Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vancouver -A Beautiful City

Everyone who visits says Vancouver is a beautiful city.  Situated on the protected English Bay Harbour off the inside passage of Georgia Strait it is a sea port with great tankers in the harbour, marinas, sailboats and beautiful beaches.  Kits Beach is the summer college girl and boy hang out with beach volley ball. I prefer Spanish Banks but Wreck Beach by the main UBC Point Grey site is famous for it’s nudity and historic hippy fests that challenged the city and the police till one day the storm in the tea cup was past. Now even the gay end of the beach with reported lusty hook ups is all but respectable.  Nothing shocks anymore and I say that with some ambivalence.
The UBC Museum of Anthropology on the cliffs above never grows old. Concerts at the near by Chan Centre, especially classical are a treasure.  I so enjoyed the Bach and Handel perfomances I attended in recent years.   Kitsilano is the suburb that’s kind of yuppie. The houses are astronomically priced now but the people are more than approachable. Vancouver’s wealthy sections are old Shaughnassey and West Vancouver.  North Vancouver and Kitsilano have that middle class feel. The lower class was once East Vancouver but there housing prices have sky rocketed as well making poor people rich when they sell their houses. The West End is quintessential Vancouver, downtown with mostly apartments and the highest density.  Robson Street in the main uptown shopping street with Davie the once gay now gay plus or minus part of town depending on perspective.Granville street is the central core.  Bridges cross over False Creek where the dragon boats make a racket and Coal Harbour where the main commercial port is.  Commercial Street in gentrifying East Vancouver  and attracted the lesbians more so along with a younger crowd while Davis street maintained it’s corner on the bears and leather set  The drag  queen shows still take place on Davis where a different night life persists. But there’s really a chic and mixed set that have always been part of the Davis scene. The Avant Garde and the city live and work near here so it’s where they eat and increasingly shop for books and clothes.  St. Paul’s Hospital with the surrounding medical offices is nearby.
Howe is where the Courthouses are. Then there’s Georgia and Burrard where the very very old and very very baautiful Christ Church Cathedral is located.The new Bells contribute to the audioscape of the city.  All around there are magnificent hotels. The Vancouver Art Gallery is central with nearby Pacifc Centre shopping mall, Hudson’s Bay and across the street  the new Nordstroms.
Vancouver’s architecture is dominated with glass giving it a lightness of being look so different from the heaviness of New York and Chicago.  There’s a sense that fairies live here while trolls live in the east.  One really can imagine unicorns flying on rainbows amidst these almost delicate buildings not surprisingly built to withstand earthquakes.  The ground does shake here on occasasion.
I rode my Harley Davidson downtown simply knowing I’d be able to bypass rush hour traffic with a bike whereas with a car I’d be frustrated no end. Also on my motorcycle I see so much more. I really appreciated once again the incredible beauty of the solid circular architecture of our main library.  The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is near by.   I so enjoy performances of Ballet BC.  Rogers Arena, a grand structure, is where we most recently enjoyed the magnificent U2 concert with Mumford and Sons as the opening act.  It’s where I’ve also enjoyed games of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team.
My favourite Apple store is in the Pacific Centre. I’d thought I cracked the glass on my new iPhone 7 but found it was only a scratched protector.  "Kaloo Kalay he chortled in his joy."  Leaving there and admiring the beautiful people uptown with some fine fashion examples, increasingly a phenomena.  Vancouver was once better known for it’s grunge. This is still popular in the DTES where the homeless sleep on the street and fentanyl overdoses and taking their toll.
Here and there perhaps because Nordstrom’s arrived recently there are Vogue models are walking about downtown along side GQ men.  I think of it as an improvement. I do like people watching and wish there we’re more cafe’s on Georgia where the real lookers flock.  The best coffee and people watching for variety though is Granville street. I’ve had tattoos and peircings there as well as attended the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at the Magnificent Orpheum Theatre.   I like to sit in the outdoor cafes  and write about nothing, Much like I’m doing now. Journalling.  But there I do more  observing.  Lots of visual entertainment.  I don’t like the amplified music.  Non amplified music is a wholly different thing. I like that. More audio sphere art but amplification creates raucous distracting noise. There’s an arrogance to it in a public space. Like ghetto blasters. Like my loud stereo on the Harley which I justify because ‘loud pipes save lives’ . I’m often playing bag pipe music too  Recently i’ve been very partial to U2, Steppenwolf and Led Zeppelin.  Steve Bell is who I really like on the open highway.
The Claude Monet Secret Garden show was on at the Vancouver Art Gallery so I walked over and caught a splendid hour of visual impressionist delightsbefore the gallery closed. Then I rode the motorcycle over to Davis Street. I used to live on Beach Avenue and enj sitting and writing outside the Blenz across the Q Centre and Mary’s Hamburger’s.
I found a parking place across from Bean around the World so sat there and reminisced about living in the west end before moving onto my sailboat in Coal Harbour.
When I got back into motorcylcling after a fifteen year hiatus or so I started with a scooter. Laura and I would ride around Stanley Park on the little 50 cc Aprillia. Next it was the Trev Deeley 600 cc Buell Blast, then the Barnes 1200 CC Harley Roadster and now the Trev Deely 1600 cc Electroglide I have now.  Each bike we’ve enjoyed the pleasant downtown forest ride in Stanley Park. Earlier I’d biked and walked and even roller bladed the seawall. Then when I was involved again with the sailboat it was me seeing others on the sea wall while I motored my sailboat alongside beneath the  Lion’s Gate Bridge.
I loved Lost Lagoon. When I lived on my boat in Coal Harbour I walked my Scotty dog, Stewart,  around the Lagoon almost every day. That’s when Denman Street was my principle dining area.  It’s not that I haven’t loved and appreciated areas of Vancouver, it’s just that since I moved to the North Shore and then later  Burnaby, while I worked in China town and the DTES, I’ve not has as much time to appreciate the city as I once did and do like,  I certainly loved North Vancouver and now love Burnaby especially the  green spaces.
I love Grouse Mountain. It’s been a decade though since I hiked the Grouse Grind and longer since I night down hill skied there or even since I  cross country skied on Cypress Mountain. I just think it’s amazing to have so many play places within the city itself where there’s everything a modern city has to offer plus this extraordinary proximity to natural wonders.  I was relatively immobilized by accidents for some years.
Yet here I am still blessed to be able to walk and ride my motorcycle and enjoy the city. The city’s  beauty in the summer causes me to catch my breath. Riding around Stanly Park then up Georgia I just loved the sky scrapers and the sun mirrored in the beautiful glass. There truly are awesome views.  At the lights I was able to look up and appreciate the workmanship that went into the Fairmont Building, the old facades beside the new glass towers.  Too often i’m in functional mode in the city just working and going from place to place. I saw the city as a tourist this day.  It really is beautiful.  I really must not take it for granted.  It’s so important to be in the moment in the present, in the the place where I am rather than in my work and my head and my business.
 I rode out to the freeway and headed home to Burnaby in the HOV lane.  I’m living and liking the suburbs now for the river walks and fabulous green of the coastal rain forest. You can still smell the sea air and sometimes sea gulls fly over though it’s mostly robin song I hear. In the north I can see the snow capped mountains.  Vancouver really is beautiful, the  city and it’s surroundings.

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