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Haiku Factory Special International Guest Host Edition!

janjan.jpgSo, as I’ve mentioned before once or twice, Janelle has been visiting the past few weeks. Tonight she goes back to Australia to continue her studies, but before she catches her cross-Pacific flight, I asked her to blog some of her thoughts about Vancouver and her visit here. Which she’s not shy about revealing, in this, our very first Special International Guest Host edition of Haiku Factory.

  • “The most photographed landmark in Vancouver is the lame Gastown steam clock. It’s amazing that you have Gastown with all the rich tourists surrounded by the most depressing human wasteland. Vancouver has a huge homeless and drug problem – worse than anywhere else I have seen. I’ve literally seen people walk up to this invisible line and turn around and go back. I can’t blame them for that, you know. You don’t want to go there.”
  • “I love shopping in Vancouver. At first I found it difficult to find the things I wanted because it’s so hard to tell what places are good. I went to Zellers because Eric said it was cheap, so I thought it might be like Target at home (which I love), but it was just a junkyard! Yaargh! And then I went to The Bay and got a 15% discount on top of all the regular mark-downs just for being a tourist. Advertise that, man! Advertise that.”
  • “Eric moved to Main Street since the last time I was in Canada. Never have I eaten in so many restaurants in such a short period of time. I looove Nikkyu sushi, especially the deep-fried spicy tuna roll. Honourable mentions to Hawker’s Delight (yes! cheap and cheerful!), Nirvana, Zipang Sushi (mmmmm), Solly’s (for the bagels, not the service) and Bert’s (pancakes! also, bacon and maple syrup do go together!). Brickbats to the fact that my waistline is bigger now than when I arrived.” [Editor’s note: mine too. Sucks.]
  • “But most of the coffee was not to my liking at all — way too strong for my weak-ass Australian tastes. I miss a coffee that tastes like coffee, not freakin’ rocket fuel!” [Editor’s note: she’s specifically thinking of the Main St. Bean Around the World and JJ Beans. Thankfully there’s Salt Spring Coffee, which we both like. Usually. Unless the girl who only fills the cups up half way is there. That tends to set Janelle off.]
  • “Okay, now I have things to say about IGA (the local supermarket). At first, it was so hard to find things there. It felt like things weren’t sensibly organised. For a good part of my trip, I thought fresh noodles were not available except at T&T Supermarket. But then I found them — in the middle of the fruit and vegetable department. Makes sense, huh? I also found it a problem that there was not enough choice of brands. But not if you wanted chips — there’s plenty of flavours I’ve never heard of. ‘Mesquite’? Is that French for something?”
  • “Which brings me to an important subject: Canadian lollies [Editor’s note: ‘lollies’ = ‘candy’]. People, where is the choice!? For those of us that do not enjoy gummy lollies, there is nothing! And the shitty American chocolate… it’s terrible! I cannot wait to be standing in front of my entire aisle of confectionery in Australia. Gummies, be gone!”
  • “This trip, I could finally tell the difference between American and Canadian accents. No matter what you guys think, you really do say ‘aboot’ and ‘eh’. A lot. At least as much as I say ‘crikey’.”
  • “The drivers just stop for everybody. That’s fucked up.”
  • “I don’t want to be a whinger (will people know what that means? it means ‘whiney complainer’), so here come the positives about Vancouver. Pretty — gorgeous in fact. Friendly (it is!). People will talk to complete strangers and feel comfortable. Strolling the seawall would have to be one of my favourite ways to spend a sunny afternoon, and the fish and chips at Deep Cove, along with the scenery, are awesome. And I like Stanley Park, but not the racoons — they’re quite frightening. And I come from the land of sharks and numerous household pests that can kill you — like snakes, spiders, and crocs. I don’t like squirrels either. Rats with furry tails. I do love the big seagulls — they’re huge compared to the ones I’m used to. And the crows make a totally different sound here.”
  • “The streets around Main are so pretty — the trees everywhere overhanging the road. The houses are picturebook cute and painted all different colours. Just a lovely neighbourhood. And I liked that you can stroll at night and still have sunlight, even at 9 or 10 o’clock. Strange at first, but I soon got to love it.”
  • “Until the dark and frosty Canuck winter… this is Janelle, signing out.”