Saturday, 5 September 2015

Life in a parking lot (Without a fixed abode again)

Cat face by Jonathan Fife (He must know what it's like staring into one at 4 am)
My two months of house and cat sitting have ended.  I most certainly won't miss being woken at 4 am by the persistent tickle of cat whiskers in my face and the 'permanent' living quarters are stained by memories of two bouts of week-long sickness, so I was hoping to leave one behind by leaving the other.

It's a long weekend in Canada. Labour Day weekend. The last two days I stayed in a hotel in New Westminster.  Further from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver and the particular hotel costs a bit more but the room has the advantage of being far enough from a road so that one can't hear cars. The view doesn't hurt either ;-) I very much prefer the squealing of metal wheels on old tracks emitted by the cargo trains passing behind the hotel to the honking and impatient noisy accelerating of irate Vancouver drivers. 

But that rest period is over. The hotel in New Westminster is booked solid tonight.  As apparently are most Vancouver hotels.  When I checked this morning, the CHEAPEST hotel room in all of Vancouver AND directly adjacent suburbs (North Van, Burnaby, Richmond) was advertized at $239 + $20 parking + taxes.  That's roughly $300.  I kid you NOT.  The cute part about it is that the hotel in question is the former hotel Dufferin, a cheap hotel that was located right above the sleaziest gay bar in town, offering a convenient destination for cheap entertainment. I remember playing pool with George in the Dufferin bar one night looong ago, when a middle-aged man walked up close to George and asked him "Are you working tonight?".  In those days  (about 10 years ago), the $300 probably would probably have covered the cost of the room, of the company, and of a rather decent ration of party favours ((Just a guess since I never acquired at least one of the list items).   Alas, this is Vancouver and things have changed. The 'new and improved' Vancouver hasn't been called 'mind-numbingly boring' for no reason ;-)

Oh. If anybody wonders where I stayed that night:   A couch was offered and gratefully accepted for the night ;-)

Another thing that was different in those days was the number of homeless people.  Maybe in part to the room-for-the-night placement agency of the Dufferin bar. Be that as it may, when I was enjoying a high vantage point in the hotel in New Westminster this morning, I was shocked by the number of people leaving their night-quarters in the fenced off railway tracked areas. 

Cars doing the usual: Not moving in traffic. Here on McGill street.

And today it finally came to me.  The traffic in this city has changed a lot over the past 5 years.  Imagine you drive to the biggest shopping mall you know. Imagine navigating the parking lot. Imagine cars coming from all directions, leaving their parking spots without checking for other traffic, simply stopping for no apparent reason whatsoever, looking for spots without giving a damn about the traffic behind them, or simply going where their retardedly inept drivers steer them.  Now imagine neither the car density nor the quality of driving increasing once you leave the parking lot and rejoin the city streets.
Entrance to Traffic Congestion Land in North Vancouver

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