Watching | 29th September 2011 | 14:16 PDT

Today, I sat on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery in the warm sunshine watching people watching people, turns out watching people watching people isn't all that exciting as it's essentially like people watching.

Though, I did see a father tell her daughter off for whatever childish thing she did, then wander off to get a bag of chestnuts, I can only assume that she has a nut allergy and that's the father's way of keeping her quiet.

Drinking With Dinosaurs | 28th September 2011 | 23:59 PDT

From the outside it looks like a robotic spider hell bend on creating havoc on everything that stands in its way and when you go inside and you're transported back to 1986, everything's aged, tired and appears to still be under construction as you notice plasterers working away in the background. The whole thing is horrible, disgusting and vulgar eye sore of a mess that resides on False Creek.


Welcome to Science World British Columbia, the best thing to avoid in Vancouver if you can, it's expensive, small and more often than not, filled with noisy kids and their guardians looking for their next rest bite/drug hit to make the whole experience more bearable.

Not for me, not right now! As all the kids and guardians have been removed. Entrance fee is still expensive at free. In addition to all that, I have a beer in hand, a warm vegetable samosa in gob and live music playing into my ears.

This privileged was all thanks to a young non-profit organisation called Projects in Place, it brings construction, design and community together to implement projects that will benefit people and improve the areas they live in by installing green roofs, living walls, playgrounds, urban farms to name but a few... Which is all well and good, but I wanted to drink beer and see some freaking dinosaurs!

Look, I'm building a garden in a city! (via

On my way to the dinosaurs, I got distracted by frustrating and awesome sciencey things like these stupid brain-teaser puzzles that just resulted in me shouting out “ARGH! Science you cerebral slut” and promptly throwing them back down and storming off, a brain dead race where you had to relax your mind the most in order to beat your opponent, a giant keyboard you could jump on to play it like in the film Big, an infra-red harp, making noises with thin air and a whole lot of other unusual stuff that I've no idea how they're related to science but, whatever!

Look at my fake frustration! (via

Then, at the far end of the museum, large noises of large death, which could only mean one thing, and as seeing as I've built up this thing to be about dinosaurs, then you'll hardly be surprised that the racket was coming from the dinosaur exhibit.

We enter alone into a dark atmospheric area, only to be confronted with loads of giant moving dinosaurs that look angered and disgruntled as if someone gave them a boring desk job to do for the rest of their lives. Learning nothing about them as the fact sheets on them were about as informative as the rail network about why your train is delayed 3 days, but it was great fun and extremely mind boggling about how big these fuckers were/are and without sounding like a cliché, the whole thing is exactly like Jurassic Park, just without the death and destruction.


This is exactly museums should reboot themselves from being boring, old, depressing and miserable places and to make them work in the modern age of the internet by making it a social engaging experience and more importantly, fun again.

The Stoned Men and Beyond | 27th September 2011 | 20:50 PDT

In this here area there are many stoned men that scatter the area, they're mainly found in rural or beach areas and there appears to be so many, you can smell them in the air and funnily enough I'm not talking about British Columbia's finest green export (not that I can imagine much of it reaches the docks in order to exported)

I am banging on about stone statues that look like men, which when I first saw them I impressed by them and was left in a kind of awe, as they looked so unusual and in most cases, quite ugly – in a good way. They're called an Inuksuk and the more popular Inunnguaq; names which seemed to have been chosen by blindly throwing narwhal whales at the alphabet until the participants got bored after a few throws and decided that'll do.

Oh hello, how are you? Stoned I see.

Inuksuk they're are found along the Arctic circle of North America and are used to mark a passage, fishing spots, points of interest within the Arctic tundra – like an unmanned tourist information board for staying alive. Inunnguaq are the stone structures that represent a human, possibly to represent a community near-by as the size of them would require more than the work of one person.

Walking along the west side of Stanley Park down to the Burrard bridge, you notice the rocky beaches are covered with the results of stone stacking and rock figures enduring the incoming tide it appears that Inuksuk have evolved and inspired a more challenging past time and has been turned into eco-art.

Now... Nobody move...

The practice of rock-balancing which, unless you have been living underneath a large hard solid nonmetallic mineral matter something and haven't grasped what rock balancing was when you first read “rock-balancing” you probably should turn off your computer with your face and go outside or, carry on reading as I'm about to explain. Rock-balancing is where you find oddly shaped rocks and you use the smallest point of it as the connecting surface and you (wait for it...) balance the rock on that small point!

Jozsef Toth is one of the great local (probably only) experts in rock balancing resides by the entrance of Granville Island tucked away on a beach below he has been amazing the passer-by that are observant enough to see him, and has been doing it for over 10 years.

Have a Balanced Day, sir.

You can easily watch him for hours take a ludicrous shaped rock and carefully balance it in a seemingly impossible way, if you're lucky enough to see him in action, than pass on from me what a visual treat his pieces of art are to admire.

