Thursday, 20 October 2016

Pulling another Houdini (or A wet nightmare rant instead of a tale of wet dreams)

That title probably needs some explaining.  Just because someone else thought of that phrase before me (But not really the same way I thought of it ;-) 

It's even in the Urban Dictionary, but strangely the meaning shown there is To Disappear, which leaves me confused. 

Harry Houdini was an Escape Artist, not a Disappearing Artist.  And that was the intended meaning when I thought of coining the phrase. 

Another escape.

(a masterful one, if you like ;-)

But what is it that I feel that is worth escaping from?

Just watch Anthony Bourdain's episode of No Reservations about Vancouver and you'll get the idea. 

Right in front of my room, there are mushrooms breaking through the asphalt (I kid you NOT) !

 That should provide a reasonable image of how pleasantly WET everything is in these parts. And there is no reasonable hope of ever seeing dry soil until at least May.  But much worse than the WET and the CONSTANT CLAMMY COLD is the lack of light.  Life and Light SUCK under this constant cloud cover.  Just look at this animated GIF. Even Alaska gets more light than Seattle and Vancouver ! 
If you take a tram at 1 pm and the outside looks dark compared to the lit inside of the train, you know you have a problem.  It's so bad that there even exists a medical condition with an amazing acronym. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. There is a reason why the city thought about installing anti-jumper netting under all the bridges and has installed impossible to climb fences on one major bridge. Work on another bridge is progress.  The Huffington Post wrote on the subject "Vancouver needs mental health funding, not suicide fences". Ah well, that's not the Canadian way (tongue in cheek) 

In the mad rush to sell shoe-box-sized condominiums for outrageous prices to unsuspecting young buyers who don't know any better and are willing to mortgage themselves to upper level lower lip (imagine standing in water; and then imagine what a rising water level / mortgage rates would do to you), yet another high-rise is being constructed right next to my hotel. Now imagine not only being accompanied by the noise of heavy machinery all day but also feeling the tracks of those machines moving over the ground through the soles of your feet (or your butt skin, if you happen to be in bed).  

Please note that I haven't even touched on car traffic, congestion, air quality, or the recently developed general tendency of Vancouverites to NOT smile. Also note that The Economist has selected this very city as the 3rd most liveable city in the world again last year.  LOL, Beam me up, Scotty ! 

It's not all bad.  I had my hair cut yesterday (YES, there is still some left).  My fabulous hair-cutter moved salons again and has moved to close to 41st and Victoria. I was starving right after I saw her (and I had to pee), so I looked for a place to eat rather frantically.  Out of the corner of my eye I see the text fragment Hoi and instantly my head spun around. Hoi An?? Yes, that's what it read. Hoi An Cafe.  
After spending TET (Vietnamese Chinese New Year) in Hoi An and experiencing the best fireworks of my life, how could I NOT eat there? And good thing I did. 

 The Special Cao Lau I ate at Hoi An Cafe yesterday was better than the Special Cao Lau that I ate in Hoi An in February.  And that's saying A LOT !!!!

(But then,the one in Hoi An was 1/5 of the price)
No, it's not the general appearance that distinguishes this dish from standard Vancouver fare.  There is FLAVOUR in this dish.  I don't know what it is but I know I will come back here, just to eat this dish again.

February's Special Cao Lau in Hoi An

I take this meal as an early glimpse of the NEXT Houdini about to be pulled. 11 more sleeps to that one !

But back to today's Houdini.
It's 6 am in Vancouver, DARK, WET, and my pants are still wet from last night's walk (Do YOU know what Herons do at night?). This afternoon it will be sunny and 20 degrees. It hasn't been that many weeks since I experienced weather like that, and in my present state of mind the physical and emotional well-being that I know this kind of weather will cause is hard to imagine.  
I'm coming !
NO, NO, if Crissy Field was in Vancouver, this image would depict a GREY HERON in front of a GREY SKY.

And they let me in.  Vancouver security personnel doesn't even understand the cattle reference in my comment anymore.  For them and their managers it has become normal to have the line-up continue all the way out the entrance gates to the security area. My question what it would take to open all the available security processing lines only gets me a blank look.  Ah well, why try to be world class if you can get by with mediocre hick-town performance?  
Go Canada Go!  

Yet another US border official lectures me that a passport just SHOULD NOT look like mine does. I heard the same from a US border guy 2 years ago. Strangely enough, no-one else in all those passport controls around the world ever said a single word.

Go Trump Go !

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