Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Lay of the Land

It occurred to me that you might find a map of Vancouver a handy reference while reading Camera Crazy, giving you a notion of where we are in the city. Am I right about that?
Do you see the X on the map adjacent to the Granville St. Bridge near the bottom of the map? That's us. Now you better understand the bridges as well as the parks. That map is a bit well worn already isn't it? Which is why I walked over to the Tourism Bureau yesterday to pick up a new one. Many of you have been to Vancouver while on an Alaskan cruise, whereas most of you have not. The X just below "where" is the cruise port and Canada Place, a beautiful spot if ever there were one. I took the image below to not only show another water fountain, but also point out that the mountains were shrouded in smoke again yesterday, apparently due to a wildfire in Washington State.
Bruce's office is located in between Chinatown and Gastown, walking distance if need be. That said, he'd rather drive, and get there quicker. That man loves to work!

When last we met in my previous post,  we'd gone to lunch at a place near his office, running into the folks who gave me the eclipse glasses (!), and having a delicious meal of bar-b-que. Plus, they serve the wine in these beautiful glasses. Plus they have Peck as part of their name.
Situated in one of the old buildings in Gastown, we hope to return soon, although there are so many restaurants to try, who knows?
As I was walking to the office, I noticed some police officers, holding up traffic on Georgia Street and here's why. Deadpool again.
As any regular reader of this space knows, I'm a noticer. Is that even a word? It is today! That said, sometimes it takes me several viewings before I really get the full effect of something, and that would hold true about this work.
Maybe it was the light, not sure, but previously I had not noticed it was 3-D. I'd been saying to Bruce that there are so many hotels in Vancouver, which he kind of scoffed at, however, it turns out there are two types of hotels here, ones for the well-to-do, and ones for those who are down on their luck. I've decided I'm going to photograph as many of those hotels as I come across in my wanderings. Why? I don't know, but I guess part of it is getting the full picture of this city. I've since learned that there are indeed a large number of small hotels, deemed SRO's, and the picture is not pretty.  The crazy thing is that I took a photo of this sign, thinking it was interesting
as I neared Pender Street. According to this article it was for a time one of the worst offenders, but has since been purchased and renovated. On the left of the above photo is a Vancouver landmark set for demolition. It was just the other day that I noticed the building with the revolving restaurant atop it is featured on the street sign graphics in downtown. Hmmm...

Just around the corner is, the as-advertised, American Hostel, looking mighty shabby, but I suspect you can't expect much for the $15 room charge, a real bargain in an expensive city.
I believe I've mentioned in this space before that Gastown is the original Vancouver, everything developed up the hill from here. As such, the remaining buildings are older and shorter than the rest of Vancouver. In other words, everything has not been torn down to make way for glass towers.
Yesterday found me in this same neighborhood, and although I began to see this mural from a distance, I chose my route there very carefully. The homeless are not aggressive, however, I still feel very uncomfortable walking amongst a group of them. Better yet, from this vantage point on Pender, I could walk as close as I wanted to through this community garden.
I'm heading back over that way in a bit, meeting up with a couple of the girls from the office to attend a minor league baseball game, meaning it will give me a chance to see if they have completed it yet. All I could think of was a beautiful quilt!

One thing, and of course it probably holds true for any major city, but, daily I am amazed at the layers upon layers that make up this particular city.
So, after lunch on Saturday, we walked back to the office, Bruce finished up, and we went home for only a little bit. I convinced him he needed to see Stanley Park for himself. Of course it was a win-win for both of us as I've only seen a fraction of it. Felt really good to be doing it in the car!

The skyline is darn impressive isn't it?
The seawall circles the park, and just like below our place, there are no shortage of people walking or cycling on the pathways. We saw a young couple having their wedding photos taken.
As well as sea planes taking off. Funny photo below...
Further, as we drove the perimeter, the Lions Gate Bridge came into view.
Seeing it Bruce said he wanted to drive across it, and if you can imagine, I agreed, even taking photographs as we crossed over to what they call the North Shore which is home to the mountains.
Just as I walked across the Cambie Bridge last week, folks walk across this one as well.
We explored a bit, happy to come across a Wal Mart where we purchased a number of things, including a small vacuum cleaner. With the windows open, my broom and Swiffer were just not cutting it.

