I’ve read the Herald online’s travel writer review of his stay in Vancouver today. The is the same cynical guy who just wasn’t impressed with Goofy (who doesn’t like Goofy?), and his review was just a little weird to say the least.
First of all it’s not spring? It’s the middle of freakin summer, and having spent the last two days in temps in the mid 30s, and seasons very similar to us, it’s not spring. All of the bloom has gone, spring was May?
It’s a funny thing this travel writing, how do you get across the feel of a place, if you’re not ‘local’ to both (as we probably can say we are now being our third and longest stay). But calling on comparisons is always a good tool to help those identify with what you are writing about.
So Stanley Park from this guy sounds like a full on rain forest. Trying to do my best comparison, think of Hagley Park if large parts of it were allowed to revert to wild vegetation. Parts of it are very pristine forest (Cedar trees the main tree of choice for the squirrel population). Other parts are like Hagley Park in that areas are well planned and planted English Botanical garden style. We saw our first Raccoon today as we were leaving the Aquarium. We bought a annual family pass as we only need to go once more while we are here and it’s paid for itself, and we plan to go weekly, the boys love it. Charlie shall from hence forth be known as Charlie Cousteau, for those of you who know Charlie our cat Ollie (and hence all cats) are called “ollie-oll”. The Otters, seals and dolphins are all “ollie-ols”. He love the otters!!! Jamie was a little hesitant, especially when we were underground looking at the seals and sharks from the glass. Speaking about wildlife, as I was posting the pictures last night (11pm here is 6pm the next day in NZ), a family of 6 skunks walked across the street and carried on their way. Now that is cool in itself, but the street they cruised over is very much the equivalent of Bealey Ave in rush hour, what a feat. The boys have also seen their first Squirrels (ollie-olls), and they don’t seem as taken with them as I am. Sod the folk who bought in Rabbit Calici Virus, I want to be the person who brings a breeding pair of Squirrels into the country, they are cool. BTW, skunks are very very very cute (from the other side of the glass of the cafe)
He’s right about the growth of the city, but failed to mention that despite the growth Vancouver still manages to put Auckland and most cities to shame with public transport. I can’t remember having to wait more than 5-10mins for a bus anywhere here, and $2.25 will last for 1/5hrs and get you almost anywhere in town. Bus driver announce the next stops. People stand aside and allow old folk, women and children enter or exit the bus before them. People give up seats and are generally very very very very (painfully ) polite. Mind you I’d rather this than the fake American “have a nice day” we got down south. they have a sky train which Jamie just loves.
He talked about the high rises, but failed to mention they are all apartments (well most are anyway). Vancouver has about 85,000 people living downtown (literally like Lambton Quay area or inside the 4 Squares area of CHCH). This has a huge affect on the town. Instead of building out, the city has gone up and from the pics I’ve posted they are on the whole really nice looking buildings. But this many people who work there also living there means less traffic into town. 2.2 million people and rush hour on Riccarton Rd is worse then here. They are going to build a downtown waterfront soccer stadium and only allowing 150 car parks for a 30,000 seater stadium. That’s because public transport is affordable, everyone uses it, it’s efficient, goes everywhere, hence more people use it, hence more services are added… it’s a positive momentum that has been built up over a short time by civic leaders who weren’t dumb enough to believe that the car is the cities biggest asset. Akld, Wgtn (to a lesser extent but still could do better), CHCH and Dunners should all hang their heads in shame. Bikes, buggies shopping etc etc are all encouraged on the buses. I’ll be posting more on this from time to time, I only wish those in NZ who make the decisions would pay for a jaunt over here to see what is happening, I’ll happily pay tax one day to get their short sighted lazy arses over here. Did I mention the new Subway/skytrain line they are building between downtown and the airport. Massive disruption and huge cost to the tax payer (sound like Auckland) but instead of this being a road it’s public transport, real public transport. I just love the bus drivers though telling you what the next stop is “Next stop Robson, shopping and great restaurants…”, or “Next stop Granville, connection to Sky train and sea bus”.
He’s right about the coffee though. Who really wants to walk around with half a litre of coffee in a paper cup, well most of Vancouver does but still. There is no such thing as a flat white here, and the cappacchinos are insipid with peaky watery milk atop. Boy do I miss a good flat white from coffee cup.