On Wednesday afternoon, I loaded up my car with clothes and fruit snacks and drove up to meet my mom who had flown in to Seattle. After picking her up and stopping for a quick lunch at a restaurant where my 65 year-old mother was the second-youngest person there, we continued onward to Vancouver.
In just a few more hours of sitting in traffic, we finally reached the border. Canada is a strange land. In most ways, it's exactly like the United States, but a few small differences really stand out. The first difference I noticed was flashing green lights on the street. I later looked up that they mean a protected turn, but on first encounter, I have to say I was baffled and a little angry. Who do they think they are taking a standard American light and making it flash? Another thing that's different here are the buttons on elevators.
Finally, whenever paying with a credit card, every place has these little machines that suck in my credit card, and then the clerk/cashier/waitress hands the machine to me and makes me push a bunch of buttons. I suppose it's nice to be able to verify the transaction details myself, but at the same time, the whole process seems to take longer than in the United States.
The first three days were to be spent in Vancouver, and we checked into a partially lovely hotel south of town. The hotel had a gorgeous view of the water, and the bed was quite comfortable, but there were a few quirks that weren't as nice. For one thing, the bathroom didn't have any towel racks/hooks within reach of the shower. It also had one of those obnoxious glass tops on the desk, rendering my mouse obsolete. Additionally, the temperate controls never seemed to work right. But hey, at least the view was nice.
The next day, my mom and I went to the Anthropology Museum at the University of British Columbia. My mom had read that this was one of the finest museums in all of Canada, but then it turned out she had actually read that about a different museum, and the Antropology Museum at UBC kind of stunk. I guess by anthropology museum standards, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC wasn't bad, but everyone knows that anthropology museums are just a scam so that anthropology grad students can pretend that people care about their work. At least economists aren't so vain as to put their work in a museum--we know no one cares.
After the museum, we had a nice lunch downtown before being stuck in traffic for an hour trying to get back to our hotel.
|After lunch, the bad lighting on my face makes me look sickly and sexy.|
The next day, we went to the Vancouver Art Museum, which compared to the Anthropology Museum was a real treat, though honestly I was a little underwhelmed by their exhibits. The building's exterior was more impressive than the interior. One way I judge museums is based on how easy it would be for them to liquidate their assets--supposing they went bankrupt overnight and were forced to sell off their entire collection, how hard would it be to find buyers, and how much would they get for their collection. Certainly a museum like the Louvre would be able to liquidate their entire collection as quickly as they wanted. On the other hand, when it comes to the Vancouver Art Museum, not only would they not get much for their collection, for most of the items there, I find it hard to imagine anyone would take the items off their hands even if they were free. At least most of the Anthropology Museum's collection could be sold for fire wood.
After the museum, we walked around a bit, then went to the Stanley Park where I could run by the water. After running for about an hour, I met back up with my mother, and we prepared to sit in traffic for an hour and a half to get back to our hotel. On our way back to the car, we were approached by a middle-aged man with long hair and a fanny pack. He asked us "what kind of music do you like to listen to?" At this point, I remembered what my mother always told me, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." While I initially found that request to be obnoxious, later in life I realized that in some situations, not saying anything at all is actually quite rude and obnoxious, and it gave me a sense of smug satisfaction to know I could make that advice backfire.
My mother ignored her own advice, and gave him a bland, but honest, response. At this point, he told us his story. He was a musician and since 1995, he's been walking around selling his CD in person out of his fanny pack. He told us that each CD was personally signed, and individually numbered, and something about the being in the Guinness Book of World Records, for being the world's most pathetic musician. Perhaps if he spent half as much time working on his music as he does selling his music, he might be good. But he obviously wasn't good, as evidenced by the fact that he didn't play any of his music for us, nor did he even tell us what type of music he plays. At least he was Canadian, and therefore very polite for a very desperate bum.
Tomorrow morning, we bid adieu to Vancouver, and hop on the ferry to Vancouver.
To be continued...