37. Long-term decisions

Vancouver, Canada, 11.03.2017.

When I came to Canada in January, I had basically drawn up two viable plans what to do:

1. The Gap-Year plan: Originally, it was my plan to to just travel through Canada during my Work&Travel year, to get a break from work life and to just enjoy my life. I thought about spending a few weeks on Vancouver Island, to drive to the Rocky Mountains again, to go up north to Yukon and then to drive all the way across Canada by car to finally end up in Newfoundland and Labrador at the end of the year. Of course, it was also part of this plan to visit all the sights and parks that were on the route from western Canada to the east.

2. The residency plan: This plan focused on trying to get a decent job somewhere as quickly as possible, to move there and get my own apartment, to then apply for permanent residency and thus to gain a foothold here in Canada. Of course, this plan is the more “responsible” and “mature” plan as it satisfies the common view that you are supposed to work somewhere and be a “good member of society”.  On the other hand, this plan is also less fun and not so much different from what I have been doing so far in my life. So not a great change, really.

To be very honest, I was totally unsure what to do initially when I arrived in Canada in January. I had no real preference for a plan although I clearly saw their individual benefits and drawbacks. However, it was not at all easy for me to weigh them properly and make up my mind what I really wanted. On the one hand, the Gap-Year plan promised to be more fun and it would reward me with a million priceless impressions and great experiences. On the other hand, this Gap-Year would then clearly be a one-shot thing and I would have to go back to Europe at the end of the year and it would become increasingly more difficult after this year to try to gain a permanent foothold here in Canada. So what do you do if you don’t know what’s right? I solved this problem by prioritizing the plans while not discarding either of them. Upon arrival in Canada, I decided to follow the residency plan first and to try to get a job quickly. Then, in case of an unfruitful job search, I was prepared to discard the residency plan in favor of the Gap-Year plan by the end of April. Why not earlier than the end of April? Well, Canada is mainly a cold and snowy country. So leaving the lower mainlands around Vancouver earlier than May does not really make much sense if you want to go up north and see a bit more of the landscape than just the white layer. Also, most of the parks do not open that early in the year and hiking is not too much fun if you have to do it in the snow. So basically the residency plan was my primary plan and the the Gap-Year plan was my “Plan B” or backup- plan. Now why am I writing about all this now? Well, my current situation has significantly changed in the last days and it looks like my primary plan has worked out well. But before I go into details here, let’s take a look at a few pictures first.

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The third book in the triology. Overall, three very good books with a great story line but “The Chess Men” can’t quite keep up with the quality of the first two books. Peter May is a great author, you’ll like him.
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A few shells I found when jogging on the beach.

Last week, my future employer, the BC Liquor Stores, finally received the last reference they needed to take me on board. So now I will start to work as a Senior Store Manager for them in North Vancouver on the 20th of March. However, before I get my own store there, I will be trained in several other stores nearby. So it looks like my primary plan worked just fine and I can now try to apply for permanent residency here. And this is exactly what my next step will be once I have settled down in North Vancouver. Next Monday, I will take a look at a few apartments there and hopefully find a good place to stay there. But I think that will not be a huge issue as I am not too picky about my living places.
Despite the current development, I have not at all given up on my Gap-Year plan yet. And if all goes according to my grand master plan, I don’t have to give up on it anyway. In case I get my permanent residency, I can always do my all-around-Canada-trip at some point in the future. So nothing is really “lost” and by pursuing my current plan I keep most of my future options open. I feel I can always take a Sabbatical later in my life and still do the trip once I managed to acquire my permanent residency and worked for a few years here in Canada.
Interesting side- note: Last week, I also received an E-Mail from Parks Canada telling me that I was chosen for an interview for the site-manager position at the Banff Upper Hot Springs. How unexpected. Last time I heard anything from this application, I was just buying my car. Must have been late January I guess. But there was no chance I would go to that interview as I had already signed the job offer of the BC Liquor Stores. Still interesting to see how long a recruitment process can take. Six weeks in between the end of the application process and the decision who will be invited to an interrview. That is long! Also, I am quite thrilled to see the success of my applications. In total, I wrote just 7 applications, I got invited to interviews 2 times, attended one interview and got the job. Can’t say I am not a bit proud about that. 🙂

Now that should be enought talk about work and me drawing up strange plans. Let’s write a bit about the fun things I did in the last days. I managed to read a bit and I also continued to go jogging regularly (see both pictures above). Now that I know that I’ll be staying in Vancouver a bit longer, I decided to sign up for the Vancouver Marathon on May 7th and do the first full marathon in my life. Seems really fitting that I will do it here in Vancouver on a stunning course that will also lead through Stanley Park. You can check out the course map here. Just a really really nice course I think.
Also, I will get a year membership in one of the climbing gyms in Vancouver and start climbing regularly. Climbing is not only great fun but I realized that it trains my upper body and arms a lot and I feel that this really benefits me. Up to now, I only trained my legs by running and completely neglected my upper body. Possibly not the greatest choice.