McHistory | 26th September 2011 | 16:59 PDT

It's humid, I'm hot but it is raining but I'm still hot, it's the perfect weather to shut yourself away from the world and forget it exists by partaking in the exciting world of quilting, not today obviously as instead, I am just over an hour away from my apartment, walking down this steep, narrow, truck filled, dangerous road next to an oil refinery in Burnaby. What am I doing here?

Oh, what a lovely place to destroy the world

To be honest, I don't know, a friend pointed at a map and said “Go” - no other words were exchanged between us, before or after they said that.

Passing a baby deer behind a fence being watched carefully by a security guard with a gun, I reach the bottom of the hill and I follow the track over a railway track to the water's edge that's obscured by a line of trees. I pass through the nature's fence and look down upon a surprisingly busy beach of fishermen and their families playing.

Nope, nothing much going on here, just people having fun

As I was taking all this in, I was wondering what was it that I had go see. I look up to realise I had not even noticed this surprisingly big dirty white derelict floating barge in front of me, that looked like it had been thrown out of handbook of future architecture from the the days of retro and plonked down this quiet part of the Burrard Inlet.

Oh, well, yes, that's an unusual thing to see here, other than, say, a Yeti.

Then it hit me, I've seen this building before from a picture of the skyline of Downtown Vancouver from around 1980s, this used to live in False Creek during Expo '86 but it was a McDonald's restaurant back then.

Expo '86 which was to coincide with Vancouver's 100th birthday started as a small event with a theme of transportation as a nod to the railways that helped kick start the growth of the city. Ideas for this celebration grew bigger along with it's momentum and eventually this small party would end up being a World Exposition.

Like the Olympics, this Expo would help define and create a personality for the city and its people, by turning an old industrial wasteland next to False Creek into usable, profit making land (though as of yet, development is yet to happen on this site due to the recent recession) It also created much needed infrastructure improvements like Canada Place, now used as a cruise ship terminus. The  SkyTrain, namely the Expo line. BC Place Stadium and Science World are also remnants from the Expo '86 that still reside within the city.

BC Place Stadium to the left and Science World to the right

From what I can tell, that whole period of time is looked upon fondly by everyone involved and seemed to be the main catalyst for the city's growth by placing it on the big stage and inviting investors from all industries to notice and buy into its potential, something that has taken Vancouver from strength-to-strength ever since.

I think for the locals the floating McDonald's, which is affectionately named McBarge was probably the best thing about the event  (though did come under fire for being an eyesore after the event, when it was abandoned in False Creek) and now sadly wait dormant in water, looking for a new lease of life. There is talk of it going to Mission as a centrepiece for their marina redevelopment or to be used as housing for the homeless.

Look, it's bigger than a rock!

As long as it's used for something and it can be seen by people publicly just so it doesn't go to the waste of waves, then everyone wins as I think it looks brilliant and it's an excellent example of  architectural history.

Short, Sweet and Cheap | 25th September 2011 | 16:28 PDT

Ohh what's that? I've been down this road towards Granville Island a dozen times and I have never noticed that before, that' looks awesome. I am talking about Vancouver's Downtown Historic Railway


I know nothing more about it as there was no information on it like what they do, why they exist, the trams I was riding, nothing at all. There were a few leaflets telling people how to get in contact with the council to remind them that they made an “Olympic promise”* of extending the line to Science World, that has yet materialise.

Ran by passionate people, the tram ride was fun and something a little bit different and so cheap, I felt like I should have paid more for it, very weird feeling to have in Vancouver as it was only 2 bucks, for a short return journey along the south of False Creek to the Cambie bridge. Brilliant!


*Say anything to delay and shut people up with no intention of following it up AKA lying.

Back to Chinatown | 24th September 2011 | 19:37 PDT

Bitching to my friends about Chinatown saying how awful it is, not because of the low tax bracket area it resides in, but how every Chinatown is the essentially same bullshit and the essence of  nons...

My friend slapped me at that point and told me I had done it wrong and tried to convince me it was a half decent place to visit, but I was being like a petulant little child and being as dismissive as I could without getting another slap.

Boom! (via

My friend slapped me again at that point and told me I should at least visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, I was sighing in my mind thinking I really don't want to, but verbally agreed as I didn't want to be slapped a third time.

My friend smiled and said “good!” then slapped me a third time citing that I rolled my eyes when I said it... I must make a mental note not to do that in future.

Heading back into Chinatown, I arrive at an uninspiring concrete wall with a simple sign saying “Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden” thinking naturally negative thoughts when you're presented with a white concrete wall with a sign saying garden on it. I buy a ticket and like the good little sheep I did as I was told and I joined a garden tour that had just started.

Welcome wall, we wallcome you!

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a faithful reproduction of garden that would have been present in the household of the the few elite during the Ming dynasty. The lengths gone to recreate something of the time required importing rocks, plants, building materials, even pebbles from China and using traditional fabrication methods to assemble the area.

Holy shit, even these?! WOW!

