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small red square Got up way too early this morning to catch the 7AM flight back; not feeling my best. But Vancouver retains its charm; wouldn't mind returning soon, but I imagine it'll be at least a year. And I should really visit Victoria next to see what it's like.

small orange square Yesterday morning I lay in bed listening to the electric buses moaning up and down Granville, a main north-south boulevard fifteen stories below my hotel room. I walked too much the day before, so my feet hurt all that day; tried to take it easy, and by evening at least my right foot was feeling pretty good. So I walked some more, 'till it hurt again - should've stuck with the buses. But it's so pleasant strolling along Robson Street - the height of Pacific NW yuppiedom can be found at its intersection with Thurlow, where two Starbucks face each another, katty-corner. This is directly in the middle of that stretch they call the Robsonstrasse, to emphasize its allegedly European ambience. It was jammed Saturday afternoon - the weather was beautiful, springtime warm with blue skies, which brought out more than the usual crowds, I think.

small violet square Mostly all I did was eat and shop. For some reason (proximity, I suppose) the sushi salmon up there is especially tasty - and it's red, not orange. This may be what it looks like raw (I believe the salmon served in sushi bars is generally smoked, making it not much different from the "lox" New Yorkers eat with their bagels & cream cheese) or it may be the natural color of sockeye salmon. Since the exchange rate is so favorable now, sushi (and Canada in general) is a real bargain. Plus there's a certain je ne sais qua about Japanese restaurants in Vancouver - they're somehow more authentic-feeling than their counterparts south of the border. Another place I returned to was Griffins in the posh Hotel Vancouver for its nice breakfast buffet. This place is trimmed in black-and-white checkerboard tile, like the stripe on a checker cab - a motif I've just learned is also associated with Ska music (which differs from reggae, but I'm not sure how).

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small yellow square Finished the autobiographical Stop-time which was an excellent book. An excerpt:
I sat with my ankles on the railing reading a novel about the Second World War. I should have used the time to do my homework, but the appeal of Nazis, French girls, K rations, and sunlight slanting through the forest while men attempted to kill one another was too great. I read four or five hours every night at home, but it was never quite as sweet as in school when even a snatch read as I climbed the stairs seemed to protect me from my surroundings with an efficacy that bordered on the magical. And if the story dealt with questions of life and death, so much the better. How could I be seriously worried about having nothing to hand in at Math when I was pinned in a shallow foxhole, under a mortar barrage, a dead man across my back and an hysterical young lieutenant weeping for his mother by my side? I could not resist the clarity of the world in books, the incredibly satisfying way in which life becomes weighty and accessible. Books were reality. I hadn't made up my mind about my own life, a vague, dreamy affair, amorphous and dimly perceived, without beginning or end. <1>

strasse - street (German)

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<1>From Chapter 10, "The Coldness of Public Places" by Frank Conroy ©1967 Back