Time to get going: Bye-bye, Vancouver!

Bye-bye, Vancouver...So, that’s that: My Vancouver visit is almost up. It’s my last day today and I won’t have much time for sightseeing and things, but have to get packed, do laundry again, checkout transit time to airport, drop the rental car off etc. etc.

If time permits, I might go check out the Vancouver Aquarium as Mr. Schmörf suggested, stroll around Burrard Inlet a bit, enjoy a snack somewhere and head back to the Between Friends Bed & Breakfast in Kitsilano Beach, where I have been lodging these past two and a half weeks (well, come to think – almost three by now). Let’s start our recap with that:

I have never been better accommodated and barely anyone has ever made me feel more welcome (aside from home) than Simone, the owner and landlord of this place. So, the stay here started on a good note! While the first week was a bit of a shock, as far as weather conditions were concerned – and part of that announced itsself during the trip from Seattle to Vancouver, where it has been raining cats and dogs -, and I didn’t have too great an incentive to venture out, it gave me the opportunity to investigate a few things in terms of coming here to live, work or even study again, at least part time. As a matter of fact, I would almost go as far as to say that hardly any questions were left unanswered, maybe just except this one: What’s the BEST approach to make it happen? (and by saying that, I’m well aware that I might have to settle for a multi-track scenario).

As the rain stopped, the feel to this place also changed dramatically: People would dress in T-Shirts and shorts, as if summer had come (mind you, the thermometer barely made the 10 Celsius mark during the day…), trees would bloom, the clouds subside and the sun magically illuminate the beaches and bays. I took a couple of day trips, one to Victoria on Vancouver Island to meet my flickr friend Chris amongst other things, twice to Bowen Island, to Whytecliff Park, to Stanley Park of course, Granville Island and Lighthouse Park. I’ve met with university functionaries, attended info sessions, made appointments for renting, went shopping, dining and met incredibly nice people everywhere. Another highlight was the get-together with Shauna and Mat for dinner and a second time for the meeting of her flickr-Technical Feedback-group, where more flickerites, e.g. Mylin and Mr. Schmörf, showed up.

And – I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures as I strolled about the city and surrounding area. As a matter of fact, they might even amount to some thousands by now as I keep backing up entire directories from hard drive to DVD in order to free some space for more shots to come…. These two weeks were intense – in every aspect and on every level. They bestowed all kinds of impressions, experiences, feelings, trials and tribulations of the introspective kind on me. I sometimes felt like dirty laundry being tumbled about in the washer, such intensity was there at times – or to use another analogy: It was no less than a roller-coaster, emotionally. There were lows and there were exhilarate highs, moments of complete frustration and discouragement and accounts of elation and (self-) confidence. At times, I wished I could have directly shared this with a significant other travelling with me, but on second thought, much of what I have experienced would not have been possible in a different context, i.e. when not travelling single.

What’s the outcome? I don’t know yet. I will have to allow myself to let everything sink in and “post-process” it at home. Also, it would be too soon to draw any premature conclusions as some processes are still in the making. But for now, I think it is safe to say that – apart from the weather being rougher than anticipated (at least at that time of the year) – Vancouver has almost exactly been as I have imagined it. Well, I didn’t have to employ my imagination all that hard as my Vancouver flickr friends gave me a pretty accurate foretaste of the place. And one experience stands out over all others: People around here are so incredibly nice and helpful, welcoming, appreciative and simply adorable! I have not had one ugly encounter around here and believe me, I just walk up to people and talk to them, so that might as well have backfired at times. But no – no matter, how sophisticated my request, no matter how long it sometimes took me to actually articulate it ( not so much for the language barrier, as rather having trouble to make up my mind at times…) – everyone always treated me with respect and friendliness and wouldn’t budge until they had the feeling I was satisfied. Folks – we have a LONG way to go back home, until I can say the same thing of people in my proximity (not including friends and family, of course).

So, bye-bye Vancouver, you’ve been good to me and I just hope I can return very soon.

P.S.: It really got kind of hard to say good-bye when walking around Granville Island Public Market a last time last night… In that short a time, places, sights and sounds have become familiar and I can’t believe time’s up, already…

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4 Responses to Time to get going: Bye-bye, Vancouver!

  1. Chris Hart says:

    Awesome review Werner… and so right about the people here… so friendly and helpful everywhere. This is the melting pot of Canada and less segregated and splintered as TO is. Although people are very nice in Toronto, they must be coaxed out of their mental basements and hovels to converse…. Not so on the West coast…. or the extreme East coast…

  2. admin says:

    Thanks, Chris! Interesting to read your findings on people from the East coast – that reminds me a bit of people at home: You have to work harder to get them to open up to you. Once they do, they’ll remain mostly friendly towards you, unless you mess up. So the initial “warm-up” phase always has a smack of intrusion to me and has made me a bit reluctant to make the effort in the first place.

    Thanks also for your comment on my image(s). It was great meeting you and like I said, I hope to be back soon – one way or another.

  3. Wolfram says:

    By the time I write this, you’ll be on your way to LA (Hey, isn’t there a song with this title?). Have you ever been there? Maybe on your honeymoon. I like LA better than San Francisco, it’s more american, less chic and warmer 🙂

    I wish you a good time there and, later, on your trip to Arizona.

  4. admin says:

    Yuh, you’re right, Wolle, the song’s indeed called “On my Way to L.A.” and I remember having to prepare it once as homework for the Munich Guitar Institue, which I attended shortly after Military Service. Remember the composer/artist of that song?

    And “Yes” a second time. Andrea and I landed at LAX when coming to the States for our honeymoon (I think, it was my first time ever to travel to this country). We picked up the rental car – where I accidentally took the proverbial wrong turn and got ourselves into Inglewood…. -, headed out northwest to Santa Monica, took a stroll along Venice Beach (or “Body Beach” as it’s colloquially called) and drove on to a hotel outside the city limits, halfway to Santa Barbara. Before our departure three weeks later, we stayed at Newport Beach for a day or so, but never took the theme parks or studio tour. Maybe this time around I get to go to Culver City and check out the Sonypictures Studio Tour (too bad, there are no more live tapings of our beloved Carrie and Doug of “The King of Queens”…) Interesting, what you say about the city in comparison to San Francisco. Well, who knows, maybe I’ll find myself winding up here later on in life. If one thing has become evident during this trip (and more than ever, I might add), then the fact that I have to come to the Northamerican continent for life and work – by all means necessary! Thanks for your good wishes! The time ahead marks the beginning of the end of this trip 😦

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