Last week, we learned it takes remarkable skill and cohesive precision for two adults to share one umbrella. Especially if one adult is 6 feet tall while the other is 5feet 2inches. Why didn’t we just ask for two umbrellas from the hotel, you ask? Well because of course it’s more romantic to huddle together and hold each other close as you walk, and maybe even steal a couple kisses in the rain. But at one point, all thoughts of romantic gestures were lost on me, as I kept trying to nudge my husband’s elbow, conveniently attached to the umbrella at the time, just a little bit more to the right and back to provide me with more protection against the elements.
You better believe that anytime we came across a street awning, we eagerly went our separate ways. I walked under the awning, happy as a little clam. And he courageously battled the rain with his single umbrella.
In a city dully dubbed Raincouver, we tried to get a handle on umbrella etiquette over the 3 nights and 4 days we spent in Vancouver. For novice umbrella users, seemingly run of the mill protocol proved to be a bit questionable for us. Where are you supposed to put your sopping umbrella at a restaurant if there is no box at the door? Or at a store? And if you place your umbrella in the designated box, what’s to keep someone else from taking yours? Not to mention the rigorous game of chicken that pedestrians seem to play, swerving at the last minute to avoid an eye-gougingly unfortunate umbrella mishap.
All umbrella thoughts aside, we had a blast in Vancouver. This vivacious city has continuously ranked at the top of the “world’s most livable cities”, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. This year it was ranked third, but nonetheless, I can definitely see why the city is so attractive. Interestingly enough, I just found out that Calgary is also among the top five cities!
Not very large by any means, that cool factor I mentioned in an earlier post about Calgary is readily pungent in the air in this west coast city as well. Fantastic restaurants, hipster art showrooms, and immense cultural diversity pretty much give you the lay of the land. Not to mention, coffee, coffee, and more coffee, with big chains and local coffee shops on every corner. Could it be the proximity to Seattle?
My husband and I are notoriously bad tourists, despite the fact that we travel so much. When we go on vacation, it’s usually to spend some quality alone time together. So we’d much rather have a relaxing good time than worry about trying to visit all the crowded “must-sees.” When visiting a new city, we generally follow a few guidelines to make the most of our trip.
1 – Stay in a nice place, as close to the most desirable part of town as you can get. In Vancouver, we stayed at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia on W. Georgia St. just a few minutes walk from the best restaurants, shopping, Gastown, the harbor, and Stanley Park to boot.
2 – Drive as little as possible within the city. There’s something so authentically organic by absorbing a new city on foot or using the metro/train/subway. In Vancouver we were lucky enough to be able to walk everywhere, even in the rain.
3 – Don’t plan every detail ahead of time. Granted, this motto caused us to miss out on the Colosseum in Rome, as it was closed off the day we tried to see it. But generally this spur of the moment attitude has served us well on trips in the past, and worked out great in Vancouver too.
The only real touristy activity we ended up doing was a tour of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. We have actually received word that by this time next year, there’s a real possibility we might be moving to an East Asian country for a new project. Of course, if anyone knows the oil and gas industry, these things tend to change quite frequently, so this plan is definitely not set in stone. But for now, I find myself more and more engrossed with all different aspects of Asian culture. And the garden did not disappoint!
All in all, if my husband ever got assigned to work in Vancouver for a while, I would definitely be excited. Until then, I’ll be dreaming of Asia.