Posted by: TomA | 26 September 2006


I had a fun start to my birthday. An appointment with the bank to open an account, which was a fun excursion, though the 10 minutes solid of signing travellers cheques less so. Then on to look at two more places to live.

The first was jolly nice, the woman had 2 other students living there, all was good and ready to say yes, until when asked about Becky staying regularly, we got a funny look and an “infrequent guests are welcome”, and got the distinct feeling anything more definately wasn’t.

Still, better than the next one. Having struggled to find it, turned out it was a nasty residential block (think 70’s UK social housing) and not a nice, typical Kits house as I’d hoped. Still, better than what was inside. Knocked on the door, had a shout of “I’ll be there in a moment”, and then stood outside for ten minutes or so while we listened to shuffling about inside. Finally this woman in her 50s or 6os opens the door, the whiff of stagnant breath wafts out, and before we get a chance to escape, we’re being shown around this gruesome (last decorated in 1971 or so, all green worktops and plastic wood) apartment and getting all this woman’s life story. She appeared to sleep in the living room, which was packed full of clutter and fruit flies. She told us several times she’d been thinking of getting some fly spray for a while, all in rather stumbling English. She said she was a kiwi, though I’d assumed they predominantly spoke English…. she also seemed fixated on the British Empire. Bizarre. We finally made a break for it, having determined she was desparate for a husband and wasn’t aquainted with mints. Horrendous barely covers it.

A rather large sealion.

Rest of the day was far more pleasant. Got on the bus and headed up to Stanley Park to visit the aquarium. There were lots of lovely, lovely otters, who seemed more than happy to swan about on their backs rumming their bellies and their faces with a look of content on their faces. The sealion was rather good too. He sat totally still most of the time, occasionally letting out a loud roar, before lazing back in the sun.

We watched two “shows”, one with whales, the other with dolphins. Both were decidedly on the creepy side, with the animals trained to perform “tricks” on cue. Most of it was rather irritating and contrary to expectations over a wildlife sanctuary. Two entertaining moments did come out of it though. The first involved a rather chubby child, of around 8-10 I’d guess, who volunteered, and was promptly spat on by a whale. Several times. He left drenched, looking far less smug. The second came at the end, with the whales usi thngeir tails to splash people. So everyone that’d left a moment early got drenched. Resulting in an entertaining number of crying, distressed and soaked children.

Stanley Park itself is so pretty, with views of downtown and skyscrapers to the east (below)…

… mountains to the north….

and to the west you get the beaches overlooking Kitsilano, and the sunset…

Having played on the swings (again) overlooking the beach, Kits and the mountains, we went to a gorgeous fish restaurant (courtesy of Becky’s parents for my birthday, which was very sweet and generous) and ate fish. Really good oysters and mussels and this great rockfish with apple and chorizo and asparagus. Plus really good chocolate cake.


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