Bizarrely enough Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, has nothing to do with the garden nor a reflection from the era he was from, it was named in his honour as he spent time in Vancouver on three occasions whilst he was raising the funds to help overthrow the Qing Dynasty which finally got rid of the traditional Chinese emperors ruling the land. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen was elected as the first president of China and is tagged as the Father of Modern China.

The garden itself it magnificent, representing every aspect of the outside world such as lakes and mountains it ultimately creates balance within itself using the beliefs of Feng Shui and Taoism you end up with something visually pleasing with carefully pruned plants to remain in proportion, the intriguing limestone rock formations, the little design details as you pass from one section to another and the everything is unique, so much thought has gone into each individual piece of this garden and its structures to keep everything unique and balanced.

Quite rare to see a shellfish basking in the sun

For something that controls nature so tightly and so synthetically, it has so many nods and sympathetic areas that deeply tune itself to the greater world and universe around it, and at risk of sounding like a pompous dickhead, this whole mixture creates something quite spiritually extraordinary.

In Australia, this is called a Bonza tree

Added to this there are a few pavilions erected around the main courtyard to give a simple idea of how the elite live and how these structures were created, such as not using materials such as screws and nails, which in itself is something quite remarkable.

No freaking nails used to keep this all up, just gravity!

The problem is, it's quite small so the whole experience is over before you really want it to be, you look around at the end thinking, there must be morem surely... No, there isn't – get out. Regardless, I'm glad my friend slapped me into submission to go and see this place but, I still stand by my initial thoughts of Chinatown. Blurgh.


An Emotional Colourful War | 23rd September 2011 | 23:36 PDT

I'm with 6 other people wearing what appears to the untrained eye, basic white long sleeve baby onesie for adults. We're standing in a room that looks as if there has been a gang war amongst the different colours of the rainbow and has resulted in Red grabbing Blue and Yellow and going kamikaze by letting off a big grenade blowing everyone into smithereens, splattering their tiny remains everywhere. The whole thing resembles a bad CSI.

This is a Splatter Party, an artistic night out designed for young children, but seeing as adults are better at being kids than kids are, we threw them out and gave them marching orders to go to the pub and drink, like all adolescences their age should be doing.

Drink it up little Johnny! (via

What happens first at this party, is you all go into this closed area to have a small war between each other, like a pain free paintball session, where you throw lots of paint at each other using whatever you can, brushes, syringes, hands, pots, mouth. Sometimes it might accidentally hit a canvas. It would stop being known as collateral damage when someone would stop for a moment and go “Wow, that looks pretty good” before throwing a tub of brown paint at your face and decorate it with pink war stripes.

We called a ceasefire, as we all had to put our newly acquired skills towards a more productive use and work as a team! A large carpet sized canvas that dominated most of the floor was laid out in front of us and in the distance a starter pistol was fired, emotional anarchy followed.

The collective collaboration of creativity was chucked onto this canvas and paint descended onto the it like a headless horseman was riding Big Bird with a stomach problem after eating too many rainbows.

There was laughter, crying, hugging, throwing, cries of “I hate you mother, why did you make me clean my room!” and “I love you, I'm sorry, I take it ALL back!”, experimenting, artistic board meetings with beard stroking “mmmm, it's good but it's missing something... ORANGE! We need orange on this RIGHT NOW!” and mature act of painting penises on each other.

Now, we're just going to draw a happy little penis over it (via

We delved into each other's minds to make a final decision that we had expressed ourselves enough and it felt right to stop. We were done, art had been made and in the distance a chequered flag fired. I never knew art was so difficult and this was meant for kids?!

I was left emotionally elated by the whole experience like I'd been in a trance and went into my very being, I went so deep in my soul and left exhausted as I made it through the dark tunnel of obscure thought and living like I had done an 8 hour mind hike to the top of my inner cerebral Everest, so I had a beer and I felt human again.

Concluding thought: Ear full of paint.

Date With Hate | 22nd September 2011 | 17:27 PDT

I'm in a mood of pure annoyance and it's for no reason whatsoever and aimed at nothing in particular, if I was to categorise it, It would be filed under “Dunno – then shrug”, I do know how to fix it though.

I simply need to go out and hate something, look at it with my eyeballs and with a blank and emotionless stare just seethe everything I have towards it, hopefully this will make whatever I look at explode and relieve the pressure built up within me and I know just where to start!

I skip merrily down the street, tipping my hat to people passing me on the street, whistling as I nod my head to the beat of I Hate Everything by Suicide Machines. Rare birds and butterflies fill the air around me but, I really have to control myself and not to get too carried away with this joy. I can't be too happy – there's hate to be had! So, I kill the birds and butterflies with a flamethrower and replace them with dead trees, pollution and the skulls of dolphins. That's better.

Urgh. You make me calm! (via

First stop, Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery a gallery which ordinarily would bring delight but because of its free admission, only annoyance is the result as not paying for an entrance is something I enjoy and I look around the two cliché (white walled, concrete floored) galleries.

