Some photos from Vancouver
I've been in Vancouver for just over a week, taking lots of photos, and struggling to get some of them posted. I don't know why holidays are supposed to be relaxing -- I've been really busy, visiting some of my favourite places: the Art Gallery, which has a massive, ambitious exhibition about the role of 'mashup strategies' in the birth of modern culture, Granville Island, the Aquarium, the Capilano Suspension bridge, the Chinese garden... I've been to two concerts in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's New Music Festival -- this was one of the highlights (scroll down to in gloriam and click on the 'listen' icon), a workshop on self-publishing, including a very useful talk on marketing ebooks, three hockey games ("Go, Canucks, Go!" -- we WON two!) and an open practice.
And it's been surprisingly warm and dry most of the time (but today I had to buy an umbrella; it's that bad)!
The hotel I stay in is cheap and cheerful but, roomwise, I had a bit of trouble to start with:
Taken with my iPad, so a bit grainy.
I had to -- ahem -- sit diagonally! So I complained a bit and they moved me to a room with about six inches more, but nowhere to put my clothes:
Yes, that is the clothes rail on top of the fridge! So, another complaint later, they moved me to a much bigger room, with about three feet between the loo and the wall, and the first thing I did was slip getting out of the shower:
Taken with my iPad and a lot of contortion.
I can't decide whether I'd have been safer in the tiny room (because, as my brother pointed out, there would have been nowhere to fall), or whether they would have had to remove the toilet to get me out, but I'm being very careful now!
Quite a few things have changed in Vancouver since last year. The big bookshop, Chapters, which has always been my safe haven, has closed, and the shop will soon be reopening as a sporting goods superstore -- a sign of the sad times. But the worst loss so far has been the lush little garden centre on the way down to the Granville Island ferry. Last year, it looked like this:
and now it looks like this:
I've posted pictures of Granville Island before. Last year, the weather was like this (I didn't post last year's pictures because
I broke the weather broke my brother's camera, and felt guilty, but he's ok with it, so I'll post some of them this year):
which didn't deter an intrepid traveller:
but this year it was so sunny, everyone had sneaked off from work to spend the afternoon inching their way onto the island and finding a parking space:
I much prefer it when it's wet!
Here's a pretty picture of the artists' supplies shop:
And here are some pictures of the public market (taken last year), which sells the most amazingly large and exotic foodstuffs:
I've also posted pictures of the Aquarium before, but this time twelve years of persistence finally paid off:
There are two Beluga whales -- the mother, Aurora, and the daughter (I was going to say baby, but she's 20 years old), called Qila. I'm not sure which one I managed to snap, but I suspect it's the younger one because she likes to tease, gliding past you with a grin on her face then getting well out of shot whilst your camera's still whirring.
Here are some pictures from last year, which came out better than this year's (I think I need a faster memory card) -- the big tank:
some silver fishes:
a scary anenome:
In the gift shop, I couldn't resist taking a picture of these:
Yes, they look exactly like the meal worms I feed my hamster, but they are intended for human consumption -- I asked! The packet on the left is cheddar cheese flavour. I couldn't bring myself to examine the one on the right. My brother's asked me to get him a packet if I go back.
On the way to the Aquarium, I took some arty shots of the nearby sea wall:
and then I went looking for the remains of the Stanley Park Zoo, which closed in 1996. Some bits have been repurposed as a salmon hatchery, but the polar bear pit is still there:
The round bit was a pool -- really more of a tank:
You can see a polar bear diving into it in one of the archive pictures here. It's a great bit of modernist architecture, though far too small for bears. It would look fantasitc restored, with a few bronze polar bear sculptures dotted about.
After the Aquarium, I went for a walk in the park. I'd just stopped to wrestle with my camera when I heard a tap-tap-tapping, turned, and spotted this little fellow, pecking away at a tree, just a couple of yards away:
That's the best picture I managed to take of him, and he's still a bit blurry! I think he must be a Red-headed Woodpecker, though he doesn't seem to have a white tummy.
Then I walked back to the hotel, past the wholefood supermarket:
and the Robson Public Market: