Thursday, March 12, 2009

you can't hide from god if god is a mountain

i woke up this morning before dawn with a slight headache. ah, jetlag. feels like 10AM. my body is confused.

to prepare for my job interview i slipped on my black high heel pumps and immediately regretted them as soon as i left my place. i once attended a Bay Street etiquette seminar that told me proper women's office attire includes two inch heels. this is why i am here right now, and not on Bay Street. i am far more of a men's loafers kind of gal, or better yet, flipflops. i hobbled a few steps, sat down on the curb, and switched back into my sneakers. the rest of my trip went smoothly. thank god i remembered to change back into the heels at the actual interview.

i experienced the pleasure of riding the SkyTrain, which is one of my favourite features about vancouv, once you make it through the frighteningly rabid crowd at rush hour pushing like football rioters through the train doors. vancouver, for some reason, can't build underground, probably due to the fact that things are too close to the ocean. this is why none of the houses here have actual basments. it's also why they built their main public transportation a storey above ground, which is an incredible feeling to ride. commuting downtown on the SkyTrain feels like being flung through the air like a bird, zooming across the city. it's a curious sense of flying as you watch all the buildings go by, with those beautiful but ominous mountains always looming ahead north. a bit like the loop in Chicago, only there are less high rises around here until you get downtown.

my interview was at the courts downtown right by robson square. i don't spend a lot of time here. it's perfectly trendy and shi shi and the architecture is beautiful, but it's this area that makes me remember that all city downtown cores, to a certain extent, are the same. every respectable city will have a Tiffany's and dozens of starbucks lining the pavement, along with brisk looking businesspeople hurrying down the sidewalk while checking their crackberries. this isn't want makes vancouver vancouver. what makes vancouver vancouver, however, are those huge mountains that tower over the tallest towers.

this is what i like about vancouver. toronto, as a canadian city, is a celebration of manmade things, the finest of human achievements. the tall skyscrapers that replace the sky and house the entirely artificial thing we call the stock market, the ultramodern architects and abstract sidewalk sculptures, the vibrant cultural night life, the bustling crowds. toronto gets to bask in the glory of its own human company, whereas vancouver, seated between the snow-capped mountains and the infinite ocean, can never escape the omnipresent face of nature, always there, always reminding you of the untamed, uninhabited uncharted part of life. if toronto's definitives words are (and i don't mean this in an entirely critical way) celebrative hubris, vancouver's is harmony, or at least an attempt to reconcile with nature. it's everywhere, from the pot-smoking hippies to the yuppies jogging home from their yoga class, to the organic cafes serving nothing but natural and healthy snacks.

speaking of, after my interview, i headed over to the Vancouver Art Galley (VAG, haha) on the recommendation of my friend james. i walked right past the admissions desk and into the gallery cafe where i treated myself to a carmelized fennel and asiago soup, with a multi-grain bun and freshly squeezed organic orange juice. i sat out on the patio to enjoy the sun.

then a crow stole my bread. see? nature always wins.

i'm going to head over to kitsilano now, to check out a potential apartment and to contemplate on the beach. it'll be just like the time the band went down to halifax. everyone knew we were from ontario because we insisted on hanging out on an ocean beach that was still far too cold for the locals.