When it comes to regular fun activities, I managed to attend some board game evenings in the store in Ladner and I also visited the CatFe again twice. They have three very cute Main Coone mix breeds there, all siblings. They are really friendly and curious and two of them ended up on my lap, enjoying my cuddles. I expressed my wish to maybe adopt them but after having checked the currently available apartments in North Vancouver, it looks like this is not going to happen. Most of the landlords do not want any animals in their apartment and those who tolerate cats will only tolerate one or two. That’s pretty unfortunate because I think this band deserves a second chance. However, I guess that many potential new owners will be deterred by their current age as they are already 10 years old. Now that does not deter me but I know that most of the people look for cats that are still young. That situation makes me a bit sad but there’s not much I can really do about it…

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Harvey (female) and me in the CatFe in Vancouver.
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Budddy (male), who sat on my lap for over an hour, enjoying my cuddles.
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Mare Nostrum Empires. I played the green Greece, trying to fend off the Romans and the Babylonians at the same time.
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Castles of Burgundy. Second time I played it. Thanks to Stephan Valkyser, I already had a good insight into this game.

Last week I also managed to make a few trips to downtown Vancouver and I visited the Vancouver Public Library, the Vancouver Museum and the Space Centre. The library resides in a very interesting Colosseum- like building and it has a truly large collection, including some German literature. Unfortunately, they apparently also bought crappy books in the past as I found a copy of a rather infamous German author whose views are much questioned.
The Space Center is a nice place to go and their shows are really entertaining and offer some stunning views. So I can only advise to go there if you’re a bit interested in astronomy or Space exploration. Not the biggest or most thrilling exhibition but it is still worth to go there and take a look at it. Now I wish I could say the same for the Museum of Vancouver but I really can’t. Verena and I went there and we both agreed that this museum is rather boring and that it did not really entertain us. I have seen many better Canadian museums and I would not recommend seeing the Museum of Vancouver if you’re only staying at Vancouver for a few days…

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The Colosseum- like building of Vancouver’s Public Library.
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Very surprised to find a copy of THIS book here in Vancouver. Not the best choice to invest the library’s money.

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A very nice saying, displayed at the Space Center.
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Magnificent Oldtimer in the Museum of Vancouver.

Now that I’ve chosen to settle down in Vancouver, I suppose that I won’t be writing that many blog entries in the future anymore. Of course, I will still write about the exceptional events in my life but I also guess that it will start getting a bit more quiet in my life in the future. But that is okay, life can’t always be a rollercoaster ride. Thus, you should not expect so lengthy and frequent blog entries anymore. But we’ll see about that…
Ah, one last thing before I conclude the blog entry with my music advice: I just received my Parks Canada Discovery pass (see cover picture at the top of the entry) so I can visit every one of Canada’s National Parks for free this year. Anyone can apply for this pass and it costs exactly zero Canadian dollars as Parks Canada gives it away for free this year due to Canada’s 150th birthday. What a great gift! I wish I could do both: work in Vancouver and travel to see Canada’s National Parks at the same time. Not possible though. And again, it is always about setting priorities and making (long-term) decisions….

By chance, I stumbled over this interesting piece of music last week. And I simply put it on repeat and listened to it again and again and again. Until I got fed up with it at some point. But it is still a very good song so I happily share it with you here:

Aesop Rock – None shall pass

36. Canadian Entertainment

Vancouver, Canada, 02.03.2017.

Again, over one week has passed since my last blog entry and quite a few interesting things have happened. Although there are also job- related news to write about, I spent a lot of time enjoying my life in the past days so I had to choose the title for this blog entry the way I did. Okay, let’s start with the job news to get that out of the way first.

Last Thursday, the BC Liquor Stores sent me a job offer for the position as a Senior Store Manager. That was really quick and I was both, surprised and happy, about that offer. Of course I signed the job offer and I also prepared all the necessary documents for them to employ me. Now there are two more things that they will do before I actually get a contract: Firstly, they will check my criminal record and see if there are any entries at all. This should not be a problem as I’ve not yet committed any crimes. And secondly, they will contact my former Lidl superiors (=references) and ask them about my general performance and the situations I described in the job interview and the written assignment. Now of course I don’t know what my former superiors will tell them about me but I am pretty sure it will be a fair assesssment. In the end, there was no conflict at all when I left Lidl so I don’t expect my former superiors to be mad at me for any reason. But in the end, it is really up to them what they will tell the HR manager at the BC Liquor stores and I can’t really influence that. So now I will simply have to wait until they contact me again and then they will either offer me a contract or not. We’ll see about that. With regard to jobs, there is also another interesting development to talk about. BC’s government has finally posted its job advertisements for the Park Ranger and Senior Park Ranger positions. However, these positions are all seasonal so this does not really help me in the long-run. Still, I think it would be nice to work as a Park Ranger for some time and be paid for being outdoors in BC’s beautiful parks. Well, you can’t have it all, can you? The deadline to apply for these jobs is March 8th so I suppose there is still time for me to wait for a response from the BC Liquor stores before I need to do anything here. They should be done with their checks by then and if they choose to not take me on board after all, I can still apply for the Park Ranger job. We’ll see and I will keep you updated.

