Saturday, January 16, 2010

Christmas in Vancouver

It is never too late to say, Happy New Year. Well, maybe if you wait till December, people won’t be sure if you’re too late for this year, or too early for the next, but that’s another matter. For the first message of the year, I got everything done on my new Mac and it wasn’t too painful at all. Here we go...

Vancouver, BC: December 24 and 25, 2009: we went back to the “old country” for Christmas. The weather was cold, but sunny and clear. 

December 25: View of downtown, with Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour in the background, looking north north east from my uncle’s neighborhood. The setting sun reflected warmly off of the glass and steel towers. You can go skiing on those mountains, and if you have a wet suit, you can go sailing in the calm waters of English Bay on the same day. You can drive from English Bay to the ski hill in about 30 minutes (outside of rush hour.)

December 24: One day earlier, the late afternoon sun also provided a warm lighting for close-ups of people on the street. On the left, ever notice how people waiting for a crossing light are often lined up as if they were posing for a group photo? It is a good way to observe how people dress in public when you visit different places.

On the right, the Hotel Georgia, which is being renovated into condos, is draped in a Canadian flag. Not a common site in Vancouver, you see normal sized flags, but unusual for Canadians to “show off” like that.

The left photo shows the Hudson’s Bay Company department store (the Bay) with its enormous mural sized posters featuring Canada’s Winter Olympics athletes. The slogan is, “We were made for this.” The Bay has devoted half of its first floor to Olympic merchandise.

There was some excitement about the Olympics, but not overwhelming. No Olympic McOnion Rings at McDonalds, for example.  It was nothing like the Summer Olympics display in Kowloon, Hong Kong back in April 2008. (I think I just thought up next week’s essay.)

We wish our athletes well and will watch what we can of the games on-line from home.

Out front of the Bay, on Granville Street, Vancouver’s main North-South street. For the past few years, several downtown blocks had been under construction to make way for a new rapid transit line from the waterfront to the airport, called the Canada Line. All that work has been finished, in time for the Olympics, and several blocks have been blocked off, if you will, for pedestrians only.

This band was out playing in the street (didn’t listen to their mothers, apparently) and as you can see, the drummer was doing double duty as the harmonica player. Was this the result of a recent layoff? “Dude, bad news, gotta let you go, man. You play a mean harp [slang for harmonica]. I hear the guitar player outside of the liquor store is looking for a partner. Good luck, man”

In BC, no liquor in the grocery stores. Weird going to Safeway and seeing no wine or beer offered after getting used to that in California.

The band sounded pretty good and got lots of attention: maybe too much attention as you can see on the right.

Folks, this is my favorite, non-family, photo of the trip.

Copyright © 2010 David G. Kelly

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