Monday, October 22, 2007

Blogging Vancouver: Quick Hits

This place on Hastings Street near Main was in operation and patronized by the self-consciously cool, myself among them, when I lived here in the 70s

Just some impressions before I get to the day's business of rambling about my wanderings. Impressions derive from what walks in front of your eyes, and they are not the same as studies. I make no claim other than this is what walked in front of my eyes.

There are a lot of sushi shops in this town ... take out, quick and dirty, moderately priced, and sooper-dooper expensive. Everywhere you turn, from the comfortable West End to rough and tumble Chinatown to the vast multiethnic reaches of Burnaby and New Westminster. Sushi everywhere. And hardly any nail shops.

The ethnic mix is very evident, especially for someone who last lived here in the 70s. Lots of East Asians and South Asians, but rather few Mexicans in evidence. Virtually no blacks, and lots of Indians, or First Nations as Canada prefers. I heard Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, what I presume was Hindi. I did hear Spanish once, and it was Mexican, not European.

But one distinct impression was that there were lots of young white working class guys ... boots and outdoor work clothes caked with mud and the like. Where I live in California, I do not see this very often. Construction sites are predominantly Latino, and you virtually never seen young white guys. When they built the new over-sized house next to where I live in San Francisco, there were two young Irish foremen, any number of Asian contractors, and all the unskilled labor was Latino. One particularly stunning example of young white male working class beauty was splayed out on the SkyTrain, shirt unbuttoned alarmingly low revealing a chiselled clipped-hairy chest, listening to noise-cancelling Sony headphones and taking a cell call. He got out at New Westminster, and so did I, though not, I promise, to follow him.

On another matter, Canadians avoid eye contact. I know that, but it always strikes me when I return.

Lastly, all the parking garages appear to have an unnatural concern with thieves ... warning signs everywhere. I quite like the one above.

In Gastown

Photos by Arod.

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