Now, let’s talk about the main topic of this blog entry: Canadian Entertainment. Yesterday, Verena and I finally went to an Icehockey match of the Vancouver Canucks at the Roger’s Arena. Originally, we already wanted to go to another game earlier this month but the ticket situation online was pretty confusing and ordering tickets through the official ticket center did not work at all. Also, the prices for weekend- tickets were much higher than the prices for yesterday’s match during the week. Still, we had to pay a little more than 60 dollars per ticket for seats of a rather lower category. That was quite the amount but the money was not wasted at all. It was a good experience to watch my first Icehockey match and to see how a sports match is presented here in Canada. Lots of entertainment, lots of commercials and in between that, you just watched the game. 🙂 As a foreigner, I was a little intrigued by the two national anthems that were played prior to this “ordinary” league match. As far as I know, this only happens in Europe if the country’s national teams play against each other. But I may be mistaken here… It was also interesting to see that there was no separation of the opposing fan groups, neither inside nor outside of the stadium. In European soccer matches, this would be unthinkable. Then again, European soccer fans seem to bee much more involved with their club, the team and the match. In contrast to that, there wasn’t much cheering or loud enthusiasm in the stadium yesterday. The people just seemed to be there to relax, have a good time, drink a beer and talk a little while watching the game. Just a very different attitude that also created a completely different atmosphere than the one I got to know when I occasionally watched European soccer in different stadiums in Germany. It feels like the Germans take the game a lot more seriously and they treat it more like a fight that must be won than an entertaining event. However, I have never been to a German Icehockey match yet so I guess it is not that easy to compare these situations. In the end, the German soccer fans are known to be very involved and emotional at times and I don’t know if the same holds true for the German Icehockey fans. Anyway, it was a good experience yesterday and I am open to seeing another Canucks match in the future if the ticket price is acceptable. In any case, I don’t think that it is worth paying a lot more for the so-called “good” tickets as we still had a pretty good view on our “cheaper” seats. Finally, is it worth mentioning how the game ended yesterday? Well, the Canucks lost 2:3 in the overtime against the Detroit Red Wings and it wasn’t overly exciting. Both of the teams do not have a chance anymore to go to the play-offs so I guess the outcome of the game wasn’t really too relevant to anyone in the stadium anyway. At least I did not hear a lot of complaining on our way out of the arena.

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In the stadium: “Canucks are for everyone”- campaign featuring the rainbow- colors.

And what else happened entertainment- wise? Well, Verena and I had a great night out in Vancouver and shared one of the craziest “drinks” I ever had in my life. The “Checkmate Caesar” is a roughly 0.6 liter big drink that has the following ingredients: Vodka, Tomato juice, clam broth, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Also, the glass had celery salt around its egde. I gotta say that was one of the most ugly drinks I ever tasted. But the food “garnish” that came with this drink was really good: A grilled chicken, a big hamburger, a small hamburger, a sandwich, a brownie, some onion rings and five chicken wings. Take a look at this crazy piece of food/ drink:

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The “Checkmate Caesar”, served at the “Score on Davie” bar/restaurant, West End Vancouver.
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The “Score on Davie” bar, West End Vancouver.
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Rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver’s West End: The citie’s LGBTQ- quarter.

After having eaten, we again went to a show at the YukYuk’s (this seems to become a habit) but this time the show wasn’t that good, really. No need to mention the Comedian’s name here but the 20 bucks per ticket were not at all well invested, unfortunately. Well, as everybody’s humor is different, this was likely to happen at some point I guess…

And what else happened in the last days? Well, I bought my own climbing gear (harness, shoes, chalk bag and belay device) and tested it already in our current favorite climbing hall. It all fits well and it wasn’t that expensive, really. So now I can save the money to rent the gear from the climbing hall and I also have my own shoes which is a definite plus on the hygiene side. 🙂

At the board game evening last week, I got to play a new game: Zombicide. Well, as the name suggests, the game is basically about killing Zombies and escaping from them after having completed a certain task. It is a cooperative game and although it is more about slaying Zombies than strategy, I like it and we had a lot of fun playing it.

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One of the items belonging to my new climbing gear: The chalk bag “Floyd”.
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Zomicide. Notice all the grey miniatures (= Zombie horde) on the board.