Sunday, during the service, the congregation celebrated the pastor becoming a Canadian citizen by giving him a flag signed by all the parishoners, culminating in a rousing rendition of O Canada.
I have to admit, it made me a little homesick, but also happy that they seemed so enthusiastic about their country where there is a lot to like, especially if you have money.

Speaking of which, how about those amazing folks in Houston, and really all across America, who are aiding the affected with either their time, resources, or money? It seems as if, sometimes, it takes a disaster before we realize how much we need one another. As they saying goes, no man is an island.
Controlled water is a good thing.
It is mind boggling to see so much water out of control isn't it?

Please do stay in touch.

yours truly,


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Something New Most Days

Pam called the other morning and it was so good to hear her voice. She'd recently returned from her 50th high school reunion, spending time there talking to her friend Siri. Yup. You read that right. She went to high school with Siri! Crazy, right? Should you be curious about it, Pam tells me she is very humble and down to earth in spite of being the voice people turn to all over the world. :)

Our conversation was rambling, while I was ambling, beginning along this stretch of the sea wall.
That would be the Burrard Street bridge which is but four blocks from the Granville Street bridge. That explains why you've seen two bridges in my sunset photos.

We kept talking, and I kept walking, by now on Beach Avenue which is the street we live on. By golly, I'd made it all the way through the West End with her company, coming across this crazy sculpture grouping.
Because we were talking I did not stop to read the description, an activity for another time now that I know I can fairly easily walk to Stanley Park. I made it!
I say fairly easily because Beach is mostly flat, instead of how I am always having to walk uphill to do my shopping and pretty much anything beside walk along the shoreline. A few of the streets are harder than others, Thurlow for example is a killer, or at least it is to this old lady. Richards, which I will be using shortly to go to the dry cleaners, is not so bad. for which I am grateful. It is no San Fransisco; at the same time it is no Orlando with our appealing flat streets.

This whole city is set up beautifully for walkers, as well as bike riders. In this path leading into the park it appears the bikers take precedence as the pedestrian path is kind of tiny. Then again, I'm not so big. Nor are most folks here, mostly slim and trim with a large person being the exception rather than the rule.
I walked along this path until I came to something I'd been wanting to see for myself. Below is called "Second Beach," a name I find really either interesting, or crazy, or maybe both. A large public swimming pool is on the left. There is a "Third Beach" which I've yet to come across.
To a Floridian, the beaches are barely pretty, but perhaps I'm biased? I walked around a bit, grateful to find a restroom. Because I drink several cups of hot tea every morning, I am generally in search of a restroom when I am out and about. A little more on that later. Because I knew I had the nearly two mile walk home, I didn't explore as much as I might; again, another time. I did see what looks to me like turning Maple leaves. Already?
I left the park and found myself on Denman, the main drag of the West End. Happily, I came across a produce market where I finally bought some Italian Parsley. They probably have it at one of the many places I've learned to shop, however, I can't remember seeing any before. They also had local bing cherries-- they went into the shopping bag too.
Speaking of the shopping bag, was I ever wishing, by the time I got back to the condo, that I had brought along my exciting new purchase. Ta da!
This little beauty is one of the main reasons I wanted to go to Costco because, although I'd seen some in a few stores, none of them were as well built as this one. That $45 purchase may be the best thing I buy during our time in Vancouver! Monday I took that baby out to Winners, which I don't know what I would do without btw, and bought all manner of things for the house. Let's just say the trip itself was a winner!

