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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Trophy Wife of Canadian Cities. 

G’day! Sorry it’s been so long.

So now that I’m sort of back to civilization, I heard word that Air New Zealand is going to offer non-stop flights to Vancouver from Auckland. Good move. Now you can reach North America without the bullshit of U.S. customs. Also, the Olympics are going to show up in a couple of years, so Air NZ was pretty clever to get some airport space now.

But, strategic business sense aside, beware of that place: Vancouver. I see it as the Trophy Wife of Canadian cities.

Yeah, she looks good, you can showcase her, brag to your friends about her, and even dress her up for a night out now and then.

But make no mistake, it’s all a display. When you get her home, live with her, you realize that you’re in a false relationship, one that’s based on material emptiness and complete disconnection. She don’t put out. Not like Montreal…man, does she put out!

There is no place in Canada more costly to live (save for Iqaluit). Food, housing, transportation, and even a pint of beer are all grossly above the national average (speaking of which, happy fucking luck getting a pint in Vancouver! They have Sleeves, which cost more than a pint, but measure up nowhere near). New condos are springing up under the pretense that somehow a two-week sporting event in 2010 will boost their value immensely. These places are also being built with next to nothing in them. $250,000 can buy you a box in the sky where the bed almost has to come out of the wall, and you have next to no kitchen, because the asshole who designed the thing expects you to take your meals out.

No city in Canada is as inequitable as Vancouver. Unbridled wealth versus unbridled skid-row. You get both, but the city only advertises the first bit. The city’s doctors, politicians and newspaper columnists are all leaders in trying to destroy universal healthcare in Canada, as they all actively seek out new excuses to grossly overcharge people for their services.

But you know three things that are truly not right about Vancouver?

1) A 24 hour a day, seven days a week traffic reporting station. Yup. Some prick is making money knowing that he can sell advertisements alongside traffic updates every minute of the day, even at 2:10am on a Wednesday. That’s not good at all.
2) The city has Canada’s first “dedicated transit police force.” Violence on the public transit was so extreme that the bus company Translink had to go as far as to create a special police force to bust out your teeth, handcuff you and turn you over to a judge. These are not special coppers from the Vancouver police or RCMP. No no, a dedicate police force. Usually when society needs more police, things aren’t right. And yet, Vancouver is actually bragging about the fact that its buses come with dedicated service from Wyatt Earp and his gang.
3) You can’t buy tools in the downtown! On my brief return this summer, I had to fix an alternator. Doing this downtown in public was apparently my first no no, as city ordnances prohibit automobile repair in public. But, I needed a ratchet with a socket. Simple 3/8 ratchet with a 12mm socket. Not a single store in the downtown core could provide me with such a device. In the Lotusland of condos, sushi shops and 16,500 starbucks, you can’t find tools to fix shit that’s broken. Meaning, that any time something goes sideways you’re expected to call up a guy in a van, and he’ll come and fix it.

24 hour traffic, cops on the bus, and an endemic culture of service provision, it’s a society ready to explode.

I want no part of it.

That’s why my two bedroom apartment has become two back-packs, and it is back to the road. I’ll be in touch again, the next time I see electricity.

Re the trophy wife thing, I've heard Vancouver described as the Marilyn Monroe of cities. Very pretty to look at, and you'd naturally brag to your friends about having her, but emotionally unstable and prone to serious mood disorders.

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