Thursday, 24 April 2008


I left home on April 2nd with a cocktail of emotions running through my head. all the goodbye's etc, wasn't quite ready to go but plans are plans. although as soon as i got the bag on my back i had that feeling in my gut and was ready for road again.

Flew to Vancouver from Belfast on the 3rd via a night on Walley's couch in Dublin. Planned to stay here for four days but three weeks later i haven't fckin budged !

Rocked up to the American Backpackers Hostel in downtown Vancouver. $10 a night, i was expecting the worst. i mean its got to be the cheapest hostel in North America - a match made in heaven I hear you say !

Turns out they haven't increased their price in 23 years. they'd be protesting in the streets if someone tried that in Ireland.

Its a hostel essentially only in name, its really a commune. people rarely spend one or two nights here. its full of twenty-somethings from across the globe over to work in Vancouver for a year. so everyone is in the same boat which is great. loads of Mexicans (i've yet to meet a Mexican i didn't like) and Japs, Kiwi's and a few lads from Belfast.

Really its the hostel that has kept me here. so many sound people under one roof. Free keg parties every fortnight. outstanding joint. Certainly ridded me of any apprehensions I had about traveling alone.

so after a few days i really didn't want to leave. and contrary to other trips i've taken, this time i was super prepared, with a strict well researched plan. so much so that i was worrying about myself. so i said fck it, put my flights back three weeks and availed of the ridiculous job market here.

the fact that im sans visa matters not a jot to many here. in fact, they say that in vancouver if you dont work its cos you dont want to work. you can just pick your job, its incredible. ive never known anything like it. its all down to the Olympics here in 2010. ive worked in five different jobs in two weeks so far.

often they only need you for a day or two. at the moment i've been doing roofing and as strange as it seems, im loving it. i mean, coming after two and a half years of working in an office and the shite that goes with it, its a real breath of fresh air to do this. i work outside in the fine weather with normal straight-up guys and at the end of my day, i leave with a wad of notes in my back pocket having actually accomplished something !

although my first job wasn't so rewarding. delighted at having gotten a job in a cool cafe (a real Daly job) it all went sour when i met the boss on my first shift. what a fckin goon. one of these fckers who just has a problem with everything. i was warned by everyone though. huge turnover off staff, gee where have i seen that before.... anyway he tells you to do something, you do it right to the letter, and then he still complains. so anyway on the second day, after a day of him busting my balls, he tells me he doesn't like my hair and that i have to cut it. what the fck like. i didn't sit through 6 years of college to have a baldy fcker telling me to cut my hair !

i told him there wasn't a hope in hell of that happening. so that was the end of that......

As a city Vancouver is very impressive it must be said. I have long thought about moving here so it was well handy to be able to give the place a proper inspection. Quite a chilled liberal city with a huge Asian population and a thriving cafe culture but burdened with the high homeless population and acute drug problems that go with it. Quite like San Fran in many ways. Serious urban renewal has gone on over the past 20 years so visually its pretty impressive. But what makes Vancouver is its surroundings. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the vast Coast Mountain range some of the views are breathtaking. After Rio its probably the most encapsulating city I've visited in terms of its setting.

You can be on the slopes within 20 minutes of leaving the city and within a 5 minute walk from Downtown you can be walking in the absolute wilderness of Stanley Park - a 1000 acre urban park. its fantastic really.

the drawbacks ? fckin Irish weather and a very average nightlife.......

although saying that, 3 of us managed to blag tickets on the door for the long sold-out arrival of Hot Chip. absolutely magic gig.

overall, a well cool city where you'd have a seriously good quality of life. but its not for me i think, at least i got to see it first hand and decide for myself. had a class time here but the open road beckons. i'll be outta here next wednesday. off to the tranquility of Vancouver Island with 2 Geordies.

until the next post, take it easy.

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