Highlights in Vancouver included Granville Island Public Market, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, walks at sunset along the seawall + the Aquabus at False Creek, transit from Yaletown to Broadway, lunch at Gastown, shopping for tea + snacks at Chinatown (dried ginseng, + medium grade loose leaf tieguanyin *not* prepackaged), tea, tea, tea, crepes, + coffee back at Gastown + Granville, + just enjoying being in Canada.
Highlights in Victoria included seeing a masquerade ball at the Empress, meals + bevies at various places, walks to the Parliament Building + Royal BC Museum, walks to Chinatown, a visit to the Ship Point night market, + just enjoying walking in cities in Canada. Honorable mention to the gorgeous ride from the magnificent BC Ferries through the Strait of Georgia via Tsawwassen.
We enjoyed the markets, eats, the beach + the sea, + semi-desert climate of Okanagan. Again, we walked, walked, walked everywhere, + enjoyed breathing air, hiking, exploring, + the sunshine of K-town. Okanagan holds a special place in my heart because I visited here (Penticton) as a child for fishing trips, + the (then) water slide parks. Besides the attractions + the obviousness of my American tourist-ness, I felt at home in Canada, + left wanting to know you better.
Oh so much more to see, learn, know, experience, + love about Canada.
Loaded with four bottles of wine, + near a dozen bags of tea, we headed south to the border. As with home, we noticed the poverty + prosperity standing at a corner at a mission + walking through Chinatown, + felt that tension with visiting where there is need. This tension only fuels my passion to support connections in cities for human thriving.
Appreciating the exchange rate also carried this tension for me. Cities share great need + possibility as potential partners for a region. I especially appreciated the normalization of health as a standard for a city (here, here, + here). For instance, off the skytrain I found a smoothie bar to my delight. In Victoria, I found another smoothie/juice bar. People knew what I meant when I asked for vegan steamed milk with a chai tea bag, + it was ok to ask. I was recovering my health at the time, + I felt cared for here. I appreciate it when cities or nation-states make health + thriving a priority. Your southern neighbors have much to learn from you. I hope that by learning we can stop behaving as stereotypical culturally appropriating arrogant Americans, + more as friends.
Build bridges instead of walls!
Turn towards each other instead of away.
Compassion + Community = Neighbors!