Canada, Vancouver

August 26th 2005 – December 10th 2005 

After our 60 hour Greyhound bus ride, Barney and I arrived in Banff, Alberta. A ski resort town in the heart of the awe inspiring Canadian Rockies.  A little bambi deer eating a tree at the Greyhound bus station was our first sight. Straight away we fell in love with the place after the Ghetto bus stations of the US. It was a quick visit to confirm our apartment for the upcoming snowboard season and drop off gear before getting back on the bus to do a further 14 hours to conclude our coast to coast Greyhound experience, clocking up 90 greyhound hours in 10 days!

My good mate Bugz who I had grown up with and had attended University with was waiting for us in Vancouver in our Van. I say our van as Barney and I had gone thirds in the $900 Plymouth Voyager with Bugz. As with most cars in this price range it came with many characteristics, peeling paint, rust, leaks, missing hub caps and unpredictable headlights that needed a ‘kick start’.

  Road trip to Vancouver Island. Seeing in sunset at Kennedy Lake with a CC and dry Laying our van to rest

We started the familiar process of a nomad setting up roots in a foreign city. Job and flat hunting is no easy deal when it seems half the world is trying to find an apartment in Vancouver. There were plenty of jobs available, and we had 1 year work visas which makes it easier than looking for under the table work. I needed to start right away, even though we had worked 3 months in the US, the money had quickly disappeared with finally paying off my Brazil Credit card debt, buying a van, paying security deposit on the Banff apartment and the upcoming Vancouver apartment. So once again it was back to having no money, something that would become second nature as my journey to live and work in every continent of the world unfolded.

Out of desperation we moved into a basement apartment in the suburb of Richmond that was rented out by the Indian family who lived in the house above. They must of been shocked on move in day when we pulled up in our rusted van with 2 mattresses tied to the roof that we had just scavenged from an alley dumpster. As well as the mattresses our furniture consisted of 2 deck chairs, a chlli bin (cooler), and Bugz’s  miscellaneous camping gear. So no need to mention that the apartment was looking less than homely. But it was our space and bet the hell out of paying through the roof for hostels and sleeping in the van.

After job hunting for a couple of days work fell into place. We were doing a days work helping pull down a tent at the Canadian Golf Open for a contact of our US tent boss. On the site next door was a local Vancouver tent company pulling down a tent but there crew was late getting there. Barney and I went and started helping them and were employed by the end of the day. It was a great company to work for and got to see heaps of the Vancouver region with jobs on Vancouver Island and events like the Snowboard World Cup in Whistler which involved snowboarding to work!

Off to whistler for work. Our front-yard, English Bay in its glory

We weren’t the happiest of campers in our Indian apartment and wanted to be closer to downtown and the public transport as having one van between 3 was like sharing a donkey between a small African tribe.  With limited options we ended up moving into a 1 bedroom, 16th storey apartment in English Bay. It was 2 blocks from the ocean with views over downtown Vancouver, complete with pool, sauna and a downtown price tag. We were living the high life, we even had a couch (cushionless couch frame from the dumpster) and a coffee table (a scrap piece of plywood resting on borrowed milk crates). No doubt we had the neighbours talking, being 3 guys living a 1 bedroom cubicle in the heart of Canada’s rainbow flag capital.

To make our new downtown cubicle more homely a 2 day driving mission to Banff was planned. The mission involved a pick-up, including Bugz’s laptop (for music) and other household comforts he had stored there from the previous snowboard season. Bravely myself and Chiz (a friend staying with us for a couple of weeks) accepted the mission. We departed Vancouver after I finished work, and returned the following afternoon on foot holding in our hands the possessions of the van. We had only made it 5 of the 13 hours to Banff before the transmission blew up. Chiz and I had spent the night in the van with the buzz of passing trucks on the Trans Canadian Highway.  The following morning we got a tow truck, lay the van to rest at the local scrapyard and started the hitch hike back to Vancouver. You can imagine the looks on the guys faces when we arrived back with no laptop, no household comforts and no van! We all bought bus tickets, and didn’t look back. 

Japanese dinner on our dining room table in our English Bay apartment View over downtown Vancouver from our 16th storey apartment.

 Life soon got into routine, I was busy with the girlfriend and work, Barney was back in NZ and Bugz was working every possible hour available, mowing lawns by day and cooking burgers by night to purchase a new video camera for his upcoming snowboard DVD. I got to check out and enjoy the beautiful city of Vancouver and surrounding areas. It has the ingredients of a great city, ocean, mountains, parks, downtown, friendly people, diverse culture with heaps of good cheap food. Two thumbs up to summertime Vancouver Then with November came the rain, signalling the start of winter and the end of my Vancouver chapter as I left for the mountains.


2 Responses to “Canada, Vancouver”

  1. Lorne Massiah February 15, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    Sorry to hear about the accident! Glad you’re alright. Love the site, and I know you’ll be able to finish your quest. Say Hi to Barney.
    Good Luck, Lorne.

  2. Hap February 21, 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    Cheers mate,

    Hope all good back in Van City. Barneys back in NZ, he’s out of the hair and beauty game and trying hand at PR. (i reckon he’s more suited to the hair and beauty salon, hahaha).

    Say gidday to Noah and the crew for me.


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