Entering a gallery to my right, I was met with a sea of finely decorated prints from wood carving, made way back when England was still apart of Middle Earth and the only populated area above the M25 was Newcastle, where the Orcs first settled, they've yet to integrate themselves to learn the English language.

I managed brew some hate when two Canadian art lovers, ignored the leaflet they were reading saying, “Thomas Bewick artist from Newcastle” and assumed everything was from Burrrrmiiiinghaaaam. I looked over at them with pure hate and pointed at the big lettering in the leaflet that said otherwise. Jackasses

Yes, delight! I've found hate, lets use this as a foundation to explode for the next gallery, this one contained brightly coloured bits of crap smooshed together on a canvas with a Helvetica typeface scrambled all over it, saying ponsy things like “The wave of emotion is like the wave of the beach”, “Society is a pile of shit-headed dick-wadded shagadelic chesticled jizz-fart” and “Remember to smile the world is super fantastic wonderful great cool!” - This dissipated my hate and converted my being into perplexed confusion of confusion.

Urgh, you make me confused!

Grumble grumble grumble. I've only enough energy to go to one more place, a coffee shop. This is not any type of coffee shop, this one has annoyingly bad coffee and an art gallery of fine art attached to it, if anything is going to make me want to hate, this will with all their ... ways.

Heading to the counter, I order a coffee from a super-miserable customer service representative, seems unfair to direct my hate at her seeing as she has her own demons to deal with, so I show a little compassion not to destroy her.

Taking my drink, I wander around the art gallery, I'm looking at stupid things like trees, dogs, nonsense, scenery, frames, colours, flowers and general crap. All the while I'm being distracted by people sitting on a sofa and having fun with their conversation and there's soothing heavy metal on the stereo. Argh, this isn't helping me. I finish my drink and storm out happy and contented that non of my anger inducing tactics are working.

Urgh, you make me sick!

I notice a puny tree embedded into the pavement and decide maybe this can help to make me feel like I've accomplished something with my emotional state. So, I gently kick the tree and I feel slightly better, “fantastic!” I thought, and I do it again.

As I finish with the swinging motion of my second kick, a noise begins to rumble up above. I look up to see what is going on, just a branch from up above slaps me right in the head. “Fuck off you little twerp” the tree seemed to have said to me.

I feel saddened and I openly apologise to the tree, I walk homeward bound in an annoyance that I'd failed to alleviate my annoyance.

The Study of Humankind | 21st September 2011 | 18:51 PDT

Looks like someone has been throwing a shit stick around throughout the night because today, is shit. Still that fact won't affect my plans as I've been waiting for a shit day to go and trundle around The Museum of Anthropology and to have a look around an area I've only breezed through previously, UBC (University of British Columbia)

Arriving at UBC, there's a stench of fresh educated brains and optimism of students fills the air, makes me want to leave already and I look back at the bus to seriously think about it but I don't, and I put my hood up on my rain jacket and proceed in taking the shortest route to the museum, ignoring all the students and their mindless chatter about course credits and alcohol.

Well, this looks inspiring!

I get to the museum and I instantly lose all my enthusiasm for this place, it's either the weather or the sudden realisation that I don't like humans or past culture hit me, but unfortunately for me, it's raining outside and I need change for the bus, I hand over a small fortune for my ticket and with as much sense of urgency than a sloth asleep, I go through to the unknown.

The museum was broken down into 4 sections:
First nation section, a big conservatory with piles of old decorated wood, didn't take much interest as to what was going on or what it was all about, judging by the convincing umming and ahhing that was taking place around me, it seemed like I really missed out on something really interesting. I was however distracted from the boring written nonsense as, I was captivated by the designs of their painted work, it was extremely pleasing to look at, it's just a shame that the rest of it like the giant achievements such as their carvings of totem poles, sculptures and boxes I found to be a bit visually tiring.

Except for this carving, because it's a bear! Grrr

A ceramic section, a dark room with lots of old decorated plates and bits of ceramic debris from around the world, with awfully pretentious medieval string music playing in the background. The idea of this section, I think, is you're meant to walk around with an intelligently enthused attitude discussing how each piece looks different and the meaning behind it. It's the sort of grandiloquent area (me included) where you become the most knowledgeable person about absolutely everything in here, because you watched the Discovery Channel once, even though that program was about how beer is made.

Multiversity Galleries, open archive rooms of 10000 pieces of old things stuffed into draws and glass cabinets, you can explore to your heart's content... even though it's broken down into different sections, it was too much to focus on and the bits I peered into all contained old sweaters.

Multiversity, Interesting on the outside, sweaters in the middle!

Audain Gallery has touring exhibits, this one contained brilliant screenprinted Inuit art which was interesting insight to them and their creativity but the whole section was tainted and its magic destroyed by having too much emphasise on the value of their art. It made the exhibit feel a bit like a corporation controlled hype machine to create a buzz within the market over their work to give the Inuit nation an industry and an income after the exploitation of mining and oil companies have destroyed their habitat and livelihood.