Finally, I also visited the CatFé once more because a friend of mine tolf me that she had seen Main Coons there. Now I have had Main Coon cats myself and I really like a lot about them: Their thick and fluffy fur, their high pitched voice, their size (they are the biggest cat race!) and most of all their friendliness and gentle behaviour. So I went to the CatFé to take a closer look at them. On that day, however, most of the present cats in the café had already found a new home so even if I wanted to adopt one, there was no chance to do so. Maybe an opportunity will arise for me in the future at some point to have pets again, who knows?

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Maine Coon- Mix “Marshall” at the CatFĂ© Vancouver.
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Marshall’s brother.

Oh my god, over 1500 words again in this blog entry already? Time to quit writing I guess. But finally, as always, let’s have today’s music advice. In honor of the “Zombicide” board game, I choose to present to you:…. A rather strange Hardbass- song. Did I mention that I have a weird music taste? Probably…

Dr. Rude – Apocalypse

30. Downtown Vancouver & First Aid Course

Vancouver, Canada, 10.01.2017.

A lot of different things have happened since my last blog entry on Saturday so I guess it’s time to give you an update of what’s going on in the moment.

After having finished writing the last blog entry, I drove to Vancouver downtown to enjoy the rest of the day in the city. As I had booked a place in the CatFĂ© for 1 PM, this was the first place I went to. It was a very interesting experience and aside from the cats, I also met other friendly people who shared my love for these great animals. Most of the cats seemed to be enjoying the humans who tried to get their attention and play with them. However, there were also two cats that were really shy and they seemed to be stressed by all the action around them. I left them alone because I did not want to add to their stress. So I focused on playing with two young boys who could not get enough from chasing all kinds of different things. With their open and friendly character, I think they will soon find a new family that wishes to adopt them.

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CatFĂ© in Vancouver.
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One of the two young boys who liked to play a lot.
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The other one of the two.
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Sleepy cat. She seemed to be a bit stressed by all the people in the café.

Generally, I think the idea of having a Cat CafĂ© is really good. It gives people the chance to get into contact with homeless cats looking for a new place to live. That makes it easier for people to decide for or against a certain cat as they can already try to judge from a cat’s behaviour if it will be a good fit for their personal situation at home (kids, other cats,…). However, I think that not every cat should be exposed to this very special environment in the Cat CafĂ©. Cats that are really shy and afraid or that simply don’t like other cats too much should not be put into this or a similar place. Judging from what I have seen, I think that most of the cats were fine with beeing in the cafĂ© when I was there. But as I said earlier, I also think that two of the cats seemed to be stressed and thus I think that they should not be there. Now here comes the paradox: On the one hand, cats that have not had traumatic experiences yet and that are open-minded will easily find a new home, with or without the Cat CafĂ©. Granted, they will find a new home quicker with the help of the Cat CafĂ©. But they would most probably also find a new home without the Cat CafĂ©. Anyway, they don’t mind beeing in the Cat CafĂ© so it is a good deal for them AND the human visitors to be there. On the other hand, however, the shy or traumatized cats have problems finding new homes as they often have trouble connecting with other cats or humans. So beeing in the Cat CafĂ© may stress them and it may be another unpleasant experience adding to their trauma. Does not have to be like that but it may be the case. I would not doubt that the Cat CafĂ© also increases the chances of those cats to find a new home but it may come at the cost of the cat’s mental wellbeeing. However, I think it is still worth doing as the long-term happiness of these cats will be a lot lower if they do not find a new home at all. May sound harsh but I guess enduring a short, shocking period of time is favorable to enduring a long period of time lacking quality treatment of loving owners. Before leaving the Cat CafĂ©, I asked one of the girls working there how many cats have not found a new home while beeing in the CafĂ©. She said there was only one cat which had no luck but which then got adopted one week after it was returned to the SPCA. So overall, I think that the idea of the Cat CafĂ© is generally good and worth of supporting although going to the CafĂ© may not be the most pleasant experience for every cat in the short run.

After my visit in the Cat Café, I took a really long walk through Vancouver Downtown. I felt very relaxed and enjoyed having the time to listen to music and look at the core of the city in detail. Here are just some of the impressions of that long walk:

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Statue of Gassy Jack, the founder of Gastown. Gastown later became the city of Vancouver.
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The famous Gastown Steam Clock. Really impressive, especially the interior. The steam sound is not as loud as the one of a steam train. 🙂
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View on Stanley Park from behind the Convention Center.
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Old Sherman tank in front of the British Columbia Regiment. This was the Commander’s tank in WW II, hence the name “BOSS”.

