We’re a bit upside down and inside out with our posts at the moment because we haven’t blogged for a while. We still want to write about the best bits of our travels so far though! So…
Wow! Vancouver. We loved it. What more can I say. It’s certainly a city of extremes: from the city beaches, to the views of snow-capped mountains; from the classy architecture and exciting arts scene, to addicts shooting up in the street; from the modern skyscrapers and cosmopolitan restaurants, to the amazing culture of the indigenous people.
We ended up spending 5 nights in Vancouver. We stayed 2 nights in the RV park in West Vancouver, just over the bridge and an easy bus ride into the centre of town. It was perfectly sufficient if not beautiful. And then we stayed 3 nights in a car park on Granville Island, and it was surprisingly easy to camp in with a 24 hour $15 car park ticket. The car park was quiet and no-one bothered us at all – in fact the builders who had their temporary office there even offered us the use of their facilities. It was fab to be able to stay right in the midst of a city for a few days!
Granville Island itself is fantastic. We filled our fridge with delicious, fresh food and filled our bellies with croissants and coffee worthy of France at the famous Granville Island Public Market. They had brilliant buskers playing outside the market, hilarious and talented every one of them, from music to clowning. We spent an impromptu evening at the TheatreSport Improv comedy theatre, which was brilliant too.
We caught the tiny outboard motor-powered ferries that cross the sea inlets that embrace the city, and walked through beautiful old Gas Town, the original part of the city, with it’s trendy cafes and designer shops. Then we accidentally stumbled onto an infamous street that we’d been warned about. Someone we met in Novia Scotia told us to avoid it all costs because people would jump on your car and try and steal it, whilst our friend Stephen said it was one of the safest streets in the city because none of the locals wanted to make trouble.
As we walked in search of China Town, I noticed that the streets we were walking along had more and more down-and-outs, and then we broke out onto a wide, main street that was swarming with ragged, stoned people swigging from bottles, dealing in doorways and, literally, shooting up in the street. I’m so naive and intrigued by most things unknown to me, that I literally squealed and pointed at this guy who’d rolled up his trouser leg and was sticking a needle into a vein. In broad daylight, right out on the pavement! I have to say I was morbidly fascinated and Mark had to grab my pointing hand and lead me away as fast as possible, in case we got into trouble. The truth is that they were all immersed in their world of wheeling and dealing and totally disinterested in a couple of tourists passing by. As Stephen said, safest street in the city. (East Hastings Street, should you ever find yourself wanting to avoid/check it out)
Bentwood Boxes and Other Exciting Wooden Creations
One of our biggest highlights was the Anthropology Museum out at the University. It was full of the most beautiful wooden carvings from the indigenous tribes of British Columbia’s coast and islands, both antique and modern revivalist. I loved all the colours and use of materials. One of our favourites was the steamed bentwood boxes, made from single plank of wood, steamed, bent into shape and stitched on the remaining seam.