Jun 12, 2005

Rayg bless Canada.

I have a strong feeling I am going to fall in love with Canada.

...Based on what I have seen of it so far, at least, which isn't much. Still, first impressions count for something. We crossed the border at around 9 in the evening, so what I have seen of the scenic landscape was drenched in lovely twilight... and ironically, the overcast sky began to burst open immediately after we reached 'the other side.' There's nothing like just entering a country for the first time, when the twilight is just fading into dusk, and the music of Underworld is playing from the dash while cold raindrops splatter against the windshield. It was a very surreal experience. Darkness had fallen by the time we reached Vancouver, B.C., and I was greatly impressed with the view of the city's skyline. Downtown happens to be surrounded by water on all four sides, and our hotel is located on the northern end. We checked into the Renaissance a few hours ago, and it happens to be a tremendous step up in quality from the last hotel we stayed in. Complimentary valet parking, a ritzy-looking building, a 14th story view of the waterfront and northern Vancouver (not to neglect mention of the town of Whistler, located way up in the distant mountains- their lights can be seen from the window), a mini-bar, Internet access (how else could I post this?), and a pool, spa, and sauna... whoa. I am going to savour such luxurious amenities, as very seldom do I ever have the chance to experience such a thing. The room itself is nice, but what takes the cake is the view. The sliding glass doors open on either side, enabling me to step right up to the glass railing right outside the centre of the room and take in the view. It's a vast array of glimmering city lights on the other side of the water, with gas stations for mariners actually located in the middle of Burrard Inlet. Admittedly, it seems rather strange to see a 'Chevron' sign protruding from a vast body of water, but I have also gotten used to it. With the doors open, the cool Canadian air drifts into the room, and it feels... soothing. It's also raining... lightly, but steadily.

As for the city itself, I plan to spend a considerable portion of tomorrow traipsing about the downtown segment. I'm sure I am going to discover plenty of interest... from what I have seen of Vancouver so far, it's a beautiful city, and seems to have much, much more character than a typical U.S. city. However, I should mention that I am truly fond of Seattle. I spent Saturday wandering about a few of its parks, and I was thoroughly impressed with the natural beauty I found. It was a very damp and rainy day, and the sky looked simply magnificent, especially as I walked the paths in Magnusin Park. I found the colder, temperate rain to be quite pleasant. A nice quality about Seattle is that since it is surrounded by several bodies of water, it cannot experience the same kind of widespread suburbanisation trends that many other American cities become victim to. Cities like Phoenix (shudder) which are built on wide open tracts of land continue to expand and expand until they become one gargantuan spread-out city, while Seattle and Vancouver can only expand upwards or on the other side of the water. This makes them much prettier, in my opinion.

Before we left Seattle, we decided to pay the astronomically high fee of admission for elevating to the top of the Space Needle. The view was excellent and the day was only partly cloudy, so I got plenty of photographs, which I will gather together and post in due time. Afterwards, at Pike's Plaza Marketplace, I enjoyed the best Chinese food I believe I have ever had. I know for certain that I have never had better tofu. We also toured Seattle Aquarium, which turned out to be a little too heavily orientated toward small children for my liking. The highlight of the tour, however, was watching the sea otters swim about. They are such delightful creatures, and I can see why a couple of my online furry acquaintances take after them so strongly.

I feel as if it's been a week since I left home, but in reality, it's only been three days. 'Tis quite strange, how that works. But it feels so right to not be in the United States, eh.

I try not to get too long-winded with these journal entries... it hardly feels right to be staring into a computer monitor while undergoing this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Well, perhaps it isn't once-in-a-lifetime... but summer of 2005 could be something I vividly remember 50 years from now, my finest summer ever, and I find it satisfying to preserve these memories in writing.


Lithium said...

I've wanted to visit Canada for a few years now, along with several other places. I envy you for being able to experience something that sounds so wonderful and beautiful. I hope that you're having a good time and making the most of everything. You deserve it.

You're right about things seeming longer than it has. I could swear that you have been gone for several weeks now, but reality proves that it's less than that. In any case, I hope you'll be returning soon and have plenty to write about in the meantime.

I miss you.

Pettra said...

Alaska isn't too bad as well, from what I've seen the heard. The only downside I can think to such a beautiful place is that a large proportion of the people there are right wingers...

k said...

The West is a beautiful place, indeed. Vancouver is a strange place. A whole bunch of X-Files episodes were shot there.

If you ever happen to find yourself in Southern Ontario, you'll have to pay me a visit.

Kinuki said...

Sounds beautiful there! You're making someone like me from the damned suburbs jealous! ~_^

Hope you're having a great time! I'm so glad you're enjoying it. Keep us updated on how things are going! Can't wait to see you update this again and hear from you. ^_^