This – the second entry in the “day trippin'” series – was a long time coming, I know. My apologies. Damn rain and all. Our field trip started with a ride downtown to Vancouver’s Chinatown, which in all my years here I had yet to visit. I was expecting something like Victoria’s Chinatown, but I couldn’t have had that preconception more wrong. Chinatown Victoria is beautiful and picturesque – just like the city itself – but, in hindsight, sadly lacking much character or authenticity. It’s more like Disney Chinatown.
Vancouver’s version is a little grittier, a tad more odorous and so heartbreakingly a real neighbourhood it made my soul ache to be returning to Ocean Park – home of the Botox-injected, plucked, waxed, plastered (make-up, not alcohol! Oh, wait…. What time is it???), be-coiffed soccer moms. Think Stepford and then multiply that by 3.
Everyone we met was friendly and affable – from the kitchen supply store man (whose store we combed looking for something inexpensive to buy so we could plug the meter with coins neither of us brought) to the lovely lady who helped us buy incense. Most especially, there was a grocer whose produce we photographed, who was waving and talking to everyone who passed. He lovingly touched the arm of a homeless man with his bike (bearing all his worldly belongings) and said, “How are you this morning, my friend?” I am almost in tears re-living this moment and aghast that such simple kindness is almost non-existent in my ‘hood. Not that shop-owners or friends don’t greet each other, but trust me when I tell you, that homeless man on the bike would not have been greeted so warmly.
I can see several faces from yesterday’s road trip floating in my head. Snippets of a fantastic day trip. I am as yet uncomfortable asking strangers if I can photograph them – being an avid absentee in most family photos myself. One man’s entire life seemed to be mapped on his lovely face – wrinkled into character I have been hard-pressed to find since my dad passed a decade ago. My only regret about our trip is not getting a photo of him.
Our time in Chinatown reminded me that the whole world does not, in fact, carry the latest Coach purse. Thank the gods. Here are a few snaps of our trip. They do not reflect how awesome it was. I do not have such talent, but perhaps enjoy regardless. And, if you get the chance, visit Chinatown. I’m going back in the Spring to visit the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden. Take care! Have a great weekend!! xoxo