And speaking of hype, this museum doesn't really deserve the hype it gets, even with my initial negative, it's a small baron expensive hole to visit. I could've learnt more about the anthropology in British Columbia and Canada by spending my money and time, sitting in an old forest with a Tim Horton's picnic.

LOL Cat | 20th September 2011 | 22:17 PDT

Vancouver has a reputation for being an “unfun city” or “dull city” I can't remember the exact term of phrase, I always just assumed it was simply known as “That's Canada!” but no, this is very much a Vancouver focussed self-jibe.

This means when something exciting does happen Vancouverites burst with so much excitement and enthusiasm about their sudden electric shock of action to their life, they need to share their story there and then with someone, absolutely anyone, even a random English bloke on the street that happens to be waiting at a red light to cross the road.

You seem nice, let me tell you my life. (via

“I can't believe that! Did you see it?” - A businesswoman says coming to a stand still next to me as she waits for the light next to me.
“No, think I missed it, what happened?
“I just stroked a homeless guy's cat!”
“WOW!!! THAT'S AMAZING!” is what I was fighting to restrain myself from saying, I went with the more conservative “Oh right, cool”
“It was a stray and everything”
  -  thinking she's probably got some disease, I take a small step to the side away from her
“Really? That's brave.”
“But the thing is, it attacked me and scratched my skin”
She shows me her hand and I hum in the only way you can when a stranger is showing you their hand with a cut on it, thinking I should add more input.
“That's why I hate cats, I hoped you kicked it”
“True, thing is, I thought this one was different, it was wearing a cape and was called Precious.”
I turn around to look at the most evil looking cat I have ever seen, wearing the Canadian flag for a cape, no doubt pissed off by his predicament.

This evil. (via

“So there is, looks kind of evil”
“Wow, my hand's bleeding and is really swelling up!”
  -  Her hand is now twice the size to when I just previously saw it
“It looks infected, you should probably see a doctor”
“I'm sure it's fine, what harm can cats do?”
“Cat scratch fever, fleas, rabies, ringworm, Toxoplasmosis to name just 5 from the top of my head”
“Well, have a great day”
“...Yeah, you too?”

It wasn't until the end of our conversation that it dawned on me the excitement of the whole incident made her deaf to me and I was involved in weird a slight two way, individual one way conversation, doesn't really matter, it's just when she starting to add oral bubbles to her bath in a few days time, she will wish she had listened to my advice to see the doctor!

Now, what appears to be the problem? (via

Foundations for Further Fun | 20th September 2011 | 10:17 PDT

I think everyone has been in this predicament.

The scenario: It's a house party, people crave fun, people need booze, people want booze and fun to be mixed together in some lethal cocktail that will result in exponential merriment as time rolls on. Unfortunately, the fun part was stifled when the instructions to bring ping pong balls got lost in translation and a jar of pickles was presented to the party patrons, which naturally was met with blank stares of bewilderment.

Just before we turned into an angry mob over this epic fail which would have resulted in us chasing him down the street, catching and sacrificing him on a burning barge in honour to the house party god to help bring us better luck.

This will be the last thing you'll ever see, if you don't fix this (via

He quickly justified his mistake by explaining he was actually introducing us to a new drinking game. Yes we were all sceptical and confused by this, but we needed drink and entertainment so we gave him the benefit of the doubt and played along, pitchforks and flaming torches in hand just in case it was shit.

Playing is simple:
  -  Stand over an open jar of dill pickles.
  -  Have a fork in hand and held at nipple height.
  -  Drop the fork into the jar.
  -  Try and spear and remove a pickle from the jar

This is your mission, should you choose to accept it (via

And the rules were easy:
  -  If, you miss the jar or it doesn't go in, you drink
  -  If, your folk gets stuck on the rim of the jar, you finish your drink.
  -  If you drop it into the jar and don't spear a pickle, or you do spear a pickle but don't remove it successfully, you don't drink.
  -  If, you spear a pickle and successfully get it out from it glassy prison, you nominate someone to drink.

The good vibrations this unusual game brought to the party and the yelling of “Nipples! Nipples!” for about 45minutes, was the very foundations for more fun and antics later on in the night and resulting in me crawling back home into bed at 630am, feeling thoroughly pickled.

Tedious Town | 19th September 2011 | 17:36 PDT

I don't like the Chinatown areas within cities, not to be confused with China and their culture, because I find it to be deeply fascinating..

It's just that every one you visit a Chinatown it's always the same shit, you enter and area of dilapidated old buildings in the heart of the town which you gain access by going through some big cliché ornate gate, the city helps the 'atmosphere' by using a Chinese style font on road signs, with western businesses using Chinese characters and the local stores selling absolutely anything in buckets.

I don't get the appeal as to why so many tourist get so excited about these places that are essentially big flags saying “Look, you exploited us once – here's your reminder, forever!” and tourist go with so much enthusiasm it makes me want to openly weep, loudly.

