Letters from the Americas 2005 (part 1) - Vancouver
Two weekends back I arrived in New York, the Capital City of the World!
I'm fortunate enough to have a brother in residence in Midtown Manhattan so not only did I avail of free lodgings I also got to live native style. No accidental visits beyond 110th St or trips to outlet malls for me, instead I wandered through galleries in Soho, diving into a shabby-chic 'cup house' for a cheeky broth to stave off the cold, keeping one eye out in the nooks and crannies for a heartbroken Brad Pitt.
I love big kick a** cities like New York and London, where after a short stroll across town to MoMA, you can plop in off the street and see works from Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Pollock, Liechtenstein, Picasso, the list goes on. In the midst of my art attack, I did in fact buy a Rizzi (James Rizzi, a New York artist, look he's big in Germany, 'nuff said), granted it was a small pic, not out of place in the top right hand corner of an envelope.
I flew to Vancouver via a stop off in Montreal. I was aware Montreal was in French speaking Canada but like many a person before me to step off a plane from America, I just assumed everyone would speak English!
Destination Vancouver, what can I say, it's a GREAT town, my friends Sharon and Therese are living there on a one year visa. They were in top form, they've really taken to the city and the city has taken to them. It all looks pretty much brand spanking new to me; nice high rises, great big wide streets, nice friendly people.
There are also no birds in the sky, no cats to been seen, everyone is happy out.... one word..... Stepford! The other reason everyone is so chilled could be to do with the fact Vancouver is known as the Amsterdam of North America, say no more.
The overriding bizarre fact that struck me, was that the city is far from bustling, in fact, I came to the conclusion, which I repeated ad nauseum that only 298 people lived in Vancouver. It is the Marie Celeste of cities, no wonder all those crazies are talking to themselves, it’s not cos they're mad, it's cos nobody's home!
|"D'ye like pain, do ya"|
We also went to the taping of a talk show called the Vicki Gabereau show (not to be confused with Bobby Davero), it was fab, she's this real straight talking, sassy, say it like it is, presenter.
There was talk of skiing at Whistler, even got as far as whacking on the ski gear, and having a bleary-eyed 5.30am start, which sorta became a bleary eyed 8.00am start. It took a 2 hour bus journey through the breathtaking countryside to get there, which turned out to be the highlight of the trip as the slopes were closed :o(
Unfortunately the torrential rain continued for most of my trip. However, I ran in-between the rain drops and managed to explore the city. Vancouver would put you in mind of Sydney, its got a beach area called English Bay that is so peaceful and clean (made me want to go to Blackrock or Malahide when I get home to Dublin and walk along by the sea - totally don't appreciate what my own city has to offer).
Meanwhile, in Vancouver, there’s a big park called Stanley park which I was told (repeatedly) is bigger than New York's Central park (the real question is though, is it bigger than good old Dublin’s Phoenix park!).
The most remarkable thing about the city, is the massive snow capped mountains that peer out in-between avenues when you stare down them, it’s just spellbinding.We took an aqua boat (how friggin cool is that) to a place called Granville island, that was once a dump, as in where rubbish was tipped, but now it's all done up and got a real Coney island feel to it (I've never been to Coney island, it sounded like an appropriate remark to make!).
I ate Chimmichanga for the first time in an El Salvadorian restaurant in a street called Commercial Drive, ironically named as the street stands alone as an old-school community street for small family owned eateries. They even had Starbucks and McDonalds shut down. Power to the people... all 298 of you!
I spent my last two days in Vancouver, living the North American dream - splattered on the couch in front of the TV, wrapped up in blankets, having the girls go on cookie runs for me (they're so good, the cookies not the girls! Nah, they’re great too).
Unfortunately it was time to fly back to New York, I was all sick and emotional at the airport, I even shed a tear when I left the girls.Vancouver really is a cool place to visit, if you go, you may never want to leave.
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