Thursday, September 13, 2012

North again

The alarm buzzed at 5:30am. We planned to leave at 6:30 but I hit the cancel button on the alarm and fell back to sleep for another hour. The thought of getting out of bed before the sun had come up did not appeal to me, although I know that we had a long day ahead of us, possibly 10 hours of sailing and into the wind, which can be tiring.

Before we leave we have to fill up with fuel and water, so that we can stay out of the marinas for a couple of weeks.
We are ready to leave Vancouver. It's been a great visit and we have grown fond of the place.  Vancouverites are naturally proud of their city with its cosmopolitan and multicultural society.  We have been impressed by the helpful locals, who, without prompting, have approached us in the streets, obviously looking like lost tourists, to provide assistance.
Like most cities Vancouver has its different faces. Its inner city regeneration with swanky high rise, high price, apartment blocks. Immaculately tendered landscaping overlooking the water and mountains. China town, one of the largest in North America, with its authentic restaurants and, as Katya put it, its "dark side" by night - after 6pm when the shops close its nocturnal residents emerge. Gaunt and well lived in faces roam around the area often engaged in conversation with someone only they know and see. People looking for a trick or being the provider of the trick. Homeless people setting up their camps in doorways and under flyovers which carry people over and around an area some wish to forget exists.
Other areas highlight a different side to the city. Yaletown with its boutique bars and restaurants, art galleries and small furniture stores selling high class brick-a-brack. Gastown, it's historical center and now tourist center with its shops selling Canadian Mounty clad Moose, maple leaf mugs, key rings, bottle openers and other merchandise designed to satisfy the tourist looking for something to take home for friends and family, no doubt only to be consigned to the box in the garage for eternity.
The English bay district satisfies those looking to experience the affordable cuisine of the city. Small family owned restaurants offer everything from fish and chips, Indian, Malaysian, middle eastern kebabs. You name it this area has it.
As I said Vancouver has made an impression on us. Granville market and all it's gastronomic delecies, it's clean, tidy and well planned city with lots of cycle and walkways. It's friendly, diverse and helpful people.  
We have been extremely lucky with the weather whilst we have been here. It only rained for a few hours and the rest of the time it has been warm and sunny. We know that this is not Vancouver's typical weather. Low cloud and rain are the norm. Would we still like the city as much in January and Feb? I don't know but don't plan to find out either.
We have all had enough of the big city and are looking forward to open spaces, lack of people, walks and fresh air. So North we head. Up the coast to Desolation sound with its mountainous backdrops and deep fjord like inlets.
Thanks everybody for your emails and comments: Jonesy for laughing and making me laugh, The Wests for their encouragement and Kevin and Alex for their suggestion to eat at the Banana leaf restaurant. (I have just finished the left overs) it was excellent.

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