Thursday, 14 July 2016

Ascent out of hell (and darkness)

What can I say? This blog first suffered from too much too see and do outside of Vancouver (there are still about 10 posts from the last 6 weeks that will pop up sporadically) and then the blog suffered from two weeks spent in Vancouver, which always does instant damage to mind, spirit, and the ability and desire to write a blog.

So what exactly happened in the last 2 weeks?

The picture on the right looks like one of those police arrest pictures after being caught driving under the influence.  Granted, cycling under the influence is not exactly uncommon for me, but this is NOT an arrest picture ;-)

What I'm doing here is reading my HAT SIZE off a hat-size-measuring tape constructed from a PDF file found in the internet and printed at my hotel reception.  

Since mirrors are rare in hotel receptions and one kind of needs one to read the numbers on one's forehead, I resorted to taking a picture using my cell phone.  Works!

So WHY exactly would I want to know my hat size????  

Well, there is this guy on Facebook.  He makes traditional West Coast cedar bark hats.  Already back in France, I had contemplated buying one from him (I think of it as a kind of redistribution of money to the ones with less), but when I saw his posting on FaceBook that he had created a Fedora that he wanted to sell or "trade for food", I had to act quickly.  Suffice to say that I met Tiger at The Carnegie at Main & Hastings in Vancouver.  This is how I learned that The Carnegie is NOT the corner where all a LOT of people hang out at the corner, but that it is actually The Carnegie Community Centre.

Tiger made a comment of me wanting to ride off on the bicycle while wearing the hat, but I ignored him.

Foolishly so, because on Kingsway a wind gust ripped the hat off my head, and two car drivers made not even the tiniest attempt to avoid running over it. 

What can I say?  Thankfully the cedar bark was still drying, because the hat did NOT shatter, and with a bit of re-moistening and remolding it is almost as good as new.

What else happened in the last 2 weeks?  Most of it is lost in the blur of car traffic and noise and supply trips to Grandma. But a very few events stick out.

There is the day when I see 4 fit guys in their late 20s or early 30s standing at the railing of one of the towers of Lions Gate Bridge, all quietly staring onto the water below mid-span and one of them holding a flower bouquet.  Oh FUCK, not another one! is all I can think.  As I see the same bouquet withering tied to the railing at mid-span it serves as a daily reminder of what this city must feel like to those that don't know that there is a sane world outside of it.

And it's not only the 'concrete without pity' attitude of this city, the weather doesn't help much.  What other place on earth can offer such gloominess in July???

 Add to that the filthy air of North Vancouver that in the civilized world  not even be present downwind of an unfiltered brown-coal fired power-plant

Last night I was riding my bicycle through Stanley Park at about 11 pm. The hotel room above mine was used to house an elephant or an overactive child with wimpy parents and the constant back-and-forth galloping had driven me out of my room.  For some reason I had assumed that the park was closed to traffic after 10 pm, but the rush-hour-like onslaught of cars quickly taught me otherwise. I will make no pretense of pretending not to know what a lot of the drivers were doing in the park at this hour.  I already got the idea from a lot of cars starting to pass me on the bicycle but aborting the passing when they were right alongside me.  A park-maintenance vehicle then finally drove the message home.  The car was passing me and then slowed down in front of me.  Not to cut me off or to force me to brake.  It was one of those pickup trucks with a glass rear cabin window.  The driver was holding something up in the middle of the window, but I could only see it silhouetted against the brightness of his headlines in front of the car.   
The picture of the pick-up truck has been changed to protect the guilty !
In retrospect, I wish my headlight was brighter or pointed higher up, then I would know what the colour of the currency bill(s) was, because that's what he was holding up. 

Also in retrospect I am thinking that it never hurts to earn some extra money on the side but at the moment I was so flabbergasted when I realized what he was holding that I took a quick right turn when he kept going straight (so to speak, pun intended)

Also yesterday, but before the moment when I almost found money 'on the street', I took another picture of the daily glacial traffic parade, 
 AND my new sandals arrived.  

By now I know which shoe brands I like, which sizes fit my feet, so I can do the whole thing online, and don't have to be bothered by the limited selection in shoe stores.  My old Teva sandals arrived in the mail in the Spring of 2015 and they needed replacing. No wonder, since they had born my weight in the following locations:  Los Angeles (twice), UK, Belgium, Northern France, Hong Kong (twice), Vietnam (3x), Cambodia (twice ), Grand Canyon, South Korea.  Not bad for one pair of shoes, especially since they were not used in motor vehicles but almost exclusively on foot and on bike. But that itinerary did finally wear them out.  Meet the new ones, to which Grandma only could say "They're very colourful". 

Good timing. I am wearing them during my escape! There are no pictures of the ride to Horseshoe Bay and the ferry trip. Staying in Vancouver seems to have an anesthetizing effect on my desire to take photographs.  But that should re-awaken shortly.

Stay tuned ....

Breaking news...
Military Coup in Turkey!
I was just there ....
Turkish people were happy, I hope that doesn't change ......

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