It felt really good to be back in Vancouver although it was not the very favourite place of my roadtrip in 2016. After having strolled through the city for a bit, I felt hungry and got something to eat. While sitting there and chewing on my Veggies, I wondered what I could do for the rest of the day. I finally decided to watch a movie at the cinema and I was lucky that the movie “A Monster Calls” was about to begin shortly when I arrived at the cinema. This movie is absolutely worth watching and it tells the very touching story of a young boy who is trying to cope with his mum’s terminal sickness (cancer). Although I am definitely not the most emotional or sensitive human being, I had to shed some tears at the end of the movie. Interestingly, the movie had the same effect on everyone around me so it wasn’t only me feeling for the poor little boy.

When I left the cinema, it was already dark and I wondered what to do next. I wasn’t hungry so I did not want to go to a restaurant. Unfortunately, I had taken the car to go downtown so drinking alcohol was also out of the question. Thus, I debated with myself to go to a sports bar, watch some sports and get a coke or something. In the end I decided against that and took another walk through the city. Finally, I got a hot mocha at Tim Horton’s (my first visit to Tim Horton’s upon my return to Canada) and just relaxed a bit. At that point I did not feel like staying any longer in downtown so I drove back home. But that was totally okay for me as I still had to do some shopping for Sunday.

On Sunday, I did not do a lot of overly exciting things. I continued to set up and manage my new Facebook- account, I thoroughly looked for new job opportunities in BC (and found 2 interesting positions I will apply for in the next days) and I finally got to run a bit on the beach in front of the apartment. Also, I spent some time cooking so that I could enjoy a good meal in the evening. I really like fresh and healthy food prepared in a Wok…

On Monday and today, I went to a Standard First Aid Course in Surrey, south of Vancouver. I had already scheduled this course when I was still back in Germany and I realized that I would need a First Aid certificate to be able to do the job as a Park Ranger. And now I have this certificate and will be fine if they invite me to an interview. The course itself was very interesting, we had good instructors and the other people taking the course were also very nice and chatty. So we had a good time refreshing our knowledge of First Aid. Good thing I went there…

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One more qualification for the job as a Park Ranger acquired. *Ticks that box and moves on…*

Now, what are the plans for the next days? Tomorrow I will definitely check out the Board Games night in the Comic store I already visited last Friday. Also, I plan on writing at least one more application for a job that I discovered on the Parks Canada website on Sunday. Maybe I will also start looking for a car somewhere in the Vancouver region. This will be a bit difficult though since my German bank has not yet contacted me about transferring my money to the Canadian account. This definitely takes longer than I expected. And without money, there is no way I can buy a car. Not sure what I am going to to on Thursday but I guess that I will attend one or more Aether Revolt Prereleases on Friday and Saturday. That will be a lot of fun again I think. Anyway, I hope that you are all currently enjoying your life as much as I enjoy mine. Make the best of it, you only have one life to live!

Today’s music advice is a bit strange. Even for my taste. When emptying my German apartment, I found a really old CD of an English pop band. Ever heard of East 17? No? Well, I had also already forgotten about them entirely when I found the CD. But when listening to the CD again, I remembered most of the songs and now I want to share my favourite song of their album “Walthamstow” with you. It was released in 1992!!!!

East 17 – Gold

P.S.: That music video is so retro and so boy-band. Those were the days. 🙂

20. Vancouver

Richmond, Kanada, 09.06.2016.

Gerade ist der letzte Abend in Kanada fĂĽr mich auf meiner langen Reise durch ein weites und schönes Land angebrochen. Und im Moment bin ich einfach nur traurig und habe auch kaum Lust, diesen letzten “echten” Blogeintrag auf meiner Reise zu schreiben. Die Zeit hier ist einfach zu schnell vorĂĽber gegangen und ich wäre wirklich gerne noch viel länger hier geblieben. Auf der anderen Seite bin ich aber auch sehr dankbar fĂĽr all die tollen Bekanntschaften, die ich gemacht habe und die schönen Sachen, die ich sehen durfte. Aber ich will jetzt hier mein Fazit nicht vorweg nehmen sondern ĂĽber die letzten Tage und Vancouver berichten. Das Fazit kommt dann in meinem nächsten und letzten Post. Keine Ahnung wann ich den fertig stelle, vielleicht im Flugzeug morgen oder so…

