Just as my feet create small impressions in the sand as I go for my morning run, Vancouver has made some impressions on me in the past few days.
So far, my week is best described as mellow and laid-back. I think this city inspires it. Wherever I go, people are just lying on beaches, lounging in parks, or sitting in cafes. It’s so relaxed here.
My typical day involves waking up at dawn, going for an early morning run up the coast and along the beach (I usually go for 40 minutes), stretching, eating breakfast, showering, then deciding on a part of Vancouver to explore. So far, I’ve had brief encounters with Yaletown, Granville Island, Kitsilano, Gastown, and the rest of the downtown. I’ve spent a lot of time in the library enjoying Internet access, and in parks and beaches reading. This morning I passed on exploring, deciding to save my bus tickets. Instead I spent the morning on the beach (which is just across the street), reading and enjoying the weather.
The weather has been phenomenal since I arrived. I’m waiting for the rain. It’s usually overcast in the morning and it drizzles overnight. But by 11 am the sun is out and it’s been hovering around 22 degrees every day. Perfect weather for exploring.
I’ve really enjoyed all the neighborhoods I’ve explored so far.
Yaletown is really funky and full of little cafes, shops, and restaurants. I’ll be getting to know this area really well, because Business Objects is right on the edge of it.
Granville Island and False Creek has been my favourite area so far. It reminds me a lot of The Forks in Winnipeg. There’s a great market, a ton of artist shops, some nifty outdoor gear stores, a free splash-park full of happy kids, and some great parks that I spent a lot of time in.
Gastown wasn’t as big as I thought it would be and is bordered by a shifty part of downtown, but the area itself is quite charming (if you ignore all the shops looking to lure in tourists getting of cruise ships). Definitely somewhere I’d go out to dinner with a group of people. I’m looking forward to heading down there to enjoy some of the jazz festival next week. When I was walking through I noticed people taking pictures of a big grandfather clock. Weird. Then I noticed it was smoking – on fire? Nope. It’s a steam-driven clock and a bit of a tourist draw.
KitsilanoConsidering I live right next to the neighborhood, I really haven’t explored it much. I’ve ridden the bus down 4th enough times, and gone to some of the shops on 4th. This morning, I ran that way down the coast and passed the Kits beach and pool. I was really impressed with the pool – how it blends in to the bay. Vancouverites are masters of using architecture to make buildings blend into nature. I’ve never seen such a green, urban city.
I do most of my shopping at Caper’s, the local organic and health-food fanatic grocery store. I can’t beleive a whole grocery store full of purely organic foods. Only in Vancouver. And all the restaurants around here seem to cater to Vegetarians. I’m loving it!