Back to the Stanley Park walk, on the way home it occurred to me that I preferred the dead grass color to the sand color of the beaches.
I took a break from writing and walked to meet Bruce for lunch in Gastown. We first stopped at a place Graham took him to during the week because he claimed they served the best poutine in town and I wanted to try it. Turns out when we got there they were only serving brunch which wasn't what we had in mind. Next door I checked the menu and liked both their offerings, and their name...Peckinpah! More on that in another post, but I just had to share this crazy experience....remember the folks who gave me the eclipse glasses on the ferry? If you can imagine, they came into the same place for lunch!! What are the chances in such a big city? Pretty darn small!

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

The sun keeps on shining and sometimes too much! In spite of blinds on every window...
It is most definitely a sunset loving persons dream spot.
Thinking of the condo, a fire alarm test is scheduled for September 8, and while reading the notice, something unusual caught our attention. There is neither a 13th, or 14th, floor in the building, nor is there a 4th. Don't know why there is no 4th, but I did learn that there is the usual suspicion regarding the number 13, and Chinese people feel that way about the number 14. Now you know too. Further, they call each unit a strata lot which is so strange to me. And there are tons of rules, one of which apparently, or so they claim, we broke. Receiving a letter in our mailbox, the strata honcho claims we let Baxter pee on one of the columns leading into the building on August 7. I was not a happy camper because they threaten you with a $200 fine. Someone turned us in! Or so they say. I have never let him pee on one of the columns, and I'm pretty confidant Bruce hasn't either. I sent an email response stating the above, and heard back from him that they will consider it at the next meeting!! I'll let you know the outcome.

The night Bruce was gone I walked down to Sunset Beach to see the sunset without a bridge in the way, this one being the Granville Bridge mentioned above.
Loads of folks have the same idea, sitting on the logs waiting for the sky show to begin.
Wouldn't you know it, the previous evening sunset was so much better!

Back on the streets the following day, I came across this welcome sight!
Unlike in Paris, where you have to pay, this one was free. I checked it out for future reference. A real toilet, not some weird hole with blue water!

I also saw another piano player....
and if you look closely, way in the back there, you will see a tent housing one of the gazillion homeless folks who set tents up wherever they want without repercussion. We walked on a street today with a bunch of homeless folks and Bruce actually saw one shooting up. How I missed it I can't say. While I was talking to Pam about the homeless problem she expressed surprise what with all of the government assistance available. Which is true, however, reading one of a myriad of free newspapers scattered in boxes around downtown, I learned that a serious addict can spend up to $500/day on drugs. To say it is super sad is an understatement. Further, there have been more than 250 overdose deaths already this year. Compare that to 265 for all of 2016, and you can see the problem is only growing. Because Vancouver is the warmest place in all of Canada, they find their way here, or so I've been told.

People seem to have learned to ignore them going about their business frequenting places like this crazy shop....Japanese cream puffs is what they sell.
Something pretty I came across on Cambie Street.
Whereas most all of the houses in the part of Vancouver where we live have been torn down and replaced with high rises, these three Victorian homes from the late 1800's, when Vancouver was a new city, have been restored.

Finally, I stopped in for lunch at an A & W on Robson Street and I wish I could say it was good, but I can't. Well, the root beer was good.
I intentionally shot this to include the self ordering machines in the background, sort of WaWa style. Don't you just bet we'll be seeing this in all kinds of fast food places before long.

New stuff just keeps on appearing.

yours truly,


p.s. My legs are good but boy do my feet hurt.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Out & About Photography

An email arrived this morning from the state of Florida informing me that my business name will expire on my birthday at the end of this year. Apparently, a fictitious name has a five year life span, unless, of course you pay the $50 fee to renew it. Little do they know my business has been defunct for nearly two years! Wow...two years. How time flies.

Before I go a minute further, and I suspect this may be a recurring theme in this space, last night's sunset was absolutely gorgeous! So much so, even Bruce remarked on it, and that is saying a lot.
Just think, only two weeks ago when the smoke was so thick, the same view looked like this.
Is it any wonder I had no idea there were so many mountains out there?

