Kitsilano II: definitely not in Forfar any more

May 3, 2014

Gorgeous weather here yesterday. We went for a morning stroll, checking out flowering trees, gawking at tree-lined streets, staring in our best bemused manner at occasional palm trees in decorative front gardens. Eventually we made it down to the beach, a wide stretch of shell-flecked sand which goes pretty well everywhere from our view in Kitsilano. We were surprised at how clean the sand is, though there’s no evidence of grooming.

Yesterday little kids and their mothers played on the beach in the morning sun. Four guys were competitively digging holes for beach volleyball posts. Joggers trotted by in summer apparel. A bunch of dogs and their owners sociably lined up at the doggy drink fountain on beach property.

We found a bench in a bit of shade, not far from the bustle. A slightly dishevelled guy about my age with a plastic bag containing a number of cans of beer selected a bench for his day. Bet decided a young crow was getting too pushy and so she shooed it away with a stamp of her foot.

More joggers huffed and puffed their way past our bench. It was time for the climb. We took deep breaths and set off.

You see, the problem in Kitsilano is that everything is on a slope. Our borrowed apartment has a great view, peeking over the roofs of rows of buildings below. That means a climb. After some gasping on my part we made it back to base, only to find an email suggesting we meet Charlie for lunch. Five blocks doesn’t sound too far, but two of those blocks are nearly vertical! All right, I exaggerate, but I have slid off roofs flatter than this street.

And the food outlets are all at the top of this Matterhorn! Four times we struggled up the thing. Once, just once, we passed someone: a young mother pushing a newborn in a large stroller. But then two 4’6″ raging grannies in Lululemon attire (local industry) blew by us and up over the hill without breaking their conversation.

We ended up driving to East Vancouver to an Italian sandwich shop Charlie likes. We ate on little wire chairs on the sidewalk in front, next to a dog hitched to a post. The food was pretty great, but why did he park a half-mile from the shop? Then he headed another quarter-mile downhill to a coffee shop where we spent almost as much on coffee as the sandwiches. Then back up the hill to the car.

Of course a day wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a food store, so up we went again in mid-afternoon, only to emerge into a gentle drizzle (what passes for a downpour in Vancouver).

And then dinner. You can’t believe Charlie on distances. “Just two more blocks to Trattoria, an Italian restaurant I haven’t tried yet …” We walked downhill until we must have hit the International Date Line, then eventually he ducked into a hole in the wall with a few chairs and tables out front. We had arrived.

Roz texted from a city bus. Charlie gave her the location and she arrived in time to join us. The food was spicy, the patio seating cramped and noisy, but the meal was quite enjoyable on this beautiful Friday evening.

I complained outright about climbing that insufferable hill again, so Charlie relented and we circled it, coincidentally passing the huge vending machine which is the local Ferrari dealership. The cars are on display in a six-story window with more glass along the length of the building in the attic. The dealership’s stock of new models is thus arrayed like sandwiches in a Brown’s Vending machine for easy selection. Impressive, and no doubt tempting for the impulse-buying billionaire.

Charlie did mention that there’s a new, very wide Lamborgini in the neighbourhood with a student-driver sticker. The owner is a small, very young fellow who can hardly see over the steering wheel. “With the power and width of it, he can’t be having a very good time,” Charlie quipped.

Today we plan an expedition by bus to the Aquarium at Stanley Park. Public transit is cheap and ubiquitous in Vancouver, and on a city bus we likely won’t run afoul of the kid in the Lambo.

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