I feel for my friends the Steenkamps in Vancouver, I really do. They are the ones that always get me at my most bushy-tailed and bright-eyed as I arrive from South Africa via Europe.
It is they, the most patient of families, who get to struggle with the jet-lagged zombie that emerges through the yawning doors at Vancouver International airport after his 30-hour transcontinental flight. But somehow we always manage to visit Stanley Park, Cypress Mountain or Blenz Coffee in Horseshoe Bay within hours of my arrival. Me, with numb bum, bloodshot eyes and the sense that the earth is in constant motion; and I flying ten feet above it.
The morning after I arrived I decided to pretend I wasn’t allergic to either gluten or yeast, and joined the family for the most heavenly croissants this side of France. “It’ll be fine,” I assured them. “They don’t use yeast in croissants. I ate them in France and Switzerland for months earlier this year and was quite healthy, thank you very much!”
Except, here in Canuckistan it’s apparently easier to use yeast than to practice the regular time-consuming technique from the homeland, which involves too much butter and lots of folding of the croissant dough, to make it rise. With me feeling decidedly queasy, one of the boys suggested we go to a coffee shop and roastery on the city’s north side that his boss had been going bananas for.
“A perfect cup of coffee is all you need to set your stomach straight,” he assured.
“Mmmmmm? This is different,” I thought to myself after the first sip. I glanced over at my mates to see what they thought of their drinks and then at a lass at the table opposite who was sipping her coffee, grimacing and looking quizzically at her cup. I’d noticed one particularly excited customer who bought three bags of beans, leaving the store as if he had just secured the crown jewels of Java. But I wasn’t convinced.
I kept glancing surreptitiously across at the girl opposite, who was pulling weird faces after every sip, and eventually could contain myself no longer.
“Hello,” I said to her creepily, after sidling softly over to her right shoulder. “I’m doing a snap survey about what you think about your coffee.”
Of course, being Canadian, and not wanting to offend anyone, she lied at first.
“It’s fine,” she shrugged.
“… because my coffee tasted a bit strange and I couldn’t quite place the taste,” I continued.
And then the floodgates opened.
“Yes,” she replied. “It is kind of disgusting. Like dish water, or raw sewage. Yes, raw sewage. That’s how I would describe it.”
Laughing, I left her staring still at her cup of raw sewage and went back to my table. Everyone there agreed that the coffee was a bit off, and that we would never return. I could just imagine the young Canadian describing her strange morning to friends or family …
A day later, while on the ferry to the sunshine coast, I managed to fling the entire contents of my camera bag down a flight of stairs, lost my travelling companions and caused an incident when I tried to board their car as they exited the boat, in a no-picking-up-passengers zone. I blame the jet lag.
But, to be honest, this time I got over it pretty quickly, and jumped on a plane bound for Quesnel (600km north) feeling refreshed and ready for even more adventures.
As I didn’t take many photos in Vancouver this time, I leave you with a few from previous trips.