Montag Mittag bin ich mit der Fähre von Vancouver Island zurĂĽck nach Horseshoe Bay gefahren. Die Fähre hatte schon deutlich Verspätung und dann die Ăśberfahrt auch gefĂĽhlt länger gedauert als die Hinfahrt nach Vancouver Island. Jedenfalls bin ich dann erst recht spät angekommen, war auch etwas platt und habe daher auf den Besuch im Britannia Mine Museum verzichtet. Nachdem ich in meinem Hotel in Richmond angekommen bin, habe ich mich erstmal was hingelegt und danach einfach mal gegoogelt, was man in Vancouver alles machen kann. Aus Spass habe ich auch mal geguckt, was in der hiesigen “Magic”- Szene so passiert. Und siehe da: Booster-Draft Montag Abend, nicht weit vom Hotel. Und zeitlich noch machbar. Also schnell dahin gefahren und habe eine Runde gedraftet mit den Jungs. Zwar nicht meine favorisierte Farbkombinanation aber Weiss- Rot war im Draft offen und es ist auch ein ganz gutes und halbwegs aggressives Deck bei rumgekommen. Dann runde 1 gegen Frank und Runde 2 gegen Dustin jeweils gewonnen. Finale gegen Victor haben wir uns auf ein Unentschieden geeinigt und die Preise geteilt. Im Fun- Spiel hat mich Victor dann mit einem Schwarz-blauen Tempo- Deck ziemlich klar und schnell platt gemacht. Also gut fĂĽr mich, dass wir geteilt haben. Es hat jedenfalls viel SpaĂź gemacht und es hat sich auch mal wieder bewahrheitet, dass man beim Magic- Spielen einfach nette Leute trifft und ĂĽberall SpaĂź haben kann. Freue mich schon darauf, meine Spielrunde in Gravesend wieder zu sehen…

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Weiss- Rot Midrange/Aggro- Deck mit guter Performance.
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Gewinn: 4 Booster der aktuellen Edition.

Dienstag morgen habe ich dann aus dem Hotel ausgecheckt, da mich Dawn, die Schwester von Jo Anne und Kelly, zu sich nach Tsawwassen Beach sĂĽdlich von Vancouver eingeladen hat. Dort bin ich aber erst Abends hingefahren, da Dawn tagsĂĽber natĂĽrlich auch arbeiten muss. Da die Wettervorhersage fĂĽr Dienstag durchweg gut war, bin ich an dem Tag in den Stanley Park gefahren und habe dort viel Zeit verbracht. Neben einer kompletten Wanderung rund um den Park auf dem Beachwalk habe ich mir auch viele der SehenswĂĽrdigkeiten im Park angeguckt (Totems, 9 o’clock Cannon, Leuchtturm, Lions Gate Bridge, Sandstrand, Beaver Lake, Hiking Trail mit Seven Sisters, Rose Garden,…). Auf das Aquarium habe ich aber verzichtet, da ich einerseits in Ucluelet schon im Aquarium war, ich es mittlerweile aber auch nicht mehr so gut finde, wenn die grossen und intelligenten Fische (Delphine, Beluga’s, Orcas,…) in Gefangenschaft gehalten werden. Hier sind einige der Highlights:

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Sammlung von Totems der First Nations mit Erklärungen.
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Vancouver Downtown mit Hafen und Vancouver Lookout (siehe Donnerstag). Der Vancouver Lookout ist das Gebäude mit der Untertasse an der Spitze.
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Sandstrand mit Frachtschiffen und Bergen im Hintergrund.
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Graues Eichhörnchen, das mich frech angemeckert hat, nahe Beaver Lake.
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Wurzelgeflecht eines Baumes, der auf einem Nursery Log gewachsen ist.

Insgesamt ist der Stanley Park auf jeden Fall einen Besuch wert und ich denke, man sollte fĂĽr ihn auch einen vollen Tag einplanen. Weil es halt auch viel zu sehen gibt. Abends bin ich dann zu Dawn gefahren und sie hat mich total lieb in Empfang genommen und mir dann erstmal “Whipcream” vorgestellt, siehe unten. Ihre Wohnung liegt direkt am Meer und bei Flut kann ein Teil des Brandungswassers auch schonmal auf ihrer Terasse landen. Die Aussicht von ihrer Terasse aus ist phänomenal, genauso wie die Sonnenuntergänge wenn man dort zu Abend isst….

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Sonnenuntergang am Tsawwassen Beach. Blick von Dawn’s Wohnung aus.
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Whipcream, eine weisse TĂĽrkisch- Angora Kuschelmaus.

Wir haben jedenfalls einen tollen Abend gehabt und mit Whipcream habe ich auch sofort Freundschaft geschlossen. Sie ist eine ganz sanfte, gutmütige und zutrauliche Türkisch- angora Schmusekatze. Mittwoch habe ich dann morgens den botanischen Garten in Chinatown besucht. Der Eintritt war schon recht teuer, dafür war aber auch eine Tour mit dabei und man hat deshalb schon viele Details der Gartenbauer erkennen können. Und Jasmin- Tee gab es auch. 🙂 Ich fand im Garten besonders bemerkenswert, dass ein Gingko- Baum direkt neben einem Ahorn- Baum gepflanzt wurde als Zeichen der chinesisch (Gingko)- kanadischen (Ahorn) Freundschaft.

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Botanischer Garten (chinesisch) in Vancouver.
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Gingko (links) und Ahorn (rechts) nebeneinander als Freundschaftsbekundung.

