A place to live, a job, Canada Day, more amazing scenery and great times in Vancouver – its been an eventful week and a half!

Published: July 4th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

First up, I have a home and a job! Yay!!! I’m now living in a house across the water about 3.5km south of downtown (think South Perth/Como area). I am sharing with a guy and two girls, all in their mid 20s and really nice. My room is in the basement so it doesn’t get much sun but I get a huge bedroom and large lounge area so there is heaps of space plus we have a garden which makes a nice chance.

The flat share market here is pretty crazy, living close to the city means a tiny room (some people even share a room or sleep in a partly converted living room - no thanks!) and the rent is pricey even then. I’m glad I went against my normal instincts and chose outside of the city centre.

What makes my decision even better is that my new job is a nice ten minute stroll from my new home - sweet as! The job starts next week and is a three month contract at Vancouver Coastal Health in their accounts receivable/collections area. Yep that’s right, I’m breaking out of the law for the first time in over 12 years!!!

On top of all this I’ve managed to fit in some fun touristy stuff.

Last Friday I did a tour to Capillano and wow what a day, by far the best day so far in Vancouver and one of the best travel days ever. The tour today was through the hostel (they really do do an amazing job with all the free tours and activities during the week).

The tour was run by Erik who moved here from Copenhagen in the late 60s (he was actually meant to move to Australia but fate/chance took him to Vancouver). Erik runs two full day tours a week between April and October and has been doing these tours for 13 years and has not missed one single day - pretty impressive.

What’s even more impressive is the tour marked Erik’s 11,500th guest, I was about number 11,490 and to celebrate we had some homemade cake, pop and even got gifts after the tour.

Anyhow, so the tour started off with a walk around the city - mostly areas I have been past heaps already but still good to get a different perspective on things (including remnants of the first railways here, one of only two buildings dating to when Vancouver was ‘settled’ and a cool art piece in the bay of a pen that lights up at night) and also enjoy the fantastic weather.

On a more sombre note we passed a memorial to Terry Fox who, in 1981, after losing one leg to cancer undertook a solo run from East to West Canada and managed an amazing 3818 miles (effectively running a marathon a day - and remember he only had one leg!) before cancer spread to lungs and he was forced to give up, dying a year later at the age of 22. His efforts were not in vain as he raised around $30,000,000 and is now one of the most admired and respected Canadians. Some of you will know what an insensitive bastard I can be at times but as I heard about Terry’s story it was hard not to shed a little tear.

Anyhow, it was then a quick Skytrain ride (my first) through downtown and then a ferry to North Vancouver and then a bus ride to Capilano River Regional Park.

The park is a spectacular rainforest area and continues the Vancouver trend of lots of greenery, open spaces and snow capped mountains but does so way more spectacularly than even Bowen Island.

And then we got to Cleveland Dam, now I’m not much of a water person and have never actually been to any proper water falls (though I hope to get to some here in Vancouver), but seeing and hear all that water gushing under us at a million miles an hour was pretty cool.

Outside of the proper park area is Capilano Suspension Bridge, apparently the biggest of its type based on combination of length (136m) and height (70m above the river) and naturally I couldn’t resist swaying the bridge as much as I could whilst crossing it (strangely it was mostly me and some school kids doing this …).

And then one on the other side of the bridge are walkways suspended in mid area between the trees - a great way to walk around the forest.

So to say the least I had a pretty awesome day, met some great fellow travellers and all it cost was the travel and admission fees totalling CAD $27.50 (although I did tip Erik $10 but this was not required).

Considering how much I loved this tour, I decided to do Erik’s other tour on the following Wednesday. This tour also involved a walk around downtown as well as Chinatown and the Public Library (strange I know but it is a cool library) and then a trip to Lynn Valley

Although not as spectacular as Capillano, the tour was still amazing. We had a picnic lunch by the stunning river, crossed another suspension bridge, walked through some really lovely forest areas and again met another cool bunch of travellers (a group of us following the tour with a dinner and more drinking).

Side note: Vancouver is referred to as Hollywood North as a lot of movies and TV shows are shot here. I’m hoping to stumble across a film set one day soon but on the Lynn Valley tour we did pass the spot where a scene from Kiss the Girls (staring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd and based on a James Patterson book that my sisters and I have all read) was filmed (a jump from a waterfall during which Judd’s stunt double was badly hurt).

July 1st was Canada Day so I went on a pub crawl the previous night (not a smart move!) and then the hostel put on a Canada Day ‘beach’ party at one of their other hostels. Met a great bunch (mostly Aussies) and there was much to drink and eat and Beer Olympics which I sadly (or maybe luckily) was too late to enrol in as Australia was beaten by Japan in the first round drinking competition - oh the shame of it! - (the girls restored our reputation in event 2 only to loose the final to Brazil who cheated).

The previous Wednesday I did a tour of Granville Island which is an ex industrial island just south of downtown that now features a growers market, art school and other touristy attractions including Granville Island Brewery so I just had to taste some beers.

Met a German guy on the tour who sings in a small emo/hardcore band (and they actually sound quite good) so naturally we got along well and hung out after the tour and then a bunch of us went on a pub crawl that night as well. Ooops I was meant to be studying for my interview/test the next day … not to worry, I got the job in the end didn’t I?

So yeah that’s all from me for now, sorry to ramble on a bit but I suppose lots has been happening. The next week will be a lot quieter - just need to finish settling into my new place, get ready for my new job and prepare for a short trip to Seattle next weekend.

Hope you are all well.

PS - happy EOFY to the Mallies Perth crew - hope it wasn’t too stressful.

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10th July 2008

HI Pete .. dressing up in a a suit again sounds like it would have been a big shock to your system ! Great to hear you are exploring Canada now and your new job. Go collect that money man! EOY is done here and we went out to Jessica's for lunch today - just 3 of us left in the team at present. ( we have another new girl starting on 21 July.) take care, best wishes from M

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