Summer in the city, summer in Vancouver. I get cranky about the traffic, the tourists, the never ending cruise ships that disgorge thousands of people into the downtown core, making it almost impossible to move if I want to go for a walk into Gastown at lunch.
On the flip side, I am privileged to live in a city that so many people, from all around the world, want to visit. Vancouver consistently ranks in the top five cities for livability and quality of life. Unfortunately it’s just too expensive for most people to actually live and work here though, unless they compromise heavily. If one can find a way to strike a balance, it’s really a fabulous place to call home.
The Vancouver International Dragon Boat Festival has been on this weekend and a former student was in town facing. We hadn’t been able to make a connection work the other day, so Kirk and I tossed the bicycles in the back of the truck and headed down to Stanley Park before lunch. As we drove through the park I did my usual muttering about people stopping to take photos of the Hollow Tree. To me it’s nothing more than a stump that the City decided to spend one quarter of a million dollars to impregnate with resin and fortify its structure.
For a stump.
Yes, I am less than impressed with an expensive stump when I come from a forestry community, particularly when there are still so many magnificent “living” trees to view and appreciate. I just do not understand the appeal of a remnant of a tree that wasn’t even really all that large. Why do people flock to a silly stump when they are in a forest in the middle of the city. I do not understand.
We parked and rode the seawall around the park before continuing along the seawall through the West End and around False Creek to Stamp’s Landing.
With a bit of rain in the forecast and the Dragonboat Festival happening in False Creek, the seawall wasn’t as busy as it might have otherwise been. It was easy to stop and get a few shots of Siwash Rock without a mob in front.
On the way through the West End we stopped to look across English Bay and toward UBC. A little girl was trying to make the fountain at the beach function and getting crabby about her lack of success. I almost got away without her seeing me high above her.
Almost…but not quite.
She gave me quite the look as she caught me catching her.
The beach is a place to relax as much as it is to swim and play. And as much as I think the stump in Stanley Park is ridiculous, I have to admit to enjoying some of the strange and wonderful pieces of public art that are scattered around the city. Like this one, titled “217.5 Arc X 13”. And I absolutely LOVE that someone strung a hammock in it today and made it their place to relax.
Boat traffic, aside from the small Granville Island ferries and the Aquabus that act as transit along False Creek, was shut down between the Cambie Street Bridge and Science World. The only other water traffic was made up of Dragon boats and race officials.
A flock of Canada Geese looked on to the commotion taking place in their waters, and ended up surrounded by paddlers fighting for first place across the finish line. I’ve never tried dragon boating, btu I’m impressed that the paddlers can somehow filter out the competitors drummers and their calls!
We stopped for a beer and a bite to eat at Stamp’s Landing at a spot that, for many years, used to be Monk McQueens. It now bears the brand of Mahoney & Sons, the third that I am aware of now. Since the day was a bit grey, and there was a light sprinkling of water that seemed to threaten rain to come, the patio was largely empty, which is the only reason we got the best seat in the house on a Sunday int he early afternoon. It was an awesome place to sit, under a large yellow umbrella, and gaze across the water at this city we made home over 30 years ago.
A ride back around False Creek took us back to the festival where we parked ourselves on the bank and watched a few races, not entirely sure which one my friend was in since I couldn’t hear the race numbers being called out and so couldn’t be sure which one was race 99. As we sat there the rain began to fall lightly and I was embarrassed to find myself, a seasoned Vancouverite, without a rain jacket. We nipped into Costco so I could buy a light yoga zip-up to cover my now cold and damp shoulders.
Eventually we met up, if only for a quick hello and a couple of hugs, with the couple we’d come down to see, but they had to run to catch a ferry back home to the Island. The rain had stopped so the ride back along the seawall to Stanley Park was dry, but slowed us down with a pretty solid head wind.
So we got an easy 30km ride in, I got the camera out and took a few moderately OK shots, and had the opportunity to say hello to someoneI don’t see often. And now, as the day comes to a close, it is pouring out, making up for a dry week and watering things so we don’t have to 🙂 and it was a good day.
Except my butt hurts. I need a new bicycle seat.
118 Photos in 2018 – 59. Fountain
118 Photos in 2018 – 99. Sleeping