Thursday, October 7

A Pause...

Well, I've been in Vancouver for a little over a week, and it's been nice to be in one place for a while. As an added bonus, the weather has been unusually good, mostly sunny the whole time that I've been here.

Most of the week, I've been hanging around the hostel here in Vancouver, which is a nice enough place, and very friendly. Everyone is easy to talk to, and most nights are either spent sitting around or playing games, as there's always someone around. I've been avoiding going out, as I'd like to stretch out my money as long as possible. Of course, almost everyone here is Australian. Sometimes it seems like more Australians come here than stay home.

Earlier in the week, I looked into getting a working visa for France. Pleasant surprise. The last time that I was in France there was no program for general visas at all. But since 2002 there have been 700 visas given out each year to Canadians. All well and good, but I'm not sure how many people apply, so it's still not clear whether I'll be able to get one. And I can't even apply until I get back to Montreal, as the French consulate here only handles applications for residents of B.C. I love bureaucracy.

Vancouver as a city has different points to it, both good and bad. Things are more-or-less laid back, especially for a city its size [1.5 million people, I think]. Life is much slower here than in Toronto, and as a consequence, I think I like it more here then there. Still, the number of crack heads here is completely out of control. I was walking around one of the nicer parts of downtown when one of said crackies started following me, and didn't let up for six blocks. He even followed me into shops. What was even more disturbing was his skin. Some kind of round scabby shit all over his hands and arms. I was thinking he had leprosy or something. When he first saw me he asked me if I could give him a $20 bill for two $10s [ie, would you please show me your wallet so I can mug you]. My mistake was looking him in the eye and saying no. Eye contact is bad... after ten minutes, and my repeatedly telling him that I was broke - ie no money in my bank account - he finally fucked off. Maybe I should have been more direct and told him to get the fuck away from me, but he didn't look like he was very stable...

One thing that surprised me about this city is the number of red neck bruisers. The hostel is on the main street in terms of nightlife, and every night there are about three or four fights that break out. And that would be on a peaceful evening. The one that I saw last night was more of a mugging, two thugs beating the shit out of some other guy outside a bar. Before anyone knew what was going on, though, there were about five cops on them. I guess the police are expecting this sort of thing, and plain clothes cops patrol the street all night. In the end, a cop was whipping one of thugs with a pair of handcuffs. Somehow this was mildly entertaining to us.

Since I actually have some free time, I've been nerding out on more political mumbo jumbo. The latest thing to catch my interest is the web site of Noam Chomsky. I'd heard of him before, but didn't get into most of his writings until now. It's nice to read left material that is almost entirely backed up by facts. Most of the liberal writers that I find, although more or less in line with my opinions, almost always embellish and skew the facts - which I find very annoying. For anyone who's interested, the url is

On one last political note, apparently there's a chance that Paul Martin's government will be overthrown tonight. He's turned a vote on an amendment to the throne speech into a vote of no-confidence in his government by the opposition. This could lead to one of the shortest governments, well, ever. As much as I dislike Martin, I hate the fact that there isn't an alternative to him even more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noam Chomsky is an interesting writer. I've read a book of his entitled "What Uncle Sam really wants". It describes US foreign politics. The main theme is that the US dominates the world using violence. I've just read your last 7 blogs (I've learned a lot about Canada's geography). You've lived quite an adventure for the past 2 months! What are your plans for the nearby future: working in France?

Joe M.

10:33 p.m.  

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