I stayed in a beautiful apartment via AirBnB and the photo above is the view from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room. It has been about 20 years since I was last on the west coast, and there are certainly a lot more high-rises now. Housing prices in Vancouver are outrageous, and I could never afford to live in a place like the one I stayed in. My hosts were easy to get along with and very helpful and it made my visit so much nicer knowing I had a comfortable, friendly place as a home base.
The second night I was there I took a walk down to the water where you can catch one of the cute little Aquabuses that will take you over to Granville Island.
It looked like it might rain, so I decided to just do a short trip around False Creek. It was nice being out on the water, but soon the wind picked up and the skies grew very dark so I cut my voyage short and arrived back on dock just as a thunderstorm hit (which are apparently rare occurrences in Vancouver).
I met Barbara, a lovely woman who follows my blog (and Melanie's) for a drink at the historic Sylvia Hotel, where I stayed the first time I visited Vancouver in the late 90's. The hotel lounge has a gorgeous view of English Bay, and I had an excellent cocktail (something with tequila and cucumber, I think).
A couple of friends had requested I bring them a pebble from the English Bay beach, so after I left Barbara, I headed to the beach (it had just started to rain, which was to be a theme for my trip) and caught this photo of a heron.
If the weather had been nicer, and I'd had more time, I would have like to have spent more time on the beach. I find looking out onto a body of water to be very relaxing, and the beach, which was more shells (I'm assuming zebra mussels?) contained some interesting critters if you took the time to look.
The Vogue Theatre on Granville Street opened in 1941 as a first-run movie house - its original appearance was restored in 1998 and now serves as a space for the performing arts. The theatre is home to the Vancouver International Jazz and Film Festivals. Further down the street you can see the marquee of the Orpheum theatre, built in 1927. It is now the home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The city I live in could learn something from Vancouver's willingness to restore and re-purpose old movie theatres.
John Fluevog shoe store on Granville Street, the oldest of the existing Fluevog stores
I think this poster was advertising a brewing company, which I wouldn't usually take any interest in, but I liked the artwork.
Recalling a tasty meal with Melanie at the Cactus Club Cafe that finished with a serving of their impossibly delicious Caramel Chocolate Mousse (warm caramel foam, crunchy sponge toffee, velvety chocolate mousse). We were tempted to lick the dishes.
Downtown Vancouver is a mix of old and new buildings, and the gentrification of formerly affordable neighbourhoods, particularly on the Eastside, which has a large, low income population, has resulted in the wealthy and the poor living smack-dab up against each other. On my way to meet Melanie for brunch at the Acme Cafe on East Hastings street, I decided to explore the neighbourhood and after walking along a block populated by rundown rooming houses and hotels, I turned the corner and found myself in front of the Versace Home Store.
On my way to brunch on Sunday I took note of the public toilets that are a common sight in downtown Vancouver. The idea of going down a flight of stairs into a dark, underground passage in order to relieve oneself doesn't sound like a particularly safe, or pleasant experience, particularly at night.
I had a lovely, if all-too-short, time with this delightful trio of bloggers at brunch on my last day. Left to right: Sue (A Colourful Canvas), Melanie (Bag and a Beret), and Louisa (Damselfly's Delights)
Melanie gave me this funky Asian cotton robe that she had personalized with a sketch of the two of us on a piece of fabric she sewed onto the back. Unfortunately it's been way too hot here to be able to wear it.
After brunch Mel and I took turns posing against a graffiti-covered wall by a parking lot, and managed to smile despite the aroma of urine that wafted from the pavement. I gave Melanie the "corset" t-shirt she's wearing here and I love the outfit she put together around it. A corset, skulls, polka dots, stripes, and a red patch on her butt - it doesn't get any better than that. Spending time with Melanie inspired me to be more creative with my own outfits and experiment with my makeup (I loved my blue eyebrows and have been occasionally incorporating a more subtle version into my daily look).
Unfortunately, it's not possible to have regular visits when most of your friends live in other provinces or other countries. If I won the lottery, one of the the first things I would do is go and visit all my blogging friends, and then fly them all to New York for one massive photo shoot! Keep your fingers crossed!