The cinema is on the top floor, you had to pass through several levels of deserted shops to get to it, very bizarre. But Tinseltown survived the lean years and now it's full of open shops.
Afterward we went for dinner at a favourite Indian restaurant down on 4th. It's a family business, usually empty, not sure how they survive, but they've been there a long time and we usually end up chatting with the owners in the course of the evening. They make the best chai ever.
It's a bit strange not to have my truck handy, I have to take buses everywhere. But so far it's working OK. I rode on the new skytrain for a couple of stops, the train cars are slightly bigger than the regular skytrain cars. Actually, the new line is not called the skytrain, because much of it is underground so it doesn't make sense to call it a skytrain. So what I rode on was really the Canada Line. It goes through a part of Vancouver that in my opinion badly needed a skytrain line, but there was a lot of opposition to putting it in. However the coming Olympics caused the government to ram it through in spite of public opposition. Quite frankly I am glad they did that. This new 'skytrain' goes through the relatively wealthy part of Vancouver, the opposition was largely from folks who didn't want mass transit in their nice neighbourhoods. In my not-so-humble opinion. It used to bug me that I could not skytrain to that part of the city, I pretty much had to drive because the bus system was so inadequate.
So that's my trip so far, I really should get outdoors for the surprise appearance of the sun this afternoon. And this blog post is coming to you from the keyboard of Dora! So far, so good!