Impressions of Vancouver

Take the landscape of Los Angeles, mix it with the crunchy granola and rainfall of Seattle and set it up behind the skyline of Hong Kong without the showy lights and you have Vancouver.

With the comparison to Los Angeles, it’s a sprawling city with a massive downtown area surrounded by low-lying suburbs.  If Toronto is the City of Neighborhoods, Vancouver is the City of “What Neighborhood is This?” Then you have the movie industry that’s larger then you think, not only from American production but the Asian market as well. I came across three movie shoots during my four days.

Also with the local hipster population reminds me immensely of the prototypical L.A. scenster who trek from trendy places and complain that their movie can’t get funding.

With Seattle, Vancouver is a progressive city, filled with foodie options, an overwhelming craft beer scene and a small music scene where rainfull is expected every day. Sunday was 24-hours of rain, Monday was about 10-hours of rain with some hail thrown in. As a result, their are several coffee joints on every block.

When you cross the bridge from the South into Vancouver or take a transit ferry from the North, the skyline towers over everything. It reminds me of Hong Kong harbor in terms of the actually length and heights, but just no fancy lights.

The Canadian city is probably the most unassuming major city I’ve visited. There is pride in the city, but not boastful. The 30% Asian population have integrated into Canadian life seamlessly. You’re more like to hear or see an Asian language before you see French. Thus, you see Asian restaurants are the most dominate type in the city. That means glorious dumplings and tiny Japanese style eateries.

Just like Toronto, everything and everybody is chill. The transportation is extensive, with buses and a simple subway system. Most importantly, it’s cheap. $10CAN ($8US) for a whole day of travel.

There is a major problem in the city, and in every major city — the homeless population. It’s pretty rampant downtown and in small areas nearby where you see a great artist area with eateries, art galleries, breweries and the like, right across from a shantytown. You’re enjoying a wine flight with your good-looking, well-to-do friends talking about the latest TED talk. Meanwhile, there’s a tent city directly next door.

More on this and other sights and eats later. Onto Denver, where hopefully my AirBnb will having working wifi.

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