A place of politics, culture (!!) & random subjects from Airstrip One. Noel hopes it will be of interest and/or use to all sorts of voyagers in cyberspace!

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Friday, June 02, 2006

More Vancouver (at last!!)

The thoughts on Vancouver below were originally typed up at the start of May. It went a bit political in the middle, and apols for that (what, you wanted more politics on my blog?!), but I thought if I didn't post it now it would never see the light of day. The next chunk on Vancouver will arrive eventually- probably soon after my next visit to Vancouver...

Apols for not getting back to this after I left my thoughts on the City of Glass back in November. As I think I've said before, if I get my callup papers for Iran I am on the next plane to Vancouver, and if need be hide in Stanley Park until it's all over (one way or other). Apparently there are about 100 people living in the depths of Stanley Park, and one thing I would advise anyone visiting Vancouver: don't go there after dark, or at best stick to the seawall (you'd be ok on a night that has fireworks) as it can be a place where no-one can hear you scream...

I'll try and keep this posting as non-political as possible for once but I think if I was to end up in Stanley Park or some other part of BC avoiding a campaign to singe the President of Iran's beard I don't think I would be alone amongst the natives. Canada was a place where a lot of deserters from the US fled during the Vietnam years, and BC was one of the most popular destinations. In Vancouver at least there seems no enthusiasm for The War Against Terror (Think Bush: Think T.W.A.T...sorry Mum- pardon my use of northern Anglo-Saxon crudity). Basically no-one likes Bush there. A piece of info from my friend's fiance was quite interesting: there are no Canadian army recruitment offices in the whole of BC. When I flew to Victoria by sea plane (do it! It's worth every penny- about £100 return) to go whale watching (you can go whale watching from Granville Island, but unless you like getting there for 7.30 in the morning, go to Victoria instead) I did notice there is a Royal Canadian Navy base and recruitment office in Victoria harbour, but I don't think the Canadian Navy will be serving in Afghanistan any time soon...

Along with being anti-war I think there is a definite political tendency in Vancouver (ok my two friends and their partners, but there seem to be part of something more general) which is libertarian in a good sense. That is, socially liberal, basically letting people get on with their own private lives as long as it hurt others, and a great suspicion of state and corporate power. There is a spirit of public service and community spirit in Vancouver which living in the commuter village that is West Hampstead I am envious of (although the East Side and the likes of Burnaby are evidence that nowhere, even Vancouver, is a perfect place to live) and there is much truth in Vancouverite Douglas Coupland's comment in City of Glass that "I think we should franchise ourselves and put Vancouver all around the world- it's actually not a bad idea."

Enough politics for once. I return to the Grand Tour of Vancouver.

Yaletown I could describe as one big building site, but that would be unfair. The architecture of the area I really like- the nearest comparison I can think of is the area in Barcelona that they are developing at the bottom of the Ramblas next to the beach- there is something about white stone used well. However, the place is rather souless- very yuppified (a sign I grew up in the 80s). It is full of people who like making money and buying pointless stuff. There are plenty of decent bars and restaurants which are far from hideously expensive (Yaletown Brewery supplies both good food and good beer) but the area has no soul.

"I will return to the subject in hand soon" as Karl Marx probably said after Volume 2 of Das Kapital. If you want opinions on where to go (or not) in Vancouver if you visit I can give you advice & I know people over there who can help you out further.


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