A tale of two cities

Yesterday we did all the walking in the world, or if not all the walking then enough to result in a huge purple line drawn around several major chunks of the city. We explored beaches and parks, main streets and backstreets, and saw everything from the most opulent parts of the city to the areas which demonstrate a level of deprivation I have not seen for a good while. I always say that when I visit cities I want to experience everything they have to offer, and to try and discover what it would be like to live in them. There are plenty of places here that I would happily live in, but also areas that made me feel very conscious of how privileged I am to be in this city and to have the opportunity to briefly explore areas that the people who reside in them would probably give anything to escape from.

That was just one observation of many, but it is the one that sticks most firmly in my mind.

Other things I noticed were far more positive, and are further evidence that this is the sort of city I feel at home in. I think the main one is probably how environmentally aware everyone is. There are recycling bins everywhere, and sustainability seems ingrained into the culture here. The whole city is very cycle friendly, and I think if I ever return here then I would definitely look at hiring a bike. There is also a decent amount of good public transport, with fuel-efficient bus/tram hybrids, and the sky bus, which is like a cross between London  Underground and a monorail system.

There is also food of every type available, and we have already sampled several delightful cafes, as well as the restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel which was pricy, but worth it for the delicious food and perfect service. Another thing I like to do when I visit a place is to try and eat how the locals do, and I hope to do much more of that over the next couple of days, starting with breakfast as soon as I have finished writing this blog post.

Talking of which, my soundtrack to writing these words has been “Kaputt” by Destroyer. It’s a record I’ve long loved, and one which very much sums up Vancouver to me. I like to soundtrack my travel appropriately, and hearing Dan Bejar singing about Chinatown and Downtown and knowing that I walked those streets only yesterday makes me feel closer to the music in some way, and I am sure that listening to the music in the future will make me feel closer to the city too.

More travel ramblings

(Written yesterday)

I am writing this from a delightful Air Canada plane, where I have lots of leg room and more space in general than I know what do do with. First class was definitely the right choice, and after a very nice breakfast in the departure lounge, I think we will be getting more food shortly.

So far the trip has been remarkably stress free. Last night’s hotel was both opulent and functional, and we dined on very tasty curry and white wine in the hotel restaurant. I didn’t have the best night’s sleep, but still managed a few hours before having to leave, and I am sure there will be plenty of opportunity to sleep on the plane.

(7 hours later)

I was right about getting more food. We were given a 4 course meal (with wine) about an hour out of London, and have been given regular drinks and snacks throughout the flight. I think we are about to get more food before landing, and I have a feeling I probably won’t want to eat much more today.

I didn’t sleep though, and have instead spent the last 7 hours watching movies, reading, and listening to music. I am so glad I bought my iPad on this trip, because it has hit the spot perfectly as a source of entertainment.

Next stop Vancouver, home of some of my all time favourite music, and a place I have long been interested in visiting. I am not sure how many hours I can stay awake, but I want to try and banish as much jet lag as I can early on in the trip.

A brief note from London

I am sitting in the Hilton Hotel at Heathrow Airport, where we are staying before flying to Canada tomorrow. It is a lovely hotel, with free wifi, great food, and a real sense of space and relaxation.

I don’t expect that the next couple of weeks will see too much of this sort of luxury, but I am very much looking forward to exploring Vancouver, and also to grabbing some time away from the stresses and strains of the UK. I hope to post occasional updates and photographs, but certainly have no intention of doing anything that feels like work until I am back in the UK.