So, I may no longer have an official business name, but as you well know, I am still "out & about" taking photographs. More than anyone really should, perhaps, but it gives me great pleasure, so I keep snapping away.

There was certainly a lot of hoopla over the solar eclipse, wasn't there? And, rightly so. If I heard it once, I heard it twenty times that it was either a once in a lifetime experience, or something you would never forget. I beg to differ. There are those amongst the populace who won't remember it next year;  of course, I would be one of those forgetters. Then again, two years ago, who would have thought I'd not only be living in a different city, but a different country as well. Maybe I will remember it after all.

You know how most everything comes down to timing? Well, my plan for the eclipse thing was to go over to the Telus World of Science as they were giving out glasses. Originally I'd thought to walk, but good sense prevailed, and I decided to at least take the ferry there, and I could walk home. I began walking towards the ferry dock when I realized, perhaps I'd better go back to use the bathroom. I've been very happy to learn there is one just off the lobby in the building. Having to go upstairs, no big deal, but what is a big deal is disturbing Baxter who will want my attention should I return so quickly. Okay, so I did my thing, then began, once again walking towards the ferry dock. My view while waiting looked like this.
I thought I might take the False Creek ferry this time, however, Aqua Bus showed up first. I got on as the only passenger, until a few moments later another couple showed up. and thank God for that, because these nice folks, visiting from New York City, ended up giving me a pair of glasses!!
Because the ferries come every five to ten minutes, had I not gone back to use the bathroom, I would have been without glasses, because once I arrived at the Science center the place was packed and no glasses were still available. When I got off the ferry, my view looked like this:
The buildings in the foreground belong to the paddling center, and house canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks. Now I know where they come from as not a day goes by without bunches of them passing by my windows.

The Science center is yet another remnant of Expo 86. From this vantage point I saw a bunch of folks,
but when I got closer, I saw a whole bunch more!
Most of the time I ended up standing next to this couple with their homemade pinhole cameras.
They liked their cameras, but they liked using the glasses even more. I spread them around to probably ten other folks, especially as the time drew near for the expected 86% coverage. There were just so many folks, one fellow remarked, "does anyone work anymore?" It sure doesn't appear that they do.
While waiting, the sun was super bright, and I grew warm, taking my little sweater off. Did you notice how the temperature dropped when the coverage was greatest? I did! The sweater went right back on. That said, the days have been comfortable but warmer than they are accustomed to.
I never did actually go into the center as the crowds were too great. That will be an activity for one of the upcoming rainy days.
I began my walk home along the seawall, on this, the opposite side of the water from where we live. Anyone remember the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver? There is an entire Olympic village repurposed into housing for residents. Here's the plaza..
So that's a big bird, actually there are two in the plaza, but I'll tell you what....the seagulls here are enormous. I saw this fellow seemingly talking to a seagull,
and when I fell into step with him and his partner, I learned they were looking for their seagull "pet" who had escaped!

Continuing my walk...
I passed under the Cambie Street bridge, wondering if I should attempt the three or four story climb to actually walk on the bridge. I took a seat nearby. Although I've seen several of these "pianos on the street", this is the first time I have actually seen someone playing one.
Please note the oldish woman on the walker sitting to the players right. Seeing her amble along the seawall, I thought to myself, "sure, you can climb those stairs, get on it." And that is how I came to find myself walking on the bridge towards home.
That's a fantastic pathway isn't it? Instead of stairs, thankfully, you go down off the bridge on a ramp which is where I saw something so new to me, I did a double take. Yup, that's a swimming pool.
The eclipse was good and it felt really good to be amongst a big crowd watching it happen with my glasses! I still cannot believe my good fortune.

Bruce goes to Toronto tomorrow for an overnight trip leaving me and Baxter to go it alone. I will miss him, but what will really be the kicker is that he is the morning person and by that I mean the one who takes Baxter down first thing. I don't mind taking him, it's the getting dressed first thing that I dislike.

yours truly,


p.s. If you are wondering if I am missing our friends and family, the answer is YES!

You Just Never Know