Friday, October 1, 2010

Departure for London

There was no Stirling in the Chinatown bank I consulted. I found all that I needed however at the Scotiabank 12th and Granville in South Shaughnassey. Perhaps that says a lot about who travels where. That British flavor still lingers in this enclave of Vancouver.

I was riding my Harley Electra Glide. Feeling American in leathers while Laura was bathing back at the apartment preparing herself for an absence from cat, Tiffany, her children and grandchildren. When I was back with the booty of foreign currency she was busily texting all and sundry of the family hoard. Gilbert, the cockapoo, visiting her sister on the islands with his retriever friend Jack, had long forgotten who we were so busy rolling in dead fish seagull poop beaches. "I'll never return to the city of Vancouver, " we could hear him saying.

Meanwhile, leaving in the taxi I was thankful for the sunny day that showed Vancouver at it's finest. Such a lovely city of light and greenery. The airport has changed so much. The Winter Olympics caused the city to celebrate it's charms.

The carving of the First Nations makes the airport a regular museum of fine art interspersed with high end stores selling Chanel and Burberry. I was proud to be a Canadian and Vancouverite thinking that those who come and go by air would have the pleasure of passing through this window of light to the worlds beyond.

Laura and I did the taking off of shoes rituals. I was passed through the security without much interest. Followed by her, no wonder. She got the full wand once and twice over. She's least likely to be a terrorist and more likely to turn heads. Personally I was just thankful to be gathering up my electronics, pens and shoes in peace having too often caused concern in my black Harley Davidson jeans and flame shirt. I'm often thought a terrorist and piercings set off metal detectors. Growling doesn't help either.

Now I'm on the plane. A British Airways. Given British success in the Battle of Britain I've always felt rather comfortable flying in their planes. They have a thing with ships of sea and air and their music has always appealed to me. I love the accents of the captain and crew. So crisp and yet amused and self depreciating in that English sort of way.

We're under way. It's a vacation.

I'm going back to London where I danced as a youth, training with the Latin American World Dance Champion, Dorene Key, while working across from Harrods at the Associated Television. I've returned since but now I'm a doctor clinician, a professional and grey bearded. Only England reminds me that we never planned to live beyond 30. How old 30 seemed. Now my dad is over 90 and we think of 70 as young. We think it is but clearly it's not. I'm old. Not quite 60 but nearing it with gusto. My brother has passed that mark and he was riding motorcycles as a youth. He was the James Dean and I'm the old man on a Harley.

Right now it's a plane. YVR is behind us and Heathrow is but 9 hours ahead. I was a bartender in London and now I'm 13 years sober in AA. Who would have figured any of this. Laura is excited. It's her first trip to Europe. Her youth was spent raising children who are older now with children of their own. We both work in Health Care so this vacation is an even more appreciated tonic. Certainly, just what the doctor ordered.

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