Nach dem Besuch im botanischen Garten habe ich mir ein bisschen Chinatown angeguckt und bin dann weiter Richtung Downtown gefahren. Dort habe ich mir den Canada Place angeguckt, bin auf dem Canadian Trail gelaufen und schliesslich in den “FlyOver Canada”- Simulator gegangen. Dort “fliegt” man im Simulator durch Kanada und sieht all die Sachen, fĂĽr die Kanada berĂĽhmt ist. Die Attraktion ist sehr gut gemacht (mit Luft- und Wassereffekten,…) und wer schon ein bisschen in Kanada rumgekommen ist, der erkennt viele Sachen wieder und freut sich darĂĽber. Der Preis ist allerdings (wie so oft in Vancouver) auch echt stolz fĂĽr ca. 15 Minuten Action und 20 Minuten Film. Muss man abwägen, ob man das braucht. Ich bereue es nicht, wĂĽrde es aber nicht zwingend empfehlen. Als letzte “Attraktion” wollte ich am Mittwoch Nachmittag das “CatFe” besuchen. Jaime hatte mir das empfohlen und da ich Katzen gerne mag, war es natĂĽrlich ein “Must- See” fĂĽr mich. Das CatFĂ© ist ein CafĂ©, in dem Katzen leben und von den Gästen gestreichelt und auch adoptiert werden können. Leider gibt es dort eine Kapazitätsgrenze und das CafĂ© war ausgebucht als ich da war. Da ich das nicht wusste, habe ich natĂĽrlich auch nicht reserviert (wer hätte gedacht, dass man das in einem CafĂ© machen muss???). Und am Donnerstag hat das CatFĂ© immer geschlossen, so dass ich am Ende auch heute keine Chance hatte, es zu besuchen. Leider, leider. Manchmal kann man einfach nicht alles haben. Also habe ich noch etwas im dortigen Einkaufszentrum gebummelt und bin dann zu Marianne und Georg gefahren, da ich dort zum Abendessen eingeladen war. Und es war echt super bei den Beiden. Auch hier habe ich mich super aufgehoben gefĂĽhlt und wir haben uns echt gut miteinander unterhalten können. Und Marianne hat toll gekocht, es hat sehr sehr lecker geschmeckt und wir hatten einen gemĂĽtlichen Abend. Es ist einfach schön, so viele nette Leute zu treffen, die einem so herzlich und aufgeschlossen begegnen. Ich bin sehr dankbar dafĂĽr und das ist auch eindeutig die schönste Erfahrung, die ich aus meinem Kanada- Urlaub mitnehme.

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Vorzelt des “FlyOver Canada”. Fotos waren im Simulator verboten.
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Das CatFĂ© in Vancouver. Leider ausgebucht als ich da war.

Am Donnerstag morgen habe ich mich dann von Dawn und Whipcream verabschiedet (Danke fĂĽr alles, ihr zwei! Es war eine tolle Zeit bei euch, ich habe es genossen!) und bin schweren Herzens ein letztes Mal nach Vancouver Downtown gefahren. Dort habe ich zunächst die “Telus World of Science” besucht. Und hier hat man echt was fĂĽr sein Geld bekommen. Tolle Ausstellung mit vielen interessanten Informationen und interaktiven Sachen, die einem Wissenschaft, Natur und Technik näher bringen und anfassbar machen. Auch gibt es dort eine gute Balance zwischen Exponaten und Apparaten fĂĽr Kinder einerseits und Erwachsene andererseits. Insgesamt habe ich dort mehr als 4 Stunden verbracht, viel ausprobiert, in der Sonderausstellung ein komplexes Detektivrätsel ganz gut gelöst und meinen Horizont in vielerlei Hinsicht erweitert. Eine tolle Erfahrung.

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Telus World of Science, Vancouver, von aussen.
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Exponate und Lern-Installationen zu den Themen “Wasser” und “Energie” im Erdgeschoss.
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Deckblatt des Detecktivspiels in der ersten Etage, Sonderausstellung.

Nach diesem Besuch bin ich nach Downtown gefahren, habe mir etwas zu essen geholt und mir dann etwas die Gegend angeguckt. Schliesslich bin ich dann zum Vancouver Lookout gegangen um mir Vancouver aus der Vogelperspektive anzugucken. Auch hier war der Eintrittspreis stolz aber meiner Meinung nach noch okay fĂĽr das was man bekommt. Vor allem weil man am selben Tag auch nachts noch hinauf gehen kann, um sich Vancouver im Lichtermeer anzugucken. Was ich nicht gemacht habe, da ich anstatt dessen gerade diesen Blog- Eintrag schreibe. Aber das ist schon okay so. Der Ausblick ist jedenfalls echt gut und man erkennt viele Sachen wieder, die man vorher beim Spazieren gehen oder Fahren in der Stadt schon gesehen hat. So sah man von hier aus z.B. den Stanley Park, während ich vom Stanley Park aus den Vancouver Lookout auch gesehen habe. Siehe Foto weiter oben…

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Blick auf den Stanley Park (in der Mitte des Flusses) und den Hafen, wo der “FlyOver Canada” Simulator war (rechts).
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Vancouver Lookout von unten. Ein Aufzug geht gerade nach oben.

