We followed Jeremy through West Vancouver. The hills rolled perfectly so that you never really had to pedal to get to the top. Beautiful houses are stacked along the coast with skyline and bridge views and the whole place smells like cotton candy. Passing through downtown might have been a bit hectic had it not been for our guided tour. Jeremy lived about a kilometer from Gemma and Stan, so we stopped by his place to drop his luggage and he took us right to their door. We said our goodbyes. Sometimes you hope that you’ll run into somebody again, but know that you probably won’t.
Stan and Gemma have a beautiful condo just across the bay from downtown. Their place is filled with many leather bound books and smells of fresh fruit. As far as I can tell, it is a deeply ingrained custom in Canada to have blueberries in a wooden or glass bowl on the counter top at all times.
Parents never cease to amaze me. Life seems to move so much faster. Get one to piano practice, stop the other from discovering the limits of unaided human flight. At the tender age of two, Theo is already learning that a big smile and a twinkle in one’s eye can generally smooth over any situation involving spilled milk or a toy left haphazardly in the middle of the floor. Rebecca, a few years wiser, takes a more cerebral approach and picks your brain about your favorite Pixar film or your preferred flavor of ice cream. Each equally charming you in their own way.
Vancouver is an amazingly functional city. Public transit, protected cycle lanes, municipal composting. Coming from the Midwest it is almost too perfect. Nobody spits or swears and I appear to be the only one that crosses a street in defiance of the crosswalk signal. The bums smile and give you lentil salad outside the public market on Granville Island and you can take a water taxi to downtown for two bucks. When getting off the bus, everybody thanks the driver.
I find gold at a thrift store. Crisp new ultra-light rain pants, a merino wool sweater, and a nice long sleeve T-shirt. All for forty bucks. We meet up for dinner with Elizabeth and Reed, the couple that we had met outside of Destruction Bay a few weeks prior.
Wednesday morning, after some life responsibilities, we head to the Anthropology Museum. It is a brilliant display of contrived sensitivity, misappropriation of cultural artifacts, and unfulfilled promises. Numerous signs and plaques highlight the museum’s efforts to “repatriate” artifacts taken from first nation people. This of course would render the museum empty as it is mostly filled with pilfered totem poles, so they do not appear to be in any hurry. Apparently the belief is that these pieces are made of the earth and should eventually rot and become part of the earth. In typical western fashion, non-first nation folks have taken it upon themselves to go to great lengths and take these as artifacts for preservation but fail to see the irony in the simultaneous destruction of the culture that created them.
After dinner that night, Rebecca gives us a private piano concert in which with her personal interpretation of classics such as the theme to Pirates of The Caribbean. Theo sits on the bed in admiration of his older sister. Bellies full and legs well rested, we pack to leave Vancouver, and Canada, in the morning.