It’s been two weeks now and I’ve been noticing a few things about living in the west-side of Vancouver. Peculiar things that may or may not be unique to this city, but worthy of mentioning.

Observation #1:

Dogs are everywhere. Big ones, small ones, long-hair, short-hair, curly and straight (hair, that is). Sit in a park for awhile and you’re sure to see numerous dog owners being walked by their dogs.  They meet other dog owners and they get together for a lovely chat about, you guess it, their dogs. Fascinating.

Observation #2:

Fancy gardens/lawns. Usually they’re in front of picture-perfect houses. And there are rows upon rows of houses with beautiful lawns. You rarely see people actually enjoying their lawns. You would think that after spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars in landscaping people would be hanging out smelling their imported roses. Nope.

Observation #3:

Cats may have nine lives, but spider webs eternally resurrect. Doesn’t matter how many times you walk down a path, the next morning there will be a new web waiting to meet your face. And they’re everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

Observation #4:

Hills are a way of life. You’re either walking up a hill, or coming down one. The most level piece of geography is the ocean. I can see why one ice storm can wreak havoc on this city; the entire peninsula is a giant toboggan course (if any snow manages to stay).  In any case, at least you can pretend you’re saving gas half the time you’re driving.

Observation #5:

Buses are only useful if they stop for you. Enough said.

Observation #6:

Flashing green. For the uninitiated driver in BC, this is a strange sight. You’re cruising along a street and there’s a series of uncoordinated flashing green traffic lights. What does this mean!??!?! If you’re not induced into epileptic shock, you’re tapping the breaks because you’re anticipating a change in the lights. Actually, the flashing green means that it is a pedestrian intersection and will ONLY turn red if there’s a pedestrian wanting to cross the street. Ohhhh.

Observation #7:
Addresses don’t locate, they identify. Take for example 5128 Granville Street. The logical interpretation is that this building is situated near 51st Avenue and Granville Street. Oh foolish thinking! It’s actually on 35th Ave and Granville. Looking on a map is pointless. So unless someone tells you what the nearest intersection is, you’re left driving to Richmond. There’s better Chinese food there anyways.

Observation #8:

The gods here are Coffee and Sun. People can’t get enough of them. Places of worship are interwoven into the fabric of this great city. Starbucks, Blenz, Café foreign place, Tim Hortons, etc…. there’s a place for every worshiper to belong. And don’t forget to pay homage to the Sun everyday that it’s out. If you don’t please the Sun now, you’ll soon regret it during days of darkness and rain.

Observation #9:

Price gouging. Vancouver is a very pretty city. Ocean meets mountains, and people get to play in between. And being a pretty city, they can charge an arm and a leg, heck your soul, to live here. Property, insurance, gas, health care, I’m sure the list goes on to account for the higher cost of living. The only saving grace is cheap food, or I should say the availability of cheap food.

I think that’s all for now. Perhaps there will be more observations in the coming months. In the meantime, I will keep enjoying my uphill walks through lovely neighborhoods, coffee in hand and head turned to the sun. Especially when the bus passes me and I can’t find my destination.


7 thoughts on “Observations

  1. I think it’s only Albertans that use the numbers of the address to imply the locations of numbered streets and avenues. I never understood that, or quadrants for that matter, until I moved here. Everywhere else, there are street names and numbers, but then, they don’t number their streets like in the west… I can see how that gets confusing. But numbered streets in Vancouver are actually very large blocks/major intersections. Imagine the culture shock a Vancouverite must feel in Alberta. 😛

    The flashing green light thing is local to BC only. Everywhere else internationally, flashing green means “step on it” – a protected green. But in Vancouver, it is actually the equivalent of the flashing yellow – this is an uncontrolled intersection, and a car can flyout of the intersection to t-bone you if you’re not careful. That’s what we learned living there in the summers when I was in undergrad. 😛 That, and there are NO left turn lanes which is why traffic is quite congested everywhere due to single land (really).

    But, I love Vancouver. You’re living in paradise – nothing to complain about, only to gloat about. 😛 See you in October.

  2. You’re right, I’m thinking like an Albertan wrt addresses. We’re used to being able to navigate without a map, because the streets are numbered, not named.

    As for the flashing green, they’re not uncontrolled intersections, but glorified crosswalks. The “main street” has right-of-way. If a car flies out then that’s due to bad driving.

    I’m not complaining at all.. just observing. And it’s paradise only for those fortunate enough to have a roof and a bed.

  3. So that’s what the blinking light is about.

    A few more observations in line with your observations.

    1. Sounds a lot like Seattle, Portland, San Fran and every other hip west coast city. Have you ever been around a bunch of people with kids. They act the same way. I think that because Vancouver is so expensive, people don’t have kids so they substitute the less expensive dog to fill the void in their life.
    2. Rich people and their luxuries. It’s what’s on the outside that matters.
    3. hmmm
    4. I have nothing to add.
    5. Wisdom.
    6. I am now enlightened, but is it really necessary to inform drivers that the light might turn red or it might not? When I drive, I watch the lights and if they turn red I stop. If they stay green I keep driving. I never assume one scenario or the other. Does it really matter if the light changes because of a pedestrian or because of intersecting traffic?
    7. That is just stupid. But now I understand why I can never find anything in Vancouver. Come down to Seattle, we use the grid and you can navigate without a map. Plus we have freeways so you can actually get from one side of town to the other without committing a whole day to the adventure.
    8. Mmmm coffee and sun. This is not unique to Vancouver, Seattle and Portland have the same incidence of coffee and sun worship. In fact, I’ve finished my first pot of coffee, I think I’ll go get some more.
    9. Is it really price gouging or is it just a price premium for getting to live somewhere that ranks really high on the awesome list. I like to think of it more like a luxury car. Sure Ferrari’s are expensive but you get to drive a Ferrari.

  4. Too funny…
    Ahhh, I miss the good old days of pulling spider webs from your face…walk with a stick (umbrellas are actually handy too, more on that later). hahahaha! Watch out next for the catepillars if you haven’t got to them yet…

    The address thing is actually quite simple. You just have to subtract 16 from the first two digits to get your cross street (of course every vancouverite knows that…just ask on the street!) DUH!

    Actually, the ‘brella will come in even handier when the busses that don’t stop go through the big puddle that you just walked up to to try to stop the bus…be warned!

  5. Well written thoughts Di 🙂 Nothing to miss here in Edmonton. Fall came and is well on its way out. With the strong winds this week, the trees will soon be bare and winter will settle in. Sigh. Something about smelling change in the air…

  6. Descriptive observations. An enjoyable read. Distracted me from RFI’s….. for a moment.
    How many umbrellas do you have now? Do they all still work or are some broken? Do they leave a mess when you bring them into the house? Have you been hit in the head by anybody elses umbrella? November is coming……..Vancouver’s rainiest month!

  7. i like observation 5. miss you di!
    also – addresses – edmonton’s makes so much sense but everyone tells me my street addy of a string of 7 numbers is retarded. they just don’t understand….

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