Da es nach dem Besuch des Vancouver Lookouts schon ziemlich spät am Nachmittag war, habe ich beschlossen, für die letzte Übernachtung in Kanada in mein Hotel in Richmond zu fahren. Warum jetzt nochmal Hotel fragt ihr? Hat mehrere Gründe. Erstens ist das Hotel sehr nah am Flughafen und das ist günstig für morgen. Und zweitens hat mir Brian das Hotel gesponsort, da er noch eine Frei- Übernachtung bei den Radisson- Hotels hatte und diese mittlerweile drohte, zu verfallen. Brian, an dieser Stelle nochmal vielen herzlichen Dank dafür, dass du mir das ermöglicht hast. Das Hotelzimmer ist echt gut und ich glaube, dass ich morgen gut in meinen letzten Tag in Kanada starten kann.

Was ist nun mein Fazit zu Vancouver? Zum Einen denke ich, dass die Stadt um einiges hektischer und komprimierter ist als Calgary oder Edmonton. Und dann gibt es echt viele Asiaten hier und das merkt man nicht nur an den Menschen, sondern auch am Stadtbild, den Werbeschildern etc. Das ist an sich überhaupt nichts Schlimmes und mir liegt nichts ferner als das zu kritisieren. Aber es führt aus meiner Sicht zu zwei bedenklichen Entwicklungen: Erstens ist hier vieles deutlich teurer als im Rest Kanadas, vor allem die Wohnungen und Grundstücke. Aber auch Eintritsspreise, Essen, etc. Und zweitens habe ich beim Thema Gastfreundschaft und Freundlichkeit deutliche Unterschiede zu den anderen Orten gemerkt, die ich im Laufe meiner Reise besucht habe. Die Asisaten in Vancouver haben einen eher uninteressierten, routinierten und teilnahmslosen Umgang beim Kontakt mit Touristen wie mir gezeigt. DAS habe ich so von Kanadiern im Laufe meiner Reise nirgendwo gesehen. Die Kanadier waren immer super nett, freundlich und haben sich sher oft auch für mich, meine Herkunft etc. interessiert. Das habe ich bei den Asiaten in Vancouver nur sehr selten erlebt. Aus dem Grund habe ich Vancouver eher mit gemischen Gefühlen erlebt. Auch war der Verkehr hier deutlich schlimmer als z.B. in Calgary oder Edmonton. Zwar noch nicht so krass wie in London oder Umgebung aber schon vergleichbar mit Köln oder Hamburg. Insgesamt muss ich daher sagen, dass ich in Vancouver wahrscheinlich eher nicht wohnen wollen würde, trotz des milden Klimas und der Tatsache, dass Vancouver seit geraumer Zeit immer unter den Top10 der Städte mit der höchsten Lebensqualität weltweit ist. Wie dem auch sei, Vancouver ist trotzdem auf jeden Fall einen Besuch wert.

So, das soll es jetzt aber auch mit diesem Blog- Eintrag gewesen sein. Morgen werde ich nur noch meine Sachen fĂĽr den Flug packen, das Auto nochmal waschen und von innen reinigen und mich dann zum Flughafen begeben. Also nichts, worĂĽber man detailliert berichten mĂĽsste. Daher wird mein letzter Blog- Eintrag dann auch mehr ein Fazit sein als ein Bericht ĂĽber den Reisetag zurĂĽck nach Europa. An dieser Stelle gebe ich aber kein Versprechen ab, wann der Beitrag dann erscheint. Kommt immer darauf an, wieviel Zeit ich morgen noch vor dem Abflug nach Frankfurt habe. Landen werde ich dann wahrscheinlich so gegen 11:00 Uhr am Samstag in Frankfurt. Kann nicht sagen, dass ich mich darauf freue. Aber es kommt halt immer irgendwann wieder die Zeit, wann man zurĂĽck in den Alltag eintauchen muss. Sieht so aus, als könnte auch ich mich nicht davor verschliessen…

Abschliessend gibt es auch heute noch einen Musiktipp. Er drĂĽckt ein bisschen meine Traurigkeit aus, dass mein Kanada- Abenteuer jetzt leider schon wieder zu Ende ist. Vielleicht oder gerade aus dem Grund, dass der Song “nur” ein Instrumental ist. Aber am Ende ist im Leben nichts fĂĽr die Ewigkeit, nicht wahr?

Böhse Onkelz – Adios