Archive for the ‘Vancouver’ Category

More scenes from a parade

I love country life:  Fresh air, open spaces, quiet, solitary and contemplative.

However, a good dose of urbanism is like the very best of a sugar high. Sweet, fun, pink and instantly energizing.

Pho·to·gen·ic  (ft-jnk)

* having features, colouring, and a general facial appearance that look attractive in photographs

“Hello again. And now do you like my hat?”

“I do. What a hat! I like it! I like that party hat!”

Dr. Seuss — Go Dog Go

Runaway balloon.

Hello Kiddies.


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Year of the Cat


Chúc Mùng Nâm Mói!

That’s the big joyful new year’s greeting for Têt, the Vietnamese New Year marking the arrival of spring — as per the lunar calendar. The new year does not officially arrive until February 5th but some members of the Vietnamese community in Vancouver got an early start on the festivities!




As we have friends with children whose birthplace was far across the ocean, we’ve often and unabashedly barged our way into Party Central. Now they can’t help but invite us, knowing we’ll turn up anyway.


Our lovely Mai happened to be in from Toronto for the weekend!


For the first time in Vancouver, the community paraded down Kingsway in East Vancouver, headed by dragon dancers and a phalanx of martial artists, spotted by politicians of every stripe and hierarchy, and culminating in a small vehicle sporting big cutouts of Japan’s darling feline.





That Kitty. She knows how to have fun!


Everyone loves a parade!


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La dolce vita

A few moments ago I opened the door to this…

There are hotels and then there is

The Shangri-La.

“… he felt an extraordinary sense of physical and mental settlement. It was perfectly true; he just rather liked being at Shangri-La.”

Ah, the Shangri-La.

Dimmed lights, neutral colours, serenity and calm, the perfect mid-afternoon respite after a desperately busy few hours waltzing down Fourth Avenue, browsing bookstores, cafes and the odd funky clothing shop.

But wait! Another lovely glass and wood door catches my curious eye.

Oh, now isn’t that nice!

A marble floor, marble walls, an Asian-inspired two-sink vanity, soaps, creams, gels, toothbrushes — even a hair elastic IF I were so inclined to go for a run in the morning.

I’m not.

First of all — the best excuse EVER!!! — I must (simply MUST!) “take it easy” after the eye surgery. Oh, were it always so easy to slip out of one’s exercise commitments.

Second, I have a couple of stitches on my abdomen from a surgical sampling of the skin excised there for a mysterious rash that showed up last week. “Take it easy,” said the doc. Whoooopeeee! Another excuse to forego the morning gym routine.

And third, I have an early flight tomorrow. That particular excuse sounds fairly lame following the previous two, doesn’t it?

Now back to the bathroom.

A marble tub. This tub invites, beckons, coos and calls. This tub purrs.

This tub overlooks the extremely busy Georgia Street. Car, trucks, buses and bicyclists pass by in multiples of nineteen at every moment.

But the kind folks at the Shangri-La have thought of everything.

What a thoughtful gesture. I plan to be entirely too mellowed out whilst soaking to think of anything beyond getting to the next step.

And here’s what the next step looks like.

How many more hours until I can go to sleep?

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Tough Choices

This househunting business take courage and stamina.

Should I go for space?

Should I get a view?

Should I live in a trailer and have both?

One must slog through forest primeval, pushing aside pine, cedar and arbutus trees, locking eyes with the white-tail deer that will share one’s property and one’s un-fenced vegetable garden (move over, coyotes — I have a new Enemy No. One). Rocks must be climbed, streams must be forged, vistas must be scanned…

Oh, the vistas.

One stands on a deck and looks out at this. That’s right, it’s not an unfettered view of the ocean and there are certainly better ones to be had.

But if this were the view from a breakfast table —

Wouldn’t you be thinking about where to put the guests?

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Lunch time!

After a busy morning of spelling, math and c-skills, we headed out “across town,” as the locals say.

So easy to drive around here — I don’t get lost, don’t need to pull over with a map or GPS, don’t need to make U-turns. I still remember the short-cuts!

We take a quick detour to Long and McQuade to pick up some music theory books because we ran out of time before we left home. We’re working on music theory every day because we’ve left the instruments behind for an unprecedented period of time. Paperwork has a bizarre appeal to these children.

After a quick stop at the altar of all things Gore-Tex (Mountain Equipment Co-Op) we wander down a few doors for some pho. Vietnamese noodle soup. I was informed by my beloved Mary that I should know whether it’s Ba or Ga.

Clearly some research required.

I still remember the holes in the wall — lunch for three at $7. Including tea.

Goofy pic but I like the light.

And the lunch.

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Much of Vancouver’s beauty lies in its contrasts — the sea, the sky and the mountains, the green, the blue and the grey.

To cross from one part of the city to another one can either take a bridge or take a pedestrian ferry — the Seabus.

You can use the sea bus as part of your daily commute — the city’s various modes of public transit meld together rather seamlessly.

And some streets are at times completely closed to vehicular traffic. Easy to have a pedestrian corridor when the temperate weather means nothing heavier than a fleece hoodie.


Some public art courtesy of the Olympics.

And these remind me of the slips of prayer-inscribed paper tied to trees outside temples in Japan, particularly at exam time.

I could have used a few of those.


Today off to explore some music lesson options and the best year-round market in the world — Granville Island.

So good to be here.

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Scenes from a Sunday

We arrive to a city awash in red and white.

Smiles greet strangers, good cheer fills the air.

People flock to the city centre, anticipating the finale, the Big Game, that most mighty of winter Olympic events.

Lots of ways to demonstrate one’s national pride.

Fortunately, the mild weather provides no constraints on self-expresson.

Or self-abnegation.

“With glowing hearts” encompasses the city’s spirit, initially one of some cynicism, now one of unabashed pride.

The game begins and the faithful gather.

Many gruelling and nail-biting moments later — gold for Canada!

And the Other Team leaves the building.

The streets erupt with cheers, honking, dancing and overall good will.

It’s good to be back.

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