Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Tag: Canada

Postcards from the Last Six Months

I spent most of this afternoon sorting through the gigantic pile of postcards that I had accumulated for the past six months. I have a system for sorting–first I sort by size. This makes it easier for me to put protective plastic sleeves on them without switching between different sizes with every other one. Then I sort them again by country and file them accordingly in boxes. Below, I’ve documented some of my progress. (This is also in a Twitter thread.)

The stack:

Austria:

Australia:

Belgium:

Belarus:

Brazil:

Canada:

China:

Czech Republic:

Estonia:

Finland:

France:

Germany:

Great Britain:

Hong Kong:

Hungary:

Indonesia:

Ireland:

Israel:

Italy:

Japan:

Lithuania:

Luxembourg:

Macau:

Netherlands:

Norway:

Poland:

Portugal:

Russia:

Spain:

Switzerland:

Taiwan:

Ukraine:

USA:

Postcard #155 – Squamish

I haven’t been to Squamish before, but I’d imagine it would be an interesting place to visit, particularly during the summer. I might be back in Vancouver around Christmas time, so if I decided to go there then, it’ll depend on the weather and the conditions of the roads.

As for getting postcards from Canada via Postcrossing–it’s actually kind of rare. It’s the same with Mexico. I think it’s because there aren’t as many people participating in those two countries as it is in the US.

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Postcard #19 – Well, It’s Obvious Where This One Is From

For those of you geographically challenged or too lazy to look it up on Google Maps, Cambridge, Ontario is approximately a one hour drive southwest of Toronto. I’ve never been to Cambridge, but I have been to Mississauga which is a city between Cambridge and Toronto. Why the heck was I in Mississauga? Well, I have relatives living there.

I spent part of my formative years in Ontario (although if you’ve read enough of my writing, you’ll notice right away that I don’t use Canadian spelling–American schools don’t tolerate any of that). I had a happy time living there, but I must admit, if the opportunity arose so that I could move back there, I would hesitate. I think it’s due to a mix of the weather (I am not fond of going out during the winter) and that East Coast vibe that makes me acutely aware that I just don’t fit in. If it was on the west coast of Canada though–no hesitation.

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Belated from the Weekend of September 14

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

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If You’re Headed to the Vancouver Olympics

1. Lines: The Canadian provinces, various countries, and corporate sponsors have set up “houses” in various locations around Vancouver.  If there’s one house you particularly want to go to, be prepared for long lines.  For example, get to the Royal Canadian Mint at least two hours before it opens if you want to see the Olympic medals.  Otherwise, you’ll be standing a couple blocks away.  Other really popular locations: the zip line at Robson Square, the Vancouver Art Gallery showing Leonardo Da Vinci drawings, and pretty much any place giving out free food. On the upside, people tend to do the wave to pass the time.

2. Pins: Fancy yourself a pin collector? You can get different ones at each house–for free.  But go in and ask the volunteers working at the house about the pins.  Some of the houses do not publicize the fact that they give away pins because of the crowds of people.

3. The Official Olympic store at the Bay: During the Olympics, it’s open until midnight on the weekdays and twenty-four hours on the weekend.  Every time I passed by that place, there were long lines.  If you want official merchandise, be prepared to wait for a couple hours just to get into the store.  Or you can get the merchandise at other stores instead (I suggest checking the shops at Granville Island or Robson Street).

4. Transportation: It was a good thing my sister actually lives in Vancouver and knew the bus lines, because at times (especially an hour or two prior to game times), there are long lines just to get into the Skytrain stations.  Although the buses are also packed to capacity, there are a lot more of them and taking one will actually get you faster to your destination than the newer Skytrain.  I suppose this would apply to any Olympics.  Keep in mind the alternatives before you go anywhere.

5. Tickets: If you have a ticket to an Olympic event, you don’t have to pay to get on the Skytrain or any of the buses for the day of the event.  Just show your ticket to the driver and get on.

6. Security: You are required to go through security for any Olympic event.  Pack as if you are heading to the airport.  Don’t bring any food or drinks.  There are two types of lines, a regular line where you will get your bags x-rayed and an express line for people who don’t have bags or just small purses.  However, note that if you do bring a bag (no matter the size) through the express line, they will manually check it. With a flashlight.

7. Curling: Be prepared to watch four games–at the same time.

8. Food downtown: Yes, be prepared to wait in long lines to get into restaurants and pubs.  It’s probably a better idea to get out of the city center to find some grub.  Because by the time you’ve advanced a couple feet in the line, you could have just taken a bus uptown and gotten seated at a cozy place frequented by the locals.

9. Some pictures:

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From 20100220_Vancouver
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10. Mukmuk: Want to get a giant stuffed marmot? Get it at the Vancouver International Airport and save fifty bucks.

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Now Live in Vancouver Party Central

Well, after a morning of traveling, I got to Vancouver in the early afternoon and met up with my sister in front of Vancouver City Hall.  Tons of people wearing Canada gear.  And at night, lots of drunk Canadians celebrating on the streets–in a surprisingly orderly manner.  However the crush of people was worse than New Year’s in Toronto.  My sister and I nearly got suffocated by the crowd heading past Howe and Robson.  The official event we went to was the Victory Ceremony at BC Place.  People behind us were complaining that we couldn’t sing the Canadian anthem when the Norwegian anthem was played. Twice. The band Theory of a Dead Man performed after the medal ceremony.

From 20100219_Vancouver
From 20100219_Vancouver