With almost 48 hours passed since my initial onset of writers block, I have come to the sad realization that when everything works out seamlessly (as it tends to in non-3rd world countries), my standard go-to-cynicism-based style of writing goes right out the window. And in its stead, forced attempts at humor through Seinfeld-esque observations and reflections. Nevertheless, I leave you with a few of the highlights from our 3 days spent in Vancouver – one of the most beautiful, yet diversely interesting, cities in the world.
Asian Invasion - With almost 3 years passed since my journey around Southeast Asia, it came as quite a surprise that the culture in which I was so immersed several summers ago could be found in a location so close to home. From the endless dialects of Asian languages spoken on every corner, to the countless number of Ramen restaurants offering a surprisingly delicious upgrade to the $0.10 packet version, the prominence of Asian culture throughout Vancouver is almost inescapable. For every Starbucks on the corner there is an entire row of Asian restaurants. For every Canadian Mountie riding through the streets, there are hoards of Asians following closely by. If it weren’t for the occasional (and never-will-not-be-hilarious) “aboot” or “soory” spoken by a passing local, I would have sworn I was back in Asia. Nonetheless, this invasion of Far Easterners has brought with them an amazing array of cuisines, providing us with more than enough delicious dining options throughout our stay.
Canada Day – Celebrated 3 days prior to our own nation’s alcohol-fueled celebration of independence, I can best describe Canada Day as the calmest festival which I have ever attended. Thousands flocked (in a composed and collected manner) to the city center (spelled “centre” of course), as to witness all that makes Canada the country that it is: Wood sawing competitions and an endless array of items bearing the famous Maple Leaf symbol. With onlookers providing hushed cheers and never-ending smiles, it came as no surprise that the fireworks display was acknowledged in almost complete silence. Not one “white-girl woo.” Not one chant of “CA-NA-DA! CA-NA-DA!” Just reserve, and internal admiration towards this prideful nation.
Canadian Stereotypes Experienced First-Hand - For years Canadians have been mocked and ridiculed for what seems to be a never-ending list of stereotypes. And I must say, it is unfair that so many harsh things are said about this great nation, especially since the majority of criticism relates to the overall positive nature of most Canadians. Nevertheless, as I am short on blog material, I feel forced to add substance to this post by adding my own generalization of an entire nation based on 3 days experience in a tiny portion of their country:
- Politeness - While my base line for Canadian politeness is founded solely around the scene from Canadian Bacon where John Candy invades the Hydroelectric Plant (unfortunately an ungoogelable video), I must say, anytime we showed any semblance of confusion or difficulty in finding our way, a Canadian would appear out of nowhere to grant us their assistance. Stereotype = Validated.
- Word Pronunciation – While we were unfortunate enough never to hear the following phrase: “How aboot that hockey game, eh? Soory we lost, don’t ya know,” we did hear some similar versions. Stereotype = Validated.
- Flapping Heads – Made famous via the creative genius of Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Canadians According to South Park), I was saddened to find that Canadians DO actually have heads that are shaped entirely whole, lacking a prominent gap in the middle. Stereotype = Devalidated.
- Honorable Mention: Mounties & Maple Syrup – Although neither were found together, both frequented many locations around the city. Stereotype = Partially Validated.
Onto the pics: