After spending an unholy amount of time and money shopping during my trip to Vancouver a change of pace and scenery was needed. I wanted to go somewhere new that doesn’t have an entry fee or an Aritzia or H&M anywhere within my vicinity. Even though I have visited Vancouver countless times I had never visited the Chinatown district or seen much of the touristy Gastown district to tell you the truth.
This time around I made sure I saw both despite my visits only lasting about an hour each. Paul Theroux’s advice to travel alone never rang so true as this trip when I found that what I wanted to get out of my trip was not in line with those I was traveling with. After some convincing, I was able to make them see that Vancouver has much more to offer than the Vancouver Art Gallery, Stanley Park and amazing food.
The calming Dr. Sun-Yat-Sen Chinese Garden is located in Chinatown, just a couple blocks from Gastown. It was an amazing find not only because of the giant koi, blooming flowers but also the Canadian goose who laid eggs on a rock in the middle of the pond. The garden is voted “top city garden” by National Geographic and was featured in the Top 500 Secret Journeys of a Lifetime. While I can’t say it is life changing, it was refreshing.
However, something that is unavoidable in Vancouver, and many metropolitan areas, are the disadvantaged and homeless. One man wandered the garden asking for change. I don’t know if it was the calming atmosphere of the garden but we gave him a couple bucks and he went on his way.
Every city also has its dodgy end and not really knowing where we were located, behaving like your typical tourist, we consulted our map and decided to walk to Gastown. We ended up on the cusp of Chinatown, Gastown and Hastings street where the homeless and tweakers roam. I looked to my left and saw Save On Meats, the business featured on OWN Network’s program Gastown Gamble, and a woman who resembled the Simpson’s crazy cat lady carrying around her belongings and a cat in her broken grocery cart. On this street we stood out. Not exactly the place you want to be when you have a Nikon camera around your neck. I admit I am not the best in these situations coming from a town where the homeless are relatively out of sight, kept on a single street downtown as well.
We needed a drink and truthfully that is all I can say I experienced of Gastown.
|Goose protecting its eggs on the rock.|
So what? You may ask. While this post probably isn’t the most informative I think it is a great example of what you need to ask yourself before choosing who you go traveling with. What do I want to get out of this trip? What does the person(s) I am going with want to get out of this trip?
I usually travel with my parents and sister, not because I am obligated but because we all have fun together. However, my parents idea of interesting activities doesn’t always meet my own desire to explore. For example, we are heading to New York in less than a month. A “must” for me is the Museum of Natural History and a martini at Bemelmans Bar. My parents on the other hand are interested in a relaxed pace of travel which was evident during our last trip to Mexico. As a writer/poet and person interested in acquiring an intriguing story for my blog readers it is important for me to experience issues and places of interest. Naturally, conflict arises but is easily resolved if we are all able to compromise. Blogging has changed the way I look at travel and the way I tell stories. I am typically used to writing creative stories or poetry and writing articles has been trial and error as I try to figure out what my readers respond to.
Why I do travel with my parents and sister especially is that when our travel intentions do align, which is more often than this post gives credit for, we experience some of the most memorable moments of our lives (Aerosmith, Alaska, Grey Cup, California, Oahu, Canadian Culinary Championships, Venice Beach, Venice Italy, Mexico’s Beach Party, Las Vegas, and now soon to be New York and Jamaica).
Who do you travel with?
What are some of the frustrations that arise?
How do you cope?