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Vancouver, British Columbia

I’ve not written much while I’ve been in Vancouver because it doesn’t feel like much has been happening, though that hasn’t stopped me writing things before.

At the moment I’m on the fourth floor of the Vancouver Public Library, where there’s free internet access, though it’s generally pretty slow, depending on how many people are using. Not too many at the moment – about six other people. I’ve been coming here pretty much every day I’ve been in Vancouver, and spending most of the day here, doing some website work which will hopefully fund the next leg of the trip, which at the moment looks like being a flight to Bangkok, staying there for a few weeks, and then on to India.

Staying in Vancouver is quite expensive. I’m spending around $40 (£20) a day. I have a private room in the YMCA here which costs $20 a night – quite cheap for a private room, but I get it at that price because I paid for a month up front. And it has a TV in it, which has become a bit of a distraction. I’ve been watching lots of Seinfeld, South Park and the Simpsons, plus some classic movies on TCM (Turner Classic Movies): The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles) and Destry Rides Again (James Stewart & Marlene Deitrich). They also have a swimming pool, which is a more healthy distraction, so I’ve been going swimming quite a bit, usually in place of having a shower since the showers they have in the washrooms aren’t very good – the type where you have to press a button to get a five second burst of water. Did 20 lengths yesterday (in the swimming pool).

Last night I went to the Cinemateque, an arty type cinema quite nearby which has been showing recent European films. The film I saw was called “The Day After The Day Before” and it’s about a guy who shows up in a place where he doesn’t know anyone, someone gives him a motorized bicycle (not a motor bike, but a bicycle type bike with a motor) and he rides around, time gets mixed up, he meets various poeple and someone dies. It was pretty good. And I didn’t have to pay to get in, thanks to the fact that just before the flim I was standing outside smoking a cigarette (thinking it’s a bit pricey seeing a film, but seeing an arty film is usually cheaper than seeing a blockbuster) and someone came up to me and said “have you got your ticket yet?” and i said “no” and he said “well, i ordered one too many over the internet so i’ve got a spare which you’re welcome to” and i said “i’ll pay for it”, hoping he’d say no, no, no you can have it for free, which he did pretty much.

And last Saturday I went to a Blim event at Video In Studios, something I found out about through the internet. Most people there were showing something, performing, playing music or doing something, but I just watched. Two guys sat in front of Mac Powerbooks hooked up to speakers and created sounds out of samples and things. It was hard to tell if they were creating the sounds live or whether they just pressed “play” at the beginning and then were pretending to create. There were videos, also mostly made out of sampled films, and there were a few musicians playing old fashioned musical instruments, like electric guitars, someone with a piano accordion. Mostly it was the sort of thing where you’d say “that was interesting” rather than “that was good”. It was a good evening though, and not too expensive. I’m not sure if other people paid to get in but I didn’t.

Finally, before I get back to work: last night after the film I went to the best pub I’ve found in Vancouver, a place called Morisseys, where they play grungy and punky type music like the Ramones, the Undertones, the Clash, but mostly American / Canadian sounding bands I don’t know, but usually quite listenable. Most of the clientelle in there have heavily tattooed left arms. Why just the left arm? Perhaps so that when they go to work in the bank the following day they can wear a long sleeved shirt and look respectable, and they have the option on hot days or when doing the washing up, of rolling up their right sleeve.

Now back to work. The library closes at 6 today, though there’s an all night cafe which has semi-free (you have to buy a coffee) internet access, so I’ll probably go there later.