So, Wednesda,y July 1st - Canada Day no less - was the big move.
We transplanted ourselves from Main Street (some call it the cultural heart of Van and, yes, it has lots of nice restaurants, particularly 'The Reef' mm mm, but it's simply too long for my liking and too far away from the madness that is downtown. So, we've decided to take the plunge and set up home in the West End, in an apartment overlooking Davie Street.
For those who don't know Van, the Davie Street area is the gay capital of the city and is like nothing I've ever seen before! Apparently, Vancouver has the largest gay population in Western Canada, mostly centred around the West End and Commercial Drive which is another hopping hub. I love it, it's so bright and colourful. All of the bins and most of the bus stop benches in this delightful "gaybourhood" are painted pink and two-sided banners line the street depicting a rainbow flag on one side and a sun design on the other, as designed by a local artist to represent what 'Davie Village' is all about. It's so welcoming and vibrant here, I've never really felt like I belong to a "community" before, so it's ironic that I come from one of the smallest countries in the world to one of the largest to find a true sense of belonging!!
We're in our element here as a couple of laidback lovers, with men dressed as women and women dressed as men out doing their weekly shop. Men eyeing men up, women eyeing women up, women eyeing men up and vice versa, while I eye the adorable dogs up as I'm obsessed with the little furry critters over here who are EVERYWHERE! All this on one street coming together in a big organic-lovin' smoothie-drinkin' hummus-eatin' happy Van family!
The new place (above...nice innit?!) is big and bright - possibly because we've got little or no furniture and other miscellaneous crap to fill it up with. Everyone who's come here has said we've got one of the best views of the city which is an unexpected but welcome fluke for us!
Although the apartment itself doesn't catch the sun (which the other half is delighted about of course as a sun hater!), we get the best of both worlds as at dusk every evening the sun bounces off the city's tallest buidling, the Shangrai La Hotel which is in our eyeline and shines a dazzling ray of sunlight into our living-room right before dark!! I'm hoping the balcony will come in useful too when I want to sunbathe on the 4 X 4 patch of direct sunshine that actually hits us from 5.30 - 8am each morning!!
And onto Canada Day, well, it was certainly an experience! It was possibly more sombre (or should that be sober?) than we had expected...shall we say more 'grown up' and sophisticated than we're used to as Paddy's Day at home - and here for that matter! - comprises 10% patriotism and 90% booze!
We moved in early to make the most out of our first Canada Day, threw all our stuff into the room (and I mean threw!) and then hit the town to see how our Canadians idols partied on this their national day of celebration for being so "awesome" (I still can't bring myself to say that word, it's just too perky for me for now!)
Funny that you modest Canadians have a day to celebrate yoursevles but, in true Canuck style, you did it with decorum and restraint!
We were told this was the one day, apart from the Gay PRIDE Parade that it's acceptable to drink openly on the street...and yet myself and my peer pressure counterpart felt like criminals opening sluggling out of bottles of Okanagan (mm, cider...gotta get my five a day!) on West Georgia Street so we quickly dumped our fare!! Typical Irish eh, can't bring us anywhere...
Well, in true Canadian style we opted to look on the bright side -- the sun was shining, the weather was sweet -- watched the parade, which was a first for Vancouver, and mosied on down to English Bay to gaze at our first ever sunset on what would be our local beach. Bliss.
Canada, we love you x