Published: April 12th 2012March 29th 2012
So right now I am sitting on the bus to Jasper, nearly four hours into an 11.5 hour trip. I almost got to sleep but my mind started wandering and I was reflecting over my time in Vancouver and what I am leaving behind. Why not start typing?! A lot has changed since my last entry, which is a given seeing as it has been seven weeks. I haven’t actually done or seen much, though, which is why it has taken so long to want to write another entry. My original plan was to write (in week 6 or 7) about the friends I had made at the time and how so many of them left in a two-week span. It was a little difficult at the time to see them go but I have met a couple of others since and also got much closer with others. Hence, I will be dedicating the lion’s share of this blog to writing little pieces about the people who helped make my time in Vancouver as good as it was.
The reason I am on my way to Jasper, Alberta, is because I have found a job for the summer. I will
be working for Mountain Park Lodges as a ‘server’ (waiter) in one of their hotels. I will be set up in staff accommodation and my contract will last until October 31. The restaurant I was going to work for in Vancouver hit some difficulties and still has not opened (it was originally meant to be on May 8). I did start applying for other places in Vancouver but it still seems hard to get a job and the industry does seem quite exclusive. I also didn’t think it was very special as a city (aside from the scenery) and was having enough of the rain. Nobody likes being in a rut with bugger all money, I guess. I applied for a handful of jobs in the Edmonton area and got offered a position in less than two days. (Pretty easy, huh?) I’m a little nervous and excited about this new phase. I’m also very sad to be leaving a few people but this is the first time as a traveller that I’m moving on to a different place, so I guess it’s fair enough that I feel this way.
Before I get stuck into the soppy stuff, I may
as well touch on a few things I actually did do that were slightly interesting. In week 5 or 6 I started going ice skating every Monday night. It is a hosted event by the hostel and I went because I wanted to do something more positive than lying around or drinking. Mike decided he would come along as well (it was his last night in Canada, I think) and it was hosted by Renee, who will get more of a mention later on. It turned out to be really fun and despite a bad fall (which wasn't my fault), I have been every week since. Shane would end up coming every week as well. He plays ice hockey back in Ireland so the turd can sometimes be a bit of a show-off. Or maybe I was just getting jealous because I can’t do what he can. Harriet would also be a regular for the last three weeks. I would also get cut watching her because she learnt how to go backwards very quickly and after six or seven weeks, I still can’t do it! It’s not all bad for me because I’ve managed to master my crossovers (a quick
way of turning) in both directions and Renee can’t even do that! One week Renee and I even had a couple of drinks before we went. It was an interesting feeling, for sure! Next week will be the last session before the end of the season so I won’t be missing out on much skating, though I will miss my Mondays.
My favourite night of the week, though, was easily Thursdays. TRIVIA NIGHT! After trying every single week, my team has managed to be in the top 2 every week for the last five, winning twice. I’m normally not too bad, particularly during the music round, with the exception of Irish trivia for St. Patrick’s Day. I knew the answer to about two questions, but luckily we had three Irish on our team and we still came second. I think the team that won were cheating, though! We won on my last night and I managed to have Shane, Philipa, Nicole and Harriet on my team so it was a nice night before it got messy. Even Stacey and Cate were there briefly. It doubled as a farewell for Barry who was heading back to Ireland. I wasn’t on
his team on this occasion but I had been a few previous times. Barry and the others from his group were always fun guys to have a couple drinks with. These nights were never tame but they were easily the best. I know I will miss it tonight when the others will be playing. I bet they won’t win without me! I guess I will also miss Sunday nights at the Roxy (country night with the $10 tequila and Corona deal) and The Bourbon (a country bar with a mechanical bull). Dicky music but always fun.
I finally went to a Vancouver Canucks game! I got very lucky as the hostel still had three tickets left and were trying to get rid of them by selling them for $50 (they were originally $75). I didn’t even think twice and grabbed the chance to go. The same opportunity arose this week but I was thinking about the money too much. Renee was hosting and managed to pull some strings so we sat next to each other! It was an amazing atmosphere (a sell-out, as they all are) but the Canucks lost 5-2 to Dallas. It was a crappy scoreline and
also not a very good game to watch, which was very disappointing but that happens sometimes. I also thought the Giants game was a bit more value for money as the match was a little more entertaining and they do more with the fans. Mind you, one of the cameras at the Canucks game managed to find a little kid who was dancing to “I’m sexy and I know it” during a break in play. It was hilarious and I managed to get it on video. I visited the Vancouver Police Museum one day with Renee. It was a little expensive for what it was but there was still some interesting stuff in there. They even had a box with different police uniforms in it. I think it is meant for little kids to do dress-ups but Renee and I found it quite amusing! I also finally got around to English Bay beach. The beach itself is not much but I imagine it would be very popular during summer. There is even an Inukshuk statue there. Looking at the photo might be easier than me trying to explain it. English Bay is such a pretty area in Westend and I
was disappointed I found it so late. I’d love to see the sunset there on a nice day. The weather was fantastic for my last weekend in Van. I managed one more walk around Stanley Park and went back to The Lookout (because it was crap weather the first time I went). I didn’t have to pay for The Lookout because Philippa works there ;)
Now it’s on the soppy stuff. I’ll start in the order I met/started to hang out with people so this make take you back!
Kathy and Janina: the German girls! They were the only friends I made when I was living at C&N Backpackers and the first I made in Vancouver. When I moved to the SameSun, they went to see Victoria and Whistler and ended up joining me at the Samesun afterwards. Kathy went back home to Germany while Janina has stayed on and is working over in Victoria. Hopefully Janina is still keen to come on my road trip across the Rockies if I still get to do it. We still talk on Facebook.
