Vancouver 2013, Part 4: A Laid Back Week

Happy Valentine’s Day! I celebrated by battling a cold all day. Yesterday I woke up with a bit of a scratchy throat and by the time I woke up this morning my cold had fully taken over. I’m a bit hopped up on cold medicine right now so hopefully my writing won’t reflect that ūüėČ

This past week has gone by in a bit of a blur and sadly I only have a few days left before I have to return home. It seems the theme of this week was catching up with the few people I know here over pints and killing time in between.

Sunday was a relaxing day that saw me writing for a few hours then¬†meeting up with¬†John again. We were originally supposed to check out a band that I found out about, in the hopes that I could cover them for the magazine. They were playing in Vancouver’s Gastown, so I thought it’d be a nice night out for us. Unfortunately, by the time we got there the place was packed and it didn’t seem likely that I’d get good photos (or that we’d even get seats), so eventually we had to give up on that idea.

With my evening in John’s hands, I let him decide what we were going to do next. After wandering around the area for a bit we ended up at¬†a dive bar¬†called The Ivanhoe. Full of interesting locals and cheap beer, The Ivanhoe was the perfect setting for us to just drink and chat. We also had fun goofing around with John’s camera:

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After we finished our pints (by the way, note the old school beer glasses), we walked through the eastern part of downtown and then¬†along the seawall. Lo’ and behold, we ended up at The Beaver for a nightcap¬†(I honestly can’t seem to get away from this pub), and then I bid my adieu to dear John.

I think Monday has been my laziest day of this trip so far. I woke up early, grabbed a coffee, then ended up going back to bed for a nap by 9am. It was glorious. Later that day I visited my buddy Pete at his apartment with a killer view, we grabbed lunch (the best falafel I’ve ever had!), then later that evening I finally saw The Impossible. Starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, this movie tells the story of a family vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami hit southeast Asia on December 26, 2004. Let me tell you, there was not a dry eye in that audience. If you get the chance to see this movie, go.

Tuesday I was determined to do something touristy, so I visited the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. The Museum is home to thousands of pieces representing tribes of the Northwest Coast, so it was on my list of places to visit while I’m here.

Ever since¬†I was a kid I’d been interested in¬†Native American culture, but something about the tribes of the¬†Northwest Coast¬†always drew me in. In highschool I became particularly intrigued by Haida artwork which led to my discovery of Canadian Haida artist, Bill Reid. He has probably¬†become the most iconic Haida artist of the past few generations and has pieces in the Vancouver¬†airport, the Museum of Anthropology, in his own gallery (the Bill Reid¬†Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver),¬†plus countless other locations.¬†Four of his works were even featured on the back of the Canadian $20 bill (up until they introduced the new plastic notes this past year, that is. John pointed this out to me the first night we went out here. I am quite upset they changed the design.).

The Museum is home to Reid’s The Raven and the First Men, a sculpture that I’ve been seeing in pictures for years. This sculpture, created in 1980 out of yellow cedar, depicts the Haida creation legend of Raven finding the first men in a clam shell.¬†It was quite breathtaking to see in person and my photo doesn’t do it justice.

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The museum is also home to many totem poles and house beams (pieces that were intricately carved with the animals representing the different clans, often used on the exterior of the house to identify which family lived within). These pieces were all collected from the Northwest Coast and some are more than 100 years old.

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Later that day I met up with my friend Leo, who I used to work with years ago back in Toronto. Leo had moved to Vancouver with his girlfriend and has now lived here for the past three years or so. It was good to see a face from home! We caught up over a few beers at, you guessed it, The Beaver (they should just start running me a tab), and made plans to do some sightseeing the next day. He had to eventually head back home but then I was joined by my buddy Dan, who works at the hostel.

Dan’s bloody hilarious and such a smartass. Up until I met up with Leo and Dan I was having a bad day because of some family stuff, but those boys quickly got me out of my funk. I went to bed that night thankful for the few, yet quality friends I have in this city.

Wednesday was set aside for Leo, so after grabbing lunch we walked along the seawall and then caught the AquaBus to Granville Island. It was great to just walk around and have no agenda. Leo grabbed some art supplies, a giant seagull smacked me in the head with its wing, and Leo and I got this shot (our first photo together in probably six years or so):

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After being up so late the night before and walking so much that morning, I was absolutely pooped by the time we were done at Granville Island. I went back to the hostel, had a nap, then a quiet night to myself. One thing I love about vacation — napping whenever you damn well feel like it! ūüôā

This morning I woke up sick. Seems like Cupid was in a pissy mood by the time he visited me and decided to gift me a cold. Jerk.

I woke up quite early and all I wanted to do was seek out some cold medicine. I was out of the hostel by 8am and back in bed by 830am. I don’t know if I was just super sick and tired, or if the cough medicine lied when it said¬†it was “non-drowsy” but I fell back asleep for another two hours. When I woke for the second time I was feeling a little better, so I gave Dan a shout and we ended up walking around and grabbing sushi for lunch (I kept on asking him about sushi places in the area but never ended up going, so he finally decided it was time for me go).

During our walk we grabbed a coffee from Tim Horton’s and I realized that the lady who made my cup put this on the lid:

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It was my only valentine! Dan quipped “I’m pretty sure they did that for everyone, I got it too.” Jeez, couldn’t let a girl enjoy the moment. Thanks, Dan!

As I write this Aussie Louise is on her way back to Vancouver from Whistler. I have to go get her from the bus depot very shortly. Tomorrow we’re heading to Victoria where we’ll be staying for the night. Saturday we’ll be going on a whale watching tour (this one better not get cancelled due to bad weather!), then coming back to Vancouver that night.

It’s going to be a very busy few days!

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