Surely if they cared so much about Chinese culture they'd book a flight there because I can only imagine it's infinitely better than the snapshot dross Chinatowns presents to us... although, when they arrive I can only imagine they would get equally excited about 'Western World'

Putting my entire body's hatred to one side for a moment, I decide to bite the bullet and explore Vancouver's Chinatown, I really don't want to but seeing as it's the last place I've yet to visit within the central hub of Vancouver I thought, I may as well it could present something amazing that I'd overlooked in my stupid ways and seeing it's Canada's largest and one of North America's oldest chances were good.

Oh look a gate... I couldn't bring myself to take any more photos after this.

Walking down, through, around, peering, looking, up, down, admiring, strolling, in, out, mentally pointing, for an hour or so before finally concluding what it is I was really thinking about this place

Yep, this is certainly an area of dilapidated old buildings in the heart of the town which you gain access by going through some big cliché ornate gate, the city helps the 'atmosphere' by using a Chinese style font on road signs, with western businesses using Chinese characters and the local stores selling absolutely anything in buckets.

Well, that's time I'll never get back again. Thanks...

For Everything A Reason | 17th September 2011 | 18:26 PDT

Today, Saturday was kidnapped, where it's been replaced by a Sunday posing in a Saturday costume putting on a bad accent that sounds more like a mango than a Saturday.  This Sunday feeling has resulted in my mind being somewhat confused and for most of the day, I float and drift around like a fly trying to exit a wide open window.

Remain calm, you'll find your way out soon (via

After a few hours of banging my head against the wall, I eventually find a way to leave the house and find myself in a fancy coffee shop, “with an art galleria” attached that was bigger than the coffee shop, I guess art gallerias with a coffee shop attached isn't a popular sales combination in Vancouver.

I walk up to the counter with a tired zombie step, to be greeted with a smiling girl wearing massive curved thick black rimmed magnifying glasses and a bright red pirate dress...

“Hi, how can I help?”
“...err...” I let out a 'I've given up on life' sigh, perhaps prematurely “...err... a drink?”
“Right, OK! What type of drink would you like?”
“...Pfft...” I gaze at the menu that appears to be written in hieroglyphics “...err...caffeine”
“We have tea, coffee, iced...”
I interrupt “coffee!”
“What type would you like?...”
  -  My mind wanted to start crying at this point, I wasn't ready for this onslaught of ALL these questions and decisions I was making.
“There's cappuccino, latte, flat white, Americano, Spanish omelette, waxed brick”
  -  My mind awake, fell asleep and may have misheard a few of the options.
“...err... cappuccino?”
  -  My mind starts internally punching my face and yelling “What?! You hate cappuccinos!”
“Single or double?”
  -  My mind shouts “You need a double. You need a double. You need a double...”
“...err... single?”
  -  My mind screams white noise into my ear “You twat, what did you do that for?!” then, calms down rapidly as the realisation of all the decision making is now over, and gets excited about the prospect of finding a corner to go and have a coma in.

This was a very exciting prospect (via

“So that's a cappuccino was that for here or to go?”
“... to here”
“Cappuccino for here. Sorry, was that a single or a double”
  -  My mind perks up, this is your chance to redeem yourself!
  -  My mind goes back to yelling “You fucking fuck! I hope I kill you one day, you worthless piece of shit!”
“Would you like anything else?”
“...err...” I make a gesture of feeding myself as I'm conscious my consciousness is waning to be conscious.
The still smiling happy server, points to the food choice area in front of my face
  -  My mind puts in its input, “you want a muffin”
“...err...Cinnamon Bun?”
  -  My mind fires up “Argh!! You stupid cu... Oh, actually looks quite tasty”
“Would you like it warmed up?”
  -  My mind is starting to give up on the whole decision making ordeal “I swear if this doesn't end soon, I'm going to ram myself out your eye socket and leave to a nice 5 star all inclusive resort in St. Lucia”
“...err... warm”
“Is that for here or to go?”
  -  My mind is getting irately perplexed “What sort of question is that? I'm having my coffee here but my warm bun to go?”
“...err... To here, also”
“Brilliant...” server's still smiling “...I'll bring it to your table”
I walk over to a table in the corner and smack my head on the surface as everything within me just gives up all at once.

*Donk* Dead, temporarily. (via

I awake some time later, to find my cinnamon bun has melted to some sort of gooey mountainous mess of sugar and the foam in my cappuccino had stolen all the coffee from my drink, it was at that point I realised why it took me a few hours to exit the house, to avoid all this.

Rare Synchronisation with the World | 16th September 2011 | 21:04 PDT

As summer has finished and the grey duvet of clouds appear once again over Vancouver, everything becomes really sedate as residents and tourist flock with the birds to sunnier climes, which is quite refreshing after a busy summer of annoying lost people not having a clue as to where they're going because this unusual bright circle is in their eyes.

I decide to go out for a paddleboarding session as I have no other plans and head to the far end of Jericho Beach from Granville Island. The ocean is pleasant and lake-like there are no speedboats, jetskis, wakes or waves to contend with and fragments of sunlight pushing through the fog to add to a calming and atmospheric mood.