Adam is from Barossa Valley in South Australia and the second person I met at the
Samesun. He was my roommate for nearly three weeks before moving on to Victoria to hopefully have better luck finding a job. He was the one who invited me along to Lynn Canyon and through him I met Mike and Erin. It turns out he and Janina would end up at the same hostel in Victoria and after talking they found out they both knew me! Top bloke.
Erin is also from Melbourne. We didn’t really hang out after Mike and Adam left but we still would chat when we saw each other. She got lucky and found a job pretty early and is moving into an apartment this weekend, along with about half the samesun!!
Mike is from London and has one of the sharpest tongues I've ever heard. He was over here to visit family in the Okanagan Valley and to experience Vancouver to see if he could work/live here. I did a lot of sight-seeing with Mike including Lynn Canyon, Grouse Mountain and the Bloedel Conservatory. After he went to the Okanagan he ended up being my new roommate! We would hang out quite a lot and it was actually really sad to see him
go. As far as I know, he would rather still be over here with us. Mike was the one who taught me how to mindsweep!
Sonke and Jannis are two friends from Germany who started off as my roommates. The best memory with these guys would have to be when we played Kings' Cup (or Ring of Fire, Kings, Waterfall, etc.) with Adam, Peter (my roommate for 7 weeks) and Mike. It was easily some of the best fun I've ever had in two hours. Even Claire and Emma telling me the next day that they could hear every word was fun. After a fortnight they went woofing (working on a farm for free but not paying for anything) but came back and moved on two days ago.
The twins! Claire and Emma are from Kent and are doing a 6-month world trip together. I met them during the Superbowl through Jason when he was in Van for the weekend (Jason is a mate from back home who is working at a resort called Hemlock Valley, near Mission, for the ski season). I was with them nearly every day while they were at the Hostel. They are the
ones who came with the stupid nickname, Bam Bam. Everybody around the hostel caught onto it and it stuck. I must say I actually quite like it now, though. Right now they are in Vegas and will see New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia (amongst others) before going home.
I met Lucy one night when I sat with Erin down in the Beaver. She was Erin's roommate at the time and we hit it off really well. She is from Rockhampton in Queensland (ewww) but I didn't hold it against her. We hung out quite a bit until she found work up in the Yukon (the province above BC).
The speed dating crew! Josie, Jimmy and Em. There were obviously more people that did speed dating but I either didn't hit it off with the others or they deserve a passage of their own. All three of them are from Wellington. Josie (who was the female winner) stayed for a couple of weeks before moving on to the States (although she overslept and missed her flight!!). Jimmy and Em (who are a couple) got jobs on Grouse Mountain and moved into a place in North Vancouver.
was the other winner from speed dating although I knew him beforehand. From England, he was just one of those voices and faces that was a feature of the SameSun. He was working at BC Place (jealous!) and ended up going to Whistler for a couple of weeks. He came back for a couple of days before heading home for a while. He will be back in Vancouver for the summer, as far as I know.
I met Nicole through speed dating and she ended up being one of my closest friends while in Van. From Holland, she got a job very quickly at Megabite which had it's perks (free pizza). She was my sidekick every trivia night (in other words, would always be on my team and let me answer all the questions). I think she'll be moving to Toronto in May.
The Germans. I know i've already mentioned some, but this is about a group in particular who were in the hostel for a couple of weeks. I met Felix first, then Scott, Katja and I'm sorry but i just struggle to remember all their names. They're all around my age and i played a lot
of pool with them (particularly Scott, as he was really good but kept wanting to beat me because i always found ways to beat him). They were also my Bourbon buddies!
I should also mention Shannon. I only met him two nights before he moved to another hostel but he is a champion of a bloke. He met us at the Bliss N Eso gig and it was just amazing how well we hit it off. Renee would agree with me.
Shane (from west Ireland) is somebody I met quite randomly. I had just bought McDonald's after a night out and went back to the common room to eat it. He was at the table with another dude and I guess we hit it off really well. He actually acored the nickname "Pebbles", because he was hanging out with Bam Bam. He had this trip planned for a long time until he had his heart broken but still came over here by himself. I think he will miss me a tad because of the expression he gave when we said goodbye. I know i have a place to stay when I get to Blackrock!
Stacey is from
Croydon and i met her in my first week at SameSun. We first spoke because she was eating weet-bix and I wanted to know where she got them from. I guess it was the same night the twins left that we started talking a bit more as she overheard them calling me Bam Bam and took quite a shine to the moniker. Every time I would walk into a room I would hear "Bam Bam!" in the same voice as the Flintstones character. I miss that already. She's a beautiful girl and I look forward to doing my road trip with her (and hopefully others) in the summer.
Phillipa I met (along with Cate, who deserves a mention in here as well) because she was on the trivia team that seemed to win every week (before I hit my straps). I think just through both being long termers we ended up being pretty good friends. She's 29 and from England and has seen a lot of the world and it is something i'm quite jealous but love hearing about. She herself has stayed in Jasper for a summer season (about 5 years ago) and definitely helped put me to
ease about living in a small town.
I have saved Renee for last as I told her on Monday that I will probably miss her the most. She is from Perth and is working at the hostel as a housekeeper/receptionist. We got to know each other well after I started goin to the ice skating, which she hosts every Monday night. She'll head home and get on with her life in June. It was nice to hang with her for my last in Van. I now have an extra reason to be a little excited about going to work in Perth when i get home.