I'm sorry, but I can't get excited about global warming if this is what Canada has to look forward to.
I'm sitting outside at the Cork and Fin in downtown east side. The yuppification of this community is also pleasing to my eye. Beautiful young women in the latest fashions are passing with tourists carrying packs and cameras obviously safe in an area that not so long ago was anything but. Only a couple of blocks away people are shooting up in the alleys and the thieves are gathering for the night. Yet this street has several new boutiques and out door restaurants catering to urban chic.
It's hard to understand how the downtown of the city became a district needing 30 km/hr signs all over the main thoroughfares of the city to protect the staggering drug addicts who create an obstacle course for drivers simply passing through. A fence would seem a better solution, since laws don't apply for the lawless. It's the young drug dealers that really flaunt the laws, strutting arrogantly across these streets in front of the ludicrous police station that stands unsupported in the midst of chaos. Meanwhile the mayor braggs about smoking dope. Crazy city
But beautiful. Sitting here today I feel no square in Rome or Athens could compare to the flavour of fertility that almost sings here today. One of the old crowd just strutted by throwing his half smoked cigarette on the ground. He
s angry and entitled. The violence has left this area and his kind are yesterday's news. Everywhere there's and effort to push the bullies back. It's the bullies that deal the drugs and hurt the marginalized. The sociopaths are the thieves. Some of the thieves are even psychopaths but they're not welcome here. The businesses have upgraded. Those who live here aren't tolerating the drunks lying on the streets. They're moved over a few blocks.
InSite, the drug injection site is the old way. It's a last bastion attempt to save the downtown city for the drug dealers. Everyone knows that's where you go to get a little or a lot off heroin or crack. This street square was saved from the wreckage wrought by that magnet of insaniety.
Carrall Street. I liked the flowers in the street lamps reminiscent of the old Vancouver. It connects the ever young and vibrant Gas Town to China Town that was all but dying because of the crime and drugs that surrounded the old town forcing even the Chinese to shop in Richmond where safety was assured. Local businesses began to hire their own people to discourage the drug dealers from terrorizing the community. The story of China town is it's own tale of Bruce Lee, Steven Segal and Chuck Norris. The bullies and dealers don't feel safe inside China Town but their presence on the perimeter almost choked the life of the community.
At Carrall and Main a person has to walk a veritable gauntlet of drug dealers and bullies. Indian cigarettes are shoved in your face. None of the warnings are on the cartons that claim to offer "100% natural" tobacco. Why not? Insite claims to be a "safe injection site". Yet even the famous died from heroin bought outside the doors only last month. The First Nations Smoke is just as likely cause cancer as any other smoke. Smoke is unnatural to the human body. Meanwhile the loud whispers nearby market heroin, crack, and pot. There's disgusting scummy sleaze to the street corner. An art gallery known for it's fine native and local art has a door way daily blocked by bullies hustling and crazy eyed. The nearby Army Navy Store has a body guard on the door to deter the threatening and destructive so that shoppers can be safe.
Older people stop where I'm sitting. They come in groups from the Cruise Ships that stop just a few blocks away at Canada Place. They turn around when they see the punks waiting to surround them. China Town wants them to walk through it's old and famous streets. The Sat Yen Sung garden, reknowned the world over is just beyond the feral pack of dealers. But they turn around. They can't walk the last block but return and maybe take a bus tour. It's worth it but not with the human barrier off lawlessness.
I have had fabulous oysters, superb goat cheese and a savoury spiced rockfish surrounded in sweet curried clams. It's a meal that is memorable. I'm surprised at the chef's genius. I wouldn't be in Paris but here in Vancouver I forget the wonders we have in this cosmopolitan city growing in great strides into the kind of place people can be proud of. It was only months ago I came up on a man dying on the streets, performed emergency services while waiting for the ambulance. He'd just overdosed. Accidentally. Bad heroin or too much booze and crack. I cleared his airway. He was in the wrong city block, staggered off to where I happened to be passing. It helps to collapse where a doctor is walking. A block away he may have died as people ignored him, caught up in the revelry of their own addiction.
Yet here tonight just 2 blocks away I've had the meal of a lifetime. This Cork and Fin really is a bit of paradise only a short way from Purgatory and Hell.
Time for me to move along. Im so impressed with this square. I'm blessed to be in Vancouver downtown eastside as the recovery takes place. The city and community are taking back it's streets. All the new drug treatment facilities are helping, as is the drug court and the police focus on the gangs that manage the big marijuana industry and funnel the heroin through Vancouuver to the United States. Only a little of this port cities produce is marketted locally. The real money is south of the border.
Thank you God for this glorious weather, the fine weather, this evening, the great food, the beautiful people. Vancouver Downtown Eastside is alive with potential.
People watching has been really rich.
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