Visiting Vancouver


The border guard towers over me, unsmiling, and asks me what my business is in Canada. He swipes a thick black line through my single-entry visa, but he lets me through. Apart from that, it doesn't feel like I left the US at all. American chain stores, American brands in the supermarket, signs in English only. Money in politics here, too, in the way real-estate developers control the city. According to my airbnb host, anyway.

I rent a bike and go to Stanley Park. It's cloudy and it drizzles, but that bothers me less than I expected. The tree trunks are dressed in moss, and everything is impossibly green. Swamp lanterns bloom on the edge of the path. After a year in droughty California, my eyes feast on this water-rich forest landscape.

One day is dedicated to suspension bridges. Capilano is impressive but crowded. The one at Lynn Canyon is breathtaking because it disappears into a wall of green (photo above). A waterfall is roaring underneath. I am amazed that I could get here with public transportation.

I take the ferry to Victoria, and it's the hugest ferry I've ever seen. Hundreds of cars, and even a few buses and semis roll into its belly. I go to the Butchart Gardens and reflect on the self-reinforcing nature of wealth. Then I go to Miniature World and watch in wonder as the tiny trains whiz by on their tiny tracks. On the way back, I read about the ghost towns of British Columbia. Another trip is in order for those.