Friday, 28 February 2014

Enough already (a mini escape)

@ the Good Karma Cafe in HS Bay
 Motels & hotels in Vancouver are subject to tenants moving in at 3 am and having the bathroom fan running all night.  Some of my readers will know what that means and those who don't probably don't want to know anyway.  In any event, I'm sick of the noise of people coming and going and the smells coming through the air ducts. As if the traffic noise and smell wasn't bad enough.

In addition, as of today my lovely smoking suite is scheduled to be renovated and presumably to be converted to a non-smoking suite. Pah!

So I do what I usually do if confronted with circumstances out of my control:  I hop on a ferry.

Before leaving Horseshoe Bay from the Car deck
Synchronized seagulling in Horseshoe Bay

For obvious reasons, the fjords of Norway are not assigned high priority on my where-to-hhtravel list

And all of a sudden I'm in Beachcombers Country again

No, not the Persephone, but the water taxi

And as soon as I sit down at Bayview Szechuan Restaurant in Gibsons to eat my meal with a view over the bay (duh!), all the worries of Vancouver seem to shed and be gone with the wind ;-)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Those never-ending Winter Blues (or dreaming of another bridge)

After 3 days of heavy snowfall, the weather forecast finally promised sunny skies. But as usual, it is inadvisable to put much trust in Vancouver weather forecasts:

No new snow, but no real sun either

The view from Lions Gate Bridge evokes memories of that lovely arctic hamlet of Valdez (OK, lovely before the Exxon Valdez did its thing).  Good thing these ships aren't oil tankers ;-)

The swirly fog/clouds do not help either in developing those sunny beach feelings I was hoping for.

Downtown isn't any sunnier, but definitely more depressing. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the old Vancouver architecture (copper roofs !!!) to the new human-storage concrete silos.

The weather forecast calls for more snow during the next week, so even Le Velo feels caged in and dreams of warmer coastlines  ;-)
Le Velo dreaming of an Orange Bridge 

Should one give in to the yearnings of one's bicycle ? 
not my pic

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Hurry up. Life is short (Rick Bloder 1955-2013)

Rick used to live in the basement of the house on East 10th Ave, where I occupied the top floor.  Some regarded him as just 'the boozer in the basement' but he always had a smile for me and a glass of his gullet-searing 'sherry' was always on offer.

And I will never forget what he had to teach me. All my decades of education taught me much, but most of it doesn't help in daily life. On the other hand, Rick was a limitless source of info & know-how on bicycle maintenance (my bicycle never went as fast as after we adjusted the wheel bearings ;-) and 'street wisdom', i.e. how the 10% at the bottom of Vancouver's income pyramid lives and thrives.

Rick had been a target of the nutty actions of the Landwitch as well and was evicted again after I moved out.  Having heard that he had found a new place on 40th Ave, I used Google to try to find his new telephone number or address.  Instead, I found his obituary.  Another reminder to not postpone contacting old friends for too long ;-(

Thank you for everything, Rick.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Oh Canada (Olympic Cringing) and an arctic journey

It's time for more Olympic games.
I don't think Sotchi has to be afraid that its spectacle will turn into another Owe-limpics like most of the previous ones, since Mother Russia and Father Putin are most likely very happy to pay.
Tsar Putin
Not usually a great fan of the Big Money Games, I turn on CBC anyway, since I knew the Opening Ceremony would be broadcast live on CBC right now.  And I turn it off almost right away.


I happened to switch to the broadcast at the moment when a Russian flag was being formed by torch-bearing serfs and the Russian national anthem was playing.  Then the commentator opened his ugly mouth:
"Whenever we heard this SONG before, we were in for a good Hockey game".

OUCH!  Referring to another nation's national anthem as a song is bad enough. Reducing Russia to a worthy opponent of past Hockey games must be new low point in Canadian-Russian relations.

Red Square (not my pic)

After these comments, I decide to self-exile myself from Vancouver to my own private Siberia:

Outside temperatures are a reminder of Siberia

Also along the lines of the Siberia feeling:  Even though Langdale is only a 40 min ferry ride from Vancouver, I always get the feeling of approaching a desolate fishing village on some remote Northern coast.

Langdale Ferry Terminal

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Hold your Horses (Chinese New Year Parade 2014)

It seems only fitting to end the year of the snake the same way that it began: at the Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade.
Another sunny day is forecast, which means I might not see the sun all day ;-)

Getting up at 7 am on a Sunday is only a good start to the New Year if one is obsessed with seeing the maximum daylight in any day.  But other people got up even earlier and will be on a BC Ferry leaving Langdale at 8:20 and will be waiting for me in Horseshoe Bay at 9 am.

We get to Chinatown before the parade starts and see some horses in the marshaling area.

Soon after finding a good spot, the parade starts with the usual dignified smiler (with a fake beard) and the fire crackers that evict the bad spirits from the pavement.

And yes: It is the Year of the Horse

Of course, there are dragons ...

... and lion dancers.

For a moment I thought I saw Rob Ford, but that is the wrong kind of pipe for him to use.  But the song would fit "Muss I denn, muss I denn zum Staedtele hinaus"

Little horses ...
 ... and a dragon in full charge.

And then there are various fan groups

And what I particularly like about the Chinese New Year Parade:  There are always a lot of children. It is a good way to remember that the coming years and decades are not exclusively our's but their's.

My Year of the Snake is over, and it was a good one.  The idea of wearing red and kicking myself in the butt as often as possible to do things, that I would not have done before, worked very well (see this blog ;-).  But after a whole year it is nice to have the performance pressure diminish.

All the best in your Year of the Horse, Denise ;-)

Orphaned Cuban pictures (Jan 17-24)

Some pictures that haven't found a place in the previous posts but are too nice to just collect virtual dust on my hard drive.

the Canal right in front of the hotel

sunset from balcony

Yes ....

exceptional building maintenance


Mad race for the tourist $



The moment not to be at the front ;-)


on the way to Havana

dosvedanya tovarisch

Vancouver public transit from the Airport

Finally home after an excursion to WINNIPEG