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City Life

Tuesday morning I had some shopping to do. And although I thought this post would be flower free, well, that's just not happening because they are everywhere I look.
Last evening, while reading the Georgia Straight, a free weekly paper, somewhat like our Orlando Weekly at home, I came across an article about the city trees that claimed downtown had only an 8% tree canopy. Startling to me as I seem to see them everywhere. And such variety! Bruce and I came up with a list of the types of trees at home and well, either my memory is faulty, which we all know is likely the case, or, our variety is far less. I had been keeping my eye on a dramatic park tree, wondering how it would change. At first I thought it was another type of cherry tree, however, now I'm thinking it is a Redbud? Having seen only two in Orlando before, my frame of reference is shaky.
Just the other day, at this same park I noticed what I thought were giant Lilac bushes. How I knew this is beyond me, however, they smell heavenly which is a good thing because they flank the entrance to an off leash dog area. Need I say more?
After picking up the things I needed at Shopper's Drug Mart and dropping them at the condo, I walked in the other direction to Costco to buy some Sonicare toothbrush heads. As you recall I cannot use my Visa there so a stop at a bank along the way was necessary. You may also recall that in our early days, a walk to Costco was a big deal. Now, however, I'm just getting started. What a difference months of walking makes.

Back to the trees---- many, many, of the streets you feel as if you are walking in a green tunnel.
During my conversation with Dale and Jackie, the "gorilla gardeners," they told me that after our first meeting, they discussed my enthusiasm following my departure. They actually thanked me for reminding them of what a beautiful city they live in. Or, something to that effect. Don't get me wrong, Orlando is lovely as well, but here I have fresh eyes making everything bigger than life.

I asked the guy at the Costco customer service counter if he would cut the packaging open so I could fit the toothbrush heads in my backpack and he did. Talk about some wasteful packaging, it was about ten times the size it needed to be. Have you heard that is a new topic of conversation?

Because I was so close, I decided to walk down to Water Street, seeing sights along the way, including this huge mural that was finished months ago.
Unlike other large cities, Vancouver, at least downtown, has very little street art so I was surprised when I saw this one at the corner of Cordova and Abbot.
Many visitors to Vancouver, including myself when I was a tourist three years ago, spend their time in Gastown. Every now and again, you see this sad sight. (Only blocks away, outside the sight of most tourists, they may be five deep on the sidewalk)
Because the leaves are so green and the day was sunny and bright, it all looks fantastic, something I wish that Tom and Matt had been able to experience during their visit. Not happening in late December so really a silly thought on my part. Perhaps some photographs will suffice.
I heard the famous Gastown steam clock before I actually saw it. Generally I don't often come to this part of town, well, perhaps because I'm no longer a tourist?
I do, on the other hand, love how crowded the sidewalks are with all the hustle and bustle of individual lives making their way in the world. Because Gastown is the oldest part of Vancouver, you still see the way it used to be before glass towers overtook the city skyline.
Thinking of individual lives, imagine all of the planning, saving, and dreaming, folks did before even getting on the boat.
I can think of any number of folks who began their Alaskan cruises in this very spot. Standing in Granville Square, if you look in the other direction, containers galore, each with their own stamp from dozens of lives.
Two things I learned yesterday: this plaza was filled with cherry trees that I missed, and two, there are now Dogwoods in bloom, apparently the British Columbia national tree. Or so my neighbor told me when he asked if I'd seen the trees in the courtyard yet. Why, yes I have, and so have my readers. :)
City life has introduced me to all manner of ways of dressing. Heading out to walk your dogs in high-heeled red boots? Why not?
When I remember all of the times I've gone out, while living here, in clothes that barely match, I have to laugh, imagining my Orlando self doing that. Won't be too much longer before we are back to both reality and matching clothes.

In the meantime, though, enjoying the surroundings is enough, mis-matched clothing be damned. Every now and again, when I am down this way, I like to remember our first night here and how overwhelmed we felt after our 13 day road trip. This area was a peaceful oasis.
Of course it didn't look the same in late July, but still it was pretty, and I loved the water feature.
How peaceful can it be when you are in the heart of the tourist area? Surprising, isn't it? Well, of all things, walking through the plaza I ran into Venus who was enjoying the scenery while waiting for a lunch date. Gosh it felt good to run into someone I know and having a nice little chat was a treat. As was this sight. Who doesn't love bubbles?
Walking home, these doors!
It won't be long now before the Cherry trees are but a distant memory that I will savor as long as I can. The first ones that bloomed had such delicate flowers, whereas this variety, along Richards Street, has these big sturdy looking clumps.
At first I was really puzzled by all of the park activity, never having lived in the heart of Orlando in an apartment. After all these months I finally get it. Tiny apartments, no real yards, thus the park becomes part of your living space. Still, some of the activities bring amusement, such as this guy who has been enjoying the sun in this same spot two days in a row.
That said, he's not the only one who is enjoying the sun as people come out in droves, although very few, if any, enjoy it wearing a Speedo with shoes and socks. Then again, what do I know?

Every so often, people insist that I take their photograph which seems crazy, but it happens, as it did in the case of these Vancouver House construction workers.
Not a great picture, as I took it under the bridge with sketchy lighting, but it is notable because it shows the kind of men working in construction here in Canada. Young is what I mean. So few young people enter the construction trade at home that it has come as a surprise here.

Jonathan's 35th birthday ended like this in Vancouver. In true modern day fashion, we texted, although Bruce did speak with him briefly. Our baby is 35!!
City life has been more than I could ever have imagined. In all sorts of good ways.

yours truly,

Gail
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