Sunday, March 04, 2007

Oh, Canada!

After splitting four days between Victoria and Vancouver, we landed Saturday in Edmonton, Alberta. It finally decided to get COLD. The weather sites said it was supposed to be about 7°(F) out there, but I didn't buy it. Teens, maybe. Cold for sure. And snowy! Then I went running in it this morning. I still doubt it was 7°, but it may have been 10°. Brisk indeed. If you look closely, you may be able to see my jogging path on the other side of the river:

Ba-yoo-tee-ful indeed, but in all honesty, I think I prefer the view from my Vancouver hotel room:

What a city that one was, Victoria as well. Having an opportunity to experience so many cities is a wonderful thing, but on a show-day/travel-day kind of schedule, all you're left with at the end is a handful of snapshots. At times, I'm more than happy to get the hell out, but then there are the ones where I just don't want to leave for a week or two or maybe more.

Vancouver and Victoria fall in the second category. Victoria seems like the kind of place I could go to after all this is done and spend a few weeks airing out my brain — with a hint of the literal; the air there really does smell amazing, something I noticed right off the plane. I could rent a room in a house for a home base, use it as a home base for further exploration of Vancouver Island. The camping and hiking there must be amazing, and completely plausible well into the colder months. I'm scheming already...

I barely got to see Vancouver, but it made a good impression. Most of what I did see, aside from a quick walk and a pretty standard Irish pub on Wednesday evening, was what I ran by over the course of a 50-minute, slightly-overextending run on Thursday morning. The path led me north along Coal Harbor, into Stanley Park, around Lost Lagoon (I found it!), over to the shore of English Bay, then back down to the origin (a more interactive look at the downtown area, thanks to Google Maps). My goal was to make it up to the 1A bridge, but I may have collapsed trying to get back.

It's definitely a walking city, a must for anyone who's spent the last few years of their life in New York. There's tons of new construction going on everywhere, mostly high-end residential towers from the looks of it (sound familiar...?). Architecturally, it appeared to be one of the more adventurous cities — and, for the most part, tastefully so! — I've had the good fortune to visit. At first sight of the skyline, I was amazed to see that it wasn't dominated with blockish mistakes from the 70s, but instead composed of a variety of shapes and forms, sharp embellishments, all fairly contemporary, decidedly unique.

Next time around, I'd like to explore the hipper areas of town, places where someone like myself wouldn't mind living or hanging about. Never saw 'em, but I know they're there! That's the problem with staying in nice hotels — not that I'm complaining about staying in a Four Seasons, but such places usually couch themselves in downtown areas surrounded by office buildings, shopping districts,
Starbucks, and boilerplate after-work Irish pubs, areas which are usually dead by 8:00 pm. Although I did notice, too late, that the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG?? hmm. Top 10 Unfortunate Acronyms...) was less than a block away. If only a few more hours...

Now, we're in Kelowna, BC, which I have been told is small yet beautiful. It was dark when we got here, so I can't comment one way or the other. All I know is that I'm sitting right now about 100 meters from a big, scenic lake and I'm running along it tomorrow morning. But only after doing laundry; I can't keep on washing underwear in the sink, and I'm afraid this pair of jeans may soon demand a bill of rights.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunning photos. You obviously have a working knowledge of phi (well, of course you do, you're a composer!).

As for the VAG, I'm sure the Canadians have a good time with that. Canuck humour tends to be lovingly self-deprecating in a very Brit sort of way; a bit Python-esque and absolutely refreshing.

I'd encourage you to follow through with your impulse to hike the isle.

Looking forward to more.

4:58 PM  

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