Dispatches from the wilds of Canadia – Day 3

Gastown
(Wherein Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are awaiting autopsy)

On the second morning, again up at a scandalous hour, I hurriedly packed and checked out of the motel, before tromping off to Emily’s house once more. After dropping off my bags, and being shown around, she showed me where to buy a day pass for the bus, and then led me to the bus stop. I would be adventuring alone today, as she had to work. I arrived in Vancouver without incident, and walked around, looking for The Marine Building, having been assured by my guidebook that it is perhaps the finest example of Art Deco in the world. Stopping at the steps of what was probably a dreadfully historic church to consult my guide book to work out where the building actually was, I was approached by a person of diminished financial endowment, desirous of spare change, (which is an all too common occurrence around here) who then proceeded to ask me where I was from, what I was doing, &c., and if I would mind if he walked with me? So, the walk to the Marine Building continued, accompanied by a discussion of his various medications, and their side affects, as well as some suggestions on purchasing day passes, or perhaps even a monthly bus pass. (I neglected to mention that I had bought a day pass, because “I need the rest for the bus” was my excuse for not giving him all my change). Finally, I reach the building, and spent a considerable deal of time photographing its Art Deco features, for which I was unabashedly enthusiastic. Indeed, I made sure to document every aspect of the building. Then I headed to Canada Center, which is a convention centre type thingy on the water that was built for expo ’86, and which is entirely Tourist fare, but it did afford good views of the harbour and mountains . Thence I headed to historic Gastown, named for Captain John ” Gassy Jack” Deighton, so nicknamed for his tendency to “Gas” – that is, prone to loquacious and long winded monologues, and also because of his proclivity to get “Gassed” – or drunk, who built the first bar here for the workers of the nearby sawmill, around which Gastown eventually sprung. I stopped at the Inuit gallery, where I photographed a number of delightful statuettes of dancing bears, seals, dragons and birds, before walking right past Gastown’s famous steam powered clock without even noticing it. My wanderings took me to the statue of Gassy Jack, perched atop a whisky keg, before I got slightly lost, in search of the Centennial Police Museum, and ended up on East Hasting St, which was a decidedly slummy part of town. I backtracked my course, and found myself at a small Gallery called Canvas, which featured some excellent art which I was personally toured around by one of the Galleriers, and then I found myself at a second gallery, looking at art that could only be described as what would occur if Jackson Pollock had done portraits. Truly amazing stuff. Finally, I managed to make my way to the Police Museum, just 45 minutes shy of closing. I wandered through the exhibits, amused by the names of the old equipment, such as the ” drunkometer” the electro-matic radar speed meter, and the speedalizer. Then I entered the morgue, which featured the storage shelves labelled by some whimsical soul with names including Dorian Grey, Albus Dumbledore, Jack Dawson, Maude Flanders, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern . Most probably the work of the guy running the museum, who is a philosophy student. Then I went into the autopsy room itself, which was the site of the autopsy of none other than Errol Flynn himself. The story goes, (from my guide book): ” Flynn arrived in the city in October 1959 with his best acting days behind him. With him was his “personal assistant”, a 17-year-old blonde girl not known for her secretarial skills. Within two days Flynn had dropped dead in his rented West End apartment. The body was then brought to the Coroner’s Court, where the pathologist conducting the autopsy is said to have removed a piece of Flynn’s penis and placed it in formaldehyde to keep as a souvenir. The horrified chief coroner Glen McDonald, a rather more fastidious operator, is said to have pulled rank and reattached the missing piece of member to the corpse with sticky tape “. Also adorning the walls of the morgue were a collection of organs aptly described as “ a suitably macabre selection of mangled and preserved body parts.” Including a foetus labelled ” found discarded near university“, Which I immediately thought would amuse you, Sophie, which was a thought that Emily and Sonny also immediately expressed on hearing my description of it. I then went back up to see the famous steam clock, which is the only one in the world, before heading back into the heart of Vancouver.

Beach Party
(Wherein Gin is transformed from friend to foe)

I headed to McClouds, hoping to spend some more time amongst the books, but it was sadly closed, as it was actually 6 o’clock by this stage. (It stays light very long at the moment, so one finds oneself surprised to discover how late it has gotten of an evening). So, with everything closing up, I headed back to White Rock, to prepare for the bonfire on the beach that night. Arriving at the beach and finding no wood available in the immediate vicinity, Emily and I left the others to head some considerable distance up the beach to find some. Eventually finding a sufficient quantity (but not before stopping outside a pub to sing along to the strains of “The Land Down Under” that drifted through the night air to us, and riding a statue of a bear) we hauled our precious resources (I carrying what were, frankly, goddamn logs) back to the spot of our fire. After educating the Canadians in the proper way to build a fire (Sonny put the kindling on the bottom with the newspaper on top of it… seriously, what’s with that?) we sat back to enjoy its pleasing warmth, along with marshmallows and Gin and Tonics. Emily and I lit up our fine Cuban cigars that I purchased the day before, during our adventures, and the taste of which still lingers on… some other Canadians from a neighbouring fire, who were, perhaps, verging on being damn punk teens. Joined us, and I regaled them with tales of drop bears and explained that the reason our fire was so much better than theirs was that all Australians are master fire builders, as we don’t have electricity. Emily’s brother Dan showed up (being a different Dan to the one met previously) and it would appear that I somewhat over-imbibed the tonic and gin, (mostly the gin, methinks) with the result that I don’t remember much else of the evening. When Emily woke me in the morning before heading to work, I noted that I was without shirt, which I found, in the manner of all Movies and Television Shows, suspicious. I decided that I would be best served by getting more sleep, especially as the cold which I had a few weeks ago has returned, most probably because of the strain of travel. Thus I have spent today sleeping and tending to things that required tending to (such as writing this eMail). It would seem that I picked the right day for it, too, as it has rained all day. It rained a bit yesterday, as well, and Emily is convinced that it was only sunny on Monday because I caught Canada by surprise (based on her experience of when Sophie was over here, when it apparently rained the whole time). Then I went out for dinner with Sonny, before going to the Cactus Club with Sonny, Andrey, Emily, and a guy whose name I think is Daniel.

Oh, and finally, in other news, I just got my marks for this semester, and it would appear that Doctors West and Russel have decided to warn me of the risks of my shenanigans – my final mark: 51% (not bad considering I got 0 on an essay worth 50%!) This also means that my Artistic Bachelorification is finally at an end!

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Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

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