Summer in Van, Round Two (Ding Ding!) 2010
I arrived in Vancouver nearly one year ago this month to blue skies, scorching sunshine and friendly, smiling people.
Now, while the friendly, smiling people have stayed the same and are just as friendly as ever if not friendlier as we start to make some local acquaintances such as the lovely woman in the post office or the nice bank teller who always asks me how my day is (although, I must admit as can happen with the human condition sometimes, I tend to notice the extreme friendliness less and now it's just a given...until I finally go home that is and am met by Irish cynicism, our favourite trait!)...the blue skies and scorching sun have most definitely been hibernating for the winter!!!
I was always warned that Van was quite like Ireland during its rainy season but I didn't really believe them. Like, I just didn't take them seriously. How could it be worse? I went to university in Galway in the west of Ireland and, I swear, I never left the house without an umbrella. Ever. Even to nightclubs. Especially to nightclubs in fact, with the wet walk home! It literally went everywhere with me.
However, while I'm still not entirely convinced that it rains as much here, I will agree that the weather can be erratic to say the least. One day it's sunny, the next it's lashing, the next it's snowing on the mountains and bitterly cold in the city, with an added chilling breeze that would put a permanent look of surprise on your face!
But now -- for now -- the sun is back out and it appears he's here to stay, yay! It's funny, when I was young, no matter who asked me to draw what or whatever time of year it was, from about the ages of 4 to ten whenever I was given a crayon I would undoubtedly draw a perfectly square house with four perfectly equal little windows (as I got older I became more adventurous and added in curtains, vases with flowers in them on windowsills no less, and even dogs or cats or rabbits to the perfectly groomed garden outside. Oh and a big smiling sun with sunglasses on and maybe a crow or two using the ingenious McDonald's style 'M' once or twice) and I must say that's the perfect little sun I picture entering Vancouver's solstice as we speak - he's happy, he's cool and he's (hopefully!) here to stay!!
And, of course, with the summer comes the inevitable flurry to 'get outside' and do 'outdoor activities' which, in my case, means going to the beach to watch the beautiful sunsets or going to any kind of outdoor gig with cheapo tickets I can my deathly-white-but-soon-to-be-mostly-freckled hands on! Think LCD Soundsystem at the outdoor Malkin Bowl, Massive Attack too, Deadmau5 at the Pacific Coliseum to come in July, and Star Wars in concert in GM Place...you really can't beat the summer goodness!
Another summer activity that's already on the cards is...CAMPING! Oh yes, waking up in the wilderness, touching base with nature, getting drunk and eating half-cooked meats that will leave you stomach problems for six months later...total bliss. This time around to match last year's, we're heading off in early June before the really hot weather kicks in and sleeping in a tent becomes like being wrapped in foil and stuck in the oven ready for Thanksgiving.
Ding Ding, I'm done!
Speaking of huge turkeys (me), another summer job right at the top of my agenda at the moment is buying the ubiqitous "grill"! Picture this: a beautiful summer's evening, sun hitting off Van's tallest building, the Shangri La Hotel which is directly opposite us, a few friends round sipping on some cold beers with the smell of fresh cut grass and slightly burnt burgers invading our nostrils as they sizzle on the BBQ...sun, what can I say...keep those glasses on 'cos this summer's gonna be coooooooooool!!!
I can't bleedin' wait.