Vancouver story

It’s been awhile, so I really should at least comment a bit on my trip to Vancouver.
It was my first time to the city, outside of airport layovers. It really is a beautiful place, although I think it was trying too hard. The downtown waterfront was filled with tall, glass buildings, that all, generally, looked the same. Expensive, but none stood out. Anywhere else each would have been fantastic. There: face in the crowd. (Brick in the wall if we want to use an architecture metaphor.)
I noticed a number of interesting differences between there and Alberta, that probably aren’t mentioned in any travel books.
The first difference was that it is a lot more socially acceptable to smoke. I have two theories as to why that is. B.C. and Alberta both have laws against smoking indoors, but in Vancouver it is not necessarily an excursion into winter to do so. You don’t have to suffer nearly as much for your habit. Also, because a lot of people smoke pot, and don’t think I didn’t notice the smell, it is hypocritical to complain about smokers if you are an illegal one.
The second difference was more beggars. Similar to the above theory, they have less chance to freeze to death. Why wouldn’t you go there?
The third difference was the credit card machines. Here, I have trouble remembering the last time I signed a credit card receipt. There, I did it almost all the time, including the old, chunk chunk carbon-copy “machines”. Chunk chunk, sign here. Pin numbers haven’t caught on yet.
On one of the days I hung out with a friend from Seattle who had driven up. She had a car so we drove around looking at things she was interested in. That included vintage clothing stores. In other words, I got to talk to the local proprietors for long periods of time. One was complaining that the city was very expensive. Everyone was so busy trying to earn money to afford their homes.
That may have been true, but what they spend on homes, they save on food. Two restaurants stick out in my head. The first was the sushi place that I went to with a bunch of friends after my run. Because I was on a post-run meal, I was hungry and ordered a lot. Still much cheaper than Edmonton.
The last meal I had was at Save on Meats, a diner. A store clerk had recommended it to me. It was fantastic. It used to be a cheap diner, but it had been gentrified recently, even featured on some reality shows. They had their own butcher and bakery on the premises. The food was great, and quite affordable. I would recommend it to a friend.
I’ve covered food and accommodations. Now I need to turn my attention to transportation. My flight to the city was annoyingly delayed, so I was late to the party I wanted to attend that evening. I made up the time by springing for a taxi instead of taking a bus to the hotel. While in the city, on the last day, instead of taking a convenient bus downtown, I walked, despite being told, truthfully, that it wasn’t scenic. But the hotel clerk had also said it wasn’t walking distance, and if they lie about that, how can you trust them. Pfft. 5km is totally walking distance.
The return trip to the airport was confusing. I used my iPhone and Siri to try and use the bus system. It wasn’t entirely easy. But I paid $2.50 for a bus back to the hotel so I could pick up my luggage, and then transfer right back out to go downtown again. (The bus stop I waited to go back downtown listed the bus number but implied it was drop-off only. Thankfully it lied. Thankfully there was also a small woman there taking the bus to help me out.) When I was back downtown I got onto their train system to get to the airport. I still had my bus transfer, but no one asked to see it. And I don’t even recall seeing a place to pay for the train. I just walked on and sat down. Security?
For the flight home, I was able to score the exit row seat. The window seat even, so I was responsible for the safety of the plane. Unfortunately, I probably didn’t give this as much respect as I should have. I had my GPS watch with me, and I decided to ignore the electronic device warning and use it for the whole trip. (It doesn’t broadcast, I’m pretty sure.) If this was the US, I’m sure some air marshall would have been handcuffing me on the floor before the flight landed. But, due to sensical Canadian policy, I have a nice map of the route the flight took. I wish it had been daylight so I could try and recognize landmarks for the map.
In any case, good trip.

Soon to be Excommunicated

I have defied the Word of Steph. I can only hope to beg for forgiveness for my sins. Maybe a gift of some nice dessert.
Today I rented a bicycle with helmet and put foot to pedal. I went cycling around Stanley park for almost two hours. It was actually rather pleasant, but not much faster than running. Well, it probably was faster than running, but I stopped every so often to take pictures or mug someone into taking a picture of me. My GPS watch will probably tell me when I have a chance to plug it in.
The biggest problem was that they had closed part of the seawall trail. Specifically the part that stays low and does not climb up a large hill. It was actually the first time I’ve ever used gears on a bicycle. My bicycling history is pretty much Winnipeg, Montreal and Edam. All known for being flat. Now I know the joy of being able to switch to first gear.
I had planned to run in Stanley park, but that goal was thwarted. A friend from Chicago had agreed to run with me while she was in Vancouver; probably drive to Stanley park and go from there. But she had forgotten her runners. Such is life. So, yesterday, I left the hotel, and ran 9km to the park. I did about 2km of running there before I had to return the 9km back to the hotel so I could make dinner with other friends. I wish I had had an hour more so I could have properly experienced the park. Something to look forward to next time.

Better things to do

The reason I’m in Vancouver is that a couple of women I know from Jamaica are here as well, along with a a man who is a local. There is a conference that they are attending that I thought I would check out. It hasn’t been as interesting as advertised, but I’m having a great time reconnecting with old friends.
At the party for the conference’s first night, we pretty much avoided everybody and spent the time talking amongst each other. I even made a vague plan to go for a run with one of them.
After it was over, I went back to the room of one of them to fix her computer and get it connected to the internet. We then talked for nearly two hours. It is now very late at night, and later for me with the timezone change. Hopefully I can be up for breakfast tomorrow.

Don’t you find that interesting?

I’ve gone through my previous journal entries. I have come to the inescapable conclusion that I am a boring person. All I do is talk about running, or ultramarathons. And, as far as I know, none of the people who read this have ever even considered going out for a jog. I have no idea why they keep reading. Maybe they don’t.
So I need to be more interesting.
That’s it. I’m going to Vancouver. Right now. That’s what an interesting person would do.
Unfortunately the flight is delayed by an hour and twenty minutes. So I’ll try and be interesting waiting in the departure lounge.

Coming to terms with myself

Actually, the Death Race will probably be available for sign up for a week. They are letting the soloists sign up seven days before the relay racers. So there is plenty of room and time for me to fall off the wagon.
The thing I have to remember is that the Death Race is safe. I’ve done it four times. I know what to expect and I have, I believe, a fairly good chance of completing it every time. In other words, I’m stagnating. I need to attempt something new. Evolve to a better person.
That said, I couldn’t have qualified for Mont-Blanc without the Death Race. It gave me the points I needed, and the confidence to sign up.