There are cities and countries that just happen to witness my tantrums in the most unexpected of times.
Long story short- I had an off day. I need to get away from Seattle.
“That’s it, I’m going to Canada.” So off I went in the most spontaneous of fashion.
Canada (~36 million ppl) with her 10 provinces and 3 territories is the 2nd largest country by total area in the world. From my studies in Indigenous studies back in Aus, I know that the Aboriginal People of Canada enjoys better treatment than their Australian counterparts. Having inhabited the land thousands of years prior to the usual European colonisation, they became second-class citizens once the British and French made their mark. The colony of Canada was first established by the French in 1534. Conflicts followed before the country gaining independence around 1931 (It was in 1982 that Canada took authority over their own constitution thus ending any remaining tied of legal dependence on UK parliament). Manufacturing, mining and service sectors transformed the country into an urbanised industrial nation. The country is a net exporter of energy.
USA’s Seattle to Canada’s Vancouver is close and thus do-able. Air tickets were expensive (~300 usd) and far too much of a hassle for last minute trips. So, I went with the bus (return ~60 usd/ 3-4 hrs one way).
Crossing the border was fun and I became excited at the thought of speaking French. However, little did I know that in Vancouver, French is not so often spoken so the border police gave me a funny look and let me through (is the country really bilingual though?) . Vancouver was cold and windy…the air was fresh after the rain and the following day was filled with the same familiar dampness and greyness. I was in a state of silence – reflecting on work and life. With my heavy Milou (camera+tripod) in one hand, an umbrella in another and carrying a heavy backpack, my feet carried me around Vancouver.
Consistently ranked as the most lovable city in the world, Vancouver has the highest population density in the country. Thus, it came with no surprise that Vancouverism was evident along the walk from Gastown to Stanley Park. Overall, urban planning with multiple high-rise residential blocks and its merge with the surrounding environment should be something that other cities look up to.
Although I’m not a fan of artificial man-made buildings since it bores me, I did find the architectural layout and design interesting. Open areas throughout the city, waterfront, tall buildings, green spaces and skyline truly reflected that urban philosophy of “ecodensity”, “high amenity and lovable development.” The bay area, the parks, gardens, mountains and other environmental elements didn’t gave me a sense of the city being a concrete jungle. The city is also a sustainable green city since 93% of electricity are generated using hydroelectric power. I can see myself living in Vancouver however, I know for sure that I can’t afford it since housing prices and rent are 2-3 times more expensive than other cities.
In Vancouver,”density, design, and land use can contribute to environmental sustainability, affordability, and liveability”.
Almost surrounded by waters of Vancouver Harbour, Stanley park was one of the first areas to be explored and used by the Indigenous people. Despite the drizzle, the walk was pleasant. I made my way around the various points of interest from the skyline to a random wooden house to the totem and the lighthouse.
A sudden onset of numbing coldness hit me shortly as I began to have lunch with the ducks that swam around the Bay. Then, it poured which signalled the end of my trip and my eventual return to Seattle. Canada’s December is cold and barren yet, emptiness is just what I needed to cool off and distract myself with something that I’m comfortable with: staring into black space whilst exploring a foreign city.
Perhaps it is crazy to see her in a day however, a return looks slim. Therefore, whenever I can: I travel. I leave behind a footprint and create my own memories of something foreign.My day ended with an uni friend who is now residing in Seattle. Considering how scattered my friends are and how easy it is to lose touch as our lives head down different paths, I cherish every one of them. Yep- I’m clingy.