Getting to Jericho, 2 harbor seals are looking for food diving down for a while before bobbing back up, they seem to have given up on that idea when they see me and they decide to circle my board and begin thrashing and splashing around, no doubt trying to make me fall off, those fuckers. After a minutes they get dog bored and swim off somewhere else.

Don't be mean, we only wanted to play!!

Few hours later, I return to shore and seeing as I'm at Granville Island, I grab a much needed lunch and drink an over loved latte and wander around the markets. I take the Burrard Bridge back to the West End passing an artisan chocolate makers and partake in a private chocolate tasting session.

I get talking to the lady behind the counter about wine and because I showed enthusiasm towards drinking it and very basic knowledge, she points me to a wine shop in the West End that do free wine tasting sessions, having no other plans I go there and like the chocolate makers, I partake in a private wine tasting session.

I need to taste all of it - just in case I missed any subtle notes of flavour

I leave the wine store and a bearded guy on the street stops me and tells me to “go down that road, find a white car and show some photo ID” - Hmmm, well it wasn't like a dark alley way and there were many people around, so I thought what the hell, so I did.

I find the white car with a girl waiting outside and I show her my ID, she opens the side door and pulls out a clear plastic bag with a crate of beer inside, she smiles with a cheery “Have a feel good Friday and a great weekend from Molson!” [Molson, is a local brewery] “I will, thank you!”

Yup, today was a good day.

Yarrr, River Ahoy! | 15th September 2011 | 21:54 PDT

Walk to the bus stop, ride on the bus, bus to the coffee shop, coffee shop to the Skytrain station, ride the Skytrain, get off the Skytrain, walk to the bus stop, ride on the bus. After an hour and a half in transit, I'm here, wonder if it's worth it?

I have just arrived at the historic fishing village of Steveston, well it's classified as a small town due to the noticeable expansion of new houses but thankfully the new developments have been built on the surrounding farmland and seem to be successfully tucked away out of mind, keeping the cosy feel of a village very much in tact.

Picture looks more like a Western movie than quaint fishing village

Steveston started growing in 1870s when a salmon cannery opened up and each season people would migrate down to work, naturally these workers would end up staying year-round adding to the population. 20 years later canning had boomed and around 20 canneries were operational within Steveston, giving it the nickname Salmonopolis.

Too much of a good thing, soon has to end, and canning of salmon is no different with fish stocks in decline, the industry finally ceased in the 1990s, Steveston turned its hand to shipbuilding for a while to ease the transition. It still remains an active fishing port but with an emphasis on it's history and developed waterfront, tourism is starting to creep in.

Most boats than you can shake your mast at!

Locals will tell you it's lost all its charm and has become an impersonal place but to me it seems walking around this central village nothing has changed since it was first established as a town in the late 1880s, with the old buildings lovingly looked after, everyone's friendly, everyone knows everyone else, adding to the surrealism is that it's like walking around a giant maritime museum, I hate maritime museums but this one is wonderful, just... a bit, weird.

I took a walk along the waterfront going to myself “Oh look, water, plant, boat, industry, houses” and when that stopped I went to the surprisingly impressive fountain of knowledge that is the Britannia Heritage Shipyard, a maritime museum – I didn't spend long there out of principle, but I wanted to, which I found... a bit, disturbing.

Oh look, water, plant, boat, industry, houses

I stopped off at the boardwalk on my way to Gary Point to sample some of the local delicacy, fish and chips – going for a salmon fish and chips, it was the freshest tastiest deep fried nuked fish I have ever tasted, was so good, I think I could easily become a fat greasy mess if I chose to stay any longer than I did and if the chips weren't so crap.

Gary Point is a small sand dune park with a few sculptures, beaches and wildlife not much going on to the untrained eye, but at sunset it felt very atmospheric and cold, which reminded me that I had a long journey home ahead of me.

Some interesting debris

I left Steveston thinking what a great and positive place it is, but with a  feeling a big elephant was looming over me pointing its trunk to all these things I've missed out and all those historical hidden gems that are waiting to be found.

I Expected Too Much | 14th September 2011 | 16:41 PDT

One thing I had noticed in this city of rude people, is by contrast how friendly the bus drivers are, especially within Downtown. Every ride within the busiest part of Vancouver, I'm greeted with a happy man behind the wheel, pleased to see everyone enter through the gates.

They're happy, fun, great sense of humour, ask them any question and they'll answer to the best of their ability, I imagine they enjoy long walks on the beach and putting their feet up and enjoying a good book, which is incredible considering the amount of shit they have to take on a daily basis.

They're also aware of the other rider's discomfort when some prat is tripping off his face pores from consuming too many drugs dakaris after a night out on drains and even though they don't smash the soberness back into his skin, they will call in reinforcements to take that fucker down. That's why, I like to think of them as the Knights of Vancouver.

Next stop, medieval on your ass (via

However, leave Downtown and these noble noblemen become, hmm, what's the word? Dipshits.

