I've been taking the bus downtown a lot lately. I've got appointments to work on my elbow twice a week. If you think it costs a lot to park in downtown Winnipeg, try Vancouver. It's ridiculous. So instead, I hop onto a number 135 on Hastings Street and make my way to glorious downtown Vancouver.
Confession time. I love taking the bus. I think part of the appeal is the throw-back to my university days when I rode the bus a lot. In my head I still feel like I'm 20 and just figuring things out. So sitting on that bus just makes me feel like I belong. The other appealing part is what I get to see - really see, as I'm making my way down Hastings. I have time and opportunity. I love people watching - imagining where they're going to or coming from. I love the colors and sights of the buildings and signs along the street. I know I likely wouldn't see it this way if I rode that 135 everyday the way Mike does, but from where I sit, it all gives me something to think about.
This is what I see walking the few blocks to the bus stop. I never, ever get tired of looking at the snow-capped mountains. What a juxtaposition - garbage bins and barren parking lots surrounded with majesty and beauty. We've got it all.
I love the old store facades and interesting "mom and pop" stores and restaurants on Hastings. Every time I go downtown, I discover a new one or two I hadn't noticed before.
I get off at Granville and Hastings. I love this part of downtown with all the hustle and bustle surrounding me. There are lots of power suits looking driven and motivated and tourist-types looking lost and in awe. I'm kind of in-between.
One thing I adore about Van City is that winter doesn't mean that snow is coming and cold is your companion. It means that the planters are filled up with fresh annuals for a new growing season. There is life and color and brilliance in those pots and planters. The rain may be coming, but that doesn't mean that the world becomes grey and barren.
Oceanic Plaza. Mike's office building at the corner of Burrard and Hastings. It's the reason we get to live in this glorious city. Thank you, HATCH. Thank you, Mike for toiling away for us day in and day out.
Two short blocks off Hastings and you find yourself at Coal Harbour with the inlet and the North Shore Mountains. So much for concrete jungle.
After my appointment, I make my way down Burrard to catch my bus home. One of these days I have to stop for lunch at Tacofino. I've seen the Eat Street episode on the Food Network that featured Tacofino, and filling my face while standing on the sidewalk on Burrard is definitely one of my short-term goals.
When we moved West, one of the things that always amazed me were the amount of grocers that have their fruit and veggies outside on the sidewalk. You definitely don't see this in Winnipeg. It would all freeze. I love the color and the organic presence that it brings to the drab street corners.
Here's a bus shelter along the way. A few years ago, the city of Vancouver refurbished their bus shelters and benches. Part of this refurbishment was adding "handles" to the benches - all in an attempt to make it uncomfortable and unlikely that homeless people would find them comfortable for a sleep. Kind of makes you shake your head.
I pull the cord and get off a block away from Gamma Avenue.
That's my stop.