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Blenz Coffee at Robson and Burrard in downtown Vancouver

The Blenz Coffee at Robson and Burrard.

So I Took The Job In Vancouver's Gastown

My first night in Vancouver: unable to get online from my hotel, I set off in search of wireless Internet and made my first friend.

Michael David Crawford
August 31, 2006

Copyright © 2006 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

Holy Shit!

Mike you live in my city.

-- Kuro5hin's spooked

The advice of everyone I asked here, at HuSi, and in Meatspace back in Truro was that Vancouver's Gastown wasn't anything like I thought. So I took the job.

I'm now enjoying the free wireless internet at the Blenz cafe at the corner of Robson and Burrard in Vancouver, British Columbia. I had this whole long diary composed in my mind on the plane, and went in search of a wireless cafe so I could post it, but now I'm too tired, so I'll post it late tomorrow night.

The Westin Bayshore has wireless in my room but I'll be damned if I'll pay twenty bucks a day for Internet service, even if my new employer picks up the tab. Information Wants To Be Free after all. After noticing how many networks showed up in my Airport menu, I went off in search of WiFi that's Free as in Freedom, and it didn't take long to find.

I've been combing the housing boards looking for a place, and managed to schedule some visits for this weekend while I was still in Nova Scotia. My new boss says he gets a good rate at the Westin, but I feel very uncomfortable staying at the Westin any longer than I have to.

I feel just like Jed Clampett must have felt the day his family, The Beverly Hillbillies, arrived in Beverly Hills.


Counterexample

If we're talking "ostentatious display of wealth" and New England, then we should remember Boston as the prime counterexample to your claim.

-- Kuro5hin's khallow

The ostentatious display of wealth all up and down the West Coast from here to San Diego positively dumbfounds me. It's a completely different world than Atlantic Canada, or New England for that matter.

While things are getting better, Atlantic Canada still hasn't recovered from the collapse of the cod fishery fifteen or so years ago.

Both Halifax and St. John's harbors are very busy these days, but the boats are owned by workingmen: fishing boats, Canadian Royal Navy ships and submarines, and the collosal Joseph and Mary Smallwood, one of the Newfoundland ferries operated by Marine Atlantic, in drydock periodically in Halifax for maintenance. They are both container ship ports; Halifax is equipped with a King-Size scintillator, a form of radiation detector, in case anyone tries to smuggle in a nuclear bomb. Once I even saw an offshore oil rig in port at Halifax.

The yachot harbor by the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver

The view out my window at the Westin Bayshore.

The Westin Bayshore is on a harbor too. I discovered this when I opened the curtains to look out the window of my twelfth-floor room. But the boats in the harbor next to the Westin are different from the boats in Halifax and St. John's: all I could see was yachts. Lots and lots of yachts. Yachts from horizon to horizon.

I didn't think I'd find a wireless cafe when I first set out on foot. There's lots of Fine Dining near the Westin, but no cafes. It looks just like San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf might look if they kept the riff-raff out.

Riff-raff like me I guess.

I start work tomorrow morning at ten. Who knows what the future will bring?

Tomorrow will be a bright, new day I think.

I have to go to bed now, but I plan to stop by here again for my morning coffee. If I have time I'll respond to your posts then.

I was just about to go back to my hotel but a fellow named Isaac asked me to pose for a portrait. He's drawing me in profile while I look at my laptop.

Portrait of Mike Crawford by Isaac Abbay

Portrait of me by Isaac Abbay

Email Isaac at yemane_94@hotmail.com
He can meet you in downtown Vancouver to draw your portrait.

Isaac Did A Good Job On My Portrait

He gave it to me, then told me I should spray it with hair spray to protect the charcoal from smearing. I said "Oh I know about fixative. I'll get some fixative for it". Fixative is just like hairspray but chemically neutral so it doesn't yellow with age.

I said "I'll pay you for that". He said "I take donations". I gave him five bucks and said "I know how hard it is to make it as an artist". When he asked to draw me, I told him my wife was still back East because she was still in art school.

I gave him my email and website and asked him to drop me a line. I said "I don't know a soul in Vancouver". "You've got a friend now" he said.

While he was drawing me, some guy walked up and asked to be drawn next.

This wasn't like one of those fun sketches you get at amusement parks. It's more like the sketches one does in a University drawing class. I took such a class at UCSC, and Bonita took one at UCSC. We both drew lots of similar portraits of models.

I should lay off the ice cream though. He drew me with a double chin.

Now that I have a job maybe I won't have to eat so much. I eat ice cream for the same reason many people smoke pot or drink.

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