As I was wandering aimlessly in a rural nightmare, I notice a saving grace beacon up ahead to save my soul, something that will end this monotonous terror of being stuck in butt-fuck nowhere, without wifi and few coins in my pocket. I wanted a fairly quick exit, this would help. No chance.

Now, getting a bus anywhere in Vancouver is pretty perilous thanks to the lack of information at the bus stops, they're essentially a sign with a random number and name of a made up place plucked out from Middle Earth, it would also appear that putting route maps is a far to big an ask to help people, but it seems Canada gave up on making maps when Newfoundland was newly found and landed upon.

What? Huh? Dunno. (via

I was fully reliant on my psychic powers to get on the right bus and the driver to guide me back to safety and share their knowledge to point you in the right direction if I was on the wrong bus.

Getting on the bus, the doors immediately close behind me and the bus drives off.
“Does this bus go south?”
“No, 'fraid not”
“You'll need another bus”
“Do you know which one?”
“Hmm,” He points to a bus going in the opposite direction “That one?”
“Oh, I don't appear to be having much luck with buses today! Haha”
“I suppose you'll be wanting to get off?”
“If you wouldn't mind”
He sighs and pulls over and lets me off
“Thank you!”
He sighs again

Honestly? You want me to do MY JOB, urgh... (via

Those assholes, make me feel like the biggest idiot on the face of the earth for not knowing the “insider” knowledge of public transit and making him make one extra stop from his allotted allowance was the biggest ask he's had ALL day. He's a bus driver, stopping and opening doors should, come naturally to him like breathing.

I know I shouldn't expect all bus drivers to know everything about the routes and the like, but this conversation more-or-less happened 3 times in quick succession, it's their attitude I didn't appreciate though this is probably because they're all in the process of dying of a broken heart of failed dreams of wanting to work in Downtown, those assholes.

Hidden Richmond | 13th September 2011 | 20:43 PDT

When people talk about Richmond in Vancouver they're less than impressed by the area and I agree, there's no real reason to go there unless you're a fan of box malls, industrial estates and vast expanse of residential nothingness.

My kind of place then, hitching a ride on the Skytrain, I head to Richmond to have a look around and to my surprise I found a few hidden gems within its city limits.

Rufus Lin Gallery
It's very difficult to find, as the gallery is within the Pacific business centre the most corporate and uncreative place for a gallery to reside, you enter through into the artistic space on the top floor of the other side of the planet, you realise that all that searching and finding was worth it as the calming effect of the deep red walls seep in and gives you a 'wrapped in a duvet' feeling.

Felt like having a warm chocolate bath

In this gallery, you're greeted by happy staff that are amazed you made it there, nothing has a price tag as nothing it for sale, it's all about displaying contemporary Japanese art and and nothing else, it is one of only a handful that exist outside of Japan. Best of all, admission is free!

Rooms were filled with colourful, bright, positive, happy art. Even a piece called 'Sending off the spirit of dead people', looked enlightening with its late sunset colours. Other pieces ranged from POPartesque to fine art detailed acrylics to pen and paper Manga to Chigiri-e, (watercoloured looking pictures made from tiny bits of torn paper) to clay sculptures of confectionery and jewellery, rabbit dolls, decorated flip flops and other completely random things.

Close up of Chigiri-e

I leave hugely satisfied and walk south for an hour to find the...

International Buddhist Society
As the name would suggest, it's a temple for Buddhism, When you're walking through low lying residential area and you come to the end of the road, there it is, just there, appearing from seemingly nowhere and bigger than you expect it to be. It was lavishly decorated with fantastic sculptures of the gods, pristine oriental garden with a sweat smell of incense burning in the air.

Welcoming Gardens

Heading into the main courtyard, known as Worshipping Square, I was met with a big surprise lurking inside a pavilion. My jaw dropped and shattered on the floor as I faced a huge 20ft golden statue looming over you of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva that was amazingly detailed in every way, with a large hand painted mural on the back wall, one of the largest in the world.

Worshipping Square

Inside the main temple, chanting of monks and another giant statue adds to my already very spiritual mood. I wanted to explore further around as I only saw half it, but unfortunately the rest of temple such as the mediation hall, was closed due to construction. Damn.

I leave hugely spiritual and walk south for an hour to find the...

Nothing like walking down a long empty farmyard road to boost morale

London Heritage Farm
This is 4 acre piece of land with it's original 1880s farmhouse and barn is the remnants of a 200 acre farmland, that was once owned and cultivated by the London family that moved from Ontario to Richmond back in 1877.

This is a cosy and charming place to see, with its herb and rose gardens, chicken coops, bee hives, allotments, learn about the fundamental techniques of farming and after walking a few hours around Richmond, I looked forward to enjoying a very English cream tea in the original farmhouse, but it was shut that day... Oh well, be British, don't complain about it and carry on.

The farm, small but perfectly formed

Good times to be had off the beaten track, the problem is that Richmond lies under sea level, which of course can have no disastrous effect whatsoever in the future in this earthquake prone area so, I'm glad I got to see all these places when I did before they float away.