Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode


Is there something about the number 13? My initial plans to visit the coast of English Bay were dashed with the weather report of 80% chance of rain and a look out the window that indeed, there was rain. My alternate plans were to visit a strip of street across from the Richmond Library filled with many shops and to get a book of bus tickets.

Instead, I ended up only roaming the Richmond Centre (which is basically a mall of relatively unimaginative architecture–but then what mall is imaginative?) and running around in the rain to different places asking for bus tickets that were all sold out. And my umbrella broke. This was not how I planned to spend my day. The only redeeming thing about the mall was a Chinese bakery called Maxim’s (I’m told it’s very famous in Hong Kong) with very delicious, abet fattening, pastries.

I can never go anywhere without looking up where the libraries and bookstores are. The Richmond Library (intriguing because a significant proportion of the books were in Chinese) is located in a large building called the Cultural Centre. Next to the library is a tiny museum titled aptly, the Richmond Museum which primarily archives documents of cultural and historical significance to the city. I found the old street plans and the industrial exhibits particularly interesting. It’s a very little visited cranny–in fact, I was the only one in the museum the entire time I was looking at the exhibits. And when I looked in the guestbook, the only visitors who had signed in where Richmond natives. (Although technically now, there’s also me with an address in the States.)

For/TowardIn the evening, I attended the opening to For/Toward, an art show at the International Village in Chinatown which was sponsored by the University of British Columbia. It was…interesting. I’m not so much one for art theory and trying to decipher what sort of meaning someone wanted to convey with a pile of knitted yarn unraveling, or even worse, baby paraphernalia lined up on a table and strung up on a clothes line with no discernible order or intent. I’m more comfortable contemplating more traditional forms like painting, photography, sculpture.

Since it was the opening, there was also a bit of one-time performance art which involved young women wearing white t-shirts playing in a pile of ice as if it were a sandbox, occasionally reciting random poetry from books, and throwing said books into the pile of ice. To say the least, I did not get it.

At least, after the art show, I discovered that the nearby 7-11 had bus tickets on stock.

What Bumper Sticker?

It’s quite weird. Practically every car I saw in Washington State didn’t have bumper stickers or any other kind of decoration in the rear of the car. And I saw quite a few of these cars since I was in Seattle at rush hour. This means no Bush/Cheney stickers. Or Kerry/Edwards. Or “Support the Troop” ribbons, American flags, Confederate flags, fish, fish with a cross, fish with legs, Jesus, honor students of Anywho Middle Schools, the AAA, parking stickers, jokes, puns, or anything else for that matter.

Anyways, I wasn’t in Seattle long enough to have seen much else. There were more pine trees than I had expected. The downtown seems to look properly posh for a west coast metropolitan area–with the addition of Starbucks on every corner. There was a car wash with a pink elephant. The space needle appeared shorter than I had imagined.

Other odd things observed: Skies the color of melancholy blotting paper, George Washington’s head (or at least I think it’s him) used as background for highway numbers, and a rest area with free coffee.

But why, you might ask, was I in Seattle when I was in the Vancouver airport as well? That was where I was dropped at the end of the day. I took the bus across the border. The check point was quick, for me at any rate, although the entire bus was held up at the border for an extra half hour because a lady was questioned by the customs officials. She had brought a kazillion bags with her. Which was rather impractical, isn’t it? Don’t get sidetracked by the duty free stores. If you’re traveling, you don’t need much with you besides the necessities.

At first, I was fooled by the gas prices in Canada. $1.06? Holy smokes, maybe I should have gone across the border by car instead. But then I realized that this was per liter, not per gallon. And if you do the math, it’s actually quite expensive.

So thus begins my travelogue for the next couple of weeks. I’ll be around Vancouver and its surrounding areas (and maybe a little of Seattle if I get around to it). And photos! I’ll get some up once I’ve subdued the digital camera I’ve borrowed. Oh, and if you have any suggestions for where I should go, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.