It’s Sunday night here in British Columbia and I’m chillin’ with my friend Justine after a day spent exploring Kitsilano, Granville Island and the culinary delights of her favourite restaurant, a veggie place just around the corner from her house which is open 24 hours (imagine that!). It’s been a lovely weekend, and not just because I’m Canada: it’s a joy not to have to work for once! My cup really does runneth over. Particularly that enormous cup full of ice cream I got from Dairy Queen last night…
Yesterday Justine’s friend Mary kindly drove us to some must-see tourist spots: beautiful Cleveland Dam, Grouse Mountain and Buntzen Lake. I saw Grouse Mountain on my last visit, but nothing beats that wonderful cable car ride through the clouds up to the ski resort atop the peak. Vancouver was sunny but snow was piled everywhere on the mountain; it was like another world. We took a sleigh ride around the slopes and wondered why the groups of Japanese schoolgirls milling everywhere were bare-legged in teeny tiny skirts when they MUST have known they were going somewhere snowy. I’ve never seen so many blue legs in my life. I blame their parents.
Here’s me grinning like a loon on top of the mountain:
Buntzen Lake was an hour away and the journey took us through miles of fir tree-lined highways straight out of The X-Files. It was creepy as hell when we got there: the sun was setting, the lake was so full it had flooded over the beaches surrounding it and everything was eerily quiet. It was utterly gorgeous and so recognisable – this is the lake that’s appeared in everything from Supernatural and Smallville to Lake Placid. (We didn’t see any crocs, though.) The trees surrounding it were covered in dripping moss and oh, the air was so fresh! I could have stayed there for days…
I’ve also paid a visit to Vancouver Aquarium, which houses the sea otters that took YouTube by storm a few months ago (you must have seen the footage of the otters bobbing about on the water while holding paws because everybody has by now). I also made the most of a sunny day by walking around Stanley Park’s seawall – which was pretty as hell – and lounging on Third Beach while watching the gulls dive and soar above me, until they were joined by a bird I’m pretty damn sure was an eagle. They scarpered pretty sharpish after that.
All my photos are on Facebook if you fancy a look – if you haven’t friended me by now, keep an eye out for the Jayne Nelson with a sepia-coloured profile picture.
And before I go, some facts about Vancouver for you:
1) For all their famed politeness and sunny dispositions, I can attest that Canadians turn into maniacs when they get behind the wheel of a car. Not only do they speak on their cellphones while driving, they also text, write and – for all I know – knit jumpers. I’ve yet to walk down a street here without hearing the screech of brakes as someone nearly dies at a crosswalk.
2) That said, bus drivers are wonderful. Not only do they do the unheard-of ‘smiling’ thing I mentioned in my last post, they also wait for old people to sit down before setting off. I thought that kind of courtesy died out in 1967.
3) Downtown Vancouver is the noisiest place on Earth. Not from traffic or people or birds (though the crows are bloody squawky), but from the construction work that’s going on in every inch of the city at once. This is a growing city and boy, is it hard to forget it.
4) Everybody wears Vancouver’s national dress: hiking boots, jeans, windcheater, hoodie. The only additions to this list are snowboards/skis/roller blades. They’re very sporty, these Canucks.
5) They have black squirrels here with fluffy little pawsies.
6) There are an astonishing number of phenomenally sexy men everywhere you look.
7) Unfortunately, there are also an astonishing number of phenomenally sexy women on their arms.
8) It’s only rained a little bit since I got here, but tomorrow the precipitation apocalypse begins. Wish me luck…