We didn’t leave our hearts in San Francisco, but we did leave our coats in Los Angeles Airport.
For many years they served us well. I had my olive TXT coat since 1999. Some seams are starting to come undone and the pockets have a few holes. It’s still quite usable.
But as we head to warmer climes, we no longer need them.
According to some important-sounding economists you should know about, the leading cities of the future will those with the most creative populations. The measure of an economy’s importance is shifting from knowledge and information to inventiveness. The innovators, the dreamers, the right brainers will win.
Governments are listening and tinkering with their economies to foster creative industries like design, architecture, software, video games, and film. The benefits, those important-sounding economists say, are multiple: urban regeneration, higher wages as jobs upgrade from service and manufacturing, flourishing cultural scenes that attract tourism, modernized educational programs that generate talent… the list goes on.
Travel guidebooks are great, but nothing beats locals for tips on great food for little cash. The smart traveler wants to know where the locals hang, not where the tourism bureau has promotional partnerships.
We were lucky to know a lot of people in Vancouver, long-time residents, who told us the best places to go. We [...]
Learning to ski at 30 is a great exercise in embracing complete and utter lack of control.
Every segment of the skiing experience challenges your ability to let go. To accept that power is a temporary illusion at microscopic scale. There’s the line to rent the equipment that you can’t rush or skip. There’s the ski lift that will keep going whether you’re ready for it or not.
And there’s the mountain itself that only cares about getting slippery things off its face as quickly as gravity allows.
There were no naked people at Vancouver’s Wreck Beach, but there was a greying hippie feeding seagulls and a friendly bearded fella named Cloud.
This would have to suffice as a taste of this naturist mecca, where in the summer, thousands gather wearing nothing but a smile.
We happened on this notorious beach by chance: the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia was charging $14 a person, a few notches above the limits of reason for budget travelers.
Bob Blumer is a madman, and therefore, my favourite TV chef. So when we were invited to an event promoting BC tourism with him as host, we had no choice but to go.
The last time I was in Montreal’s domestic departure lounge was due to terrorism. Some fanatical wind-up monkey had just tried to ignite some fluid containers in an airplane and my newspaper put me on the first flight to Toronto to chronicle the beginnings of what is now the entirely normal age of deadly toothpaste.
It was a mess.
This time, the domestic terminal is homier. The seats look more comfortable, even if they are identical to the international side. It’s roomier; the Starbucks has patio tables scattered around it. It lacks that hard Tetris arrangement of shops and food-warming franchises.
The first night I spent out of my apartment, I heard my subletters gently settle in to my life. I heard them listening to my music, commenting on my books, drawing the same familiar creaks from the wooden floors and the furniture.
Soon after handing them the keys, I moved to my neighbour’s couch for two nights, the first of several temporary crash pads that would have me while I remained in Montreal before the trip. It’s an old building where the apartments, and their completely unrelated inhabitants, are separated by a single sheet of drywall.
You get to know your neighbours reasonably well even if you never talk to them.
Vancouver has a lot in common with Rio de Janeiro. I don’t just mean the blend of sea and mountains. It’s that the sun here, like there, at times doubles as make-up. It can take something naturally lovely into the sublime. It highlights the curves, enhances the fears and brightens the eyes of the city. Without it, the same city awakens hungover with a flat face. THe shapes remain but the sensuality and exuberance are gone.
Until now I had to settle for a rainy Vancouver lacking entirely in glamour. If you wait for the rain to stop, so the water-proof citizens say, you will never leave the house.
Ask 10 backpackers what one should carry on a long trip and you might as well ask them their favourite movies. The answers will be just as disparate.
When you’re living for several months with only what you carry on your shoulders, packing becomes an intensely personal affair. Yes, there are the utilitarian basics, but trying to agree on a standard list is as productive as – ALERT: nerd reference – counseling Mac and PC disciples on the principles of empathy.
To wit: see this list on nine useless things travelers tend to pack. I disagree with six of them. Guy sounds like he never left his city limits. But to him, it makes sense.