Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

wankoover

Canada is like a PG-13 version of the United States. You feel like the worst thing that could happen is that you might see some boobs and hear a few swear words. Do they even have murders? I have heard more polite apologies in one week than in my entire life in the States. The country’s official motto should be “Canada: We’re sore-y.”

Within minutes of my arrival at my hostel, I met Anna, a lovely psychology grad from Germany. We had dinner at Yamato Sushi, which was not only fresh and delicious, but very cheap. And I found out that when Germans say Vancouver, it comes out “Wank-ooo-ver.”

The next day, we went on an all-day sightseeing tour led by Vancouver’s official 2012 “Volunteer of the Year”, Erik the Viking.

Tour guide extraordinaire, Erik

Erik is 72 years old and has been leading tours of the city for 18 years. His tours are even listed in the Lonely Planet travel guides.

Erik took us up into the hills and to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which stretches 450 feet over Vancouver’s rainforest.

If I ever lived in this city, I would start a subsection of my blog called The Vancougar Chronicles in which I dated my way through the city’s attractive young men. But I would not stay where my hostel was on this trip, because I deduced pretty quickly that it was the gay neighborhood. The men were far too clean and tank-top-adorned. Plus, the street is lined in rainbow flags and jaunty-looking sex shops.

Case in point: The other night we were walking back to the hostel and didn’t realize how close to home we were. When we turned onto our street, one of my new friends, an Aussie salsa dancer named Lisa, said she knew we were getting close because, “it was starting to get pretty sexy around here…”

sexy-hood

Example of the sexiness.

The next day, we met two more fun girls, Charlotte—another Australian—and Emma, who is a Brit. We walked all over town and back again. We checked out some of Wankoover’s funky public art installations, like these statues:

Then we went to Granville Island, where there is a huge indoor food/artists’ market. And this amazeballs shop that specializes in fancy brooms. Fancy BROOMS. Who knew?

bill-pin

I bought this pin at the Granville Market

broom broom2 broom3

This morning, Lisa, Charlotte, and I rode bikes on the seawall around Stanley Park. It was super fun.

Charlotte riding the seawall!

Charlotte riding the seawall!

What struck me is that many of the wonderful girls I met in Vancouver, including Charlotte and Emma, plan to spend six months to two years working abroad, often in the hospitality industry. It makes me reflect upon how far we have come as women in a relatively short period of time. One hundred years ago, they might have been working in estates (like Downton Abbey) or boarding ships and crossing the ocean to find opportunities in the new world.

How awesome is it that so many young women today are venturing out on their own, without the prejudices and restrictions faced by earlier generations? We are so lucky that we are no longer forced to into marriage and pregnancy, no longer sentenced to lifetimes of slave labor.

I realize that many of the world’s women do not yet have these privileges. But when I am looking on the bright side, I have to appreciate how far we have come. I just know that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers are smiling down on us and I can only send blessings up to the heavens for what all of them endured to make it possible. And I am absolutely certain that they would enjoy The Vancougar Chronicles.

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