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Sunday 27 May 2007
Vancouver, Canada

The holiday begins

Left Toronto on Saturday morning at 7am - which meant I had to wake up at 3.30 am to make sure I got the taxi on time - not helping was the fact that I was up packing the night before till around midnight!! Ouch.

Nevertheless the flight on Westjet was really very comfortable and rather amusing - the chief flight attendant fancied herself as a comedian and was constantly cracking jokes over the intercom and being somewhat overly-sarcastic.. probably something to do with the fact that (as she put it) this was their 3rd trip in one day between Toronto and Vancouver!

One of the passengers said that this was the "Westjet style"... they seem to like breaking from the norm. Fair enough I say.... they're a top notch airline - although I WAS able to get through check-in without having to remove my lip-gloss from my carry on (something that would never happen in Ireland!).

Saw the latest James Bond on the way over... really good flick. Best bond ever I think. Well that and Goldeneye.

Right so back to the current sitch:

I'm in Vancouver finally! I'm beginning my 2-3 week holiday trip here joined by my pal, Mad Jonny D, from Dublin who arrived here on Friday!

Vancouver is hailed as one of the top 3 best cities to live in. To be honest, my first impressions are that the city is indeed nice, very much like a cross between Perth and Sydney, but also has some of the worst urban problems I've ever seen in a city.

Basically, there are SO many crazy and/or drugged out people here, it's beyond comprehension. Jonny and I headed out to Gastown and sat "people watching" in one of the patio bars. Over the course of one hour we spotted (and Jonny documented with his camera) around 40-50 homeless beggars and drugged out souls...

What makes it even worse is that a lot of them seem to have terrible physical afflictions. Not only do they wander around the place like zombies mumbling incoherently and directing traffic while wearing puppy dog slippers, but we saw plenty of hunchbacks, or scarred inbred individuals, making the town look rather like a homested for "Deliverence" extras.

Thankfully that's only a small section of the city. And in particular, one street. As with many North American cities, problem areas like this always seem to have clearly defined boundaries: turn the corner and you're suddenly on a street full of normals and luxury condos. It's like there is an invisible barrier that the druggies walk into and either vaporise or get magnetically-propelled to walk back from whence they came.

The rest of Vancouver is really quite pleasant.

As one of my "MUST-DOS" on arrival here, we rushed out to sample the sushi (supposed to be the best in the world) and yes indeed the tuna and salmon sashi was devine Cheesy

There is also plenty of bike lanes and lots of dedicated fitness-related areas.

Last night, myself, Jonny and an ozzie mate who is in our hostel room, Kieron, headed out to sample the nightlife... let's just say we boogied late and drank far too much ale for my liking.. I ended up partying a little later than the others too having been accosted by yet more Vancouverite femme-fatales... I tell ya it's hell having a foreign accentWink

The plan now is for Jonny and myself to get a car and hit da road.. more on the up and coming adventure.. stay tuned.

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